Kwa  Zulu

Kwa Zulu Safari

With the warm, coral-fringed Indian Ocean lapping at its eastern border and the mighty Drakensberg mountains guarding its western flank, a KwaZulu safari.

You can add a visit after your kwa Zulu safari to the The Drakensberg.

It goes by the older, very apt name uKahlamba, which means “Barrier of Spears”.

Bright green and lush in summer, and brown and snow-capped in winter, it offers a dramatic face in any season. It’s a great place to walk, ride a pony, glide, paraglide, or take an escorted trip to the summit.

You will also find a good selection of golf courses and trout-stocked streams and dams. These lovely mountains extend into the Eastern Cape

to the south and, nestling in their shadow, is the lovely, rather wild, East Griqualand.

Between the Drakensberg and the sea are the Midlands beautiful, mist-covered, rolling green hills sheltering cute villages, cozy pubs, creative studios and lots of lovely restaurants and coffee shops.

And just north of the Tugela River is the kingdom of Zululand the KwaZulu part of the double-barrelled name.

It was here that this proud and rather fierce nation fought so valiantly against British and Boer colonialism.

You can spend days or even weeks exploring the sites of historical battles, museums and monuments.

MAPUTALAND – SOUTH AFRICA

Bounded by Swaziland and Zululand in the west and Mozambique to the north, Maputaland is KwaZulu-Natal’s northern-most region is a largely flat area of game parks, wetlands and marine reserves.

Sparsely populated, this region is one of the most unspoilt areas of the province, and a region where the wonders of the African bush can be experienced first-hand.

‘Maputaland’ comes from the Maputo River that flows through the area.

The area was originally under water and has risen only slightly above sea level with the result that the rivers dawdle and meander on their way to the sea and there are a large number of freshwater and brackish lakes and pans.

The many small lakes that form are home to many species of fish, water birds, crocodiles and hippo.

The local inhabitants have developed ingenious traps across the lakes to trap the fish.

This wild and unspoilt region comprises of the following Reserves:

Sodwana Bay Coastal Reserve is a scuba diver’s delight, with its many coral reefs and abundant sea-life.

The Tembe Elephant Park to the North, contains the last wild elephants in KwaZulu-Natal. There are also buffaloes, rhinos, hippos and leopards in the park.

The Greater St. Lucia Wetlands Park, the jewel in the Maputaland crown, has gained international recognition for it’s ecotourism practices and is a world famous tourist destination.

Kosi Bay Nature Reserve, situated at the mouth of the Kosi River, consists of many lakes, lagoons, mangrove swamps, palm forests and dunes. To protect the highly sensitive ecosystem, the number of visitors is limited and can only be accessed by four-wheel drive.

Ndumu Game Reserve is a 10,000 hectare game reserve on the border to Mozambique. More than 400 bird species, white and black rhino, hippo, crocodile and many antelope species can be found in the Reserve.

The False Bay Nature Reserve, situated on the western shores of Lake St Lucia, is home to an impressive sand forest – one of the most threatened vegetation types in South Africa, and host to a number of rare trees, shrubs and climbers.

Please note that Maputaland is a malaria area. It is advised to take malaria prophylaxis.

GREATER ST LUCIA WETLAND PARK – SOUTH AFRICA

The Greater St. Lucia Wetland area, Africa’s oldest nature reserve and a World Heritage Site is the largest estuarine system in Africa. The area embraces five ecosystems: Marine, Eastern Shores, St. Lucia Lake, Mkuze Swamps and Western Shores. This diversity offers the nature lover a rich variety of outdoor and wildlife experiences.

800 hippos
1200 Nile crocodiles
400 species of birds including 40 000 flamingos
Wilderness trails
Elephants, rhinos, coelacanths and whales coexisting within a few miles of each other.
100 miles of unspoilt coastline
Ancient swamp forests
109 species of reptiles
The big five mammals
Five species of turtles
Zulu cultural groups
2000 plant species
The world’s highest density of the black rhinoceros

65 kms long and 21 kms wide, with its lakes, lagoons, freshwater swamps, and grasslands, St. Lucia supports more species of animal than the better-known Kruger National Park and the Okavango Delta, although these areas are much larger.

Although rich in bird and wildlife, for centuries, people have also come to the St. Lucia Estuary for the food and materials that it and the surrounding wetlands offer. To this day, thousands of Zulus harvest ncema grass each spring, which they use to make sleeping and sitting mats.

SODWANA BAY – SOUTH AFRICA

Phinda is situated just 30km/19 miles due west of the white-fringed beaches of the Indian Ocean – approximately an hour’s drive. Renowned for its scuba diving, snorkelling and sport fishing, the coastal park of Sodwana Bay rivals the waters of the Great Barrier Reef.

Spectacular scuba diving and snorkelling
Only tropical dive site in South Africa
Beach drives
Deep sea game fishing
Marlin, whale shark, sailfish, dolphins and manta rays
Five species of turtles

Scuba Diving at Sodwana Bay

Sodwana Bay has gained international recognition as being a top dive and snorkelling site due to the variety of coral reefs, excellent visibility and phenomenal sea life.

