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KwaZulu-Natal

National parks

Our most recommended KwaZulu-Natal 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.

From Durban: Half-Day Safari Tour

2. From Durban: Half-Day Safari Tour

Your first stop is Natal Lion Park which is home to a variety of wildlife including African and Asian Elephants, Rhinos and lions. After a drive around the park you will enter the Lion’s enclosure to marvel at size and beauty of these great cats. Finally visit Tala Game Reserve, a wildlife sanctuary spanning over 3000 hectares. It features over 380 bird species and a variety of wildlife that includes Rhino, Giraffe, Kudu, Hippo and Eland in a beautiful, relaxing setting. You will then be returned to your preferred drop-off location in Durban.

From St. Lucia: iSimangaliso Sunset Safari

3. 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.

From Underberg: Sani Pass Day Tour

4. From Underberg: Sani Pass Day Tour

The Sani Pass is regarded by some as having the most spectacular views in South Africa. Originally a bridle path, it has become a ‘bucket list’ experience that is not to be missed. Walls of sandstone, cascading rivers, and hair-raising bends are just some of the highlights as your 4x4 vehicle takes you through the Barrier of Spears and into the Kingdom of Lesotho.  Visit a living Basotho village and meet its people for a true cultural experience. The highest pub in Africa welcomes you with a hearty lunch and refreshments before your journey back down the pass to Underberg. 

Sani Pass: Day Tour from Durban

5. Sani Pass: Day Tour from Durban

Beginning early at 6:00AM from the coastal city of Durban, your professional driver will collect you from your hotel in a well maintained vehicle, before you head out of the city towards the mountains. After passing the historical city of Pietermaritsburg, your tour will turn towards the Southern Drakensberg Mountain Range. For the next hour you will pass through mountains and valleys, which are dotted with small rural villages steeped in traditions. At approximately 9:00AM, you will arrive at the tiny mountain town of Underberg, which lies at the base of the Sani Pass. Here you will transfer to a comfortable 4-wheel-drive vehicle. Without a doubt, the Sani Pass is one of the most spectacular and scenic mountain passes in Africa. It lies between the Southern Drakensburg Mountains and the landlocked country of Lesotho, and your highly experienced and professional guide will take you through the South African border control. For the next 8 kilometers, the gravel road winds steeply up the pass towards the summit of the Drakensberg to the Lesotho border post. The sharp bends and panoramic mountains make this a photographer's paradise, in an area which has been described as "Southern Africa's Switzerland". Once there you will visit a local living Basotho village where you can learn about their customs and traditions. This village was originally built to care for the shepherds in the mountains, who tend flocks the year round, you may even be lucky to catch a glimpse of these tough blanket-clad men. Following this you will head towards the "highest pub in Africa" for some well earned refreshments, and perhaps even a taste of the local Maluti Beer if so inclined. Following your adventure is a gentle drive back to Durban, which will will see you at your destination at approximately 6:30PM depending on weather and traffic conditions.

From St Lucia: Cape Vidal Full-Day Snorkeling Safari

6. 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.

Underberg: Overnight Lesotho Highlands Tour

7. Underberg: Overnight Lesotho Highlands Tour

Throughout this tour, you will enjoy all that the Sani Pass has to offer, including a trip to Makhapung, which is a small Basotho village deep in the highlands of Lesotho. This is your chance to experience the Sani Pass, Lesotho highlands, Basotho cultures and a visit to the remote trading town of Mokhotlong. You will overnight at the Principal Chief of Motkhotlong’s house, which is home to the Queen Regent ‘Mants’ebo Amelia Seeiso, the first and only woman to ever rule Lesotho. The "kingdom in the sky" provides spectacular mountain scenery, and a chance to experience the simplicity of a civilization of mountain people. This is an opportunity to explore nature still little changed by man, and unspoiled by crowds of tourists.

