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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 

KwaZulu-Natal Safari and Wilderness Beach

By Dagmar Marrocco
Programme Manager for Alfred&

Discover the remote stretches of KwaZulu-Natal starting at the seaside city of Durban for a stint of cosmopolitan culture. Then journey to the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, the oldest proclaimed nature reserve in Africa and renowned for its rhino conservation. After days of game drives and exhilarating bush walks, the iSimangaliso Wetland Park is a different kind of paradise of rambling dunes and long, sandy beaches from where you can swim with wild dolphins, snorkel in the reef and enjoy solitary picnics on the beach.

 

Places

Length
9 days
Best months to go
March to November
Guide price range
£3,575 - £4,540pp
including international flights
Special Offer

From £3,350 per person for selected departures in May 2024, a saving of up to £400 per couple. Book by 15 February 2024.

See full details ↓

Top Experiences
Itinerary Highlights

Spot southern white rhino like these on safari at Rhino Ridge Lodge when you take a tailor-made trip with Alfred&
KwaZulu-Natal Game Reserves

Into the bush at Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge

I’ve walked in the bush hundreds of times and even today my neck hairs still stand on end...

Experience exciting ocean adventures like this searching for wild dolphins in a skiff when you take a tailor-made trip with Alfred&
iSimangaliso Wetland Park

An ocean playground on the doorstep at Thonga Beach Lodge

With the Indian Ocean just there, it’s a matter of minutes until you’re plunging into the water with dolphins...

Meet friendly locals like this smiling South African woman when you take a tailor-made trip with Alfred&
KwaZulu-Natal Game Reserves

Community-driven conservation at The Isibindi Foundation

The local communities are also shareholders of the Isibindi business...

Day by day
Itinerary in detail

1

Arrival in Umhlanga Rocks

Arrive at King Shaka International Airport in Durban and transfer around 25-minutes to the coastal town of Umhlanga Rocks to your hotel by the sea. Drop your bags and melt into a sun lounger or hop across the road to the trendy Oyster Box hotel for a taste of the local cuisine. If you didn’t already know, Durban has the largest Indian community outside of India. A tour of the spice market and a cooking lesson with the hotel’s expert chef will have you filling dabbas (tiffin carriers) with ingredients such as garam masala and spicy cayenne pepper, essential components to the area's signature lamb curry. Overnight at Beverly Hills.

Things to do:

2

Umhlanga Rocks & KwaZulu-Natal Game Reserves

Transfer to wilder landscapes in the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, a journey of approximately 3 hours. Upon arrival you’ll be rewarded with sensational elevated views of big skies and undulating hills. Depending on when you arrive, you may have time for a game drive, your first introduction into the oldest proclaimed game reserve in the continent and its heroic rhino conservation. Top this off with cocktail hour around the campfire. Overnight at Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge.

Things to do:

3

KwaZulu-Natal Game Reserves

Two game drives a day are included so that you may explore the diverse topography of this historical park that stages the Big Five and all of its unscripted spectacles. This could be a crash of rhino grazing in large numbers, the flash of monochrome zebra cantering along the savannah or a shifting predator camouflaged in the golden grass. These are far from average safaris with reviving coffee stops and sundowners concocted from a makeshift bar in the bush. A major highlight are the bush walks, an optional activity which you should try at least once. These are led by highly knowledgeable guides who know the land by heart, most of the time tracking game completely barefoot and stopping to inspect tiny dung beetles, interpret bird calls and read the direction of the wind. Overnight at Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge.

Things to do:

4

KwaZulu-Natal Game Reserves

Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge has forged deep connections with the local communities creating some unique experiences. Included in your stay if you wish is a visit to the Mpembeni community where you can learn about the many projects funded by The Isibindi Foundation aiming to empower residents with skills such as IT and provide resource to educational centres. To further your understanding of the culture, you could try a homestay with a Zulu family as an extra activity. In a couple of days you could help collect thatching grass, round up cattle and sleep in a traditional hut. A humbling and eye-opening experience. Overnight at Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge.

