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KwaZulu Natal holidays - close up of  a vulture and jackal in the Drakensberg Mountains

Zululand Explorer (self-drive)


SCZ14D
14 NIGHTS
FROM £1,994
International flights + car hire quoted separately
This classic KwaZulu Natal self-drive holiday starts on the warm beaches of the Durban North Coast, before heading north to experience the wildlife of Hluhuwe Game Reserve and St Lucia Wetlands. Continue to the Zulu Battlefields at Isandlwana & Rorkes Drift, before completing your holiday relaxing in the dramatic Drakensberg Mountains - a World Heritage Site. All game drives included.
Photo Durban Self Drive Safari Holiday KwaZulu Natal South Africa
• 
Durban
• 
uShaka Marine World
• 
Zulu Village
• 
Hluhluwe Game Reserve
• 
St Lucia
• 
Isandlwana
• 
Rorkes Drift Battlefield
• 
Drakensberg Mountains
• 
Bushman Paintings
• 
Walking
• 
Durban
• 
uShaka Marine World
• 
Zulu Village
• 
Hluhluwe Game Reserve
• 
St Lucia
• 
Isandlwana
• 
Rorkes Drift Battlefield
• 
Drakensberg Mountains
• 
Bushman Paintings
• 
Walking
Day 1
Arrive at Durban Airport, collect your hire car and drive to your hotel on the warm North Coast, renowned for its wonderful beaches and excellent holiday weather.
 
Check in and relax on the shores of the Indian Ocean.
Day 2
This morning enjoy the beauty of rural Zululand, renowned for its outstanding beaches, mountains, history and wildlife as you drive 3-hours to your lodge in Hluhluwe Game Reserve.
  
We suggest you depart early and stop at an authentically reconstructed Zulu Village to learn more about Zulu life and culture, including their amazing beadwork (pay entrance fee locally). You can also meet a sangoma ("witchdoctor").
 
Continue to your safari lodge and enjoy a thrilling open top game drive with a lodge ranger. Game viewing opportunities should present themselves almost immediately and hopefully you will see several species of antelope, zebra, wildebeest and maybe even giraffe - as well as several of the Big Five - before returning to your lodge for dinner.
Day 3
Today is devoted to game viewing in Hluhluwe National Park.
 
Rise at dawn to take advantage of the best game viewing conditions of the day, and enjoy a thrilling open-top game drive in the famous Hluhluwe National Park, which saved the rhino from extinction. One of South Africa’s most beautiful game parks, Hluhluwe is home to all the Big 5 - lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhino - as well as the subcontinent’s largest population of endangered rhino. Hope to see many interesting species before returning to your lodge.
   
The rest of the day is free to relax at your lodge or enjoy bird watching, before setting out again in the late afternoon for another game drive. Hope to see giraffe, hippo, kudu, crocodiles, waterbuck, warthogs, baboons and many other interesting animals. With over 300 different bird species, outstanding bird watching is also guaranteed.
  
After a beautiful African sunset, enjoy the balmy evening and pristine stars of the Milky Way as you have never seen them before – as well as the spectacular Southern Cross.
  
Note: children < 6 are not allowed on open top game drives
Day 4
Today drive 30-minutes from Hluhuwe to the small town of St Lucia on the KwaZulu Natal northern coast.
  
After checking into your hotel, we suggest a boat ride on the Lake St Lucia estuary where you may see hippos and crocodiles. Forming part of the Isimangaliso Wetlands, this area has been declared a World Heritage site because of its unique biodiversity and importance to marine conservation. With over 500 different bird species in the region, it also offers outstanding bird watching.
Day 5
At leisure to relax and explore St Lucia and the Isimangaliso Wetlands independently.
 
Optional excursions available in the area include an Ocean Safari to view migrating humpback whales, turtles, dolphins and other sea life (from July to October); day tour to the Cape Vidal beach and nature reserve, bird watching tours, deep sea game fishing and open-top game drives into Hluhluwe National Park.
Day 6
Today depart from St Lucia and drive 3-hours through rural KwaZulu Natal to the remote battlefields at Isandlwana.
 
Check into your lodge and enjoy dinner whilst absorbing some of the fascinating history of this great conflict between Britain and the proud Zulu Kingdom.
Day 7
This morning join a full day tour arranged by your lodge to the poignant Zulu Battlefields.
 
Your guide will recount the events leading up to the fateful battle of Isandlwana, where in 1879 the mighty British army suffered one of the most humiliating defeats in its history following the controversial invasion of Zululand. See for yourself the events portrayed so passionately in the film Zulu Dawn, as the regiment was wiped out almost to a man by 20,000 Zulu warriors.
 
