8 NIGHT SELF DRIVE – SOUTH AFRICA & ZIMBABWE KwaZulu-Natal, Zimbabwe

Package #68 Available On Request

  • 3 NIGHTS RHINO RIDGE SAFARI LODGE
    Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park
  • 2 NIGHTS THONGA BEACH LODGE
    iSimangaliso Wetland Park
  • 1 NIGHT SALT ROCK/UMHLANGA
    Durban
  • 3 NIGHTS TSOWA SAFARI ISLAND
    Zimbabwe
Isibindi African Lodges Map

INCLUDES:

Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge
2 nights’ accommodation – Safari Room, upgradeable to Bush Villa or Honeymoon Villa, all meals, morning and afternoon game drives.

Thonga Beach Lodge
2 nights’ accommodation – Forest View Room upgradeable to Ocean View Room or Deluxe Ocean View Room, all meals, guided snorkeling and use of snorkeling equipment, guided forest walks, cultural tours, kayaking and sundowners at Lake Sibaya. Nightly turtle walks 3 times a week (Nov – Feb)

Tsowa Safari Island
3 nights’ accommodation, all meals, basic laundry, local beer, wine, soft drinks, 4×4 and boat transfer from our private entrance to Zambezi National Park to camp. Daily game drive or bush walk, island walks, sundowner cruise on the Zambezi and guided canoeing. Note the bush walk and the canoeing must be pre-booked. Canoeing and bush walks available to children of 16 years and older.

EXCLUDES:

Flights, road transfers, park fees, Isibindi Foundation levy, gratuities and items of a personal nature.

Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge
Drinks, spa treatments, laundry and guided safari walks.

Thonga Beach Lodge
Drinks, spa treatments, laundry, SCUBA diving, Open Ocean Experience, dive equipment hire, 4×4 transfers and vehicle driven turtle tracking tours in season (Nov – Feb)

Tsowa Safari Island
Gratuities, items of a personal nature, transfers to our private entrance to the park and non local beer, wine and spirits.

NOTES:

Extra days can be added at any of the lodges and any other Isibindi Africa Lodge may be added to this itinerary.

Contact [email protected] for your tailor made package.

Honeymoon Add On
All packages can be upgraded to a Honeymoon Package.

Night 1 Itinerary

RHINO RIDGE SAFARI LODGE
Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park, KwaZulu-Natal

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Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge is within a 3.5hr drive from King Shaka International Airport Durban and a 1hr 30min drive from Richards Bay Airport. It is situated on the western boundary of Africa’s oldest proclaimed Game Reserve Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park, Northern KwaZulu-Natal. Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge is the only private lodge within the park. With its four star accommodation, guests are offered spectacular scenery and excellent safari opportunities within the heart of Big 5 territory.

On arrival at Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge you will be greeted by a refreshing drink and welcomed by our friendly team who will give you a short orientation of the lodge and its facilities before showing you to your accommodation. After a quick refresh we will be waiting to serve you high tea on the verandah at the main lodge which offers spectacular views over the entire reserve. Here you will meet your guide who will prepare you for your first safari experience, offering some useful pointers about the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of the bush. By now you will be eager to board your safari vehicle to explore the magnificent hills and valleys of the Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park.

At sunset your guide will take you to a special spot to enjoy drinks and snacks whereafter you will travel into the night looking for nocturnal creatures like leopards, owls and jackals.  When you get back to the lodge you will be given time to freshen up for dinner and then enjoy superb cuisine either on the dining deck or in the restaurant.  Sit around the fire late into the night discussing the day’s sightings and legendary tales of Africa against a backdrop of a million stars.

Night 2 Itinerary

RHINO RIDGE SAFARI LODGE
Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park, KwaZulu-Natal

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After an early morning wake-up call, fresh coffee, tea and rusks (a South African Tradition!), everybody departs with the guides for an early morning game drive. Be sure to have a jacket and scarf as it can get really chilly on the open 4×4 vehicle. Sunscreen, hats and sunglasses will also be needed for later in the day. Nothing is predictable in the bush; therefore each safari offers a potentially new and unique experience. Our guides will share their wealth of bush experience which involves the identification of animals, trees, grasses, insects and birds. The medicinal uses of plants and local folk lore is also discussed as well as looking for the ever fascinating Big 5!

When you return to the lodge you will sit down to enjoy a hearty brunch. Now it is time for you to relax and imbibe the natural beauty of Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge. You may wish to spend your day being pampered in our spa, do a few laps at the pool or simply relax in the privacy of your room enjoying the endless views from your private balcony.

Additional activities include guided bush walks (children 14 years & older only) in the national park with highly skilled armed trails rangers who not only ensure your safety at all times but impart their intimate knowledge of the bush and the wild animals, most notably the white rhino for which this park is most famous. Visits to the local Zulu community with which the lodge works very closely can also be arranged. Bush walks are charged at an additional cost payable at the lodge.

