This trip will bring you the best of KwaZulu-Natal’s natural beauty over 12 unforgettable nights. Get lost amongst the idyllic meadows and babbling brooks of the Drakensberg Mountains, indulge in some sunbathing on the beaches of Durban, explore the coastal forests and lagoons of the St. Lucia Wetlands and get away from it all at Ghost Mountain. Finally, end your trip on a real high by setting off on a Big 5 safari every morning and afternoon. If you need a break and you’re eager to get back to nature, this is the perfect trip for you.
You begin your holiday with a few days stay at the famous Cathedral Peak Hotel in the heart of the magnificent Drakensberg World Heritage Site. Since the hotel first opened to guests in 1939, the hotel has offered warm hospitality and exceptional service. A world of excitement awaits you here, including a wide range of on-site facilities for active adventures, luxurious pampering, plus of course unrivalled access to the magnificent Drakensberg mountain range.
Then it's off to Durban. With over 320 days of sunshine per year, Durban is a holidaymakers' paradise. The 6 km 'Golden Mile' of beaches are packed with sun worshippers throughout the year, while the warm waters of the Indian Ocean entice swimmers, surfers, diversand other watersport enthusiasts.
Your next stop is the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, which was listed as South Africa's first World Heritage Site in December 1999 in recognition of its natural beauty and unique global values. The Park contains 3 lake systems, 8 ecosystems, 700 year old fishing traditions, swamp forests, Africa's largest estuarine system, 526 bird species and 25,000 year-old coastal dunes.
Time to relax now for a couple of nights. At the foot of the legendary Ghost Mountain near Mkuze lies the privately owned Ghost Mountain Inn. Those who love the sound of birdsong and the warmth of the African sun will find their respite at the poolside within the glorious gardens here. Alternatively be pampered with skin and body treatments at the spa or simply enjoy the pools and glorious indigenous gardens.
Finally, to end your trip, the Thanda Private Game Reserve offers 14,000 hectares to explore. You’ll see diverse wildlife including cheetah, hyena, warthog and the occasional wild dog, as well as abundant bird and plant life. Thanda Tented Camp, with its grand tents, offers a truly relaxed and authentic safari experience.
Arrive into Johannesburg OR Tambo Airport. Go through Immigration, collect your luggage and clear Customs, then make your way to the Bidvest Car Rental office. Complete the necessary paperwork - you will need to present your driving licence, passport and credit card. The keys to your hire car will then be handed over to you.
13 Day Car Rental: Group C: Toyota Corolla Quest or similar - Manual Transmission (on Super Cover)
Drive to The Drakensberg (approx 400 km / 4 h 30 mins). Nestled in the unspoiled surroundings of the Drakensberg mountain range (a World Heritage Site) lies Cathedral Peak Hotel, one of South Africa's premier resort hotels.
Your next destination is Kosi Forest Lodge. There are very few truly unspoilt places left in the world, but the area surrounding Kosi Forest Lodge is one of them. To reach this amazing destination, drive into KwaNgwanase (also called Manguzi or Kosi Bay) and look out for the Total Garage on your left handside. Once you arrive at this service station, a Kosi representative will meet you there and drive you to a secure car parking area not far away. The trip to the lodge from here will be approximately 30 minutes in an open 4x4 vehicle. PLEASE PRE-BOOK WHICH PICK UP TIME YOU REQUIRE - EITHER 12:00 OR 16:00.
Kosi Forest Lodge is set in a beautiful sand forest on the banks of Lake Shengeza in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. When you stay at Kosi Forest Lodge, you're almost guaranteed to see the pod of resident hippos that live in Lake Shengeza. The lodge's swimming pool overlooks the lake, so you can while away the afternoon watching the resident pod of hippos safely below. At sunset, the hefty hippos can be seen ambling out of the water onto the shore in search of food. Gliding in a canoe through the waters will get you close up to some of the most beautiful birds the continent has to offer. Whatever activity you choose to do here, you can't help but feel a close connection to nature.
You will be transferred back to the secure car park at Manguzi where you will collect your hire car and drive to Ghost Mountain Lodge.
Ghost Mountain Inn is a wonderful place to just relax for a few days. Enjoy a sundowner from the top of the Lebombo cliffs watching the sunset across the valley and mountains in the distance, or watch elephants swimming from a boat cruise on nearby Lake Jozini. Those who prefer to just relax, you can do this in the indigenous gardens, around the pool, or in the spa. The sound of birdsong will never be far away.
Set off after a leisurely breakfast for the drive to Thanda Private Game Reserve (approx 50 km / 45 mins). Thanda offers an authentically South African wildlife experience, including close-up encounters with Africa's magnificent Big 5. Each of the luxury safari tents has a private sun deck set in the bush, and flickering lanterns guide your way at night.