Bush, Beach, Lakes & Zulu History – 10 Nights
NOTE – This is a suggested itinerary.
Days at Kosi and Thonga can be swopped around.
Please consult reservations for confirmation
DAYS 1-3: Rhino Post Safari Lodge Kruger National Park
Self Drive: Drive from Johannesburg to Rhino Walking Safaris (6hrs)
Guided Road Transfer: Pick up from KMIA by transfer company and drive to Rhino Walking Safaris (2.5hrs)
Rhino Walking Safaris is situated on a 12,000-hectare private concession in the Kruger National Park. It is approximately 10km northeast of Skukuza Rest Camp. The concession shares a 15km boundary with Mala Mala in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve, with game moving freely between the two reserves and comprises of environmentally sensitive areas, previously unexplored, with a huge diversity of both fauna and flora.
Rhino Post Safari Lodge is built on the banks of the dry Mutlumuvi riverbed using natural materials of stone, wood, thatch & canvas. Stilts raise the 8 spaciously appointed suites along the riverbank, allowing views of the Mutlumuvi riverbed from your bedroom, bathroom and private deck. The suites are set out in an open plan style with wooden floors, thatched roofs, canvas walls and glass fronted doors and windows. Each en suite bathroom includes a deep, freestanding bath, ‘his & hers’ basins, a separate toilet and an outdoor shower surrounded by thick reed poles.
The raised walkways linking the spacious rooms to the main area, allows wildlife to walk through underneath, undisturbed by mankind.
After settling into the suite, high tea will be served down at the lounge overlooking the water hole, before departing for an afternoon/evening game drive.
Game drive safaris at Rhino Post are conducted in specially adapted open Landcruisers, with professional guides. In addition to the private wilderness concession, they make use of the Kruger Public Roads. The Kruger National Park has strict gate closing times (before sunset) for their rest camps and access gates. Rhino Walking Safaris, however is allowed to utilise certain public roads for night drives well after gate closing times. At sunset the game drive will stop for sundowner drinks while watching an African sunset, before continuing on into the night, spotting nocturnal animals. Return to the lodge in time to freshen up, enjoy a drink before a sumptuous dinner on the deck or in the riverbed, as you recount the day’s events, all the while accompanied by the night sounds of the bush.
After an early morning wake-up and an invigorating cup of fresh coffee or tea with muffins in our lounge, you will set off for your morning game drive. Midway through the morning you will stop in the bush for coffee/tea/fruit juice before continuing to look for Africa’s finest wildlife. Upon returning to the lodge, enjoy a leisurely brunch. There is plenty of time afterwards to relax around the pool which overlooks the water hole, catch up on some sleep, or read some books.
DAY 4: Reilly’s Rock Guesthouse Swaziland
Self Drive: Drive from Rhino Post Safari Lodge to Reilly’s Rock (4-5hrs)
Guided Road Transfer: Pick up from Rhino Post Safari Lodge for transfer through the Kruger National Park to Reilly’s Rock (4-5hrs)
Reilly’s Rock is a historic, homestead situated on Milwane Hill within the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, close to Mbabane. It occupies a commanding position high above the Ezulwini Valley from where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the valley and the herds of wildebeest, impala, zebra and blesbuck on the Plains.
The original stone house has 6 rooms and was built at the turn of the century in true colonial style and has a unique combination of stone and hardwood. The gardens offer restful, secluded spots for relaxing or quite reading.
It is the ideal place to break your journey and catch your breath, as you travel from the Kruger National Park to Thonga.
DAYS 5 & 6: Thonga Beach Lodge Isimangaliso Wetland Park
Travelling: Depart Reilly’s Rock for Thonga Beach Lodge
Self Drive: Drive from Reilly’s Rock to Thonga Beach Lodge (4hrs). Non 4 x 4 vehicles can be parked at the Coastal Cashew Factory and a pick up to the lodge occurs at 12:00 and 15:00. 4 x 4 vehicles can drive all the way through to the lodge.