After returning to your lodge for lunch, we visit the famous mission station at Rorkes Drift where later that day a handful of British soldiers (outnumbered 30-to-1) fought off over 4,000 Zulu warriors for almost 12 hours. This battle - unforgettably brought to life by Michael Caine in the film Zulu -  saw 11 Victoria Crosses awarded, which is more than in any other engagement in the history of the British Empire.
 
Recommended Reading:
The Day of the Dead Moon - David Rattray
Brave Men’s Blood – Ian Knight
Day 8
Today drive 4-hours from the Zululand to the South African War Battlefields in the beautiful Natal Midlands. The Anglo Boer War of 1899 started shortly after the conquest of Zululand, as the British Empire turned its attentions to the lucrative Transvaal goldfields.
 
Along the way you can detour to visit the battlefield at Blood River where the Afrikaaner boers won a defining battle against the Zulus. The loss of life here was so great that the river ran red with blood, as both parties fought for control of KwaZulu Natal.
 
Alternatively you can follow the boer line of advance, stopping at the Talana Hill battlefield and museum, where the first battle of the Anglo Boer War took place and where khaki was worn for the first time. Then drive to Ladysmith, which was besieged for 118 days by the boers. Here you can visit the small Siege Museum. On Christmas Day 1899, the boers fired into the town a carrier shell without a fuse containing a Christmas pudding, two Union Flags and the message "Compliments of the Season". This shell is still kept in the museum.
 
Continue to your lodge near Spioenkop, with distant views of the dramatic Drakensberg Mountains.
  
Recommended Reading:
Boer War – Thomas Pakenham
Day 9
This morning enjoy a guided tour to the Spioenkop Battlefield.
 
We drive 40-minutes through stunning scenery to the place where one of the bloodiest battles of the South African War (Anglo Boer War) of 1900 took place in efforts to relieve Ladysmith, which was besieged for 118 days. Visit the mass graves atop Spioenkop Hill and see for yourself how poor military decisions affected the outcome of this battle.
 
Incredibly three future world leaders were in the area at the time this battle took place - Winston Churchill as a young newspaper correspondent, the future Mahatma Gandhi as a stretcher bearer, and Louis Botha as the Boer general who would go on to become the first Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa.
 
Afterwards drive 1.5-hours to the spectacular uKhahlamba Drakensberg Mountains, recognised as a World Heritage site for its vast collection of San Bushmen rock art paintings. Known locally as the Barrier of Spears the dramatic Drakensberg Mountains form the backbone of Southern Africa, running all the way down from the Great Rift Valley. Check into your mountain resort in this area of unspoilt natural beauty.
Days 10 To 11
At leisure to relax in the Drakensberg Mountains and enjoy the facilities of your resort, with superlative scenery and fresh mountain air making it ideal for walking holidays at any level of fitness. Your hotel will organise guided walks each day – typically one short walk and one long walk, or a walk to a Bushman painting.
  
The mountains also offer an outstanding location for bird watching – particularly raptors, but also sunbirds, waxbills and the numerous other species found in the grasslands, riverine scrub and natural forests.
  
Your hotel has a swimming pool and offers many activities in or near the resort including golf, horse riding in the mountains, fly fishing for trout, tennis, lawn bowls, badminton, mountain biking, table tennis, darts and pool.
Day 12
This morning enjoy the beauty of the Natal Midlands on your 3-hours drive to your hotel on the Durban North Coast, renowned for its wonderful beaches and reliably warm holiday weather all year round.
 
Stop at craft shops along the Midlands Meander and enjoy views over the Valley of 1000 Hills, before continuing to the Durban North Coast. Check into your hotel and relax in lush sub-tropical surroundings on the shores of the warm Indian Ocean.
Day 13
Today we recommend an optional tour to see the highlights of Durban.
 
Start with a visit to uShaka Marine World, situated in the old harbour area that is being extensively re-developed. You will have the opportunity of viewing large indigenous sharks of the Indian Ocean and a wide variety of other marine animals - including turtles, dolphins, seals and penguins. Here there are snorkelling ponds with over 5,000 fish.
 
In the afternoon drive along Durban beachfront, with its colourful markets, to Moses Mabhida Stadium which was built for the 2010 World Cup. This stadium has a cable car (40 stories high), which offers wonderful views of Durban and its coastline.
 
Your day finishes with a visit to the Sharks Board in Umhlanga, for an audio-visual presentation and shark disection (Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday only).
Day 14
Relax on the warm golden beaches of the Durban North Coast.
 
Many optional activities are available such as a marine cruise to search for dolphins, turtles, sharks, whales (in season) and other fascinating sea life. Championship golf, horse riding and deep sea game fishing are also available.
Day 15
Drive to Durban Airport for your flight home.
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