Zululand Conservation Miracle
8 night / 9 day (Tented accommodation)
From Umfolozi 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.
Your Bhejane guide on this adventure has spent many years working as a conservation officer in Zululand. He will be in radio contact with you at all times and impart a wealth of biological, cultural, historic and four-wheel drive knowledge.
Three meals a day will be prepared by our experienced bush chef in his mobile kitchen, with fresh salads, potjiekos, braais and many other surprises appearing on the menu. The good old “koffie pot” will be on the fire from six till late.
Our logistics crew will pitch and take down the camps at all the overnight stops we visit. Tents and tables are provided by Bhejane Adventures.
This is not a very “technical” 4x4 trip, but should you experience any difficulty, the Bhejane crew do have the “know how” and recovery equipment to assist with off-road problems.
Though our bush-camps may be rustic, you will at all times be safe. The crew will spare no effort to make you comfortable, provide you with good wholesome food and, most importantly, see that you have a good time.
We meet at 14h00 in the campsite at Ithala Game Reserve, giving us enough time to settle in and do a short 4X4 sundowner route in the game reserve. Ithala is an easy half day’s drive from Gauteng and the reserve is unique in that it has the feeling of the Natal Drakensberg in its high lying areas and the Zululand bushveld in the valleys.
Our first night is spent enjoying a lovely Bhejane dinner and being serenaded by the sounds of the local wildlife.
After a nice big breakfast we do another 4X4 route in Ithala Game Reserve. This gives us the opportunity to really explore the reserve and be on the lookout for Black Rhino, White Rhino and a host of other wildlife. We return back to camp in the late afternoon for another evening around the camp fire
Days 3 & 4:
Today we head towards the Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve, the oldest game reserve in Africa. Even before it was declared a protected area, it was the private hunting ground of King Shaka. Due to a pilot project we are involved in with Conservation Authorities we get to camp in a private campsite on the banks of the river in the heart of the reserve. We are also permitted controlled access to a 4x4 route not available to the general public.
Your guides will keep you busy from dawn to dusk imparting historic and modern conservation stories, such as the saving of White Rhino from extinction, known as Operation Rhino. The reserve has the ‘Big 5’ and the game viewing is excellent.
This experience gives us the opportunity to feel like real game rangers as we trek into the heart of both Black and White Rhino conservation. The proceeds of this unique off road and camping experience go directly to rhino protection in the reserve.
Today it’s time to visit the tropical Zululand coastline. We enter the Isimangaliso Wetand Park (Greater St Lucia Wetland Park) and do a sandy 4X4 track around Lake Sibiya, South Africa’s largest freshwater lake, on the constant lookout for hippos and crocs. Our route takes us along the edge of the highest vegetated dunes in Africa and into narrow tunnels of coastal dune forest. Our campsite for the next two nights is on the beach at Mabibi.
We will also visit the shores of Lake St Lucia for a picnic lunch at Charters Creek, with time to enjoy the tropical Zululand coastline and beautiful beaches.
Today we have a well-deserved rest day to enjoy the Zululand coastline. The Mabibi camp site has a beautiful, pristine beach with warm Indian Ocean water. We swim, snorkel, fish and just relax. For those who would like to, and weather permitting, there is an opportunity to take a rubber duck boat ride out to sea with the dive operators from the nearby Rocktail Bay Lodge (this activity is not included in the tour cost). We venture back onto the Lake Sibiya shoreline for a sundowner to end the day.
We head further north up the coast to the Kosi Bay Lake and Estuary System on the Mozambique border. Visiting the Kosi Bay Mouth is an unforgettable experience as we will witness fishing methods that have been used for millennia in the form of the Kosi Bay fish kraals. Our campsite for the next two nights is in Ndumo Game Reserve with its huge natural pans and bird watchers paradise.
After a scrumptious breakfast, we visit Tembe Elephant Park, winding our way on the sandy 4X4 tracks in the reserve on the look-out for some of Africa’s biggest tuskers. The reserve has a very healthy lion and black rhino population too.
We enjoy our last afternoon together driving along the narrow tracks along the riverine forests and pans of Ndumu Game Reserve. This is South Africa's best birding destination.
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.
Sadly, after breakfast, it’s time to say goodbye and head out on the tar road that crosses over the Jozini Dam wall and meet up with the N2 near the town of Mkuze.