Guided Road Transfer: Pick up from Reilly’s Rock, drive through the rest of Swaziland to Thonga Beach Lodge (4hrs).
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 onto the pristine shores of the Maputaland coast, this luxury lodge is the ideal place to discover one of the last unspoilt and undeveloped wilderness beaches left on the African continent. Mabibi is a magical place of tranquil swimming bays and snorkelling reefs, coastal forests, grasslands, bush, shimmering lakes and exquisite sandy beaches. Its crystal clear, warm waters offer superb snorkelling and fantastic offshore scuba diving.
There are no other developments within a 50km section of this pristine wilderness beach. It is 25 km North of Sodwana Bay and is the first private concession to have been granted by the Isimangaliso Wetland Park Authority. The swimming pool and central lodge area are 25m from the beach. Lake Sibaya (Southern Africa’s largest natural freshwater lake) is 9km from the lodge.
The 12 suites are Robinson Crusoe-chic! Thatched en-suite rooms have been carefully constructed in the coastal dune forest to ensure minimum impact on the environment and maximum guest privacy. Each room has adouble vanity, stone bath, indoor/outdoor shower, bar fridge, air-conditioning, ceiling fan & mosquito net.
Activities at Thonga Beach Lodge include scuba diving, Open Ocean experiences, kayaking and sundowners at Lake Sibaya, guided snorkelling, seasonal turtle drives/walks, Tsonga 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 by the swimming pool.
Scuba diving at Mabibi is phenomenal. The coral reefs along this protected stretch of coastline are home to several species of tropical fish, including Blue Surgeons, Moorish Idols and Parrotfish. Our professional lodge diving team accommodates all 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. You 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 end-January (for the laying season) and until the end of February (for the hatchlings). Every precaution is taken to ensure these magnificent creatures are not disturbed during the laying process. There is no limit to the number of guests that can participate in Turtle walks however Turtle drives are limited to a maximum of 10 guests a night.
In the afternoon spoil yourself at the Sea Spa, which offers a wealth of seaweed rejuvenation treatments, facials, massages, hot stone therapy and reflexology. Alternatively take a walk on the beach, or enjoy afternoon tea before departing on a drive to the inland freshwater lake, Lake Sibaya. Watch the sun go down, look for hippos and crocs, whilst enjoying an early evening drink.
DAYS 7 & 8: Kosi Forest Lodge Kosi Bay Nature Reserve
Travelling: After breakfast depart for Kosi Forest Lodge.
Self Drive: Drive from Thonga Beach Lodge to Kosi Forest Lodge. Non 4 x 4 vehicles can collect their car from the Cashew Factory (1hr drive), then 1/2hr drive to Manguzi where their vehicles can be parked at the Total Service Station. From here there is a 12:00 and 16:00 pick up to the lodge (25mins)
Guided Road Transfer: Interlodge transfer from Thonga Beach Lodge to Kosi Forest Lodge (1.5hrs)
Kosi Forest Lodge is situated in the Kosi Bay Nature Reserve. This 16-bed wilderness lodge offers the unique opportunity of exploring a pristine wetland environment by vehicle, guided canoes and boats.
The highlight of many a stay at Kosi Forest Lodge is the canoe trip on the Kosi Lakes. These take place early morning or late afternoon and go for approximately 2hours. Guides escort you by canoe along the Sihadla channel where the bird life is very rewarding and the scenery peaceful and breathtaking. Alternatively there are walks through magnificent Raffia Palms – the tallest in the world! Home to the Palm Nut Vulture and Pel’s Fishing Owl, the area can be explored by keen birders at their leisure. No experience is required.
The Kosi Lakes are a series of interconnected lakes which stretch over some 18km. The best way to see the system is by boat. These full day excursions leave shortly after breakfast and travel through the lake system and estuarine waterways, stopping to see the famous Kosi Bay fish traps. A picnic lunch is served shortly after and then onto the secluded Banga Nek beach for a swim in the sea amongst beautiful coral reefs.