Sani Pass and Mokhotlong in Two Days

8. Sani Pass and Mokhotlong in Two Days

Day One:  Depart from Underberg, or be collected along the route, in a 4x4 vehicle and travel via the Sani Pass, with a stop for early tea at Sani Top Chalet. Travel up Black Mountain Pass for a short walk to a vantage point to view Thabana Ntlenyana, the highest peak in Southern Africa at 3482 meters. Continue on to Mokhotlong via the stunningly beautiful Sehonghong Valley and stop at 10 Riverside for an ethnic Basotho experience, including a visit to the Ngaka, a traditional healer, and the artifact house. Afterward, go to Mokhotlong for dinner and your overnight stay. Day Two:  After breakfast, drive through Mokhotlong, which was once billed as the most remote village in the British Empire. Stop for a short walk down the main road to view the rare Spiral Aloe, the National plant of Lesotho. Travel to St James Mission to see the fascinating ceiling of their church. Drive back up the Sehonghong Valley, looking for the rare Bearded Vulture on the route. Reach Sani Top and go for lunch at the Sani Top Chalet before descending the Sani Pass back to Underberg.

Durban: Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari with Pro Zeiss Binoculars

9. Durban: Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari with Pro Zeiss Binoculars

Get up close with Africa's famous Big 5 on a safari tour of the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park. Discover the different sides of the parks with one morning and one afternoon drive during which you will be provided with the high-end Zeiss Terra ED 8x42 binoculars and multi-language guidebooks.  Start early at 5 am to catch the wildlife, especially predators, at their most active times which is dawn and dusk. Enter the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve via Nyalazi Gate and explore the Imfolozi side of the reserve on a 3.5-hour morning game drive on our Hyundai H1 vehicle. The southern sector of the reserve is typified by its flat open plains and renowned for elephant and rhino sightings. Time for a spot of lunch at Hilltop Restaurant (at own cost). Enjoy your meal while taking in the panoramic views over the reserve and put those binoculars to test. After lunch, explore the northern sector of the reserve while keeping your eyes pealed for the highly endangered African Wild Dogs and Big Cats. Spend another 3.5-hours traversing the Hluhluwe side of the reserve. Around 4 pm we will start to make our way back to Durban. Your safari tour is in a Hyundai H1 Vehicle. This is not an open safari vehicle. It is a luxury van with large windows. The windows open wide enough for you to take pictures using amateur and professional cameras. All travelers will have access to our high-end Zeiss Terra ED 8x42 binoculars and multilingual safari guide book, available in English, German & French. 

Durban: Hluhluwe Imfolozi Safari & iSimangaliso Tour

10. Durban: Hluhluwe Imfolozi Safari & iSimangaliso Tour

Previously known as the Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park, iSimangaliso Wetlands Park was declared South Africa's first Natural World Heritage Site (UNESCO), and is considered South Africa's third-largest park with 280 kilometers of near-pristine coastline and 328,000 hectares of magnificent scenery. The protected area is home to one of the largest populations of hippopotami in SA, an estimated 1,000 crocodiles and a wealth of plant, bird and animal life. Animals in the park include lions, African elephants, leopards, black and southern white rhino, and buffalo. In the ocean, there are whales, dolphins, and marine turtles, including the leatherback and loggerhead turtle. After the boat tour, travel to the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve. Your experienced guide will show you around the park in a closed vehicle in search of the diverse wildlife and Africa's Big 5, which include the lion, elephant, leopard, buffalo, and rhinoceros. The reserve is set in the heart of Zululand, where these amazing animals roam the flourishing savannah. Established in 1895, this is the oldest park in South Africa and is 98,000 hectares in size. 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 varied. 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 park. Today, the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park is world-renowned for its white rhino conservation efforts and its Centenary Capture Center which is setting improved standards for game capture and sustainable utilization in Africa. Your guide will stop at Hilltop Camp restaurant 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. Afterwards, you will continue with your safari before leaving the park for Durban.

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What people are saying about KwaZulu-Natal

Overall rating

4.9 / 5

based on 19 reviews

An excellent day out - our guide Spi was great - he shared a lot of information with us and was an excellent host who really took great care of us, and esp our two children. The game viewing was great, the snorkelling very good but certainly it was all made better by an excellent guide, Spi.

I was really lucky to see so many animals thanks to my guide. Several families of elephants arriving in the park. It was Elephant Day! Morning in the savannah and end of the day in the estuary with hippos and crocodiles. Great ! Thanks f.

Ride on the Sanipass in persistent rain. From 2300 m transition to snowfall. On arrival at the pass about 15 cm of snow. Unfortunately no view on the pass, below the clouds imposing topography.

Great experience. Many animals and a top guide with lots of interesting anecdotes!

I actually didn't go. i had to cancel. I'm sure that it would have been great!