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Zululand | Rhino's, Reefs and Turtles

More than two centuries ago, the great King Shaka of the Zulu nation set aside a piece of land to be used as his private hunting ground.  This land was to be used for hunting only once a year and lies in the heart of what is now iMfolozi and the world renowned Hluhluwe-iMfolozi game reserve, the place where the southern white rhino was saved from extinction.

This great 9-day getaway includes of rhinos, the tallest elephants in Africa, fantastic wildlife, nesting turtles, stunning coastline and the tropical reefs and forested dunes of iSimangaliso Wetland park, South Africa’s first World Heritage site.   

tour duration 9 Days
from R15,750
next trip 21 Nov 2021
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Join us as we go in search of the second largest land mammal in Africa and the rhino's coastal cousin – the leatherback turtle – on the Kosi Bay coast.  The Bhejane team will unlock some of the secrets of how these prehistoric beasts have survived and still prosper in the home of King Shaka – an adventure blend of leisure, culture, environmental education, safari and beach – a perfect experience for everyone!

Included

All camp fees & park entrance fees
All meals
Professional guide
Tented Accommodation
Two-way radio communication

Excluded

Guide Gratuity

Tour Dates

21 Nov 2021 - 29 Nov 2021 - R15,750.00
02 Dec 2021 - 10 Dec 2021 - R15,750.00

Day 1

iMfolozi Hluhluwe Game Reserve

We meet at Memorial gate, the most northern gate of Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park. Our guide will brief us on the adventure that lies ahead and on convoy protocols before handing out two way radios.  The Bhejane crew prepares a light lunch which we enjoy overlooking the reserve.

After lunch we enter the game reserve and enjoy a game drive before entering our camp in the late afternoon.  Driving is not off-road, but ground clearance is necessary. We are constantly on the lookout for game and arrive at our camp welcomed by the most beautiful time of day in the African bushveld – we call it “magic hour”.

Our chef will provide scrumptious stew for supper, which we enjoy around the campfire, with the sounds of nocturnal bush life in the background.

Day 2

iMfolozi.Hluhluwe Game Reserve

This morning we head out in our own vehicles game viewing at our leisure before meeting up at Centenary in the eastern section of iMfolozi.  This holding-centre, museum and information hub incorporates rhino enclosures and antelope pens, affording visitors the opportunity to see these animals before transiting back into the bush.  This is also where we will learn about rhino capture and one of the world’s greatest conservation success stories.

We enjoy a picnic lunch overlooking the majestic rolling hills of Zululand and keeping our binoculars at hand to scan the ridges for uBhejane, the black rhino before returning to the camp mid-afternoon for a little siesta before we head out again for some self-discovery.

Day 3

Black Rock

After breakfast we leave Hluhluwe and head towards Black Rock – an area close to the coast where we spend the next four nights.

We stop en route for lunch on the banks of Lake Sibaya, South Africa’s largest freshwater lake tucked against forested coastal dunes that lie parallel to the iSimangiliso coastline.  Lake Sibaya has been listed as a RAMSAR Wetland of International Importance and the presence of relict estuarine fauna suggest that the Lake was previously connected to the sea by a large river.  Its pristine, crystal clear waters fringed by pure white sand are fed entirely by run-off from the high vegetated dunes, and during our lunch we are on the look-out for hippo and crocodiles.   Lake Sibaya is home to KwaZulu-Natal’s second largest population of hippo and crocodiles and the Lake is an important breeding, feeding and roosting area for a host of bird species.

We arrive at camp late afternoon with enough time to wash off the dust and sand, before sitting down to a sundowner and early dinner.

Day 4

Tembe Elephant Park

Today we drive west to Tembe Elephant Park, a sanctuary formed by the Tembe people (widely considered to be the ancestral custodians of the park) to protect elephants escaping the Mozambique civil war.   As we wind our way through thick bush and visit the waterholes, the gentle giants of Maputuland and now officially some of the biggest tuskers in Africa, are close by.  Birders will delight in the variety of species found here.

