Self-drive South Africa's KwaZulu Natal

11 days
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  • Prepare meals with an award-winning chef
  • Hike or horse ride in the Drakensberg
  • Go fly-fishing in the Kamberg Valley
  • Re-live history in the Battlefields Region
  • Visit the actual Rourke's Drift battleground
  • Stay in a secluded coastal forest reserve
  • Dive with turtles & manta rays in the Indian Ocean
  • Search for the Big 5 in Phinda
  • Stay at award-winning Phinda Forest Lodge
  • Enjoy superb bird watching throughout


Experience 11 fantastic days as you thoroughly explore South Africa's KwaZulu Natal province - the itinerary includes the Drakensberg Mountains, the KZN Battlefields, the Maputaland Coastal Reserve and the extraordinary Phinda Resource Reserve.

Begin your self-drive journey at the base of the famous and iconic Drakensberg Mountains as you relax at Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse. Enjoy Cleopatra's famously delicious gourmet cuisine and the chance to explore the Drakensberg Mountains on foot or horseback.

Continue north into the historic and culturally rich Battlefields region and spend two nights at Fugitives' Drift. You'll learn all about the famous colonial battles of the area such as Isandwlana and Rourke's Drift and you'll also explore the Buffalo River for birds and spot giraffe and zebra in the local game reserve.

Next, drive yourself to Thonga Beach Lodge, situated on the sub-tropical KZN coast. Enjoy a few days of relaxation as you rest on white sandy beaches, go snorkelling in the clear Indian Ocean, or cool off in the camp's swimming pool.

Finish off your adventure with a Big 5 safari in the Phinda Resource Reserve, one of South Africa's most exclusive and diverse conservation areas.


  • Tour Duration: 11 Days

Accommodations Visited

Day to day


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Days 1-2: Delight your palate at Cleopatra

KwaZulu-Natal, Drakensberg, South Africa
Detailed breakdown

Days 1-2: Delight your palate at Cleopatra | 2 Nights

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KwaZulu-Natal, Drakensberg, South Africa

Fly from Johannesburg to Durban, pick up your hire car and drive yourself to the scenic foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains and The Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse.

Enjoy two nights in this charming and cosy accommodation, situated next to the Giants Castle Nature Reserve. Take a hike or go horseback riding in this dramatic mountain region and keep your eyes peeled if you're a birder: the area is a good birdwatching destination.

There'll be plenty of time to relax at the farmhouse: settle into a hammock in the garden with a book or take a cooking class - Cleopatra is well-known for excellent cuisine and award-winning chefs.

Days 3-4: Hear the stories of the Battlefields | 2 Nights

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KwaZulu-Natal, Battlefields, South Africa

Drive to northern KwaZulu Natal and into the evocative Battlefields Region - your accommodation is the simple yet elegant Fugitives' Drift Lodge. Set on a hillside, the lodge has stunning views of the Buffalo River Gorge and the plains beyond.

Re-live the past during a tour of the local battlefields: events from the Anglo-Zulu War are narrated to you in gripping, emotional detail. Hear the famous story of Rorke's Drift, as you stand on the very ground where the fierce battle took place.

You'll also get a chance to explore the nearby Buffalo River where the birdlife is particularly good and a variety of animals such as giraffe and zebra have been reintroduced into a local nature reserve.

Days 5-7: Snorkel in the Indian Ocean | 3 Nights

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KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Today you’ll head to Thonga Beach Lodge, a tranquil lodge set on one of Africa’s last pristine wilderness beaches in iSimangaliso Wetland Park. The epitome of barefoot luxury, this eco-sensitive resort combines an authentic stay in nature with modern comforts. After a day of playing in the ocean and laying on the soft, white sand, there’s nothing better than retiring back to your suite to a few mod cons.

Explore the Indian Ocean and all the beauty it has to offer with a Thonga’s wealth of activities. Get an early start and kayak through the serene Lake Sibaya. Snorkel right in front of the lodge or at nearby safe coral reefs, where you might be lucky enough to spot a dolphin or turtle. Or kick it up a notch and sign up for PADI accredited scuba diving training with one of Thonga’s qualified guides. Round off the day by suntanning on Mabibi beach – one of the cleanest, most beautiful beaches in the world – or pamper yourself with a deep tissue massage at Thonga spa’s outdoor treatment area in the forest.


Days 8-10: Exploring the stunning Phinda Reserve | 3 Nights

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KwaZulu-Natal, KwaZulu-Natal Safaris, South Africa

Make your way after breakfast on the coast to the stunningly scenic Phinda Forest Lodge, located in the extraordinary Phinda Resource Reserve. Set off on exciting game drives in an open-sided 4x4 safari vehicle and an experienced ranger - it's a reserve packed with wildlife and you have a good chance of spotting Africa's Big 5 as well as many other classic African animals.

You can also go on guided nature walks and learn about local folklore and the traditional uses of indigenous plants. The walks are led by an armed ranger and tracker who will help you identify animal spoor and rare birds. Birders should also note that Phinda is one of South Africa's top bird watching destinations.

Day 11: End your adventure in Durban

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Say goodbye to the Phinda Game Reserve after one final safari activity and drive down the coast to Durban. Your tour ends once you drop off your hire car at the airport.

Inclusions tick icon


  • 11 days car rental
  • Flight from Johannesburg to Durban
Exclusions tick icon


  • International flights
  • Airport taxes
  • All meals and drinks not specified
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature