KwaZulu-Natal
Natural Attractions & National Parks

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Our most recommended KwaZulu-Natal Natural Attractions & National Parks

Hluhluwe-Imfolozi: Big 5 Full or Half-Day Safari

1. Hluhluwe-Imfolozi: Big 5 Full or Half-Day Safari

Experience the rolling hills of the Savannah grasslands and a magical African sunrise. Sit back and relax while your ranger takes you to the best areas within the park. With trained eyes and years of experience, your ranger will undoubtedly deliver some magnificent sightings. Learn more about this fascinating park and the incredible history of when King Shaka used the lower Umfolozi as his personal hunting grounds or how the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park single-handedly saved the rhinos from near extinction. The park is home not only to the African Big 5 (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo) but also includes cheetahs, wild dogs, and many more. Enjoy breakfast and lunch at one of the numerous scenic picnic areas within the park. The tour concludes with a drop off at the Nyalazi Gate or alternatively, drop off back at your accommodation in St. Lucia.

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From St. Lucia: iSimangaliso Sunset Safari

2. From St. Lucia: iSimangaliso Sunset Safari

Get picked up from your hotel in St. Lucia and travel to the iSimangaliso Wetlands Park, a huge protected area along the coast of South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal Province. The park’s centerpiece is the vast Lake St. Lucia, home to a large number of hippos, crocodiles, pelicans, and flamingos. Elephants, giraffes, and leopards inhabit the grasslands and forests of the nearby Western Shores and Charters Creek areas. To the north, Sodwana Bay is known for its colorful coral reefs. Upon arrival, gear up and set off on an exciting three-hour drive through the park's many ecosystems. Keep an eye out for the wide variety of species that call iSimangaliso home. As the sun begins to set, your guide will take you to the perfect spot to appreciate the African sunset. When darkness falls, take on the challenge of spotting chameleons and other nocturnal species, all of which are more active after nightfall. Get dropped off back at your accommodation in St Lucia.

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From St Lucia: Cape Vidal Full-Day Snorkeling Safari

3. From St Lucia: Cape Vidal Full-Day Snorkeling Safari

After pickup from your accommodations, your guide will take you on a safari drive in iSimangaliso Wetland Park. You'll have the chance to see many animals in their natural habitat including elephants, hippos, rhinos, hyenas, buffalos, zebras, wildebeest, antelopes, chameleons and if you're lucky, perhaps a leopard. Then head to the beach for 2 hours of snorkeling and discover over 50 different species of fish. If you're not a keen snorkeler, you can enjoy the beach on your own or go for a little birdwatching walk on the forest dunes of Cape Vidal with another guide. Your tour is conducted in a laid-back, yet professional manner and includes breakfast and a delicious African braai (barbeque) lunch.

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From Durban: Wildlife Lovers Big 5 Safari at 2 Game Reserves

4. From Durban: Wildlife Lovers Big 5 Safari at 2 Game Reserves

Go on the only tour from Durban that takes you into an authentic private game reserve where the number of vehicles at sightings is limited. Take 2 stunning game drives at 2 reserves and encounter Africa's magnificent wildlife up-close. Benefit from included hotel pickup and drop-off, as well as complimentary use of Zeiss binoculars and multilingual wildlife/nature guide books during the tour. Hit the road early with pickup from your hotel at around 5 AM as wildlife, especially predators, are most active around dawn and dusk. Enter the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve at Nyalazi Gate and enjoy a 2.5-hour morning game drive in a Hyundai H1 vehicle. Please note, this is not an open safari 4x4, though you will get that experience later in the day. Hluhluwe-Imfolozi is renowned for its White Rhino densities — after all, it saved the Southern White Rhino from extinction. Keep your Carl Zeiss Terra ED 8x42 binoculars on hand, as you never know what's around the corner. After your drive, stop for lunch at Hilltop Camp for a hearty meal with a stunning view. Lunch is at your own expense. Next, it's time to head into one of KwaZulu Natal’s premier private game reserves: Manyoni Private Game Reserve. This reserve only permits travelers staying at one of their luxury lodges to traverse the park, unless you’re with the local partner of course. Meet Manyoni’s most experienced ranger and jump into an authentic open safari 4x4. Then, embark on a 4-hour game drive through this pristine wilderness as you track down Africa’s iconic Big 5 and everything in between. Your ranger is passionate about the African bush and will help you understand the eco-system and the flora and fauna. As Manyoni is a private game reserve, rather than a national park, your expert ranger can go off-road and bring you more intimate sightings of big game. Depart the reserve at 4 PM for return to Durban.