Things to do:

5

KwaZulu-Natal Game Reserves & iSimangaliso Wetland Park

This morning, a transfer will take you approximately 4 hours north-east to the heart of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park recognised by UNESCO for its pristine nature. Your lodge sits right on the long, white beach only steps away from the sand. Due to its remote location, civilisation feels worlds away and time soon dissolves. Bunk down in thatched boma huts and enjoy dinner under starry skies. Overnight at Thonga Beach Safari Lodge.

Things to do:

6

iSimangaliso Wetland Park

After early wake up calls and days in the bush, you might want to book a massage pronto and slowly decompress. There’s everything and nothing to do at Thonga Beach Lodge whether its strolling down the beach, sundowners by Lake Sibaya or visits to the local Mabibi community all of which are included in your stay. Enjoy picnics among the dunes or go snorkelling in the rockpool known for its vast size and array of colourful fish. Depending on the season you could enjoy turtle game drives which steal you out into the inky evenings in search of nesting leatherbacks and loggerheads. One of the best ways of exploring the beach is on a fatbike, breeze in your hair and a huge grin as you pedal along the sweeping coast. Overnight at Thonga Beach Safari Lodge.

Things to do:

7

iSimangaliso Wetland Park

If you’re still feeling energetic, at an extra cost, the lodge’s marine centre makes it easy to embark on ocean adventures. An in-house scuba diving instructor offers intimate excursions for both novices and advanced divers and using the beach as your launchpad, there’s every reason to explore the nearby dazzling coral kingdoms that are virtually untouched. Offshore, you may spot migrating humpback whales breaching the deep blue water. One of the most thrilling excursions on the books is swimming with wild dolphins – simply unmissable. Girdle your loins as the skipper manoeuvres the boat at a respectable distance between you and the pod before you plunge into the ocean. Bottlenose dolphins are known for their playfulness so you may just have an incredible close encounter. Overnight at Thonga Beach Safari Lodge.

Things to do:

8

iSimangaliso Wetland Park & Umhlanga Rocks

Bid farewell to the Indian Ocean and transfer back to Umhlanga Rocks, a journey of approximately 5 hours. Recover by the outdoor swimming pool overlooking the sea or stroll down the promenade, a local past time. Now's the time for one last celebratory cocktail as you mark the end of your adventure. Overnight at Beverley Hills.

Things to do:

9

Umhlanga Rocks & Departure

Today a transfer will take you to Durban's King Shaka International Airport in good time for your onward journey.

Another stop?

We recommend finishing your African adventure with a trip to South Africa’s vibrant capital, Cape Town, or perhaps the world-famous Victoria Falls.

Extensions

Extensions

Holiday Budget
Guide price information

Low Season

01 May - 30 Jun

£3,575

Mid Season

01 Jan - 30 Apr, 01 Jul - 31 Jul, 01 Sep - 31 Dec

£3,995

High Season

01 Aug - 31 Aug

£4,540

Self-drive option

This itinerary can also be done on a self-drive basis. Contact our Personal Travel Experts for more information

£3,325
Special Offer

From £3,350 per person for selected departures in May 2024, a saving of up to £400 per couple. Book by 15 February 2024.

Price for selected departures in May 2024 based on flights with Emirates from London Gatwick.

Please ask about these offers when you contact us. You can find full terms and conditions for all our offers here.

Alfred & Dagmar Marrocco

Growing up in an adventurous South African family, Dagmar was always destined to travel. Beginning with camping trips all over her native country, she soon spread her wings to explore further afield. With over 60 destinations under her belt, including extensive first-hand experience throughout Africa, Dagmar is one of the most knowledgeable members of the Alfred& team. The vibrant culture, colours, sounds, and smells continue to draw her back to this incredible continent.      

Plan your holiday withAlfred&

Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Laura, who's travelled extensively in South Africa. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember - ex banker who can show you the hottest foodie spots in Cape Town, the award-winning young sommelier who can introduce you to Stellenbosch's finest wines and the walking safari ranger who can guide you to the best game.

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