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Posted on: Tuesday, 17 September 2013
What to wear in South Africa

What to Wear in KwaZulu Natal – The ultimate packing list

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Affectionately called KZN by the locals, the KwaZulu-Natal Province is a popular tourist hotspot for many reasons. One of the most significant of these, though, is its year-round summery conditions along the long coastline. Caressed by the arm waters of the inviting Indian Ocean, the beaches of KwaZulu-Natal continue to lure visitors from all over South Africa and the world to enjoy their sunny vacation here. Of course, as one moves further inland, the temperatures drop a little and the humidity decreases. Still, KwaZulu-Natal continues to be the destination of choice for those that want to experience the balmy South African weather conditions.

Durban is the capital city of the province and is home to the King Shaka International Airport. This city and its surrounds are acclaimed for having an average of 320 days of sunshine each year. The entire province experiences high summer temperatures, averaging around 30 degrees and accompanied by a marked humidity. This can make it extremely uncomfortable for those not accustomed to heat, particularly for European visitors. Those from South America, Australia and other parts of Africa generally deal with the heat quite well.

Winter conditions along the coast are very comfortable. Days are usually warm to hot (averaging 23 degrees Celsius) and sunny, while evenings cool down to allow a cosy night’s sleep. Further inland, the temperature can drop dramatically, depending on the altitude. The Drakensberg region frequently experiences heavy snow in the winter, while the coastal towns and beaches may be bathed in sunlight.

KwaZulu Natal Packing List

What to Pack:

Summer (December to March):

Summers are hot, humid and sticky in this province. This is also the season during which most of the rain occurs, which means having to be well prepared in terms of what to wear.  The wrong wardrobe will lead to massive discomfort and ruin the impact of this beautiful destination.

Opt for clothing that is light in weight and that allows air to flow freely onto the body. The sun in KwaZulu-Natal is powerful, and every measure should be taken to protect the eyes and skin from its harmful effects.

  • Swimming costumes are essential as you are sure to spend plenty of time on the beautiful beaches (2)
  • A hat and protective sunglasses (3)
  • Shorts, skirts, tops, t-shirts, and summer dresses that are cool and comfortable (1, 6 & 4)
  • Comfortable walking shoes (5)
  • An umbrella or light raincoat
  • A good quality sunscreen that does not block the pores, and allows sweating

Winter (June to August):

Winters can be very different in the various areas of KZN. Coastal winters are warm and comfortable, while inland winters can be icy. The following clothing is best for the inland destinations:

  • Long, warm pants
  • Long-sleeved shirts and t-shirts
  • Warm jerseys or jackets made from insulating fabrics like fleece
  • A scarf, hat and gloves
  • Warm, waterproof walking shoes

Spring (September to November) and Autumn (March to May):

Spring and autumn in KwaZulu-Natal are pleasant. Along the coast, they are not all that different from summer. Further inland, the changes are more noticeable. Therefore, in these cooler regions, it is a good idea to layer your outfits so that you are able to add or take away as the day cools and warms. Add a pashmina or wrap to your wardrobe for an easy alternative.

Planning your trip to KwaZulu Natal

We’ve selected a few pages that will be useful for planning your holiday to KwaZulu Natal.

Amelia Meyer


Amelia is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for all things travel-related. She is based in Knysna, but has studied, lived and travelled further afield. She studied Film, Media and Literature at the University of Cape Town. She began her solo career in the form of Voxate Writing & Editing in 2008 and loves every minute of it. Amelia believes in silver linings, lessons learnt and the responsibility to do what’s right. When she is not writing, she can frequently be found at the local animal shelter, on the bicycle trails of the nature reserves or sampling new restaurants with her family.