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THE VERY BEST OF KWAZULU-NATAL (article first published : 2002-10-6)

Although based in England, I travel widely through my work and have visited KwaZulu-Natal three times in the last eight years and have grown to love the province. Each visit makes me want to return as soon as I can. So, I was happy to come across The Very Best of KwaZulu-Natal to take home with me at the end of my current visit.

Far from being a dry, geographical tome, The Very Best of KwaZulu-Natal is a wonderful and easy to read book. Itís a must - certainly for a first-time visitor to KZN as well as for people living in the province who might like to explore it further.

Itís well laid-out, easy to follow and with some well-chosen photographs that really make the reader anxious to experience all of KZNís exciting multi-cultured assets for themselves.

The in-depth and easy-to follow information on Durban alone, is more than worth the outlay of R129.95. The stunning photographs of the city and further into the rest of the province plus the well-written information make one want to jump into a car immediately to go and see for yourself.

An added benefit is a series of detailed maps of the areas covered in each geographical section. Providing invaluable know-how are the Useful Information boxes at the end of these sections offering details, addresses and phone numbers of key venues and services.

Mostly based in Durban and Cape Town, Sue Derwent is a freelance writer whose main interests are travel and environmental issues. This is an author whose multi-faceted experience ranges from her work in community conservation and development to being in corporate public relations and teaching English in Japan. She was co-author of Zulu also published by Struik in 1998 and wrote three tourism-related books as well as the Guide to Cultural Tourism in South Africa.

The bulk of the photographs have been supplied by Shaen Adey. Other well-known South African photographers such as Nigel J Dennis and Roger de la Harpe have also contributed. Herman Potgieterís image on the front cover is in itself an invitation to explore the province Ė via the sea, in this case, as the focus is placed on the foam of the incoming tide which leads the eye to the Marine Parade buildings caught in the warmth of a sunrise.

There are two birdís-eye views of Durbanís Golden Mile and the Harbour with the key landmarks clearly identified. The photograph by Walter Knirr, another major photographic contributor, of the Amphitheatre in the Royal Natal National Park is a magnificent reminder of the snow-capped peaks of the Drakensberg. It also encapsulates the beauty of this prolific province where arid areas and scrublands, flowing rivers and mountains are just a small part of KZNís extraordinary diversity.

The Amphitheatre is another photograph tagged with landmarks such as the Tugela Waterfall and the Mont-Aux-Sources Peak.

The Very Best of KwaZulu-Natal is produced by Struik Publishers and is certainly welcomed by this reviewer Ė Peter Warren




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