battlefields bush and beach

Battlefields, bush & beach safari Discover South Africa's historical battlefields, thrilling Big Five and spectacular beaches

Your journey at a glance

Travel to Africa and experience a magnificent tour filled with spectacular scenery, fascinating history, thrilling Big Five safaris and the ultimate beach vacation. Delve deep into the heart of KwaZulu-Natal’s picturesque Battlefields, with their poignant reminders of the dramatic conflicts of the war between the local Zulu tribe and British colonial forces.

After your step back in time, experience a true African safari at diverse &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve, renowned for its excellent Big Five sightings, as well as close encounters with the elegant cheetah. After your thrilling wildlife adventure, relax on the untouched beaches of the subtropical coastline, enjoying snorkelling and kayaking, as well as guided walks through the magnificent environment and fascinating visits to the local community.

What to expect …

Collect car rental Day 1

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On arrival at King Shaka International Airport you will be warmly welcomed by a member of the &Beyond team, who will assist you in collecting your hired vehicle.

Overnight in Rorkes Drift Battlefields Day 1 - 2

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Once a place of bitter warfare between a number of difference force, including the British and the Zulu, today you’d be hard pressed to find a place more tranquil than the area known as the Battlefields. The region is rich in historical memorabilia, fascinating museums, monuments and artefacts – right down to inscriptions carved into rocks by army cooks.

Spend two nights at Fugitives’ Drift Lodge. Situated in a Natural Heritage Site, the lodge is set in magnificent scenery near the well-known battlefields of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift. Originally developed by the renowned late historian David Rattray, Fugitive’s Drift is renowned for its Battlefield tours, steeped in the history of the region and enriched with historical insight. Accommodation is in a standard room.

Battlefields tour Day 2

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On day two, set off on a Battlefields tour, choosing between a morning or an afternoon experience. The morning tour visits the scene of the Battle of Isandlwana, where the British were defeated by an army of traditional Zulu warriors. Learn about the background to the conflict, walk the fields where the battle raged and find out how the outcome influenced history. If you choose the afternoon tour, you will travel to the site of the Battle of Rorke’s Drift, where the British garrison fought off a vast Zulu army against seemingly unsurmountable odds.

Drive to Phinda Private Game Reserve Day 3

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After breakfast, you will make your way to &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve. Set within easy reach of the Indian Ocean coastline and the famous iSimangaliso / Greater St Lucia Wetland Park in northern KwaZulu-Natal, &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve is known for its abundant wildlife, diversity of habitats and wide range of safari activities. Thanks to its coastal rainfall pattern, the Reserve enjoys a lush green environment that contains seven distinct ecosystems. &Beyond Phinda is often referred to as ‘Seven Worlds of Wonder.’ This fascinating variety of landscape and vegetation shelters an abundance of wildlife, including not only the Big Five but many rarer and less easily spotted species, such as the elusive cheetah or the scarce black rhino. With only a handful of lodges sharing an area of 23 000 hectares, and expert rangers and trackers in search of prime wildlife sightings, guests are assured an exclusive game viewing experience. Adding to Phinda’s wildlife charms, the marine diversity of nearby Sodwana Bay on the coast is easily accessible, with scuba diving, fishing and even turtle watching only some of the adventures available from Phinda.

Overnight in Phinda Private Game Reserve Day 3- 4

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Spend two nights at &Beyond Phinda Mountain Lodge or &Beyond Phinda Forest Lodge. Adventures include twice-daily game drives in open 4×4 safari vehicles, nature walks, excellent bird watching and riverboat cruises along the Mzinene River (seasonal). Optional Phinda Adventures, available at an additional cost, include Maputaland beach adventures, night turtle drives, scuba safaris, black rhino tracking on foot, visits to an endangered wild cats project and swimming with whale sharks. Specialist Safaris at Phinda (also at an additional cost) are birding, photographic, rhino capture and research, tracking, luxury walking, family and private safaris.

Walk to the beat of a different drum Day 4

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Visit a Zulu community just outside &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve and interact with the friendly people of KwaZulu-Natal. A Bantu tribal group, the Zulu are the largest ethnic group in South Africa. A local &Beyond guide will escort you through the community and share interesting insights and narratives about Zulu culture and its fascinating customs, beliefs and traditions.

You will be invited into a traditional homestead and given the rare opportunity to witness the daily routines and lifestyle of an authentic, rural Zulu family where aeons of tradition intersect with modern life. Learn about the family structures, patriarchal duties and matriarchal responsibilities of the tribe, find out how local homes are constructed and why cattle are so valuable and highly revered.

Spend time with the respected local sangoma, a witch doctor and traditional healer, who will explain the significance of the ancestors in Zulu life, as well as the tribe’s spiritual beliefs and the importance of their sacred lands. The adventure ends with a quick stop at the Mbhedula Craft Market, where the beautiful handiwork and art of 43 Zulu crafters is showcased. It’s a great place to find that perfect souvenir of your time with the Zulu people.

Drive to Maputaland Day 5

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After breakfast, you will make your way to the Coastal Cashews pickup point, where you will be met by a driver / guide from Thonga Beach Lodge, who will take you to the lodge.

Situated in the heart of the greater St Lucia Wetland Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mabibi is approximately 25 kilometres (16 miles) north of Sodwana Bay and close to the Mozambique border. A pristine, underdeveloped beach on the Maputaland coast of KwaZulu-Natal, Mabibi is a subtropical ocean paradise. A magical place of unspoilt beaches, coastal forests, grasslands and shimmering lakes, its crystal-clear, warm waters offer leisurely swimming, amazing snorkelling on beautiful coral reefs and spectacular scuba diving.

Overnight in Maputaland Day 5 - 7

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Spend three nights in an ensuite forest room at Thonga Beach Lodge. Your stay includes accommodation, all meals, tea and coffee, as well as a selection of activities.

Discover the colourful marine life that lives in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean while snorkelling in rock pools along the coastline or set off in search of dolphins in a sea kayak. Enjoy a guided walk through the coastal forests and find out more about the lush vegetation of this extraordinary habitat, as well as the multitude of bird and insect species that make it their home. Indulge in sundowners on the banks of the vast Lake Sibaya and get a taste of local life on a cultural tour into the Mabibi community.

Discover the colourful marine life Day 6

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Discover the colourful marine life that lives in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean while snorkelling in rock pools along the coastline or set off in search of dolphins in a sea kayak

Enjoy a walk through the coastal forest Day 7

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Enjoy a guided walk through the coastal forests and find out more about the lush vegetation of this extraordinary habitat, as well as the multitude of bird and insect species that make it their home.

Transfer to Coastal Cashews Day 8

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After breakfast you will be transferred to the Coastal Cashews pickup point where you will collect your vehicle and make your way to King Shake International Airport.