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Kruger National Park Safari Holidays Tours South Africa Big Five Guides

Self Drive Holiday, South Africa: Kruger Park + Zulu Battlefields (Rorkes Drift)

Kruger Park + Zulu Battlefields + Drakensberg (self drive)
SCN12M
13 NIGHTS
FROM £1,995
Per person sharing
International flights + car hire quoted separately
Self Drive Holiday South Africa Kruger Park Zulu Battlefields Rorkes Drift

This self drive holiday in South Africa explores the wildlife of the Kruger Park, home to all the Big Five, before continuing to the historic Zulu battlefields at Isandlwana & Rorkes Drift. Complete your holiday relaxing in the dramatic Drakensberg Mountains, a World Heritage Site with many Bushman paintings, before ending on the Durban North Coast. Two battlefield tours are included.

Self Drive Holiday South Africa Kruger Park Zulu Battlefields Rorkes Drift
• 
Self Drive Holiday, South Africa
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Blyde River Canyon
• 
Kruger Park
• 
Big-5 Game Viewing
• 
Zulu Battlefields
• 
Isandlwana
• 
Rorkes Drift
• 
Drakensberg Mountains
• 
Walking Trails
• 
Bushman Painting
• 
Self Drive Holiday, South Africa
• 
Blyde River Canyon
• 
Kruger Park
• 
Big-5 Game Viewing
• 
Zulu Battlefields
• 
Isandlwana
• 
Rorkes Drift
• 
Drakensberg Mountains
• 
Walking Trails
• 
Bushman Painting
Day 1
Arrive at Mpumalanga Airport, collect your hire car and drive to your lodge situated near the entrance to the world famous Kruger National Park.
 
Check in, settle in and relax in the atmosphere that only the African bushveld can provide!
Day 2
Today is devoted to self drive game viewing in the Kruger National Park (pay entrance fee locally). We recommend setting off early each morning as the camp gates open (04h30 to 06h00 depending on the season), to take advantage of the best game viewing conditions of the day.
 
Explore the famous Kruger National Park, which offer magnificent game viewing opportunities and the highest concentration of lion in the whole of Africa. Hope to see several of the Big Five - Lion, Elephant, Buffalo, Leopard and Rhino - as well as many other species.
 
With nearly 150 different species of mammals and over 100 species of reptiles in the Kruger National Park, you can hope to see cheetah, giraffe, hippo, kudu, crocodiles, sable antelope, waterbuck, warthogs, baboons, wild dogs and many other interesting animals. With over 500 different bird species including eagles, kingfishers, vultures and storks, outstanding bird watching is also guaranteed.
  
Return to your lodge in the late afternoon and 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: Vehicles are not allowed to drive off-road in any national park in South Africa. Optional open top game drives can also be booked through your lodge.
Day 3
This morning we suggest a visit to a local Elephant Park to experience a very special close-up encounter, where for 1-hour you can interact with and feed one of these gentle giants.
 
Afterwards you can drive to the Graskop Gorge Lift for breathtaking views over the surrounding countryside. You can take the lift down into the gorge, where there is a short trail across a wooden bridge into the forest with the backdrop of a pretty waterfall.
Day 4
Today is devoted to self drive game viewing in the Kruger National Park (pay entrance fee locally). We recommend setting off early each morning as the camp gates open (04h30 to 06h00 depending on the season), to take advantage of the best game viewing conditions of the day.
 
Explore the famous Kruger National Park, which offer magnificent game viewing opportunities and the highest concentration of lion in the whole of Africa. Hope to see several of the Big Five - Lion, Elephant, Buffalo, Leopard and Rhino - as well as many other species.
 
With nearly 150 different species of mammals and over 100 species of reptiles in the Kruger National Park, you can hope to see cheetah, giraffe, hippo, kudu, crocodiles, sable antelope, waterbuck, warthogs, baboons, wild dogs and many other interesting animals. With over 500 different bird species including eagles, kingfishers, vultures and storks, outstanding bird watching is also guaranteed.
  
Return to your lodge in the late afternoon and 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: Vehicles are not allowed to drive off-road in any national park in South Africa. Optional open top game drives can also be booked through your lodge.
Day 5
Today we recommend exploring the splendours of the Drakensberg Panorama Route including the green Blyde River Canyon, the third largest in the world.
 
Enjoy wonderful views from Pinnacle Rock, Wonder View and the Three Rondavels lookout, with the option to take the Graskop Gorge lift (which involves a fairly strenuous walk with plenty of steps & crossing a suspension bridge). You can also visit the Lisbon Falls and the unusual Bourkes Luck Pot Holes - cylindrical holes formed from the swirling waters of the Blyde and Treur Rivers.
 
In the early afternoon we recommend a visit the Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, where you will have the unique opportunity of viewing wild lion, leopard, cheetah, eagles and vultures at close quarters. Animals found injured, poisoned or orphaned are given a second chance and released back into the wild (check tour times in advance).
 
Alternatively you can visit the Endangered Species Centre in Hoedspruit, famous for its work in breeding cheetah, wild dogs and other threatened species (pay all entrance fees locally).
 
Note: Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre is closed on Sundays.
Day 6
This morning leave the Kruger National Park and drive 4-hours through the mountains and farmlands of the Eastern Transvaal to Ermelo.
 
Check into your hotel in this small town for overnight.
Day 7
Continue 4-hours through rural Zululand to the remote battlefields at Isandlwana.
 
Check in to your Zulu Battlefields hotel and enjoy dinner whilst absorbing some of the fascinating history of this great conflict between Britain and the proud Zulu Kingdom.
Day 8
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 9
Today leave early and drive 4-hours to the spectacular uKhahlamba Drakensberg Mountains.
 
Along the way you can stop at Dundee to visit Talana Hill battlefield and museum, where the first battle of the South African War of 1899 took place and where khaki was worn for the first time. Continue v
 
ia Ladysmith which was besieged for 118 days and where there is a small Siege Museum (open on weekdays & Saturday am). On Christmas Day, the Boers fired a carrier shell without a fuse into the town containing a Christmas pudding, two Union Flags and the message "Compliments of the Season". This shell is still kept in the museum.
 
Time permitting, you can also detour to visit Spion Kop, where one of the bloodiest battles took place in efforts to relieve Ladysmith. Visit the mass graves atop Spion Kop Hill and see for yourself how poor military decisions affected the outcome of this battle (pay all entrance fees locally).
 
Then drive to the dramatic Drakensberg Mountains. 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.
 
Recommended Reading:
Boer War – Thomas Pakenham
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
Drive to Durban Airport for your flight home.