Discover this region’s natural and cultural history in a way you’ve not experienced before. This 7-day tour is designed to cover the best that KwaZulu-Natal has to offer. You will be spell-bounded by the gifted story-telling of the Battlefields and re-live the legendary battles on the sites where Zulus, Boers, and British fought it out at Isandlwana, Rorke’s Drift, and Spioenkop. It is a tour that brings together the magnificent scenery, historical, cultural, and natural heritage of this province.
You will stay for 2 nights at Champagne Castle Hotel, 2 nights at Rorke’s Drift Hotel, and 2 nights at Falaza Game Lodge and Spa in a twin share-based room. Solo traveler and extra night prices are available on request.
Champagne Castle Hotel is nestled below the second highest peak in South Africa. It is part of the main escarpment within the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg mountain range, the highest mountain range in South Africa. Due to its diversity of plant, bird and insect life, and the richest collection of San rock paintings in Africa, it has been declared a Mixed World Heritage Site.
For visual impact, recreational variety, and luxurious splendor, Champagne Castle Hotel is pretty close to being an ultimate experience. Your stay will be characterized by the proximity you gain to the most dramatic and immediate views of the Drakensberg Escarpment and the ‘Barrier of Spears’. Whether you walk or hike, trout fish or horse ride, play golf or tennis, swim or bowl, everything here has been configured to embrace this unparalleled setting.
The views from the hotel are spectacular and full of interest. Gentle walks or hikes in the natural bush surroundings will revive and stimulate your inner self. The wagon drift that gives the area its name is within the grounds, and of course there is the Battlefield, just 5 minutes or a short walk away, where 11 Victoria Crosses were awarded. The dramatic field of Isandlwana that was fought on the same day is just a 20-minute drive, and the poignant memorial at Fugitive’s Drift is 15 minutes downstream.
Privately owned, Falaza Game Park and Spa offers luxury tented accommodation and an array of authentic bush experiences in a lush indigenous setting. Luxury tented accommodation provides true safari ambiance, with every comfort catered for, including spacious dressing rooms, en-suite bathrooms, and private sundecks. All tents are equipped with modern amenities, including fans, hairdryer, tea and coffee making facilities, while heaters and additional blankets are available on request for the chillier months.
You will depart the cosmopolitan city of Durban and travel inland to Pietermaritzburg, the administrative capital of the KwaZulu-Natal Province. Pietermaritzburg, set amidst the forested hills and the rolling countryside of the Natal-Midlands, is one of the best-preserved Victorian cities in the world. You can enjoy a brief city tour, including drives past Publicity House which is located opposite one of South Africa’s best galleries, The Tatham Art Gallery.
You can stop outside the legislative building which typifies the colonial heritage of the past era, or visit the glorious Saint Peter’s Cathedral and the charming lanes and byways of South Africa’s largest pedestrianized heritage retail area, the Church Street Mall. In savoring the uniqueness of this area, you can take from the significance of this high character city and its captivating past.
You will then continue the journey through the midlands to Howick and the site where late former president, Nelson Mandela, was captured on August 5, 1962. The Natal Midlands is a beautiful region filled with stretches of farmland, charming little towns, a wonderful arts and crafts route, and picturesque scenery bordering on the sublime. After your journey, you will check into the hotel and enjoy some time at leisure before enjoying dinner and overnight stay at Champagne Castle Hotel.
Today is dedicated to enjoy the magnificent scenery of Drakensberg and discover the cultural significance of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park. These mountains once offered shelter to the San people for thousands years before being exterminated in clashes with the Zulus and white settlers. All they left behind was their story painted in the rock, in the shelters, the story of sacred animals and journeys to the spirit world.
At Giant’s Castle, you will enjoy a 45-minute walk to the main caves for a short tour and interpretation of the paintings and artifacts on display in the museum. After the San experience, you will spend the remainder of the afternoon enjoying the facilities at the hotel, including tennis courts, an animal farm, aviary, hiking trails, bowling green, swimming pool, and so much more. You will enjoy dinner and stay overnight at the hotel.
You will enjoy a delicious breakfast followed by check-out formalities in the hotel. You will then make your way to the summit of Spioenkop Mountain. Your guide shall recount and bring to life the Anglo-Boer 9-day battle in January 1900, the third and bloodiest attempt by the British to relieve Ladysmith.
You will continue your journey to the town of Ladysmith, a town which made world headlines at the end of the 19th century, when it was besieged for 118 days during the most crucial stage of the Anglo-Boer War. Its historic heritage gives many fascinating sites to discover. You will visit the Seige Museum where a diorama excellently depicts Ladysmith and its surrounding hills at the time of the Siege. Artefacts, documents, uniforms, firearms, etc are on display.
You will travel via Dundee to your accommodation which is located in at the heart of the battle sites between the Zulus and the British. You wil then enjoy your dinner and stay overnight at Rorke’s Drift Hotel.
Today, you will explore the most famous Battlefields in KwaZulu-Natal. Your guide shall recount the Anglo Zulu War battle of Isandlwana, where 20,000 Zulu warriors wiped out almost an entire British regiment and their firepower within 2.5 hours. You will visit Rorke’s Drift Mission where British soldiers fought off 4,000 Zulus for 12 hours. After the exploration, you will return to the hotel for dinner and stay overnight.
After an early breakfast, you will travel across the various battle sites of KwaZulu-Natal to Hluhluwe, where you will complete your Kwazulu-Natal discovery with an African safari experience.
Depending on your time of arrival, you will enjoy the lunch followed by an afternoon open vehicle game drive which yields exciting game viewing opportunities. The highly qualified rangers who have a wide knowledge of the rich bird, animal life, the indigenous trees, and plants of the region will guide you during the safari. You will then return to the Falaza Game Lodge & Spa for dinner and overnight stay.
You will start the day with an early morning game drive when the animals are at their busiest, before the harsh African sun beats down and they take shelter from the sweltering heat in shady areas. After that, you will return to the lodge for breakfast and spend the remainder of the day at leisure.
You can enjoy the facilities of the lodge, including the well-equipped spa on the reserve (treatments are at an extra cost and subject to availability). You will end the day with an afternoon open vehicle game drive before enjoying dinner.
You will embark on a final game drive followed by breakfast and check-out formalities in the hotel. You will then travel by the elephant to Durban, where the tour will end. Arriving in Durban, you will be drop off at King Shaka International Airport (DUR) for your onward flight arrangements.
This safari will take place in Winterton, Rorke's Drift, Hluhluwe in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. South Africa is a nation bursting at the seams with wildlife, stunning scenery, a vibrant culture, and plenty of adventure.
6 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 6 dinners will be served for you during the safari. Most lodges and safari camps have restaurants and licensed bars, and the food offered ranges from good basic meals to gourmet style. The standard of food in lodges and camps is generally very good.
It is possible to get vegetarian and most other food preferences in Southern and East Africa. If you have any special dietary requirements, let Bench Africa know in advance to cater for you. As a rule, do not eat anything purchased at the side of the road and wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly before eating. Most water in major hotels and lodges in South Africa is safe to drink, but in other regions, bottled or mineral water is recommended.