Uncover another side to South Africa on this KwaZulu-Natal self-drive itinerary. Relax on a golden beach in Umhlanga, learn about the moving history of the Battlefields and find mighty African predators and prey in the exclusive Thanda Safari Private Game Reserve.
Suggested route & duration
8 nights from Umhlanga, near Durban
• Umhlanga near Durban 2 nights
• Drakensberg 2 nights
• Battlefields 2 nights
• Thanda Private Game Reserve 2 nights
About this independent tour
Why you’ll love this self-drive
• Explore this lesser-travelled area of South Africa
• Learn about the Anglo-Zulu and Anglo-Boer Wars at historic battlefields, where you’ll hear incredible stories of bravery from passionate guides who’ll have you hooked – even if you’re not a history buff
• Get an insight into the culture of the Zulus
• Lap up sun and sand at Umhlanga Beach with year-round sunshine
Suggested itinerary details
Day 1: Durban (Umhlanga)
Arrive and head to Umhlanga Rocks. Stay 2 nights at The Oyster Box Hotel.
Day 3: Drakensberg
Drive to the Drakensberg Mountains. Go on a guided tour of Spioenkop (‘Spy Hill’), the site of a Second Anglo-Boer War battle. Stay 2 nights at Three Tree Hill Lodge.
Day 5: Battlefields
Head further into the Battlefields. Learn about the Anglo-Zulu War battles at Rorke’s Drift and Isandlwana. Stay 2 nights at Fugitives’ Drift.
Day 7: Thanda Safari Private Game Reserve
Arrive at Thanda. Look out for big cats and learn about Zulu culture. Stay 2 nights at Thanda Safari Lodge.
Trace the history behind Liverpool FC stadium’s stand, ‘The Kop’, on a visit to the Spioenkop battlefield
Learn about the battle the epic war film featuring Michael Caine was based on at Rorke’s Drift
Crocs and hippo
Look out for crocs and hippo in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park
Tailor your tour
Make it your own
We’ve crafted this itinerary based on our own experiences and our customers’ feedback. It’s fully flexible, so talk to us and we can create your perfect trip.
Where to stay
We’ve chosen hotels that show off the best of each destination: the award-winning Oyster Box Hotel in Umhlanga; Leading Hotel of the World, Thanda Safari Lodge; and two boutique hotels near the Battlefields that complement the experience.
There are plenty of amazing experiences that define this complex region, from characterful, family-run-and-owned hotels with community involvement close to the Battlefields. Tell us what your interests are and we’ll share our ideas with you.
We think that 2 nights is the shortest time you’ll want to spend in each destination. This itinerary packs a lot in 8 nights; you can easily add on more beach time or extra days on safari in Thanda to slow down the pace.
KwaZulu-Natal’s diverse landscape also includes South Africa’s oldest game reserve, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park and iSimangaliso Wetland Park where you can spot crocs and hippo in the water. These are easy to add on and are around an hour’s drive from Thanda.
Good to know
When to go
• The coast around Durban has great warm weather all year round. April to September usually has clear and sunny days. Peak season falls around school holidays like Easter and the height of summer (December and January)
• Safaris in KwaZulu-Natal are good in the dry season between June and August when weather is generally warm with cool nights. In the summer, days are warmer with a higher chance of rain and humidity