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Zululand | Wildlife and Waves

Join us on this wonderful 10 day adventure as we encompass the incredible diversity of the Zululand game reserves and the coast of the Isimangaliso Wetland Park learning about one of the worlds greatest conservation success stories.  

Our Northern Zululand adventure starts in the spectacular Ithala Game Reserve located within the rugged, mountainous thornveld of northern KwaZulu-Natal.  Tumbling from the heights of Ngotshe Mountains a thousand meters down into a deep valley, carved over the eons by the Pongolo River, this reserve reveals some of the world’s oldest rock formations which host a magnificent array of wildlife species, making this reserve a game viewers paradise.

tour duration 10 Days
from R17,250
next trip 03 Sep 2021
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From Ithala and iMfolozi Game Reserve, the oldest protected area in Africa and the place where Black and White Rhino were saved from extinction, to the Isimangaliso Wetand Park (Greater St Lucia Wetland Park), the largest estuarine system in Africa and Natural World Heritage Site, you will see all this, and more.  This epic tour follows in the footsteps of the Great King Shaka Zulu and explores the history, vistas and wild inhabitants of an area known throughout the world as Zululand.

This tour has very special meaning for us.  “Bhejane” is the Zulu word for Black Rhino and much of what the company stands for and does, was born in Zululand.

Included

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

Excluded

Guide Gratuity

Tour Dates

03 Sep 2021 - 12 Sep 2021 - R17,250.00
15 Sep 2021 - 24 Sep 2021 - R17,250.00

Day 1

Ithala Game Reserve

The convoy meets in the Ithala Game Reserve campsite during late afternoon to allow enough time to settle in and enjoy a short sundowner drive in the Reserve.   

Ithala is an easy half day’s drive from Gauteng and is unique in the way it gives you a feeling of being in the Natal Drakensberg while in the high lying areas and alternatively, in the heart of the Zululand bushveld whilst in the river valleys.  Although one of the youngest game parks in South Africa, Ithala boasts geological diversity dating back some 3 000 million years.

Our first evening in the bush we are serenaded by the sights and sounds around us while being treated to  the first of many fine dining experiences care of the Bhejane Kitchen Crew.

Day 2

Ithala Game Reserve

After a leisurely breakfast everyone heads out for an extended 4x4 game drive to fully explore the treasure of this reserve.

Ithala Game Reserve has presented the setting for a number of ancient events, from Shaka’s rule together with a number of successive Zulu kings to a variety of gold mining enterprises in the early years of the 20th Century.  There is an outstanding vehicle trail to aid game watching, and a notated guide booklet is also available in the shop at Ntshondwe, Ithala’s superbly designed, multi-award winning camp. The swimming pool at Ntshondwe is built around a massive boulder that plummeted off the Ngotshe Mountain hundreds of years ago and this is a great place to cool off while listening to the barking call of the dassie and the cry of Black Eagles nesting in the nearby cliffs and rock faces.

In addition to the events of historic significance, Ithala was occupied by man thousands of years ago, and there are many sites reminiscent of these times with stone age spears and axe heads dating back 20 000 years. 

The Reserve’s big game species include white and black rhino, elephant, buffalo and many (many) giraffe.  The absence of lion makes for a relaxed air among these animals and other game such as zebra, blue wildebeest and a wide variety of antelope – impala, oribi, red hartebeest, eland, kudu, waterbuck, tsessebe etc.  Predators which are not often seen include leopard, spotted hyaena and brown hyaena.

Ithala is a place of rugged and breath-taking scenery, of undulating plains interspersed with rivers and waterfalls, pools and gorges.  We return late afternoon, wash off the Ithala dust and look forward to an evening around the campfire.

Day 3 & 4

Hluhluwe-iMfolozi

This morning we leave Ithala behind us and head towards the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve - the oldest game reserve in Africa. Set in the historical hills of Zululand, in-between villages of bee-hive huts and verdant forests, Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park is a renowned game park and conservancy. It is one of the best-known game parks in Southern Africa – famous for its role in rhino conservation, particularly its involvement with the famous Operation Rhino project.

Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park is a premier, “Big Five” park; home to lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino. Its rich plant-life, grasslands and forests support a wide variety of other game animals and the game viewing is exceptional.   The Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park lies in the heart of “old Zululand” and is rich in history dating back to the early Iron Age and the hey-day of the Zulu Kingdom of King Shaka.

Our relationship with Conservation Authorities in the Park has afforded us the opportunity to camp in a private campsite along the riverbank in the heart of the Reserve. We have also been granted permission to do a behind the scenes tour at the game capture bomas learning more about the conservation workings of the park.   

Your experienced Guides will keep you entertained from dusk till dawn, sharing historic and modern conservation facts, including the inception of Operation Rhino which saved the White Rhino from extinction. 

