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KwaZulu Natal Holidays Tours South Africa Battlefields Durban Safari

KwaZulu Natal, South Africa: Drakensberg + Safari (self drive)


SCZ14D
14 NIGHTS
FROM £2,090
Per person sharing
International flights + car hire quoted separately
Hire a car for this classic self drive holiday of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa. Starting from Durban head north to experience a wildlife safari in Hluhuwe Game Reserve & the bird life of the St Lucia Wetlands. Then drive to the Zulu Battlefields & the dramatic Drakensberg Mountains - a World Heritage Site. End your holiday relaxing on a warm North Coast beach. Lodge game drives included.
Car Self Drive Holiday KwaZulu South Africa Durban Safari Drakensberg
• 
KwaZulu Natal, South Africa
• 
Zulu Village
• 
Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari
• 
St Lucia
• 
Isandlwana
• 
Rorkes Drift Battlefield
• 
Drakensberg Mountains
• 
Bushman Paintings
• 
Durban North Coast Beaches
• 
Car Hire - Self Drive Holiday
• 
KwaZulu Natal, South Africa
• 
Zulu Village
• 
Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari
• 
St Lucia
• 
Isandlwana
• 
Rorkes Drift Battlefield
• 
Drakensberg Mountains
• 
Bushman Paintings
• 
Durban North Coast Beaches
• 
Car Hire - Self Drive Holiday
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 southern hemisphere.
  
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.
 
Situated inside the Isimangaliso Wetlands, this whole area has been declared a RAMSAR Wetland of international significance because of its great biodiversity and importance as a breeding site for waterbirds. Over 520 different species have been recorded in this vast wetland that is surrounded by mangrove swamps and dense reed beds, with birds ranging from permanent residents to tropical and altitudinal migrants, regional nomads and long-distance migrants. These include a variety of storks, pelicans, flamingos, kingfishers, spoonbills, fish eagles, gulls, herons, terns, ducks and geese.
  
On arrival we suggest a boat ride on the Lake St Lucia estuary, where you may see hippo, buffalo and crocodiles as well as abundant bird life.
Day 5
At leisure to relax and explore more of St Lucia, the Isimangaliso Wetlands and Cape Vidal.
 
From July to October you can take an optional Ocean Safari to view migrating humpback whales, turtles, dolphins and other sea life (advance booking recommended). Other optional activities include bird watching, 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, in the afternoon 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 (open on weekdays & Saturday am). 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 Spion Kop, with distant views of the dramatic Drakensberg Mountains.
Day 9
This morning enjoy an included shared tour to the Spion Kop 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 Spion Kop 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 forms the backbone of Southern Africa, running all the way down from the Great Rift Valley. If staying in the Cathedral Peak area, we suggest making a short stop at Didima Bushman rock art interpretative centre, before checking 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.
  
Your hotel has a swimming pool and offers many activities in or near the resort including golf, horse riding in the mountains, fly fishing, tennis, lawn bowls, badminton, mountain biking, table tennis, darts and pool. 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.
Day 12
This morning enjoy the beauty of the Natal Midlands on your 3-hour drive to your hotel on the Durban North Coast, renowned for its wonderful beaches and warm holiday weather.
 
At Howick you can stop at craft and farm stalls along the ‘Midlands Meander’ route and visit the Nelson Mandela Capture Site with its interesting palisade depiction of his head. You can also visit the Howick Falls, which at 365 ft (111 m) are the highest in the country (pay entrance fee locally).
 
Continue to your hotel on the Durban North Coast and relax in lush sub-tropical surroundings on the shores of the warm Indian Ocean.
Day 13
This morning we recommend an optional full day sightseeing tour of the highlights of Durban.
 
We start with a drive along the Golden Mile, the beachfront promenade with its colourful street markets, and through the Point Waterfront. We continue past the beautiful old City Hall to the small craft harbour at Wilson's Wharf and drive past huge sugar terminals and busy harbour warehouses to the University of Natal campus, which has lovely views over the harbour.
 
Our next stop is the bustling African/Indian Markets at Warwick Triangle – home to 9 different markets developed around Durban’s largest public transport interchange, where over 6,000 street vendors ply their trade – an authentic cultural experience.
 
We then visit the peaceful Durban Botanic Gardens, founded in 1849 and home to a magnificent orchid house and many massive trees from Asia, Africa and America. Finally we visit the iconic Moses Mabhida Stadium that was built for the 2010 World Cup. Here there is the option of taking a cable car ride to the top of the stadium for a phenomenal view over Durban and its coastline (pay locally).
 
Afterwards you will be dropped off at uShaka Marine World, situated in the old harbour area that is being extensively re-developed. Here you can view large indigenous sharks of the Indian Ocean and a wide variety of marine animals - including turtles, dolphins, seals and penguins. There are snorkelling ponds with over 5,000 fish, the Wet n Wild Water Park and a lovely beach. At the end of the day you will be transferred back to your hotel.
 
Note: Moses Mabhida Stadium is closed on Saturdays and any other match day.
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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