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7 Nights Self Drive Durban and Zululand Bush & Beach Combo

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Tour Details

Immerse yourself in this captivating 7-night Self Drive that takes you to explore the natural beauty of the city of Durban blessed with a distinctive tropical climate and which sparks the senses with its collage of colours, tastes, sounds, and smells. Moving further on this journey, step into the Elephant Coast which borders Mozambique in the north, Swaziland and the Lubombo Mountains in the northwest, the Indian Ocean to the east until roughly at the mouth of the Imfolozi River near St Lucia village in the south – to discover a paradise of natural wonders with a plethora of different ecosystems. In fact, there are few areas in Africa with such an incredible diversity of freshwater ecosystems hence a large portion of the Elephant Coast was declared a World Heritage Site, and named iSimangaliso Wetland Park, broadly translated from the Zulu language, iSimangilso means ‘something miraculous – enjoy!

Summary of your Trip
  • 2 Nights Zimbali Lodge (Durban) | South Africa
  • 2 Nights Kosi Forest Lodge (iSimangaliso Wetland Park) | South Africa
  • 3 Nights Thonga Beach Lodge (iSimangaliso Wetland Park) | South Africa
  • (Enhance this trip with 4 Nights in Cape Town OR 4 Nights at White Pearl Resorts- (Mozambique))
Price Includes
  • Accommodation and meals as specified
  • Car Rental Group G – VWT-Cross or Similar - including super cover, unlimited km, contract fee
  • All scheduled safari activities offered by the camps
  • National Parks and conservation entry fees
  • Standard bar drinks
Price Excludes
  • International and Regional Flights
  • Entry visas
  • Gratuities
  • Drinks (except Welcome Drinks)
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Additional activities not mentioned as included in the hotel and lodges scheduled
  • Spa treatments

Day 1 - 2Durban

On arrival at King Shaka Airport, you will be met by our representative and assisted with picking up your car hire and driving yourself to your hotel in Ballito, a journey of less than half an hour to Zimbali Lodge your home for the following 2 nights.

With leaning palms, subtropical gardens, and a classy resort style, Zimbali Lodge has long lured in visitors making their way up the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal, but this is just the place to lean back and let nature soothe your soul.

Zimbali, meaning “valley of flowers” in isiZulu, perfectly captures the iconic Zimbali Coastal Resort in which the property is situated. A stay here will set you within five minutes drive from the thriving hub of Ballito, and just 20 minutes drive from King Shaka International Airport. Easy to reach, with an atmosphere that is warm and soulful.

The accommodation here hits the sweet spot between classic elegance and modernity, with architecture accentuated by warm wood and autumn tones. Private decks offer a front-row seat to the glorious surroundings — an indigenous forest brimming with butterflies and birdlife.

Aside from the elegant dining options, the eco-estate is a treasure trove of activities and needs no introduction. It’s up to you how you spend your days, but when you’re ready to venture further afield, there are traditional game parks and marine reserves to choose from, as well as glittering coastlines, estuaries, and wetlands to explore within the surrounding region.

As for that perfect day out at the beach, you’ll find one just a stone’s throw away. Secluded and pristine, this is just the place to dip your toes in the Indian Ocean.

Room Type: Superior King Room
Meal Basis: Bed and Breakfast

Day 3 - 4Kosi Forest Lodge

This morning your discovery of the Elephant Coast is in full swing as you will be driving to Kosi Forest Lodge after breakfast. A journey of about 3h25mn drive. For guests travelling in 2×4 vehicles, you will leave your vehicle in a secure parking area in the nearby town of Manguzi, where you will enjoy a 20-minute transfer to the lodge. Remember to keep a hat/cap and warm jacket out as the transfer will be in an open 4×4 vehicle.

Kosi Forest Lodge is situated in the Kosi Bay Nature Reserve. This 20-bed wilderness lodge offers the unique opportunity of exploring a pristine wetland environment by vehicle, guided canoes, and boats.

Kosi Forest Lodge has 8 thatched forest rooms, on raised wooden decks, hidden in the sand forest. The unique open-air, reed-enclosed bathrooms with the bath and shower sunk into white forest sand, have been noted by many guests as one of the highlights of their stay. Each room has an indoor shower as well to cater to the less adventurous.

On arrival, you will be shown to your forest room and given time to unpack – settle in your room and enjoy lunch. Later get ready for your afternoon activity.

The following morning wake up to the hissy noise of the birds whose homes are on the
beautiful trees surrounding the lodge. Enjoy a mouth-watering breakfast before departing for your morning activity.

One of Kosi’s highlights is the canoe trip on the Kosi Lakes. The best time for this activity is in the early morning and it lasts for approximately 2 hours. Guides escort you by canoe along the Sihadla channel where the bird life is very rewarding and the scenery peaceful and breath-taking.