More than 1200 species of fish are found at Sodwana Bay and is abundant on and around the various reefs of hard corals, pinnacles, buttresses, caves and blowholes.

The average visibility is 12m, but can get as good as 40m as there are no rivers running into the sea in this area, which usually bring all sorts of pollutants.

The diving is good all year round. In summer the water temperature can reach 29° C, and the lowest is a mild 20° C. Many reefs are found at 18 meters or less, allowing for excellent snorkeling.

Turtle Viewing

Sodwana also has five species of resident Turtles that regularly frequent the shores. Two of which, the Loggerhead and the Leatherback visit every year during the months of November through to March, to lay their eggs.

It is a privilege to witness these creatures coming ashore in their droves to nest, and an even more incredible sight to then to watch the eggs hatch and their off-spring struggling to survive in a world full of hungry predators.

There are only a few of these sites in the world and Maputaland boasts the longest running protection programs for turtles in the world.

Fishing
Ski-boaters and shore anglers have the opportunity to catch a number of different game fish; barracuda, yellowfin tuna and kingfish to name a few. Fishing competitions are held regularly. Sodwana has produced record billfish and sailfish. Please note that Phinda supports catch and release procedures for deep-sea fishing

HLUHLUWE – UMFOLOZI GAME PARK – SOUTH AFRICA

The Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park is one of the oldest and most prestigious of the South African game parks. Located 280km north of Durban, this 960km² wilderness has a warm and moist climate. Credited with bringing the white rhino from the brink of extinction to flourishing numbers, it is also home to the Big Five.

Sanctuary for the black and white rhino
The Big Five
Breathtaking scenery and viewing points
Over 350 species of birds
Game-drives, self drives, guided walks and self walks

 

The Umfolozi and Hluhluwe reserves were joined in 1989 and cover a vast and interestingly diverse landscape, consisting mainly of steep wooded hills, grass covered slopes and riverine woodland along the many rivers and streams. It is also known as one of the sanctuaries of the black rhino and has the world’s largest population of white rhino.

Game viewing

Hluhluwe – Umfolozi is home to 1,600 white rhino and 370 black rhino – an impressive number which means you are very likely to see one or both species.

It also contains the rest of the Big Five; buffalo, elephant, lion and leopard, as well as many other species including blue wildebeest, zebra, giraffe waterbuck, nyala, kudu, bushbuck, warthog, cheetah, hyena and jackal plus about 24,000 impala. You may have some close encounters with elephants as they often cross or block the road right in front of your vehicle.

Birdwatching

Over 400 species of birds have been recorded in the Park. The variety of bushveld and woodland birding found in Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park, combined with the natural wonders of the Lake St Lucia system and it’s central position to the rest of the Zululand Birding Route make this an excellent area for birdwatchers.

Other activities
There is a 40-seater boat on the Hluhluwe dam which takes visitors on daily guided trips. An experienced community guide conducts the trips and visitors can see an excellent range of birds and animals. Wilderness trails also offer the ultimate wildlife experience and Zulu culture can be observed in the community areas outside the Park.

ZULULAND – SOUTH AFRICA

A noble culture, magnificent wildlife and beautiful scenery is indicative of this fascinating region. Zululand is situated northwest of KwaZulu-Natal, one of the nine provinces of South Africa.

Fascinating Zulu culture
Shakaland – traditional zulu village
Ancient battlefields
Excellent wildlife viewing
Zululand birding route

 

Rich in symbolism and tradition, Zululand is the heartbeat of Africa. It was here that the King of the Zulus, Shaka forged his Zulu Kingdom, and the last battle of the Anglo-Zulu war was fought near Ulundi in 1879. Zulu kraals or villages in the region display the traditional Zulu way of life to visitors.

There are several exciting traditional Zulu villages open to the public, Shakaland and Duma Zulu amongst them. Shakaland, for example, is built on the site of Shaka’s original kraal and was the location for the filming of the movie ‘Shaka Zulu’.

The village introduces the visitor to Zulu history, culture, medicine and beer, and the traditional dancing is a show for all ages.

Zululand is also home to an astonishing variety of wild game. The many game reserves, parks and farms in the region are dedicated to the conservation and heritage if wildlife preservation.

With 600 species recorded, the Zululand Birding Route is southern Africa’s birding diversity hotspot! A network of 14 self-drive routes offer a range of great birding localities that will thrill the most seasoned birder.

Phinda is situated in the heart of Zululand, and a mere 30 minutes drive from most of the attractions in this fascinating region.

With the warm, coral-fringed Indian Ocean lapping at its eastern border and the mighty Drakensberg mountains guarding its western flank, KwaZulu-Natal seems to have it all.

The Drakensberg goes by the older, very apt name uKahlamba, which means “Barrier of Spears”. Bright green and lush in summer, and brown and snow-capped in winter, it offers a dramatic face in any season. It’s a great place to walk, ride a pony, glide, paraglide, or take an escorted trip to the summit.

You will also find a good selection of golf courses and trout-stocked streams and dams. These lovely mountains extend into the Eastern Cape to the south and, nestling in their shadow, is the lovely, rather wild, East Griqualand.