There are also optional day trips to Kosi Bay Mouth where the lakes meet the sea. The water is warm and almost always crystal clear. Snorkelling is great, with plenty of fish all year round and we provide equipment. Enjoy swimming in the Indian Ocean and soaking up the sun along this beautiful stretch of pristine beach, followed by a scrumptious picnic lunch. Tembe Elephant Park is only an hour’s drive away and is now home to the Big 5. Alternatively, explore the splendour of the lakes and beach on horseback. From mid November to mid January turtle walks are offered nightly. Giant Leatherback and Loggerhead turtles make their way home to next each year, having swum the length of the continent in a return journey to where they were born.
Kosi Forest Lodge guests are accommodated in thatched bedrooms, on raised wooden decks, hidden in the sand forest. There is no electricity, but that’s part of the charm! All beds have mosquito nets. Our unique open-air, reed enclosed bathrooms with the bath and shower sunk into white forest sand outside, are one of our unique features.
DAYS 9 & 10: Isibindi Zulu Lodge Anglo Zulu Battlefields, Rorke’s Drift
Travelling: After breakfast depart for Isibindi Zulu Lodge.
Self Drive: Drive from Kosi Forest Lodge to Isibindi Zulu Lodge. Non 4 x 4 vehicles can collect their car from the Total Service Station (25mins drive), then onto Isibindi Zulu Lodge (5hrs). This drive can be taken through the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve, however this might add several hours to the whole trip, making it a full day excursion.
Guided Road Transfer: Interlodge transfer from Kosi Forest Lodge to Isibindi Zulu Lodge (5hrs) with possible drive through Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve, time permitting.
Isibindi Zulu Lodge: iSibindi Zulu Lodge is situated within the 4,000 acre Isibindi Eco-Reserve which offers diverse habitats ranging from montane grassland and valley thornveld to riverine forests. The reserve is home to abundant indigenous game. Morning and evening game drives are offered and there is excellent bird watching. It is also quite safe to walk or take a picnic along one of the meandering river beds and view Giraffe, Zebra, Wildebeest, etc.
This 12 bed lodge is a peaceful, bushveld retreat with accommodation designed in an architectural celebration of the Zulu nation. It offers a host of activities for those wanting to experience a combination of gameviewing, battlefields and Zulu cultural experiences.
It’s a stone’s throw away from the historically momentous Anglo-Zulu battlefields of Isandlwana where the Zulu and British clashed in a devastating battle which had enormous consequences for the Zulu people. The battlefield tour starts at Isandlwana, where the greatest defeat in British colonial history took place. The events of Rorke’s Drift (the battle proceeded from Isandlwana to Rorke’s Drift later in the day) are described, as well as a short tour of the museum.
On certain evenings, a Zulu Boma Dinner begins just as the sun starts setting, casting the hills in soft golden light. Guests are led down a narrow path to the beat of drums. As you emerge into a clearing coming across a historical Zulu umuzi (village) the dancing bodies of Zulu children make for a profound experience. The traditional dances and singing and their role in Zulu history and culture is explained amid the energetic displays.
A separate day trip to a Zulu Homestead gives you a rare chance to experience the life of a rural Zulu family which has remained largely unchanged over the past hundred years since Shaka Zulu forged this mighty nation. Guests drive down the valley, rowed across the river and then walked to a traditional homestead, where a sangoma (Zulu witchdoctor) lives. A tour of the homestead is conducted by the sangoma. Panoramic and other cultural tours also available.
6 beehive suites offer sweeping views of the game reserve, each en-suite with bath and showers. If you are not interested in all the activities on offer, then just relax by the pool.
DAY 11: Back to Johannesburg
Travelling: After breakfast depart for Johannesburg
Self Drive: Drive from Isibindi Zulu Lodge to Johannesburg (4-4.5hrs)
Guided Road Transfer: Transfer from Isibindi Zulu Lodge to Johannesburg Airport (4-4.5hrs)