Tembe is wild country adjoining the Mozambique Border and is known as a Big 5 Reserve (Lion, Leopard, Black and White Rhino, Buffalo and Elephant).  There are no Cheetah or African Wild Dog on the reserve.  It is home to a rich diversity of other wildlife such as Hippo, Zebra and various antelope species, from the majestic Giraffe to one of the smallest antelope in Africa – the very shy and rare Suni, which stands at only 35 cms high!

Day 5

Kosi Bay

After a day of game viewing, today we head for the coast and the wonderful underwater world of the Kosi Bay Nature Reserve – one of the best diving sites in South Africa and featuring beautiful coral reefs and colourful fish in crystal clear water.

Our explorations today take us to the shallow estuary at the Kosi Bay River Mouth where we are able to snorkel and swim in the warm waters or simply enjoy the powder white beaches.

Today we enjoy a picnic lunch before taking a walk though the famous Kosi Bay fishing traps – a tradition that is that is still used by locals today and passed on from generation to generation.

Day 6

Lala Nek & Bangha Nek

Lala Nek (a truly fantastic snorkelling spot) is our destination today.  It’s hard to beat the warm, white sands and clear blue waters of this serenely beautiful beach. Snorkelling at low tide when the rocky areas are more accessible is a delight for old and young and uncovers a host of crabs, fish, anemones, urchins, and colourful shells.

Of course, the abundance of sea life also lends itself to some excellent fishing from the surf, with a safe shore entry. The variety of birds overhead is also impressive and keen birders should keep an eye out for some exciting marine and coastal bird species.

This evening spend we head to Banga Nek in search of Loggerhead and Leatherback turtles coming out of the sea to nest and lay their eggs. This is a unique experience and definitely one of the highlights of the tour.

Day 7

Ithala Game Reserve

We depart Black Rock this morning and head towards Ithala Game Reserve located in the rugged, mountainous thornveld of northern KwaZulu-Natal. 

Stopping en route at Pongalapoort Dam we enjoy a boat cruise through the majestic Lubombo mountains and the chance of some game viewing  on the edge of the dam.  A picnic lunch is enjoyed on the boat before carrying on to Ithala.

Ithala Game Reserve is a spectacular reserve featuring a multitude of habitats that are home to an array of very different wildlife species. Its panoramic beauty aside, Ithala’s most characteristic attribute is perhaps its’ astonishing geological diversity which reveals some of the world's oldest rock formations – this is not just a game viewers paradise, it is a place of historic beauty that is just breathtaking.

Day 8

Ithala Game Reserve

Ithala’s terrain extends over lowveld and densely vegetated riverine valleys to high-lying grassland plateaus, ridges and cliff faces.   We have the whole day at our disposal to explore this wonderfully diverse game reserve.  (Interesting fact: there is a total of 1000 metres difference separating the highest point of the reserve from its lowest point).

It is a place of historic and topographic beauty and has been occupied by man for many thousands of years – evidenced by the many sites littered with stone age spear and axe heads dating back some 20,000 years and rock formations dating back 300 million years.

Early morning bush walks can be organised with a qualified guide, or one can self-drive along the many routes, including 4x4 routes. A light lunch is served back at the camp, allowing everyone to head out themselves for more game viewing opportunities in the afternoon and our last night around the campfire under the Africa stars, is spent quietly reminiscing amongst one another and newly formed friendships.

Day 9

Home

Our few days spent exploring Shaka’s land has added new perspective to our understanding of this land.  We depart the reserve leaving behind us the stately giraffe to gently sway their way through the acacia thickets, the wonderful red splash of colour provided by the Pride of De Kaap flowers and the rivers and pools and gorges as they wind their way to the Pongola River.

We are homeward bound until our next adventure...

Answer

South Africa - Zululand in Northern KZN

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Approximately 800km

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We meet at Memorial Gate - the northern most point of iMfolozi-Hluhluwe Game Reserve

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4×4 with high ground clearance a necessity

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Not on this tour!

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Tented accommodation

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Yes - throughout the tour

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Yes but Intermittent