Kwazulu Natal safari and beach holiday, South Africa

“The classic combination of safari and beach, but in South Africa’s lesser visited spots: Hluhluwe Game Reserve and the Elephant Coast beaches.”


Richard’s Bay | Hluhluwe Game Reserve | four days on safari | Elephant Coast beaches | turtle tracking | fishing | boat trips | scuba diving | snorkelling | horse riding | cultural tours | forest walks | bird watching | excellent lodges

Description of Kwazulu Natal safari and beach holiday, South Africa

Visit Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park, the oldest wildlife reserve in South Africa, for epic game drives and a huge variety of wildlife, then relax on the tranquil beaches of the Elephant Coast, including pristine Mabibi Beach.

This 9-day tour of northern KwaZulu-Natal starts in Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park, where early morning game drives offer big cat sightings, such as lions and cheetahs, whilst dusky evening game drives are perfect for observing herbivores and bird-watching (340 bird species call this reserve home). You can also participate on a guided walk with the "Rhino Whisperer" for a chance to encounter one of the most elusive of Africa's Big Five.

After your safari adventures, you'll transfer to a luxurious eco-lodge on the Maputuland Coast, also known as the Elephant Coast. Stroll along endless, empty beaches, relax on the sand or continue your wildlife watching with marine activities such as fishing, boat trips, snorkelling, scuba diving and turtle tracking. Don't miss the fresh seafood dishes served in this region, which combine local Mabini flavours with colonial influences.

Day-by-day experiences

Day 1:Arrive in Johannesburg & Transfer to Hluhluwe - Arriving in Johannesburg, you'll transfer to the domestic terminal for your connecting flight to Richard's Bay. Here, you'll be met by our representative and driven to your luxury safari lodge in Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park. Take rest in your room and go for your first safari (if you are in time for an evening game drive), then return to the lodge to enjoy a delicious dinner.
Day 2-4:Explore Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park - Enjoy game drives as per the schedule (morning and evening) in open 4x4 vehicles. Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park is the oldest game reserve in Southern Africa and home to the Big Five (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo), plus other animals such as cheetah, African wild dog and nyala. The park is also a prime birding destination, home to 340 bird species. Between game drives, you can join a guided walk in the Big Five territory or other conservation areas with the legendary Nunu Jobe, a highly experienced ranger who also goes by the name of the "Rhino Whisperer." The lodge can provide you with the option of cultural visits to the local Mpembeni community, where you’ll get the chance to learn more about the Zulu people and their way of life. You can also visit the Emdoneni Cat Centre (optional), where you’ll have an opportunity to learn more about South Africa's wild cats.
Day 5:Transfer to the Elephant Coast - Leave Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park after breakfast and transfer to your next accommodation, located on the unspoiled beach of Mabibi on the Maputuland Coast (also known as the Elephant Coast), part of iSimangaliso Wetland Park. With tranquil bays and reefs for swimming and snorkelling, lush coastal forests, stunning freshwater lakes, golden sand dunes and an endless pristine beach, this is a truly idyllic location. You'll stay at a secluded eco-lodge that perfectly captures the essence of a Robinson Crusoe hideaway. Relax on the beach and enjoy great views from the deck of your thatched-roof hut. Enjoy a delicious buffet breakfast and lunch, afternoon tea, plus a sumptuous three-course evening meal.
Day 6-8:Explore the Elephant Coast - You have the option to enjoy activities such as whale and dolphin excursions, nocturnal guided scorpion and spider walks (available from March to October), horseback riding, guided bird watching trips and forest walks along with exceptional snorkelling and offshore scuba diving opportunities. At certain times of the year, guests can dive into the water and snorkel or swim with dolphins, whale sharks, manta rays and giant turtles. If you’re visiting during the summer months (October to March) you’ll have an opportunity to join a turtle-hatching safari and witness hundreds of baby leatherback and loggerhead turtles scramble from the sandy beaches to the water’s edge. You may wish to join an optional, early morning guided kayaking trip at Lake Sibaya, where you’re likely to spot hippos and crocodiles. If early morning kayaking doesn’t take your fancy, you can opt for sundowners on the shores of Lake Sibaya later in the day.
Day 9:Depart from Johannesburg - Today, you'll be transferred back to the small airport at Richard's Bay after breakfast for your flight to Johannesburg, from which you can board your international flight home.

