Self-drive itinerary through the forests and the beaches of Kwa-Zulu Natal, the most tropical Province of South Africa. A mix of safari and active relax by the ocean, with a great variety of landscapes and emotions. And a wide choice of activities: boat safari, Rhino tracking on foot, canoeing, 4x4ing and scuba-diving.
From November to February it’s the sea Turtle season. Walk at night on the beach, escorted by local guides, looking for the giant Loggerhead or the Leatherback, while digging in the sand to lay eggs. Or watch the newborn starting their struggle for survival and trying to reach the ocean, running through a myriad of hungry ghost Crabs.
In the , Lake Jozini you can move by boat for a safari from a different perspective, and look out for Hippos, Crocodile, Rhinos and a plentiful of birds. Your base will be a rustic fishing lodge at Shayamoya, just a few km from the Swaziland border. And if you are keen on fishing, here you can challenge the mighty tiger fish.
The Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve is arguably the most important natural sanctuary for the Rhinoceros worldwide.
And in the end, rewaken your soul and indulge in the relax at the Thonga Beach Lodge, the only one right on the beach on the entire Elephant Coast.
Durban: the Miami of Africa, with its vibe and the beautiful skyline along the ocean. The starting and ending point of this trip.
Hluhluwe-Imfolozozi: a magnificent reserve with a hilly landscape, perennial rivers and sub-tropical forest. Home to the big 5, though the icon of the reserve is by all means the Rhinoceros. A great conservation project, a successful story who paved the way to many others in Africa.
Kosi Mouth: stunning lagoons where the fresh water of the lakes meet the Indian Ocean, with only a strip of sand in between. The water temperature is very pleasant even in winter, while in summers can be boiling! Be careful to protect yourself by the right sun lotion, especially when snorkeling. We have seen even black people changing the skin on their back after a very short while!
Canoe: an easy and pleasant excursion (included) from the Kosi Forest Lodge. You will be paddling on the gentle waters in the middle of the Raffia forest, home to hippos, crocodiles, vultures and the majestic African Fish Eagle.
Hiking: in the Raffia forest (from the Kosi Forest Lodge).
Natal Shark Board: from Durban, leave at dawn on board of Natal Shark Board’s boat to monitor the Shark nets off the city beaches. This was a pioneer and controversial project. One hand, Shark attacks dropped dramatically; on the other, the nets occasionally kill also other sea creatures, like Turtles and Dolphins.
Snorkeling: in the Kosi mouth, where you can spot schools of colorful fishes who join the lagoon with the high tide. You can still find some small reefs in the lagoon.
Turtle tracking: from November to February, at night, walking on the beach of the Elephant Coast, escorted by local guides, you can spot the huge loggerhead and leatherback Turtles laying eggs. On your way, you will often encounter researchers and conservationist busy monitoring this vulnerable species.
Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge (Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve): the only private concession within the entire reserve. Large rooms enjoying a breathless view. Arguably the best accommodation in the reserve.
Thonga Beach Lodge: the best property of the Elephant Coast, the only one right on the beach. Though quite up-market, the atmosphere is very informal. Of course you cannot compare with tropical paradise island of the Indian Ocean, but the nature here is stunning and you feel a sensation of tranquillity and peace.
Kosi Forest Lodge: though rustic in style and with no too many frills, this is by far the best accommodation and the only of this level in the area. Even if (obviously) more expensive than any other options, this is a very good value for money.
Pick-up of your vehicle at the Kink Shaka International Airport of Durban. Drive to your accommodation in a residential area of Durban. Overnight at Ridgeview Lodge, a very charming boutique guesthouse uphill, with a view on the harbour. Rest of the day and dinner at leisure.
Drive to Shayamoya Fishing Lodge, close to the Swaziland border. Full-board, a safari by boat and rhino tracking on foot are all included in the package.
Beyond the activities included, we left room for more as per your interests, that you can book on site or pre-book with us. Tiger fishing (catch and release) is one of those.
(Shayamoya Fishing Lodge, B / L / D)
D2 – Optional ride on board of NSB’s boats to monitor the shark nets off of Durban. Departure at sunrise.
Drive to Kosi Bay (1 hour ca.), a few km from the border with Mozambique. As the 9 last km are sandy tracks, you will park your car at a designated point and will be transferred by 4×4 to the lodge. After lunch, you can explore the Raffia forest on foot or by canoe.
The following day is available for activities at leisure. We highly recommend the full day at the Kosi Mouth by 4×4, with pic-nic lunch on site and snorkeling in the lagoon.
(Kosi Forest Lodge,B / L / D)
Pick-up time for 4×4 transfer is at 12 and at 16. A supplement of R 100 per person will be charged for late arrival at the pick-up point.
Days of safari in the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve. The icon of the park is the Rhinoceros (black and white), but all the big 5 are roaming here. Among the large predators, beyond lions and leopards, spotted hyenas, cheetahs and wild dogs also occur in good number. Your accommodation is in the only private concession of the reserve.
(Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge, B / L / D)
After the morning game drive (D8), brunch and check-out, before heading to the beaches of the Elephant Coast. Your accommodation will be the exclusive Thonga Beach Lodge, nestled in the coastal forest, with direct access to the beach. Again, the lodge is accessible by 4×4 only. You will park your vehicle at Coastal cashew, from where you will be transferred to the lodge. Days at leisure. (Thonga Beach Lodge, B / L / D)
After breakfast, check-out and transfer by 4×4 to the Coastal Cashew to pick-up your vehicle and drive to the King Shaka International Airport of Durban (4 hours ca), to return your car. (B)