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.
The maximum participants in the group is 16.
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.
"I left most of the arrangements in the hands of my agent at Bench who managed to put together a comprehensive itinerary which ensured we saw the maximum amount of animals in the wild, as well as staying at varied and interesting safari camps and hotels. The trip lasted a month and included stop-overs in Johannesburg, Victoria Falls, and lengthy stays in Botswana and Tanzania (including 6 days in Zanzibar - an add on that we organised for extra relaxation and deep sea fishing). It was a trip of a lifetime and I highly recommend Bench and our agent, Stephanie!"
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"Going to Africa for the first time can be a little daunting. Though Bench were so easy to deal with and happy to answer all of the silly little questions. We were always kept well informed throughout the whole process - the flights that would work out best for us, when to expect documents etc etc. "
"The whole trip came together magically.. We stayed in a great range of accommodation and loved how we were able to see what the different star ratings had to offer. "
"Camp Jabulani: such a great start to the trip! the food, rangers, accommodation, can not fault a thing! All staff were so welcoming and attentive, such an amazing experience."
"Nungu Camp: Really good feel to the camp, loved how we were able to sit around the fire every night and socialise. Ruan and Tina were such an asset to the camp, the food they cooked was amazing! The accommodation was very basic, rondavels were roomy and beds were comfortable though lots of insects around. Showers had good pressure, though once again lots of insects."
"Makutsi Safari Springs: The rondavels were very comfortable and lots of space. Love how they were able to do our washing at such a good price. Great areas for socialising and viewing. Food was perfect! Loved how they cooked traditional South African food. Most staff were friendly."
"Shumbalala: Amazing!! Such a personal experience. Love how the décor had a ‘safari’ feel to it. Love how they can prepare an amazing meal at the drop of a hat. Dinner experience was so special and one to never forget. "
"Game Lodge: Rooms were just gorgeous, the best décor yet. It had a massive balcony and a great bath with a view. Food was incredible and the staff were very accommodation. "
"The Palace Sun City: Huge variety of things to do here to keep the family entertained, also lots for those who want to get away from it all and have couple time. Love the man-made beach, adults only pool area, children’s pools, spa’s and wide variety of activities. Lots of choices of restaurants. Rooms had lots of space, very clean and comfortable and had amazing beds!"
"Bench made the experience what it was, Lara was the perfect host and I felt like I was travelling with a friend! This makes a trip go from amazing to absolutely perfect!!"
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"Bench Africa was absolutely amazing. Travelled to South Africa in early March. I would recommend any type of traveller to Bench. Very professional and nothing was ever an issue. All guides and trackers were very experienced and professional and made the game drives an experience i'll never forget. Lodges were all very professional and could not fault anything about it. Thank you for making my Africa trip the holiday i have ever been on. I will be back!"
Trust Pilot , edited
"All the arrangements made by Hanna from Bench Africa worked out perfectly. All the airline tickets and transfers went very smoothly. Our 3-night stay at Honeyguide Khoka Moya Tent Camp in Manyeleti Game Reserve was the highlight. The staff at the camp were warm and friendly, especially our safari guides, Leyton and Phillip. The kids had a great time and we observed plenty of wildlife. We also had a great time in Victoria Falls when we stayed at Victoria Falls Safari Suites Lodge. The accommodation was perfect for a family of four and the staff were excellent. The people of South Africa and Zimbabwe that we met on our trip could not have been more attentive and friendly. We are talking about returning to see more of Africa on our next family holiday."
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"We recently completed a bench tour in Namibia. Our tour guide was Toni Hart and we had a great time. We knew little about Namibia from our holiday and had been urged to visit Namibia from my work. It was a truly fascinating trip with a touch of pioneering adventure. Our guide, Toni, was remarkable, driving long distances sharing an incredible amount of knowledge and personal information about Namibia and South Africa. Our bush camps were wonderfully remote, quiet, and spectacular. The food was also exceptional, comparable to the best restaurants in the city. Our trip was altered as we traveled to take advantage of the weather and our physical condition. We were introduced to the locals, giving us greater understanding of the life before European habitation. Thank you to Bench Africa and to Toni for a wonderful and exciting time together."
Trustpilot website, edited
"I used Bench Africa for my trip in September 2016 to Rwanda to see the mountain gorillas and found it truly amazing. The gorilla group I requested to my guide is well-managed. I am planning to go back to Africa next year to visit Uganda, Tanzania, Morocco, and perhaps Egypt if it is safe and will be using Bench Africa again. "
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