Kwazulu - Natal

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Broader region

Why

KwaZulu Natal is the one place where you can see rhinos and whales in just one day. Durban is a sunny city with great beaches, incredible marine life and some of the best Indian cuisine, whilst in the north-eastern corner of the province travellers are afforded phenomenal Big Five safari in Africa's oldest proclaimed game reserve or in one of the several surrounding privately owned reserves. The iSimangaliso Wetland Park is home to Africa's largest estuary and more than 2 000 hippos and crocodiles, as well as large flocks of pelicans, flamingos and a variety of fish species. KwaZulu Natal boasts pristine Indian Ocean beaches, incredible diving sites, seasonal sightings of whales and dolphins, cultural experiences and battlefields.

When

April to September (early autumn through winter and into spring) is the loveliest time of the year to visit. Summer – November to early March – can be very hot and humid. Game viewing is better in late June, July and August when the grass tends to be shorter and animals congregate around waterholes. Diving is great all year round.

Traveller tip: It can get scorching hot between November and February, so make sure you have enough fluid with you to prevent dehydration.

Where

Keen to see rhinos and whales on the same day? Then head to KwaZulu-Natal’s northeastern corner – absolute perfection for those looking for a combination of a beach and bush safari. This region not only boasts Africa’s oldest proclaimed game reserve, the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, where you will find the Big Five, but also the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, an internationally renowned UNESCO World Heritage site.

iSimangaliso, meaning ‘wonder’  or ‘miracle’ in Zulu, contains eight ecosystems, including lakes, swamp forests, coral reefs, Africa’s largest estuary and 220km of gorgeous Indian Ocean beaches. And it’s the clear, warm water off these beaches that has watersport aficionados flocking here in droves. Sodwana Bay and Mabibi in particular are popular with divers as the diving is great all year round and the water temperature seldom dips below 19°C, even in winter. Dolphins play in the surf (giving this stretch of coast the name Dolphin Coast) while whales make their seasonal migration to Mozambique.

While you may well choose to simply relax at times, we’re pretty sure some of the activities on offer will entice you to participate. Think kayaking, snorkeling, kite surfing or horse riding on the beach. Sip a cocktail while soaking up the atmosphere from a double-decker ferry on Lake St Lucia or go on game drives (during the day or at night) at one of the many reserves dotted around.

In fact, we’d encourage you to check out the game parks and reserves here. (Not that we don’t love the Kruger!) The weather is milder than further north, the grass is literally greener and you can see all the game you want, including the Big Five. At Phinda Private Game Reserve, for example, you can go on game drives, join a walking safari or scuba dive, go on a river cruise or have the ultimate cultural encounter in the local Zulu community – all in the space of 24 hours.

Interested in history? You’re close to the battlefields of both the Anglo-Boer and the Anglo-Zulu wars. Go on a guided tour of the battlefields: the chilling accounts of the battles of Rorke's Drift and Isandlwana will help you gain a deeper insight into the rich history of the area.

Must  see: Take a ‘hippo and croc’ sunset cruise on Lake St Lucia where hippos are so plentiful they look like boulders. And look out for the wide variety of bird life including fish eagles, kingfishers and herons.