Make sure you are back in time for high tea and the evening game drive. Hopefully this time you will spot all those other animals still on your bucket list. On returning to the lodge you will have time to freshen up before coming through for a delicious dinner.

Night 3 Itinerary

Thonga Beach Lodge
iSimangaliso Wetland Park, KwaZulu-Natal

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After an early morning game drive and brunch it will be time to bid farewell to Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge and wind your way out of the Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park and make your way north to the Coastal Forest Reserve and then continue along the sand road to the the pickup point for Thonga Beach Lodge where you will be met by a Thonga Beach Representative and transferred via an open 4×4 vehicle to the lodge. The total travel time from lodge to lodge is approximately 4 hours.

On arrival you will be welcomed with a refreshing drink and given a brief orientation of the lodge before being shown to your room to unpack and relax. Then join us at the bar for a cocktail before settling down for a delicious meal under the stars.

Night 4 Itinerary

Thonga Beach Lodge
iSimangaliso Wetland Park, KwaZulu-Natal

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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 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 snorkeling reefs, coastal forests, grasslands, bush, shimmering lakes and exquisite sandy beaches. It’s clear warm waters offer superb snorkeling and fantastic offshore SCUBA diving.

The 12 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 a double vanity, indoor shower, bar fridge, air-conditioning, ceiling fan and mosquito net. Deluxe rooms have private plunge pools and both Deluxe and Family rooms have freestanding baths.

Activities at Thonga Beach Lodge include SCUBA diving, Open Ocean experiences, kayaking and sundowners at Lake Sibaya, guided snorkeling, seasonal turtle drives/walks, cultural tour of local Tsonga village and guided 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 with a Spa treatment or on the beach deck.

SCUBA diving at Mabibi is phenomenal. Our professional lodge diving team can accommodate 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 many other creatures. The warm Indian Ocean supports a myriad of fish and marine life.

Guests 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 of February. The turtles lay their eggs from November to February. Hatchlings arrive from end December to end February.

Every precaution is taken to ensure these magnificent creatures are not disturbed during the laying process and data collected from the turtle drives is submitted to the Ezemvelo Turtle Monitoring program.

Night 5 Itinerary

SALT ROCK / UMHLANGA
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal

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After breakfast you will check out of Thonga Beach Lodge and be transferred in a 4×4 vehicle (1hr transfer) to the 4×4 pickup point. From here you will continue south to Durban for your overnight stay before flying to Victoria Falls via Johannesburg International Airport.

Night 6 Itinerary

TSOWA SAFARI ISLAND
Zambezi National Park, Zimbabwe

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Tsowa Island is situated in the Zambezi National Park, a 56 000 ha game reserve which is also a renowned birding hot spot of 400 different species and home to lion, elephant, buffalo, giraffe, sable and numerous antelope. The Zambezi National Park stretches approximately 50 km upstream from the Victoria Falls.

Tsowa Safari Island which is 1.5 km long and 400m wide is bisected by a small river where a pair of Pel’s Fishing Owls reside. The island, which has never been inhabited, is fringed by lush forests while the mainland is riverine woodland with natural spring lines which are hidden gems used by wildlife.

You will be transferred in a closed vehicle from Victoria Falls airport to our private entrance to the Zambezi National Park, where you will be transferred into an open game viewing vehicle for a short game drive through the park to the water’s edge where our boat will be waiting to take you across the mighty Zambezi river to Tsowa Safari Island. The total transfer time is approximately 1hr30min.

On arrival you will be shown to your tent and given time to unpack and relax before joining your guides on the main lodge deck for a delicious high tea.

After high tea the boat sets off for a fabulous sundowner cruise on the Zambezi. There will be basic fishing tackle on the boat for you to try your hand at a bit of fishing. Imagine stopping along the way either on the boat or on the shore for a refreshing sundowner drink and some snacks whilst watching an iconic African sunset with wild animals coming down to drink safely on the other side of the river. Perhaps on your way back you will spot elephant crossing over to the island as well as crocodile on the banks and hippos coming out to graze.

You will have time to refresh before enjoying a delicious dinner on the dining deck overlooking the river followed by a nightcap around the fire gazing at the magnificent array of stars above.

Night 7 & 8 Itinerary

TSOWA SAFARI ISLAND
Zambezi National Park, Zimbabwe

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You may choose to lie in and listen to the wonderful sounds of the wild or join one of the many activities on offer:

Early Morning Game Drives are offered through the scenically beautiful Zambezi National Park. After a light early morning refreshment you will be taken across the river by boat to the mainland where your safari vehicle will be waiting to take you on an early morning game drive. The game drives last approximately 3 hours and include a refreshment stop.