You will return for a delicious lunch and a siesta before embarking on your afternoon activity.

In the afternoon you can enjoy a walk through magnificent raffia palm, the tallest in the world! Home to the palm nut vulture and Pel’s fishing owl, the area can be explored by birders at their leisure.

When you return from your afternoon activity you will have time to freshen up before coming through to enjoy a delicious meal on either the main deck or in the boma. The lodge is charming as the pathways and eating venues are lit by lanterns and create a warm atmosphere to enjoy the sounds of the night.

Room Type: Forest Room
Meal Basis: All meals, teas, and coffees, canoeing on the Kosi Lake system, walking in the raffia forest.

Day 5Forest Lodge – Thonga Beach Lodge

After your breakfast and morning activity followed by check-out activities, you will be transferred back to the pickup point at Manguzi to your car. From here you will continue south along the KwaZulu-Natal Coast to the Coastal Forest Reserve and continue along the sand road to the Coastal Cashew Factory where you will be met by a Thonga Beach Lodge representative. You will park your car at a safe place and jump in a 4 x 4 vehicle for your transfer to the lodge. Remember a hat/cap and a warm jacket for the 1hr transfer in an open 4×4 vehicle to the lodge.

On arrival, you will be welcomed with a refreshing drink and given a brief orientation of the lodge. After enjoying one of the many activities hosted at Thonga, simply relaxing on the beach or pampering in the sea spa you will have time to freshen up and enjoy a cocktail at the bar before dining under the stars.

Room Type: Forest View Room upgradeable to Ocean View or Deluxe Ocean View
Meal Basis: All meals, teas, and coffees, use of snorkelling equipment, guided walks, cultural tours, kayaking, and sundowners at Lake Sibaya and three times a week nightly turtle walks (Nov – Feb).

Day 6 - 7Exploring Thonga Beach Lodge

Thonga Beach Lodge is set on the secluded Mabibi Bay, in the heart of the iSimangaliso (formerly Greater St Lucia) Wetland Park, an internationally recognized World Heritage Site. With direct access to the pristine shores of the Maputaland coast, this lodge is the ideal place to discover one of the last unspoiled and undeveloped wilderness beaches left on the African continent.

Mabibi is a magical place of tranquil swimming bays and snorkelling reefs, coastal forests, grasslands, bushes, shimmering lakes, and exquisite sandy beaches. Its clear warm waters offer superb snorkelling and fantastic offshore SCUBA diving.

The 12 thatched en-suite eco-sensitive rooms have been carefully constructed in the coastal dune forest to ensure minimum impact on the environment and maximum guest privacy. Each room has a double vanity, indoor shower, bar fridge, air conditioning, ceiling fan, and mosquito net. Deluxe Rooms and Family Rooms have baths, and the Deluxe Rooms have outdoor showers.

Activities at Thonga Beach Lodge include SCUBA diving, open ocean experiences, kayaking and sundowners at Lake Sibaya, cultural tours, and forest walks. Whether you are a walker or a diver, take advantage of the wealth of activities that await you in this beautiful hideaway, or simply relax with a spa treatment on the beach deck.

SCUBA diving at Mabibi is phenomenal. Our professional lodge diving team can accommodate enthusiasts, from the beginner to the veteran. For those who don’t dive, we have an open ocean experience. An exciting launch through the surf in front of the lodge takes you beyond the breakers to a world of dolphins, whales, and snorkelling. The warm Indian Ocean supports a myriad of fish and marine life. Guests can sometimes swim with dolphins or whale sharks, or snorkel with manta rays and giant turtles.

In summer there are nocturnal walks and drives along the beach in search of pre-historic turtles laying their eggs. Witness the culmination of an incredible journey as giant leatherback and loggerhead turtles come ashore to lay their eggs in carefully prepared nests. Turtle tracking is offered in the evening from November to the end of February. (The laying takes place from November to January and hatchlings arrive from the end of December to the end of February.) Every precaution is taken to ensure these magnificent creatures are not disturbed during the laying process and data collected from the turtle drives is submitted to the Ezemvelo Turtle Monitoring Programme.

Room Type: Forest View Room upgradeable to Ocean View or Deluxe Ocean View
Meal Basis: All meals, teas and coffees, use of snorkelling equipment, guided walks, cultural tours, kayaking, and sundowners at Lake Sibaya and three times a week nightly turtle walks (Nov – Feb).

Day 8Thonga Beach Lodge - Durban - Going home

Today, your epic journey exploring Durban and the iSimangaliso Wetland Park comes to an end.

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast followed by check-out procedures before being transferred back to your car. Get on with the drive to Durban King Shaka International Airport where you will drop off your rental car before boarding your flight to either Johannesburg or Cape Town for onward private arrangements.

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