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SSpiritual tourism is growing worldwide, and KwaZulu-Natal certainly has a lot to offer soul-searchers. Whatever your choice, you are in for an uplifting experience and spectacular scenery as you travel from the balmy coastline to the mountainous interior.
In Chatsworth, outside Durban, you'll find a local landmark in the Sri Sri Radha Radhanath Temple, which is built in the shape of a lotus flower. The architecturally beautiful temple and its gardens are conducive to meditation, contemplation and prayer. Guided tours are on offer.
MMore inspiration from the East can be found at the Buddhist Retreat Centre in Ixopo, 90km south of Pietermaritzburg. This venue runs an annual programme of Buddhist retreats combined with yoga, the arts and even cooking. Alternatively, you can book a personal retreat. Enjoy the peace of the rolling hills, make use of the meditation spots and tuck into tasty vegetarian cuisine. What’s more, Ixopo is a birder's paradise.
When it comes to natural beauty, there’s little to beat the Drakensberg mountains. Their soaring rock formations have inspired all manner of spiritual and mystical experiences.
The San people related their supernatural experiences in paintings and engravings throughout the mountain range. A visit to any of the resorts within the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park, a World Heritage Site, will offer the possibility of visiting rock-art sites. You’ll learn more about the beliefs of the San, which still resonate today.
The award-winning Fordoun Hotel is near Nottingham Road in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. The hotel cooperates with traditional African healer Elliot Ndlovu. Ndlovu offers traditional treatments and creates products that utilise extracts from indigenous healing plants. He also consults with guests at the spa.
Whether you are interested in meditation, traditional healing or ancient hunter-gatherer philosophy, KwaZulu-Natal has plenty to offer anyone embarking on a spiritual journey.
TTravel tips & planning info
Who to contact
Sri Sri Radha Radhanath Temple
Tel: +27 (0)31 403 3328
The Buddhist Retreat Centre
Tel: +27 (0)87 809 1687
Cell: +27 (0)82 579 3037
The Fordoun Hotel
+27 (0)33 266 6217
How to get here
Sri Sri Radha Radhanath Temple
50 Bhaktivedanta Swami Circle, Chatsworth
The Buddhist Retreat Centre is well sign-posted and off District Road D64, which branches off from the R56 between Pietermaritzburg and Ixopo.
The Fordoun Hotel can be found on Nottingham Road in the Midlands.
Best time to visit
Soul-searching shouldn’t be limited to a certain time of the year, and the Drakensberg is beautiful year-round.
Around the area
Other sites worth visiting include the Umbilo Shree Ambalavaanar Alayam Temple, Sigananda Shezi's grave, Fort Kwamonde and the numerous battlefields scattered all over the KwaZulu-Natal.
What to pack
Pack comfortable walking shoes if a hike through the Drakensberg mountains sounds good.
Where to stay
You can stay over at the Buddhist Retreat Centre and the Fordoun Hotel. There are also wonderful resorts and small family hotels throughout the Drakensberg region.
What to eat
Enjoy a vegetarian meal at the Sri Sri Radha Radhanath Temple restauraunt.
Hiring a car will allow you to explore the area at your leisure.
What it will cost
Costs will vary depending on where one stays. The Buddhist Retreat Centre offers weekend packages and getaways. There's no charge to visit the Sri Sri Radha Radhanath Temple, but donations are welcome.
Length of stay
You could easily spend a week exploring the highlights in the beautiful province of KwaZulu-Natal.