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Northern 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.

From the historic Hluhluwe iMfolozi Game Park, the continents oldest game reserve, to the breathtaking coastal landscape emcompassing tropical reefs and forested dunes within the UNESCO protected world heritage site of iSimangiliso Wetland Park, Thembe Elephant Park and Ithala Game Reserve – this meticulously crafted tour promises the ultimate fusion of bush and beach experiences within our own South African borders.

tour duration 9 Days
from R17,250
next trip 23 Nov 2024
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Embark on an immersive 8-night / 9-day excursion that unveils an array of extraordinary experiences, featuring encounters with majestic rhino’s, Africa’s towering elephants, captivating wildlife and the nesting sites of graceful Leatherback turtles. 


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


Guide Gratuity

Tour Dates

23 Nov 2024 - 01 Dec 2024 - R17,250.00

Day 1

iMfolozi Hluhluwe Game Reserve

We meet at Memorial gate, the most northern gate of Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park where our guide briefs us on the adventure that lies ahead, provides input on convoy protocols, hands out our two way radios and serves lunch after which we enter the game reserve.

Hluhluwe-iMfolozi is the oldest proclaimed park in central KZN and as such, the rich wildlife provides the perfect setting for us to enjoy our first game drive before entering camp in the late afternoon.  The coffee pot is on the fire and as we unpack, we are able to enjoy a cuppa tea as we familiarize ourselves with our surroundings.

This evening is spent around the campfire, enjoying the first of many bush meals prepared by our chef.

Day 2

Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park

This morning we head out in our own vehicles game viewing at our leisure before meeting up at the Centenary Centre in the eastern section of iMfolozi. 

The Park was established in the early 1890s as a sanctuary primarily for the last remaining Rhino's and as the place that initiated the Save the Rhino campaign, the associated success story and unique history of rhino conservation in this special area, underpins the background of our day today.  A visit to the Museum and information Hub highlights the work being done while providing an understanding of how game capture works.   It is also here that our Bhejane guide shares his stories of the work done by the REX THE RHINO CONSERVATION FUND. 

We later enjoy a picnic lunch in the park before heading back to camp in the afternoon for more game viewing.

Day 3

Black Rock

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

Stopping for lunch on the banks of Lake Sibaya, South Africa’s largest freshwater lake tucked against the coastal dunes, we are able to enjoy the prolific bird life that the Lake is home to.   Lying 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.  

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 remote park lying deep in the sand forests and wetlands of northern Tongaland.  Tembe is an elephant sanctuary formed by the Tembe people (widely considered to be the ancestral custodians of the park) and set up as a place of safety for the protection of elephants migrating between Maputaland and Southern Mozambique during the civil war

As we wind our way through the thick bush and visit the waterholes, we are able to feel the presence of these gentle giants of Maputuland - now officially some of the biggest tuskers in Africa.  Over 340 bird species are found in Tembe in addition of course, to a spectacular variety of animals – lion, leopard, buffalo, black and white rhino’s.

A light lunch is enjoyed in the bush at one of the many picnic spots.

Day 5

Kosi Bay

After the previous day game viewing, our coastal adventure begins today as we explore the shallow estuary at the Kosi Bay River Mouth.   Swimming and snorkelling in the warm waters, enjoying the powder white beaches is very much the order of the day!

After a picnic lunch on the beach we take 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 soft 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 and colourful shells.

Of course, the abundance of sea life also lends itself to some excellent fishing from the beach 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

After breakfast we say goodbye to Black Rock and head towards Ithala Game Reserve in the rugged, mountainous thornveld of northern KwaZulu-Natal. 

Stopping along the way at Pongalapoort Dam we enjoy a boat cruise through the majestic Lubombo mountains and some game viewing from the edge of the dam and a light picnic lunch.

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 breath-taking.

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 3 000 million years.

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

Day 9


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.


South Africa - Zululand in Northern KZN


Approximately 800km


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


4×4 with high ground clearance a necessity


Not on this tour!


Tented accommodation


Yes - throughout the tour


Yes but Intermittent