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From Durban: St. Lucia Wetlands Private Boat Ride

5. From Durban: St. Lucia Wetlands Private Boat Ride

The tour departs from Durban heading northward along the coast to northern KwaZulu-Natal. The first stop is the town of St Lucia and the estuary inside the iSimangaliso Wetlands Park. There you will board a river boat for a 2 hours guided tour of the estuary. The local guide will inform you of the reserves history and its incredible wildlife. Previously known as the Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park, iSimangaliso Wetlands Park was declared South Africa's first Natural World Heritage Site and is considered South Africa's third largest park with 280km of near pristine coastline and 328 000 hectares of magnificent scenery. The protected area is home to one of the largest population of hippopotami in SA, an estimated 1000 crocodiles as well as a wealth of plant, bird and animal life. The park was proclaimed a world heritage site because of the rich biodiversity, unique ecosystems and natural beauty occurring in a relatively small area. Animals occurring on the park include, lion, African elephant, leopard, black and southern white rhino, buffalo and in the ocean, whales, dolphins, and marine turtles including the leatherback and loggerhead turtle.

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Drakensberg Giants Castle Cave Art & Mandela Capture Site

6. Drakensberg Giants Castle Cave Art & Mandela Capture Site

The tour starts off with a visit to Pietermaritzburg, the capital of KwaZulu-Natal. Stop at Pietermaritzburg's City Hall, which claims to be the largest brick building in the southern hemisphere. Visit the Gandhi statue also before heading towards the Drakensberg mountains and Giants Castle Reserve. Giant's Castle is situated on a grassy plateau among the deep valleys running down from the face of the High Drakensberg, offering glorious views. At Giants Castle reserve, there is a large sandstone cave containing prehistoric San rock art. The San and Khoekhoe people were hunters and gatherers who roamed South Africa for thousands of years. This cave is one of the biggest and best-preserved painted sites in southern Africa. This cave is an easy 30 minutes’ walk from the camp office and regular guided tours are taken through this unique exhibition. A visit to Giant's Castle offers the privilege of entering the world of the San as well as the opportunity to study a varied and exciting range of habitats. From there, head to the small town of Howick and visit its waterfall. Howick Falls is approximately 95m in height and lies on the Umgeni River. The Zulu people called the falls KwaNogqaza, which means "Place of the Tall One".   Then visit the Nelson Mandela Capture Site Statue and Apartheid Museum. The Nelson Mandela sculpture comprises of 50 steel column constructions, each between 6.5m and 9.5m tall, set into the Midlands landscape. The approach to the site leads you down a path towards the sculpture where, at 35 meters, a portrait of Nelson Mandela, looking west, comes into focus. The 50 linear vertical units, line up to create the illusion of a flat image. The museum is dedicated to Nelson Mandela’s life and his struggle against Apartheid. After the tour, head back to Durban by late afternoon.

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From Durban: Safari & PheZulu Village Day Tour

7. From Durban: Safari & PheZulu Village Day Tour

The Mini Safari Tour starts with a visit to the Lion Park where you will have the chance to come into close proximity with elephants and lions. The next stop is The Birds of Prey Center where visitors are introduced to a wide variety of majestic birds found in South Africa. The tour then moves onto Tala Game Reserve which provides exceptional game viewing and birding. You then make a stop at the Valley of a 1000 Hills to enjoy a glimpse of local Zulu culture and dancing at Phezulu Cultural Village. To conclude the tour, visit the Reptile Park where qualified park guides will intrigue you with interesting facts about the resident crocodiles and snakes.

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Hluhluwe-Imfolozi & Emdoneni Wild Cat Project Private Tour

8. Hluhluwe-Imfolozi & Emdoneni Wild Cat Project Private Tour

The tour departs from Durban heading up the coast to northern KwaZulu-Natal. You will arrive at the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi gate 2.5 hours after departing from Durban. Your experienced guide will show you around the park in search of the diverse wildlife and Big 5. Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve is set in the heart of Zululand where Africa’s Big 5 (lion, elephant, leopard, buffalo and rhinoceros) roam the flourishing savannah. Established in 1895 this is the oldest park in South Africa and is 98 000 hectares. This tour is in a closed vehicle. The Park contains an immense diversity of fauna and flora and is characterized by hilly topography. The list of animals at the park is long and diverse. Hluhluwe, the northern section of the park, is noted for its wide variety of both bird and animal life. Imfolozi Game Reserve is situated in the southern section of the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park. Today, the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park is world renowned for its White Rhino conservation and its Centenary Capture Centre is setting exceptional standards for animal capture and sustainable utilization in Africa. Your guide will stop for lunch at Hilltop Camp (at own expense) giving you time to refuel and relax. The restaurant is situated at the top of the hill and gives visitors the chance to enjoy the scenery of the camp and surrounding areas. After lunch you will continue with your safari before leaving the park on route to Emdoneni Wild Cat Sanctuary. Emdoneni Cat Project offers a guided tour about South Africa’s endangered wild cat species. The aim of the Emdoneni Cat Project is to care for cheetahs, serval cats, African wildcats and caracal (lynx), that have been orphaned or injured in the wild and need care and rehabilitation. During the guided tour to the cat project, visitors can see some of these South Africa’s endangered cat species. After the tour, start the two hours journey back to Durban for drop-off.