Responsible Travel, Travel Team

Travel Team

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Kwazulu Natal safari and beach holiday, South Africa


The two destinations in this itinerary are pioneering conservation movements across the continent. Hluhluwe Game Reserve, as mentioned, is the oldest reserve in Africa but has fought tirelessly to stay innovative with wildlife conservation schemes and avoiding human-wildlife conflict. The coastline and iSangaliso wetlands that surround them are combining local and global knowledge to protect marine and wetland species.

With an abundant array of properties in the region we have focussed on selecting those that are most in line with our principles. The properties hire local staff and have the very best guides whilst being dedicated to sustainability and responsible tourism. Our team on the ground will be with you every step of the way to ensure you are comfortable and can enjoy yourselves hassle free.

To ensure that we are offering ground-breaking itineraries and are always keeping up-to-date with the latest developments abroad, our UK staff travel regularly to our destinations. This ‘work’ also leaves a carbon footprint and we compensate for all our staff travel by donating carbon-mitigating funds to our charity partners.


Whilst we are always trying to ensure our guests experience the best properties and destinations possible, our ethos about responsible travel is extremely important to us.

We have selected the properties on this itinerary with sustainable and responsible tourism in mind. In the KwaZulu Natal you will enjoy the region's food and wine whilst supporting local suppliers and traders. The hotels also make a huge effort to train and employ local staff.

We encourage all our travellers to research local customs and read your trip notes before you depart to ensure you are conscientious and respectful in a different culture. In most cases we strongly recommend that you do not give money to children beggars. If begging is a successful enterprise, parents are encouraged to forsake their children’s education in pursuit of this opportunity.

As a company we are founded in the roots of providing responsible and sustainable holidays. This means we seek to partner with local suppliers who provide fair wages, to use accommodation where community and environment are considered and to look at every opportunity for making our holidays as fair to local people and places as possible.

3 Reviews of Kwazulu Natal safari and beach holiday, South Africa

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 03 Jun 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Stunning locations, stylish yet comfortable lodges, exciting safari activities, enthusiastic staff mostly from the local communities, scrumptious food.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Wear long trousers on the walking safari! Plenty of warm clothes and binoculars are a must.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Most of the staff are employed from the local communities Tread lightly policies are in place with single use plastics banished.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Reviewed on 12 Mar 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Beautifully organised. Each place we stayed had a different feel to it.
Drakensberg mountains, Zulu wars, game park and relaxing at the end.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Reviewed on 08 Jul 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The day we spotted some African wild dogs trying to protect their kill from 2 hyena. We were observing this from the opposite bank of a river and could see exactly what was going on whilst the wild dog pack could not. It was amazing to see and hear the commotion and see the dogs defend their kill. A short time later we came across 2 lionesses who had also heard the noise and were on a mission to find the kill too. We felt very privileged to witness this and will never forget the experience!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Do as much research as you can about the areas you would like to visit and you will not be disappointed. We had a five week holiday to plan and the operator listened to our requirements and did their best to find us a good cross section of places to stay and at an affordable price. Their travel itinerary was faultless and their meticulous forward planning helped us enjoy our holiday to the limit!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I know that many local people who want to be involved in conservation have the opportunities to work in this field. The local guides and trackers that we met were very passionate about their wildlife and I felt that unfortunately many tourists put pressure on them to find certain animals on their 'tick-list'. These guides work very long hours and probably rely heavily on the tips they get from tourists. The lodges, hotels and guest houses were all very environmentally aware and took great care to reduce their impact.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


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