Day 1 - 2: The Oyster Box, Umhlanga, Durban
Collect your hire car from the airport and make your way to The Oyster Box Hotel on the seashore at Umhlanga Rocks just north of Durban*.
The Oyster Box is a delightful five-star hotel right on the rocks from which Umhlanga gets its name. With an infinity pool and terrace facing the warm Indian Ocean and a variety of bars and restaurants to choose from, the Oyster Box is an ideal place to relax and unwind after your flight.
* Note: if the half-hour drive from the airport to Umhlanga Village sounds a bit much after your long flight let us transfer you directly to the hotel and have your car delivered.
Day 2 - 3: Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse, Drakensberg and Midlands
After breakfast, head out of Durban inland through the Midlands Meander for a two-hour a scenic drive through rolling hills and lush countryside en route to the Drakensberg Mountains.
Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse is a charming retreat at the base of the Drakensberg Mountains. With carefully preserved rustic charm on the edge of a trout lake, the small boutique hotel has modern amenities and seriously decadent dining. Enjoy the wonderful setting, the fresh mountain air, hiking, climbing, horse riding and view historic San rock art in caves and caverns.
Day 3 - 5: Hartford House, Drakensberg and Midlands
After breakfast, you have a scenic one-hour drive to Hartford House, home to the family of the last Prime Ministers of the Colony of Natal. Hartford House is situated on South Africa’s most famous thoroughbred farm near the mountain known as Giant’s Castle. With an award-winning restaurant the gourmet decadence continues - good job there are plenty of outdoor activities to walk off the calories.
Spend two full days living the Drakensberg dream: horse riding, fishing, hiking, cycling, scenic tours, mountain walks, wellness centres and of course great food and fine wines.
Day 5 - 7: Three Trees Lodge, Zululand and the Battlefields
Another short drive of about one hour takes you to Three Tree Hill Lodge. Surrounded by the Drakensberg Mountains, overlooking the secluded Umfazomnyama Valley of the Spioenkop Nature Reserve and in the lee of the famous hill lies Three Tree Hill Lodge.
The Spioenkop Nature Reserve contains white rhino, giraffe, zebra, eland, kudu, numerous smaller antelope and 270 recorded bird species. On the hill behind the lodge, with the sun setting over the Drakensberg, the story of Spioenkop unfolds as you learn the origins of the Anglo-Boer War and the making of modern of South Africa.
Meals: full board including activities and local drinks
Day 7 - 9: Fugitives Drift Lodge, Zululand and the Battlefields
As with all the sections in this self-drive tour of KZN, you have a short, scenic drive to yet another amazing location: Fugitives Drift Lodge, which is the site of great battles in times of old. The Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 is famous for the great battles of Isandlwana and Rorkes Drift. Survivors from Isandlwana crossed the Buffalo River at a place forever after named ‘Fugitives Drift’. This spectacular property, a Natural Heritage Site, overlooking the sphinx of Isandlwana and the Oskarberg at Rorkes Drift, includes the site where Lieutenant Melvill and Leiutenant Coghill died while saving the Queen's Colour of the 24th Regiment.
Meals: full board including drinks and activities
Day 9 - 11: Phinda Mountain Lodge, Phinda Private Game Reserve
This morning you will depart for Phinda Private Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal’s Maputaland region for a unique safari experience. Phinda nestles between the Ubombo Mountains in the west, and the azure sweep of the Indian Ocean in the east. You will be welcomed by your game ranger and transferred to Phinda Mountain Lodge inside the game reserve for a Big 5 safari with a difference.
In addition to the standard game viewing safari activities included in the rates - game drives, bush walks, canoeing safari and boat cruises - you can opt for a variety of Phinda Adventures. Your ranger will advise which of the adventures are best suited to your interests and the options are incredible: come face to face with lions and rhino after breakfast, up close to a whale shark or battling sailfish after lunch. That is the Phinda experience: one of the most exciting safari destinations in Africa.
Meals: full board including drinks and scheduled activities
Day 11 - 14: Kosi Forest Lodge, KwaZulu-Natal North Coast
After the early morning game drive and breakfast drive about two hours north into the vast watery wilderness of the iSamangaliso Wetland Park. Formerly called the Greater St. Lucia Wetlands, iSamangaliso stretches for hundreds of kilometres up the Elephant Coast of KwaZulu-Natal and inland to cover an enormous network of rivers, estuaries and wetlands. Here there are no people, no cars, no cell phones, no electricity... just you and the beautiful nature reserve. You even park your car 9km from the lodge to be transferred into the park.
Kosi Forest Lodge has just six rooms. Built on large wooden decks the thatched rooms have wonderful outdoor en suite bathrooms, large beds with four-poster mosquito drapes and private balcony. Accommodation is rustic with all comforts taken care of surprisingly well for a lodge with no electricity in the middle of nowhere.
Activities included in your stay are: guided canoeing trip on the Kosi Lakes; full boat trip through the Kosi Lake system including lunch and a swim in the sea; and a guided walk through the raffia palm forest. Additional and highly recommended activities include a day trip to Kosi Mouth where you can snorkel and swim in the clear warm water; turtle tracking in season from 15 Novemver to 15 January: watch loggerhead and leatherback turtles laying their eggs on the beach; and guided safari in Tembe Elephant Park about an hour's drive from the lodge. With so much to do, an extra night here might well be necessary.
Meals: full board including local drinks and scheduled activities
Day 14: Durban and departure
Drive back to Richard's Bay, drop off your hired car and fly to Jo'burg for your connecting flight home.
As with all the tours on our website, this is just an example of what you can do. We create our tours from scratch every time, matching the destinations and accommodation not only to your budget but also to your individual tastes and needs. Contact us now to begin planning your dream KwaZulu-Natal holiday.