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3-Day Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve & St. Lucia Safari

9. 3-Day Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve & St. Lucia Safari

Be on the lookout for the Big 5 at the Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve. Enjoy closed-vehicle guided game drives and a boat trip on Lake St. Lucia on this 3-day, 2-night African safari. Detailed Itinerary Day 1 You’ll be picked up at your Durban area accommodation at 07:00 and begin the 3-hour drive to Hluhluwe Umfolozi, where your guide will provide information on the history of the area. Enter the site and enjoy a slow game drive to the camp, as you learn about wildlife in the area. You’ll arrive at the camp at approximately 13:00, in time for lunch. Your guide will assist you with check-in and show you your room. You’ll have the choice of taking the optional night drive from 17:00-20:00 (additional fee). If not, you’ll head out with your guide for a 2-3 hour closed-vehicle game drive. Dinner will be served after the game drive. Day 2 Enjoy an early morning game drive, from around 06:00-09:00, in a closed vehicle with your guide, or an optional open-vehicle drive (additional fee). You’ll return to camp for a buffet breakfast at around 09:15, and then have the mid part of the day to yourself. There is a self-guided bush walk within the camp and a swimming pool for your use. Lunch will be served at 13:30. Again, there is an optional extra night drive, from 17:00-20:00 (additional fee). If you do not choose this option, you’ll head out with your guide for a 2-3 hour closed-vehicle game drive. Dinner will be served after the game drive. Day 3 After a 07:00 breakfast, you’ll check out and go on a 2-hour game drive. Afterwards, you’ll leave the camp and head to Lake St. Lucia for a boat cruise. Enjoy a 2-hour boat cruise on Lake St. Lucia, a World Heritage Site located in Isimangeliso Wetland Park. During the cruise you’ll be on the lookout for hippos and crocodiles. In the event of foul weather your guide will take you along the estuary boardwalk instead. Lunch is next on the itinerary, followed by the 3-hour return drive to Durban, arriving at approximately 18:00.

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Drakensberg Kamberg Cave Art & Mandela Capture Site Day Tour

10. Drakensberg Kamberg Cave Art & Mandela Capture Site Day Tour

Your tour starts off with a visit to Pietermaritzburg, the capital of KwaZulu-Natal. There you will stop at Pietermaritzburg's City Hall, which claims to be the largest brick building in the southern hemisphere. Visit the Gandhi statue before heading towards the Drakensberg mountains. Your main stop is Kamberg Nature Reserve which forms part of the Maloti- Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site and is situated centrally in the foothills of the mountains. The reserve was proclaimed in 1951 and is 6,300 ha in extent. This reserve is particularly scenic, with many walks throughout the area. The natural landscape has many rock shelters, containing San rock paintings. These were created by the San people over a period of at least 4,000 years. The rock paintings are outstanding in quality and diversity representing the spiritual life of the San people who no longer live in the region. From there, head to the small town of Howick and visit its waterfall. Howick Falls is approximately 95m high and lies on the Umgeni River. The Zulu people called the falls KwaNogqaza, which means "Place of the Tall One".   We visit the Nelson Mandela Capture Site Statue and Apartheid Museum. The Nelson Mandela sculpture comprises of 50 steel column constructions – each between 6.5m and 9.5m tall – set into the Midlands landscape. The approach to the site leads you down a path towards the sculpture where, at 35 meters, a portrait of Nelson Mandela, looking west, comes into focus. The 50 linear vertical units, line up to create the illusion of a flat image. The museum is dedicated to Nelson Mandela’s life and his struggle against Apartheid.

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What people are saying about KwaZulu-Natal

What a wonderful way to experience KZN's oldest game reserve. We did the full day safari with started punctually with a 5am pick up from our BNB and included a healthy breakfast and braai for lunch. The guide, John was exceptionally knowledgeable and by lunchtime we had seen a large number of rhino, elephant, lion and buffalo as well as kudu, impala, giraffe, zebra and warthog.

Definitely worth it. they puck pick you up door to door if you're staying within 5 kilometers. Also our guide was very straightforward that we may not see any animals but we say all we wanted in 2 hours. The 12 hours include the time it takes to get to the park and return. Great having a guide as they talk with one another to find out where the animals are for the day.

This was a great experience both on land and in the ocean. Sakhile was an amazing, friendly, funny, and very knowledgeable guide. I highly recommend this experience.

We saw lots of white and black rhinos, which we came for. Our guide was very friendly and knew the park very well

we did the half day Safari very good very informative and can highly recommend this trip to anyone