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

KwaZulu-Natal Bush, Beach and Battlefields Self-Drive

By Andy Fulker
South Africa Travel Expert for Alfred&

Cruise some of South Africa’s most scenic routes on the road trip of a lifetime. This three-dimensional itinerary carefully considers the country’s sweeping diversity. From languid beaches and the dramatic Drakensberg mountains to historic battlefields and wildlife-filled game reserves, the wind in your hair and the wild horizon are the foundations for this timeless escape.

Places

Length
10 days
Best months to go
January to May, August to December
Guide price range
£3,380 - £3,680pp
including international flights

Top Experiences
Itinerary Highlights

KwaZulu-Natal Game Reserves

Zulu culture at the heart of Thanda Safari Lodge

Game come right up to the property – elephant drink quite often from the splash pool which is quite remarkable...

Drakensberg

A warm family welcome and a slice of quintessential Africa at Three Tree Hill Lodge

We’ve brought up four children here, and our aim is to extend a warm, family welcome to our guests...

The Battlefields

Fugitives' Drift: where the battles of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift come to life

For guests, the most poignant part of a battlefield tour is when they’re told about the courage involved and the futility of war...

Day by day
Itinerary in detail

1

Arrival in Umhlanga

On arrival in Durban, you’ll collect your hire car and make the 30-minute journey – straightforward thanks to the fact they drive on the left here, too – to your accommodation for the next two nights. The hotel has direct access to the beach, so pad down to the sand or lounge by the ocean-facing pool, two places where you could easily while away the hours. The city of Durban, a notch south of Umhlanga, has the highest population of Indians outside of India. Foodies can pay homage to the heritage on an optional Indian Cultural Tour at The Oyster Box Hotel. Sample dishes like bunny chow – a dish that originated among Indian South Africans made up of hollowed white bread filled with curry - or Durban lamb curry, fragrant with chilli and coriander. Overnight at Beverly Hills Hotel.

Things to do:

2

Umhlanga

There’s no judgment should you station yourself on a sun lounger mesmerized by the sea views. Umhlanga is virtually made for lapping up the spectacular coast. Its easy beach vibe draws many a visitor including surfers who shoot over tumbling waves and kite boarders who gleefully ride the north-easterly winds. Step out onto the promenade to join joggers on an early-morning run, hire a bike or, even better, a Segway, to mix with the locals cycling or skating. The candy-cane coloured lighthouse makes for a dramatic backdrop to an afternoon saunter. Otherwise, browsing eyefuls of spices and incense-filled stalls in Victoria Street Market is a fun way to continue connecting with the Indian communities. Overnight at Beverley Hills Hotel.

3

Umhlanga & Drakensberg

Journey to the Drakensberg, an approximate 4-hour scenic drive to your home for the next three nights. Possibly one of the most beautiful places on earth, Dragons' Mountain as it’s named in Afrikaans, captivates even the most well-travelled beholder with 11,000-foot peaks and great basalt escarpments that formed 180 million years ago. Not only is it home to some of the most stunning scenery you can ever hope to see but it’s also packed with history - the battlefields of the Anglo-Boer War are on the doorstep of your hotel. For now though, we recommend kick starting your time here with an optional visit to the local Hambrook village whose residents often put on lively nights of music and dancing. Many of the hotel staff reside here and have been known to introduce guests to their family – a deeply personal experience. Overnight at Three Tree Hill Lodge.

Things to do:

4

Drakensberg

Today you can explore the Central Drakensberg area, the portion of mountain range closest to you. Nearby lies Champagne Castle, South Africa’s third highest peak given its name by two mountaineers hoping to celebrate their attempt to summit with a bottle of bubbly. Though as fate would have it, the bottle shattered on the way up. The valley below is far less hazardous with trails that lead you to sublime mountain viewpoints and idyllic looking streams where you can pause and take a dip. The lodge can rustle up delicious picnic lunches, perfectly packed so rest assured history won’t repeat itself. Overnight at Three Tree Hill Lodge.

