North Coast - KZN Safari - Drakensberg

Marine and Big 5 reserves


This 10-day self-drive holiday through KwaZulu-Natal (KZN to the locals) features short drives and big contrasts.

Starting at Lake St.Lucia in the iSimangaliso Wetlands World Heritage Site along the North Coast of KZN, you will spend three days in this marine reserve with excellent diving and pristine coastline; from the beach you head inland to two different private game reserves for genuine KwaZulu-Natal Big 5 safaris. En route back to Durban, spend a night at a delightful country hotel with an award-winning restaurant in the Midlands at the foot of the Drakensberg Mountains.

Day 1 - 4: Makakatana Bay Lodge, St Lucia iSimangaliso Wetland Park, North Coast

Fly from Jo'burg to Durban*, collect your hired car and drive about north to the Greater St. Lucia Wetlands, now known as iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a World Heritage Site. iSimangaliso is a wonder of marine and coastal wilderness: 332,000 hectares of uninhabited coastline, coral reefs, estuarine systems, coastal forests and more birds, plants and animals than you can imagine.

Makakatana Bay Lodge is situated on Lake St. Lucia inside the Wetland park one avenue of 25,000-year old dunes back from the sub-tropical waters of the Indian Ocean. Accommodation is exclusive and luxurious with a sublime location on the edge of the fresh-water lake.

Optional activities include game drives, lake cruises, beach excursions, birding walks, scuba diving, snorkelling, beach walks, turtle tours, village tours - this is an African safari destination with a difference.

*For a shorter drive, you can fly to Richards Bay at a slightly higher price

Meals: breakfast

Day 4 - 6: Amakhosi Safari Lodge, KwaZulu-Natal Safaris

Heading north this morning you will self drive yourself to Amakhozi Safari Lodge in Northern KwaZulu-Natal.

Amakhosi Safari Lodge is built along the Mkuze River in the 12,000 hectare Amazulu Private Game Reserve. The varied ecosystem of savannah, mountains and wetlands allow for quality Big 5 game viewing as well as cheetah, giraffe, warthog, hyena and more than 17 types of antelope including the magnificent Nyala and rare red duiker. The wetlands area is an ideal ecosystem inhabited by crocodile, hippo and over 430 species of birds.

Meals: full board including local drinks and activities

Day 6 - 8: Nambiti Plains Private Game Lodge, KwaZulu-Natal Safaris

Further inland, the habitat changes to plains and rolling hills for a different Big 5 safari experience altogether.

The Nambiti Conservancy is a private Big 5 bush retreat and game conservancy covering over 8,000ha of malaria-free African bush in KwaZulu-Natal. The reserve has wonderful biodiversity including savannah, grasslands, thornveld and tall acacia trees. The Sundays River flows through the reserve and has two 40m waterfalls with magnificent riparian growth, home to several rare bird species.

Spend two nights at Nambiti Plains Private Game Lodge on safari in this beautiful private nature reserve.

Meals: full board including activities and local drinks

Day 8 - 9: Hartford House, Drakensberg and Midlands

By now, you've almost done a full circle and the last stop is one of such decadence, we couldn't possibly leave it out. After a short drive from Ladysmith to Mooi River you’ll find yourself at Hartford House - a world-class stud farm with a world-class restaurant. And a wellness spa.

Activities are many and varied to suit your level of energy. Horse riding is an obvious highlight as is trout fishing and a day at the spa. Either way you'll be ending your day with a magnificent meal at the restaurant.

Meals: breakfast

Day 9: Departure

Hartford House is about an hour and a half to Durban through the Midlands Meander. Leave after breakfast, arrive in time for your flight to Jo’burg and connect with your flight home or onward after an amazing African safari with a difference.

Tailormade Itinerary

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.

Add on a Kruger Safari, more family fun by the sea or explore the Drakensberg Mountains. KwaZulu-Natal has a great variety of attractions so contact us now to begin planning your dream KZN holiday.

Need advice?

These tours are simply an indication of what’s possible. Our team of travel experts will tailor any itinerary to your requirements, travel dates and budget.


Prices vary according to seasonality, availability and your logistical requirements. Contact us for a FREE tailor made quotation today.

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