Early Morning Guided Game Walks are also offered on the mainland which is considered to be a prime area to walk. These walks are conducted by highly specialized guides whose main aim is to ensure your safety and share their intimate knowledge of the wild animals and their environment. These walks last approximately 3 hours and also include a refreshment stop. This activity is available to children of 16 years and older only.

Guided Canoeing in inflatable canoes is available year-round. This activity departs mid-morning and lasts until mid-afternoon. This fun activity is a great way to spend an adventurous afternoon enjoying a picnic lunch and drinks along the way. This water safari is a wonderful way to see hippos, crocodiles, birds and elephant. This activity is available to children of 16 years and older only.

Guided Island Walks of an hour or longer if desired are offered daily to the centre of this magnificent island, home to century-old Baobab trees. Rare ground lilies flower early in the year and a tranquil river runs through the island where a pair of Pel’s fishing owls have their home. The birdlife along the water’s edge includes African finfoot and Schalow’s turaco.

Once you return to camp from your chosen activity you will have time to enjoy a swim in our two swimming pools, relax on the decks enjoying your favourite drink or take a siesta in your tent. High tea is served in the late afternoon before the boat cruise leaves on a water safari to marvel at another magnificent African sunset.

Upon return from your boat cruise you will have time to freshen up or have a drink at the bar before dinner. What better way to end a glorious day on the deck overlooking the river, enjoying a delicious meal listening to the grunting of hippos and the gentle rumbling of elephants.

The pathways and dining decks are lit by lanterns that create a romantic atmosphere, allowing you to relax and soak up the sounds of nature. Guides always accompany guests back to their tents after dark.

END OF ARRANGEMENTS

After breakfast you will check out of Tsowa Safari Island and be returned to the private entrance to the park where you will continue with your journey.

ABOUT THE LODGES

Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge (Umfolozi game Reserve)

Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge

Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge is the only private lodge in the Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park, providing guests with exclusive luxury and outstanding service within South Africa’s oldest national park. Each luxury room or villa is stylishly decorated and includes a spacious bedroom with impressive views from the bathroom, outdoor shower and patio deck. From each cleverly-designed space, you can watch the wildlife below, uninterrupted in their natural habitat as they have been for decades in this protected area.

Along with limited game viewing at the lodge and on morning and evening game drives, Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge offers a host of authentic Africa experiences – from wild bush walks to traditional Zulu homestays and rejuvenating spa treatments. In keeping with the Isibindi ethos, Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge is a joint venture between the National Empowerment Fund and the local Mphembeni community who own the land on which the lodge is built. People from the community have been trained to work in various departments and now constitute 97% of the lodge staff. Please visit the website for more information: www.rhinoridge.co.za

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Thonga Beach Lodge

Every now and again something special comes along… like Thonga Beach Lodge, the unspoilt gem of KwaZulu-Natal’s Maputaland coast. Situated in South Africa’s first World Heritage Site, the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, Thonga Beach Lodge is mere metres away from the sparkling Indian Ocean. Beneath the breakers lies a treasure trove of marine life, from vivid reef fish to schools of dolphins, and even turtles returning to the beach to lay their eggs. Thonga’s 12 thatched eco-sensitive rooms are positioned for maximum privacy and minimal environmental impact. The rooms are built on raised platforms among the indigenous forest and undulating dunes with expansive glass windows and doors to let in the ocean breeze and sounds.

Make your journey all the more memorable when you enjoy close encounters with nature. Indulge in a spa treatment; track mother turtles laying their eggs; explore the reefs beneath with a snorkel or SCUBA dive; or go on a guided forest walk. Feel assured that you’re travelling with purpose, discovering and helping to preserve one of the last undeveloped wilderness beaches left on the African continent. Please visit the website for more information: www.thongabeachlodge.co.za

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Tsowa Safari Island

Tsowa means ‘new beginnings’, which is what you will find on this pristine island in the middle of the mighty Zambezi River. A surreal place, set apart from the hectic world, the whispers of this majestic river are broken only by occasional calls of the African fish eagle. In a camp fringed by a beautiful forest, a soft path leads to a cluster of century old baobabs. This is our safari island Tsowa, sensitively situated within the Zambezi National Park.

The 12 bed luxury camp is set in the sand-washed forests of an untouched island in the middle of the Zambezi River.
The décor echoes the natural environment, with layers of natural fabrics mirroring the surrounding colours of bleached wood, river, sand and bone. Authentic wood and other raw materials are used to create pared-back simplicity.

The river expedition theme is carried through with careful attention to the finer details, right down to the crockery and wooden platters on which meals are served. Start your own ‘new beginning’ from this inspiring, artful setting which pays the greatest respect to the natural surroundings.

In the main camp, stretched canvas tents overlook the Zambezi River so that you may view wildlife from every part of the lodge. With timber frames and sides, set on wooden decks, the spacious open areas rest in the shade of massive jackalberry trees.