Only 10% of international tourists to South Africa choose to explore Kwa-Zulu Natal, making it a true hidden gem in the heart of the Rainbow Nation. If you're looking for a real retreat into a world of unexplored natural beauty and undisturbed peace, this is the perfect 12 night trip for you.
You'll begin your return to nature with 3 nights in the Drakensberg Mountains, staying in a hushed hilltop haven surrounded by the dramatic peaks of the Drakensberg, with views directly out over the awe-inspiring Amphitheatre Escarpment.
Next, you'll head to Durban's Golden Mile - 6 kilometres of pure sand that is drenched with sun for 320 days per year. Whilst the mid-summer months of February and March are known for being extremely hot and humid, the rest of the year is milder, and the tropical sunny climate gives the city a constant 'feel-good' appeal.
After this, you'll disappear deep into the sand forests of the Greater St.Lucia Wetland Reserve where you'll spend 3 nights in a tranquil thatched chalet raised on a wooden deck. Here, you can explore a peaceful paradise of clear waters, wildlife-filled swamps and coastal forests twittering with over 250 types of bird.
Then, you'll return to South Africa's rural heartlands, staying at the foot of the atmospheric Ghost Mountain. For 2 days, you can hike in the hills, where every trail is packed with incredible panoramas, take boat cruises, or simply relax and enjoy the peace and quiet.
Finally, to end your trip, you'll head for even higher ground, staying on the plateau of the Pakamisa Mountain, with breathtaking views over the evergreen valley and plains below. The lodge offers an exhaustive list of activities, from guided walks to birdwatching tours and sunrise horseback safaris. It's a magical mountain idyll that you'll be dreaming about for years to come.
Arrive at Johannesburg OR Tambo Airport. Make your way through Immigration, collect your luggage and clear Customs. Make your way into the Arrivals Hall and follow the Car Rental signs making 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 D: VW Polo Vivo or similar - Automatic Transmission (on Super Cover)
Drive to the Drakensberg (approx 305 km / 3 h 45 mins). Montusi Mountain Lodge offers genuine hospitality in the tranquillity of one of the most beautiful settings in South Africa.
After breakfast drive to Durban (approx 300 km / 3 h 30 mins). 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.
This morning you will drive into KwaNgwanase (Manguzi or Kosi Bay - allow about 5 hours from Durban). Proceed through the town and near the end, 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 where you will leave your car. The trip to Kosi Forest Lodge from here will take approximately 25 minutes in an open 4x4 vehicle and departs at 16:00.
Kosi Forest Lodge is set in a beautiful sand forest on the banks of Lake Shengeza in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. Over the next few days explore waterways by guided canoe, ancient forests and grasslands by motorized boat or on foot. This is a birder's paradise where one is often lucky enough to spot the rare Palmnut Vulture perched at the very top of the raffia palms.
After breakfast check out and allow about an hour to drive to the Pakamisa Game Reserve. Pakamisa is home to a collection of magnificent Arabian Horses and there are few greater thrills than exploring the wild African bush on horseback.
After your morning activity and breakfast, check out and allow about 6 hours to drive back to Johannesburg Airport, where you will return your hire car and check in for your flight home. Passengers are advised to check in at least 2.5 to 3 hours before the flight departure.