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SKSA 009: 15-Days South Africa Bush and Beach Safari

This safari gives you a combination of wildlife, beach, and interactions with the Zulu people and an experience of South Africa's varied natural habitats and rich culture. You visit the world-renowned Kruger National Park, Maputaland Coastal Forest Reserve, Thanda Private Game Reserve and KwaZulu Natal.

Kruger National Park offers a wildlife experience that ranks with the best in Africa. Truly the flagship of the South African national parks, Kruger is home to an impressive number of species: 336 trees, 49 fish, 34 amphibians, 114 reptiles, 507 birds and 147 mammals.

KwaZulu-Natal offers such variety of tourist attractions like no other part of South Africa. Naturally KwaZulu-Natal provides first class safari experiences in their expansive nature and wildlife parks teaming with game. A favourite is the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi (Umfolozi) Game Reserve, known for its many rhinos. In the Mkhuze Game Reserve one can also gain a good insight into the impressive wildlife world of Southern Africa. And in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park (previously St Lucia Wetland Park) close encounters with crocodiles and hippos are guaranteed.

Day 1-3: Johannesburg and Kruger National Park
kruger national parkTake a flight from Johannesburg to the Greater Kruger National Park. You will have three days to explore the wonders of Kruger National Park and Sabi Sand Reserve.

Kruger National Park is regarded as one of the world's finest examples of wildlife management, the park draws over 500,000 visitors each year. With ample accommodation, guided tours and superb facilities, the park is African safari at its finest.

The Sabi Sand Reserve is home to the 'Big Five' (elephant, rhino, lion, leopard and buffalo), as well as cheetah, wild dog and hundreds of other species of animals, birds and plants indigenous to the area.

Highly trained and experienced rangers and trackers ensure that your safari experience ranks amongst the best in the world. You can look forward to fantastic close-up experiences with Africa's wildlife on every game drive.

After a thrilling evening game drive, experience Africa Nouveau cuisine, served with award winning South African wines as you dine around a roaring boma fire under the stars.

To this romantic ambience, add exceptional service and hospitality that is the hallmark of a superb safari lodge, and you will be part of a timelessness that will stay with you forever.

Days 4-6: Maputaland Coastal Forest Reserve
cape town beachAfter an early morning game drive, you will be transferred by light aircraft to the Maputaland Coastal Forest Reserve and Rocktail Beach Camp near the shores of the Indian Ocean. Situated offshore from Rocktail Bay is the Maputaland Marine Reserve, which offers extraordinary diving and snorkeling encounters with huge shoals of fish, dolphins and whales.

Rocktail Beach Camp is situated at the current Rocktail Dive Center. The camp is set back in and shaded by the sanctuary of the lush coastal forest that covers the ancient dunes that make up the edge of South Africa's north-east coast. Rocktail Beach camp consists of twelve rooms (including 3 family units), most of which have a view of the ocean. All have en suite bathrooms, open-feel indoor shower and overhead fans. Rocktail Beach Camp also has a central dining room, bar and lounge with large wrap around veranda.

From a scuba diving perspective, Rocktail Bay is unique. Not only is the diving conducted within a Reserve and World Heritage Site along unspoiled reefs, but divers have the luxury of knowing that they alone have access to these sites and are the only underwater visitors along this stretch of the coastline. Overnight three nights at Rocktail Beach Camp.

Days 7-8: Thanda Game Reserve
After breakfast, leave Rocktail Bay and drive North to the Thanda Game Reserve. Thanda prides itself on combining fantastic game viewing with insight into the local Zulu culture. Among the wildlife found here are the rhino, lion, elephant, impala, warthog and buffalo.

zulu dancersThanda Private Game Reserve in Zululand is one of the best and most awarded reserves in Africa. Thanda strives to transcend the expected luxury of a 5 star game reserve and lodge. The 9 villas at the main lodge provide an ambience of luxury and comfort beyond your wildest dreams. The 4 large and luxurious tents in the tented camp feature enormous beds and en-suite facilities. The accommodation coupled with the cuisine and the service is what makes this, the best lodge in Africa.

Thanda Game Reserve has drawn from the Zulu culture for the architecture, décor and cuisine and has consciously contributed to the sustainance of the culture and its people by supporting the local community through initiatives such as the Vula Zulu Cultural Experience, an African theatre performance proudly re-enacted by previously unemployed Zulu men and women.

Thanda Private Game Reserve has been at the forefront of land rehabilitation in KwaZulu-Natal, transforming overgrazed cattle farms into pristine game viewing land and reintroducing species that used to freely roam this area, including the Big Five. The game restoration project has been successfully launched and the reserve is witnessing its 4th breeding season since the land was purchased in 2002.

You will Zulu villages and experience their dances, their rich history and traditions as well as sample Zulu food at the lodge, and listen to Zulu songs.

Days 9-11 : Visit the Kwazulu Natal Battlefields
After an early morning game drive and breakfast transfer, you will depart for Kwazulu Natal Battlefields and learn about the Anglo Zulu and Anglo Boer Wars.

It is hard to perceive that deep in the heart of scenic central and northern KwaZulu-Natal, that this area once was the scene of bloody conflict between the Zulu, Boer and the British. Their clashes and military engagements shaped the history of South Africa, and shook the might of the British Empire's military. It was in this area over a period of some seventy years, that one historical drama after another unfolded, making this a popular tourist destination, particularly for relatives of those men who served their countries and paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Early in the 19th century a certain King Shaka became the leader of a very powerful and proud Zulu nation, by uniting feuding farmers and quarrelling cattle herders. Although the forging of this Zulu nation involved a series of skirmishes and battles, by the mid-1820's King Shaka had united the most powerful nation in Southern Africa.

A strong independant spirit and dissatisfaction with British rule in the Cape led to an exodus of Voortrekkers, intent on establishing independant republics in the hinterland, where they could maintain their cultural identity and language. Once The Great Trek had crossed the Drakensberg mountains, the voortrekkers came into contact with the Zulu, leading to disputes over land, cattle and other issues. The brutal killing of one of the voortrekker leaders, Piet Retief, and 101 of his followers by King Dingane, sparked a series of clashes, culminating in the Battle of Blood River in December 1838. Seriously outnumbered the vootrekkers who had formed a Laager (a circle of wagons) along the river (which later became known as Blood River) were able to defeat the Zulu impi, and is commemorated to this day by Afrikaners.

Days 12-14: Kwazulu Natal and Cape Town
Today, you depart KwaZulu Natal Battlefields for Cape Town. Due to its good climate and natural settings, Cape Town is one of the most popular tourist destinations in South Africa. With several well-known natural features within the city limits thousands of tourists are attracted to Cape Town every year.

Adventurous hikes or a cable car ride, or simple strolling down the unique beaches, Cape Toen can just be explored in the manner that suits you. The city's unique geographical feature of Cape Town makes it is possible to visit several beaches in one day, each with a different setting and atmosphere.

Some of the most popular tourists’ attractions of Cape Town are the District Six Museum, Groote Schuur Hospital Transplant Museum, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Robben Island, Rondevlei Nature Reserve, South African Museum, Two Oceans Aquarium, Rhodes Memorial, Hout Bay, the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Groot Constantia, Good Hope Nature Reserve, SA National Gallery, Castle of Good Hope and Table Mountain.

Day 15: Cape Town and Depart Home
Our guide/driver will transfer you to Cape Town International Airport to catch your scheduled flight home.

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