GALLERY

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4.7
out of 5 based on
178 reviews
Jan 11, 2023
Unorgettable trip in South Africa
We have spent 12 days as a family in South Africa with my 3 children and my wife who is in a wheelchair. Thanks to Pascal, Safari.com consultant, we were able to spend an unforgettable moment with a great program while being well accompanied despite our constraints. I recommand particularly the "Monwana game lodge" for a safari in Hoedspruit. It's an amazing place with very nice people and a real family atmosphere. Thank you to the entire Safari.com team for this unforgettable trip.
fabrice dont
,
FR
Nov 26, 2022
We had an amazing first safari…
We had an amazing first safari experience with Safari.com! 💯Thanks to Dolan for the well planning and ensure our itinerary goes smoothly and safely!
CSY
,
ZA
Oct 21, 2022
Superior service, knowledgeable, transparent, amazing can-do attitude
These guys get 10/10. I have booked with them a few times. To Kruger National Park, including both public and private(concession) camps, flights and car hire. Their senior agent, Dolan is exceptional. Nothing is too much trouble. Attention to detail, transparency, and 'can-do' attitude are out of the ordinary. I recently came into contact with Tanya at safari.com as well. It looks like all their agents are similarly well trained. Thank you. I cannot recommend Dolan and his team highly enough.
customer
,
AU
Nov 18, 2022
Cape Town miracle
I was in Cape Town, South Africa recently for an athletic competition and had allowed myself a week of personal time to relax and properly conclude the trip, but had not bothered to plan a safari to occupy the time. I was skeptical of the cost and whether I would enjoy the experience, however a couple days into that final week it occurred to me, in a bit of a panic attack, what a waste it would be not to take advantage of this opportunity. I hopped online and started looking at flights to Johannesburg (almost all the safaris in SA start there with an early morning pick up), but it was basically impossible to get a flight early enough and/or to coordinate with the multiple safaris operating in or just outside of Kruger. With no apparent options available to turn my remaining 4 1/2 days into even a 3 day safari I stumbled on the most obvious website one could imagine, Safari.com. I'd completely given up negotiating all the variables on my own but here was a safari travel agent that might be able to help me .. and they were based right out of Cape Town, literally a stones throw from my lodgings. Serendipity, or so i hoped. I immediately sent out an email and crossed my fingers .. for roughly an hour and a half, at which point Dolan from Safari.com responded to me requesting I give him a call so that we could expedite potential arrangements. My in country phone plan wasn't able to make calls, but we arranged for him to call me and not 3 hours after being in the grip of despair Dolan got through to me and far from notifying me of how absurd it was to hold out hope for a literally, last minute safari adventure with barely 4 days available to me, he had already worked out all the details I'd sent and created a preliminary safari trip that would bypass Johannesburg airport for a flight the next morning to a closer, much, much smaller airport where I would be picked up taken, not to a 3 day safari, but a full 4 day safari, then back to the tiny, tiny airport for a return flight to Cape Town with 2 hours to spare for my return leg all the way home. It almost feels like an afterthought, after the minor miracle Dolan was able to conjure up, but the safari itself at Simbavati Lodge was just an absolutely stunning experience. The single "tent" he booked me was as luxurious as any 4 star hotel I've stayed in, the game drives, one every morning, one every evening were more amazing than I could have ever imagined, and the food, 3 meals a day with snacks and an open bar was sublime. I could go on about the wonderful staff, or the wonderful other safari goers you can meet and grab a drink with, or the different animals walking through the open lodge facilities daily .. but I've gone on long enough. I'll simply conclude by saying .. safari, absolutely, yes, do it, it is amazing. And when you do decide, Safari.com will do you right and if you have the pleasure of working with Dolan, do give him my thanks .. the entire experience was the best part of my trip :)
Damian Glennon
,
CA
Nov 12, 2022
A great company
What to say! We planned a South African Safari for 2020 with Safari.com. We researched companies and took a chance on one we had never heard of before. Henry Franklin was our agent, we gave him our budget and wish list. He came up with a wonderful looking trip and we made our choices! Then came Covid, preventing us from going. We couldn’t have been in better hands. Henry rebooked everything for the next year. He kept us updated on how things looked there. When in 2021, we decided it still looked iffy, he rebooked us a second time for 2022. We couldn’t have been happier with the service we had in a rough time for all. We had a wonderful experience on our trip when we finally got to go!! Henry had everything so well organized and gave us a detailed list of what transfer companies would be meeting us and when. When Airlink bumped us and put us on standby returning from Victoria Falls, we called the concierge number Henry had given us and Catherine worked hard on this and got us back on our flight. The Safari.com team had our back and we have no regrets. Would definitely use them again. Our lodging was wonderful, saw the big 5 within first 2 drives. Henry definitely knew the territory and did a great job matching what we wanted with where he suggested we go and stay. Thanks Safari.com, Henry and Catherine!
Heather Carlson
,
US
Sep 5, 2022
Trip of a life time
Well where to starter, África always been my number one dream vacation, I found safari.com didn’t know anything about, but pascal made me feel very confident.pascal put my whole trip together (everything I wanted) a trip of a life time. Had the best time in Africa, was everything that I except and a little more. Pascal is the best and I will go back to Africa and will go through safari.com that I recommend and is 💯 legit.thank you for everything pascal, you rock!!!
Tricia moyses
,
US
Sep 5, 2022
For a second time I booked a safari in…
For a second time I booked a safari in South Africa by Safari.com and had the great pleasure to be assisted and followed by Dolan Sequera. I have to say I really appreciate his way to communicate with me by phone and/or WhatsApp/mail, I always got a very quick answer to my questions with solutions and or suggestions which solved the doubts/problems I had. A really very very knowledged and professional person I will surely suggest to friends of my or who ever is plannig to visit South Africa! Thank you very much Dolan
antonio caccia
,
IT
Aug 31, 2022
I've recently interacted with Dolan and…
I've recently interacted with Dolan and hands down he's been the best travel agent that I've every worked with. He was a wealth of experience and knowledge which shows volumes. He took into consideration my budget and my individual needs to tailor make a package with recommendations for my preference,he knows Kruger and Greater Kruger like the back of his hands and I will wholeheartedly recommended his services. He is truly an asset to his institution.
prinolin
,
ZA
Apr 21, 2022
The best company
I have booked several trips with Safari.com and they are the best. They are personal and professional and always pay attention to the details to make your trip special. Casper is the best agent I have worked with. We are looking forward to booking another trip!!
Steven Hopson
,
US
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