It is located in the southeast of the country, with a long shoreline on the Indian Ocean and sharing borders with three other provinces and the countries of Mozambique, Eswatini and Lesotho. Its capital is Pietermaritzburg, and its largest city is Durban. It is the second-most populous province in South Africa, with slightly fewer residents than Gauteng.
Two areas in KwaZulu-Natal have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park. These areas are extremely scenic as well as important to the surrounding ecosystems.
During the 1830s and early 1840s, the northern part of what is now KwaZulu-Natal was established as the Zulu Kingdom while the southern part was, briefly, the Boer Natalia Republic before becoming the British Colony of Natal in 1843. The Zulu Kingdom remained independent until 1879.
KwaZulu-Natal is the birthplace of many notable figures in South Africa's history, such as Albert Luthuli, the first non-white and the first person from outside Europe and the Americas to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (1960); Pixley ka Isaka Seme, the founder of the African National Congress (ANC) and South Africa's first black lawyer; John Langalibalele Dube, the ANC's founding president; Harry Gwala, ANC member and anti-apartheid activist; Mac Maharaj, grammy award winning group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, grammy award winning DJ Black Coffee, ANC member, anti-apartheid activist and Little Rivonia Trial defendant; Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the founder of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP); Anton Lembede, the founding president of the ANC Youth League; Jacob Zuma, the former President of South Africa; Bhambatha, a 19th-century Zulu chief who became an anti-apartheid icon; and Shaka Zulu.