Trekking in the heart of Black and White Rhino conservation territory gives you an idea of what it’s like to fulfil a Ranger’s shoes and the proceeds of this unique boma visit and camping experience go towards rhino protection in the reserve.

Day 5

iSimangiliso

This morning we leave the bush behind us and head towards the tropical Zululand coastline, where we enter the iSimangiliso Wetland Park, a World Heritage Site.  

Our route takes us over sandy 4x4 terrain around Lake Sibiya, South Africa’s largest freshwater lake and home to KwaZulu-Natal’s second largest population of hippo and crocodiles as well as an important breeding, feeding and roosting area for a host of bird species.  We enjoy a light lunch on the edge of the lake keeping a watchful eye open for the hippo’s and crocs before making our way along the forested coastal dunes.

Camping on the edge of iSimangaliso near Black Rock will be our campsite for the next three nights.

Day 6 & 7

Kosi Bay Mouth

During our time here over the next two days there will be birding watching, game viewing, swimming, leisurely walks along the beach, exploring and peaceful resting.

Our trip to Kosi Bay Lake and Estuary System on the Mozambique border is an unforgettable experience: the rich tapestry of lakes which borders Mozambique, has been described as the last haven of untouched African paradise. It is a wonderland of blue sea and dazzling white beaches, wetlands and lakes and reed channels, raffia palm forests and mangrove swamps.  It is home to numerous bird species including iconic African fish eagles, flamingos and the rare palm nut vulture.  It is famed for the traditional, woven fish traps and palisade kraals used by the community for well over 700 years – a skill passed down from generation to generation. It is without question, one of the most beautiful and pristine lake systems on the African coast.

Our second day will take us to Lala Nek a fantastic snorkelling spot, particularly at low tide, when the rocky areas are more accessible, and the pools brimming with marine life.   It is a magical place of exquisite sandy beaches, large strelitzias and beautiful dune vistas.  Our day is spent peacefully resting and we enjoy a picnic lunch outdoors relaxing while the Bhejane crew waits on us.

Day 8

Tembe Elephant Park & Ndumo Game Reserve

We leave our Kosi Bay campsite after a scrumptious breakfast heading inland to the Mozambique Border.  Our route takes us via Tembe Elephant Park where we spend our morning winding over sandy 4x4 tracks, keeping a lookout for some of Africa’s biggest tuskers.  Tembe is a “Big 5” Reserve (lion, leopard, black and white rhino, buffalo and elephant), and although there are no cheetah or African wild dogs on the reserve,  it is home to a rich diversity of other wildlife like hippo, zebra and various antelope species, from the majestic giraffe to one of the smallest antelope in Africa, the Suni.

Our destination today is Ndumo Game Reserve, a small relatively remote reserve in the far north-eastern district of KZN, known as Maputaland. The reserve is perhaps best known for its magnificent bird life with the highest bird count in South Africa, some 430 species and has many beautiful pans set about with yellow fever trees and extensive wetlands and reedbeds as well as acacia savannah and sand forest. 

Before arriving at our camp for the next two days, we stop in the park and enjoy a picnic lunch overlooking the low-lying floodplains, woodland habitats and patches of well-developed sand forest.

Day 9

Lubombo Mountains & Ndumo

This morning we make an early start heading in a north westerly direction towards the Ponglapoort Dam (commonly referred to as Lake Jozini and one of South Africa’s largest dams) for a boat cruise that takes us through the Lubombo mountains and into the heart of the dam.

Wildlife and birdlife abound in the area and include elephant, leopard, white and black rhinoceros, buffalo, hippopotamus, waterbuck, bushbuck, nyala, greater kudu, zebra, giraffe and spotted hyaena, allowing us to enjoy some game watching from the water.

For birding enthusiasts, the dam and its surrounds support over 350 bird species which includes rarities such as African Boradbill, saddle-billed and yellow-billed storks, African fitfoot, Pels's fishing owl and Narina Trogan as well as a breeding colony of pink-backed and great white pelicans.

Ndumo supports a diverse range of habitats and we spend the remainder of the afternoon driving along narrow tracks that take us through the riverine forests, grasslands and woodlands.  Despite its small size bird watchers will be in their element as Ndumo has in excess of 430 recorded bird species!

We return to camp for our last night together in Zululand and, those of you who have never visited the area before, will reflect on a life changing experience.

Day 10

Farewell

Sadly, after breakfast we bid farewell and depart along the tar road that crosses over the Jozini Dam and reaches the N2 near the town of Mkuze.

Answer

South Africa - Zululand

Answer

Approximately 600kms

Answer

Doornkraal Camp, Ithala Game Reserve

Answer

Hot showers & flushing toilets throughout tour

Answer

Yes, at all camps except Ndumo where we will have a generator

Answer

Yes, but it is Intermittent

Answer

4 x 4 with good ground clearance
2 x 4 will not manage this trip