Things to do:

5

Drakensberg

On the footsteps of your lodge, the great hilltops are the only living witnesses to the atrocities of the Anglo-Boer War. The Battle of Spioenkop, the bloodiest of the War’s battles, attended by both Ghandi and Winston Churchill, is the main focal point of the optional Battlefield Tour. Your lodge specialises in elegant storytelling with expert guides recounting the drama that commenced on the fateful day of 23rd January 1900. Sit in the tall grass under the shade of a lone tree and listen intensely of the history, the heroism and the futility of war. Overnight at Three Tree Hill Lodge.

Things to do:

6

Drakensberg & The Battlefields

Drive approximately 2.5 hours to Fugitives’ Drift, your home away from home. Drop your bags and recover by the pool. Otherwise hole up in the library to conduct a little research on the battlefields surrounding you while reflecting on unobstructed views of the river gorge. If you want to stretch your legs, there’s nowhere better to do so than in the game reserve frequented by gentle-natured plains game such as zebra, impala and bushbuck. Those looking for a more pulse-racing activities can choose from optional running trails that take you to breath-stealing viewpoints and perhaps, if you’re energetic enough, swimming through the Buffalo River. Overnight at Fugitives’ Drift Guest House.

Things to do:

7

The Battlefields

With a full day at your fingertips, the Battlefields tour is a suitable option to spend what may be the most poignant part of the trip. You don’t need to be an avid historian to become enthralled by the lecturers who bring to life the Anglo-Zulu War, particularly the battles of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift. The morning plays out under the shadow of the Isandlwana peak where you can relive one of the greatest defeats in British colonial history through the medium of brilliant storytelling. After lunch and some time to reflect, you’ll step onto the lawn at Rorke’s Drift to listen intently to the emotional sequel to Isandlwana. Overnight at Fugitives’ Drift Guest House.

Things to do:

8

The Battlefields & Thanda Game Reserve

Drive approximately 4.5 hours through the great Kwazulu-Natal province until you reach the grasslands of your safari lodge. You don’t have to budge in order to see wildlife – elephant often visit to drink out of the splash pool. Twice-daily game drives are included in your stay and there’s time for a stint of safari should you feel the urge to explore. Your team is comprised of a professional guide and tracker, who will introduce you to the 14,000 hectares of private game reserve filled with the big hitters of the animal kingdom. Think large herds of buffalo, endangered rhino and regal looking cheetah. Overnight at Thanda Safari Lodge.

Things to do:

9

Thanda Game Reserve

If yesterday you chose a safari in an open-top 4x4, today you might like to spend your morning exploring the bush on foot. Specialist trail guides are appointed for this thrilling activity – it takes years to simply acquire a walking license. That means you’ll be in the best hands. The guides are also phenomenal animal trackers, talented enough to identify a variety of paw prints and even the faintest of scents. After a well-deserved lunch, an afternoon game drive with your dedicated ranger may reveal sightings of lion, some who have been known to virtually skim the vehicle. Overnight at Thanda Safari Lodge.

Things to do:

10

Thanda Game Reserve & Departure

After breakfast, say goodbye to the bush and drive 3-hours to Durban airport for your flight home or onward travel.

Holiday Budget
Guide price information

Low Season

01 May - 30 Jun

£3,380

Mid Season

01 Jul - 31 Oct

£3,560

High Season

01 Jan - 30 Apr, 01 Nov - 31 Dec

£3,680

Alfred & Andy Fulker

Andy Fulker’s travels have taken him all across South Africa, from the Western Cape to KwaZulu-Natal. He loves its year-round variety, which means you can experience something new and different every time, from fine dining in Cape Town to bush walks in the Kruger. His best adventure so far is cage diving with great white sharks from Gansbaai.

Plan your holiday withAlfred&

Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Andy, 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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