Natal lies between the warm Indian Ocean and the Drakensberg escarpment mountains. The British colony of Natal, founded in 1843, became the fourth province of South Africa in 1910. The capital Pietermaritzburg was established as an administrative centre by the Voortrekkers in 1839. The port of Durban soon became the major commercial centre of the province. The British build many excellent state and private schools, the two cities and in rural setting outside Pietermaritzburg. The British-built towns all had municipal swimming pools.
A few surviving Afrikaans schools in the province are still in existence (2019). A number of German settlers also arrived between 1847 and 1854, creating schools and towns with a distinct German character.
Natal has been a leading province in aquatic sports. The Natal Amateur Swimming Association join SAASU in 1905, and John Ellis Browne was the president for 1906-1907. It hosted the 1907 South African Championships at the West Street municipal swimming pool in Durban, where Natal won all the swimming events. One water polo match was between "Home Born" and "Colonials". One had to be "British" to play in that match!