Between the Drakensberg and the sea are the Midlands beautiful, mist-covered, rolling green hills sheltering cute villages, cozy pubs, creative studios and lots of lovely restaurants and coffee shops.

And just north of the Tugela River is the kingdom of Zululand the KwaZulu part of the double-barrelled name. It was here that this proud and rather fierce nation fought so valiantly against British and Boer colonialism.

You can spend days or even weeks exploring the sites of historical battles, museums and monuments. Zululand’s two rivers offer fantastic white water rafting in summer.

This is, obviously, a great place to learn about Zulu culture. There are a number of cultural villages and, of course, a whole lot of Zulu people who just live here. Right in the north is the Tembe Elephant Park, which is home to large herds of these huge and lovely animals, as well as many others. For a sneak preview, check out the webcam.

A major attraction of the region is the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve – a fantastic big five reserve with absolutely loads of white and black rhinos.

In fact it was this reserve (which was then two separate reserves), which was solely responsible for bringing the white rhino back from the brink of extinction. Seriously – a few decades ago we were a hair’s breadth away from never seeing a white rhino.

This reserve also pioneered the big game area walking safaris, which are now so popular here and elsewhere in South Africa.

Although the bush, wildlife and mountains are major attractions, KwaZulu-Natal is really about the beach. Right in the north the coast of Maputaland is beautiful and lush, with high, forested dunes, seasonally inundated wetlands and beautiful coastal lakes.

Major attractions here are the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, the diving at Sodwana Bay, and Phinda Resource Reserve. For a really fun day out, try paddling on Lake St Lucia or Lake Bhangazi, among some very shy hippos and crocs.

Between Maputaland and Durban is the North Coast, also known as the Dolphin Coast. The surf is great, there are fantastic golf courses, and the beaches alternate between highly developed with every possible facility and long and deserted. Willard Beach in Ballito is a Blue Flag beach, one of only a handful outside Europe.

Durban

Durban is the main city and it is a truly bustling, typical seaport. It also has some fantastic surfing right on its doorstep good diving close by and some great shopping and arts and crafts. And for beach lovers South Beach is another Blue Flag Beach.

If Johannesburg has a business culture and Cape Town has a culture culture, Durban has a beach culture. Even the high-rise offices look out over the Indian Ocean, and busy executives hang up their suits and ties, slip into shorts, and jog along the beachfront at lunchtime. Many keep a surfboard in their cars and catch a quick wave before or after work (or both).

The Durban beachfront is a cultural experience. Here you will find holidaying families, young surfer brats (grommets), Indian ladies elegantly walking the sand in flowing silken saris, beaded traditional healers collecting bottles of seawater to use as muti (medicine) and young girls strutting their stuff in the skimpiest of bikinis. Somehow it all works in one, pretty weird, decidedly heterogeneous whole.

The sea really does play an important part – there are two yacht clubs and one very big commercial harbour. The Bat Centre, Durban’s most interesting cultural venue, overlooks the small boat harbour where stubby-nosed tugs come to rest after a hard morning pushing tankers around. You can also lunch virtually in the shadow of huge container ships and cruise liners as they enter the harbour through the narrow entrance in front of the Bluff.

Shopping is a special experience in Durban – the eastern influence of the enormous Indian population adds a touch of spice, literally and figuratively.

You can explore the Indian Market or just wander down Grey Street, where you’ll find all kinds of interesting little shops. At the beachfront itself, you will find wonderful examples of traditional beadwork and basketry for sale at incredibly low prices.

For something more upmarket, and very interesting, you just have to see the Gateway Shopping Centre. It’s so much more than your average mall. It has a climbing wall and an enormous artificial standing wave – the first artificial double-point break in the world.

Of course, Durban is really about surfing . Another fun thing to do is to paddle out on a sea kayak, or even do a short, gentle white water trip on the nearby Umgeni River. Some of the hardest climbs in South Africa are at the Wave Cave at nearby Shongweni, and there are some fun bolted routes in the Kloof Gorge.

The diving just south of the city is great. In winter and early spring, migratory ragged tooth sharks (Carcharias tauras) are in residence at Aliwal Shoal, and can be visited on a specially organised dive. But there are also a lot of coral-encrusted rock reefs with pretty tropical fish for the less intrepid. For the hardcore diver, Protea Banks is a must.

On the South Coast youll find lots and lots of lovely beaches, with another Blue Flag one at Margate.

There are more golf courses than you could shake a stick (or a club) at, and the nearby Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve offers lovely scenery and small game.

This is a favorite family holiday destination and the long, lovely beaches offer every imaginable facility.

Try Margate for all the facilities associated with Blue Flag Beaches. This is the southern limit of the Mozambique Current and the diving is fantastic, with lots of colorful tropical fish on rocky reefs. In winter and early spring, migratory ragged tooth sharks are in residence.

Although there are many easier and more accessible dive sites, Protea Banks, off Margate, is one of the best dive sites in the world for large pelagics, including big game fish and many species of shark. Not for beginners, though.

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