Drakensberg Mountains - Battlefields - Nambiti Game Reserve - North Coast
Bush, beach, battlefields and berg – it’s these 'four Bs' that form the backbone of most trips to KwaZulu-Natal. Blessed with a warm climate all year round, the province offers contrasting attractions, from forests and mountains, to wetlands, beaches and game reserves. Activities include horse riding, deep-sea diving, hiking, white-water rafting, hiking, trout fishing, golf, safari and more. It’s the ideal place to embark on a self-drive adventure during which you’ll discover the many gems of this beautiful part of South Africa, particularly if you’re a returning visitor.
Explore the beauty of the Drakensberg Mountains
Enjoy a slice of history in the Battlefields region
Malaria free Nambiti Private Game Reserve, for an exciting safari
Fly into Johannesburg from your departing destination
Spend the next three nights surrendering to the laid back rhythm of the “Berg”, something unique to this part of the world. It won’t take long for you to see why the beauty of the Drakensberg Mountain Range has inspired many a legend in Zulu, Afrikaans and English culture. Tickling the sky at over 3400 metres, the protruding peaks of the Drakensberg are known as uKhahlamba – “Barrier of Spears” - in Zulu and “Dragon Mountain” in Afrikaans.
Regardless of your level of fitness, be sure to pack your hiking boots because there are a variety of walks on offer so you’ll easily find one perfect for you. The Drakensberg escarpment is an eco-tourist destination stretching across quite a few provinces and it also forms part of the border between South Africa and Lesotho. Some stand-out sights include the thundering Tugela Falls, Amphitheatre, Cathedral Peak and the famed Sani Pass, with the most visited section being the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg National Park. Here you’ll be rewarded with the beauty of this World Heritage Site with its grazing herds of oribi, eland and reedbuck, as well as a wealth of ancient San rock art in its many caves. Along with hiking there are lots of other activities for the active soul such as fly-fishing, mountain biking, horse-riding, bird watching and safaris. Think clean mountain air, green hills, snow in winter, blooms in spring, cosy wooden chalets and chilled rock pools, perfect for escaping the summer heat.
Experience a slice of history during your three night stay in this region, with tours to the battlefields of Rorke’s Drift and Isandlwana, sites of some of the most dramatic events in British military history that occurred during the Anglo-Zulu War of the 19th century, available should you wish to go. Alternatively, you can stop on the way at Spionkop, the scene of another bloody conflict, this time from the Anglo-Boer War, for a taste of the past.
The Voortrekker-Zulu War (1836-1852), the Anglo-Zulu War (1879), the two Anglo-Boer Wars (1881 and 1899) and the Bambatha Rebellion (1906) all played an important role in shaping South Africa into the nation it is today. Roaming the battle sites, graves, memorials and museums which tell stories of courage, betrayal and tragedy, give visitors much insight into how the country got to where it is – as they say, in order to fully understand the present, you must look to the past. Isandlwana, Spionkop, Rorke’s Drift, Blood River, the Battle of Majuba, the siege of Ladysmith - these epic battles are etched into the history books and since they’re easily accessible from a selection of establishments, you’d be remiss not to take the time to explore these momentous sites. The best part is that they’re not only of interest to military historians and enthusiasts thanks to how the tours are conducted with the events being presented in a way that makes them accessible and enjoyable for all.
The Nambiti Game Reserve, just a short drive from the Drakensbery Mountain range, is the place where your exciting safari adventure starts. Situated 25 kilometers east of Ladysmith, 2½ hours from Durban and 3½ hours from Johannesburg, the malaria-free Nambiti Private Game Reserve is the only reserve in the area to boast having the famous Big 5. It is also currently home to over 40 other species of game including cheetah, hyena, giraffe, impala, hyena, eland and zebra.
With sprawling grasslands, savannah, riverine bush and thornveld, the reserve offers a wealth of diversity. Game viewing, birding, and fishing (for yellowtail) in the river are the main activities at Nambiti.
Arrive at your next destination after a three hour drive down the coast: either Shaka’s Rock or Umhlanga Rocks, both of which are popular and peaceful coastal towns. After being on the go up north for the last few days, you’ll be more than happy to spend some time relaxing on the beach, swimming in the ocean and sampling the nearby restaurants.
Sea, sand and sunshine: these are the classic ingredients for an idyllic summer holiday, so it’s amazing that KwaZulu-Natal offers this throughout the year. The subtropical North Coast of KwaZulu-Natal follows the Indian Ocean from just north of Durban all the way up to Richard's Bay. Shaka’s Rock, a residential coastal village with countless accommodation options, as well as a family-friendly beach and refreshing tidal pool, draws families all year round. Umhlanga, with its iconic red and white lighthouse and lovely stretch of sand, has long been a favourite resort among South Africans. As a result, expect plenty of high-rise luxury apartment blocks and a vibrant social scene 12 months of the year.
Catch your international flight home from Durban’s King Shaka International Airport