Bloody marvellous safari tour KwaZulu-Natal

Make no mistake, KwaZulu-Natal does safari and beach incredibly well. But its remarkable biodiversity, conservation story and fascinating Zulu heritage put it firmly on the maps of seasoned adventurers and history buffs who seek the wild and wonderful.

It’s blood-soaked Battlefields region is a noteworthy addition to any African safari in this extraordinary part of the world. Here, among the rolling grasslands and thatched rondavels, 63 brutal–and superbly documented–battles shaped the history of KwaZulu-Natal throughout the 1800s. With the help of historians, its forts and stacked-stone graves tell quite the tale. And the nearby Nambiti Private Game Reserve offers up some top-notch wildlife action too.

For the best safari in KwaZulu-Natal head off to the exclusive Phinda, a private reserve like none other and a particularly special African safari experience. Bursting with birdlife and Big Five sightings, safaris here stand up to the Kruger National Park any day of the week (and twice on Sundays). It’s a great place to get up close and personal with cheetah and black rhino. And a host of hands-on conservation projects invite you to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in.

Just a short hop from Phinda towards the Indian Ocean – close enough for a day trip – is iSimangaliso. A treat for divers, ocean-lovers and even bush-lovers, this UNESCO world heritage site is utterly wild, in every sense of the word. Beyond its inland savannah stretches, these hippo-stuffed wetlands of KwaZulu-Natal spill over the dunes and down towards a coral-fringed coastline, awash with nesting turtles, and migrating humpbacks. (We’re 99.9% sure it’s the only place on earth where you can watch rhino and whales at the same time.) Wriggle into a wetsuit, strap on some O2 and get ready for an ocean safari with one heck of a difference.

Lodges in KwaZulu-Natal

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