Kruger, Zulus and the Drakensberg

South Africa & Swaziland Safari Adventure Holiday




From $2,580 Land only

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Holiday Overview


  • Big Five safari game drives in Kruger National Park
  • Unique safari walk experience in Hlane National Park, Swaziland
  • Relax on the palm fringed beaches of Kosi Bay
  • Days walks in the dramatic Drakensberg Mountains

The spectacular and historically fascinating north-eastern corner of South Africa and Kingdom of Swaziland are also home to some of the world's finest game reserves, coastline and mountain ranges. With a specialist guide and comfortable private transport, this holidays includes game drives in the world-famous Kruger National Park, but also spends time in less well-known, but equally impressive Swaziland reserve of Hlane and Lembobo Mountains. In Hlane we have a unique experience safari walking and camping in the reserve. In the coastal lakes areas of Kosi Bay and St Lucia we spend time walking, snorkelling and enjoying this special marine environment. With its laid back atmosphere and pam fringed beaches, Kosi Bay is the perfect pause in our Southern Africa adventure to kick back and relax. Journeying back towards Johannesburg, our we head to the Royal Natal National Park and explore what is known to be the most dramatic and breathtaking scenary in South Africa. Continuing onwards, we head for the Drakensberg Mountains, a haven of peace and tranquillity in sight of the mighty Drakensberg escarpment backdrop for the film, 'Zulu'. Easyday hiking in the wonderful countryside around this camp provides a fitting end to this excellent South African discovery adventure holiday!

Is this holiday for you?

Everything in South Africa is on a big scale, and to cover the ground necessary to see the best of KwaZulu Natal, this holiday includes several long drives as we travel over a large distance in between visiting some spectacular places. It is a busy itinerary, with lots of sightseeing and interesting activities. There are a number of game drives, often on rough roads. There are a few days of walking with day packs and these will always be at a reasonably leisurely pace whilst we are looking for wildlife. We mainly camp on this holiday and some participation with camp chores is expected. Generally this is holiday suitable for the adventure traveller who is looking to discover the wildlife and some of the really special reserves and places that this corner of Africa has to offer.

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at Johannesburg Airport. Transfer to Kruger National Park. Optional afternoon safari.
  • A day of guided game drives in search of Kruger’s ‘Big 5’.
  • Cross into Swaziland and the Hlane Game Reserve. Guided walk in the Lembombo Mountains.
  • Wildlife walk in Hlane Game Reserve with a good chance of seeing warthog, zebra and impala.
  • Game walk to local waterhole. Set up camp and opportunity of optional big cat game drive.
  • Drive to the Indian Ocean coastal reserve of Kosi Bay.
  • Day free to explore the lakes, warm waters and coral reef of Kosi Bay.
  • Drive to the UNESCO site of St Lucia. Lake cruise and free time in St Lucia town.
  • Full day exploring Umfolozi and Hluhluwe Game Reserve. Afternoon village visit.
  • Drive to the rugged Drakensburg Mountains via the Durban and Pietermaritzberg.
  • Day walk in the Royal Natal National Park.
  • Another exploring the Drakensberg. Day walk to Surprise Ridge and Cannibal Cave.
  • Departure day. Johannesburg Airport transfers are provided.
Sun 20 Dec - Fri 01 Jan Code KZD /08/15/ Adult$2,580 Status Guaranteed Book now
Sun 24 Jan - Fri 05 Feb Code KZD /01/16/ Adult$2,420 Status 2 more to guarantee Book now
Sun 27 Mar - Fri 08 Apr Code KZD /02/16/ Adult$2,420 Status Available Book now
Sun 15 May - Fri 27 May Code KZD /03/16/ Adult$2,420 Status Guaranteed Book now
Sun 07 Aug - Fri 19 Aug Code KZD /04/16/ Adult$2,420 Status Available Book now
Sun 11 Sep - Fri 23 Sep Code KZD /05/16/ Adult$2,420 Status 2 more to guarantee Book now
Sun 18 Dec - Fri 30 Dec Code KZD /06/16/ Adult$2,420 Status Available Book now
Sun 26 Feb - Fri 03 Mar Code KZD /01/17/ Adult$2,420 Status Available Book now
Tue 04 Apr - Sun 16 Apr Code KZD /02/17/ Adult$2,420 Status Available Book now
The LAND ONLY dates and prices are for the itinerary joining in Johannesburg. For clients making their own flight arrangements, Johannesburg Airport is the most convenient for transfers to the group hotel. Please refer to 'Joining Arrangements and Transfers' in the trip dossier for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and the trip is showing 'Guaranteed to Run' or 'Limited'.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee*

* Against Land Only services.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • point
  • airport
  • trip direction
  • transfer

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at Johannesburg Airport. Transfer to Kruger National Park. Optional afternoon safari.

    Meet at Johannesburg Airport around breakfast time where we will meet with our guide. KE Land Only package services begin with the long drive to Kruger National Park. We will drive due east on good roads directly to the reserve where we sill stay in a campsite with all the facilities and a swimming pool. On arrival in the reserve, we’ll have our first Big Game Safari drive before relaxing at our overnight. Approx drive time: 7 hours.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals ld

  • A day of guided game drives in search of Kruger’s ‘Big 5’.

    Kruger Park is South Africa’s premier national park for viewing Big Game and we’ll enjoy morning and afternoon game drives to maximise our chances of spotting the Big Five! Established in 1898 to protect the wildlife of the South African Lowveld, this national park of almost 20,000 square kilometres is unrivalled in terms of biodiversity and is a world leader in advanced environmental management policies. Kruger is home to an impressive number of species: 336 trees, 49 fish, 34 amphibians, 113 reptiles, 507 birds and 147 mammals, including the “Big Five” : lion, leopard, black rhino, elephant and Cape buffalo. Each of our game drives today will be for around 3 hours, giving us plenty of time to spot the Big Five and more! Early morning and late afternoon are the best times to see the animals, so we’ll take some time out during the heat of the day to rest and chill out by the pool. After dinner around the camp fire we’ll spend another night at our campsite under canvas. Night time game drives with spotlights can be arranged as an optional extra at additional expense.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

  • Cross into Swaziland and the Hlane Game Reserve. Guided walk in the Lembombo Mountains.

    Today we’ll leave the Kruger park and cross the border into the Kingdom of Swaziland. Swaziland is one of the smallest countries in Africa and one of the world’s last remaining absolute monarchies. Bordered to the north, south and west by South Africa and to the east by Mozambique, the country is named after the 19th century king, Mswati II and is about the same size as Wales. Despite its small area, the country has a variety of landscape including mountains, savannah and rain forest. We’ll drive to the King of Swaziland’s traditional hunting reserve, now a game reserve – Hlane. In the afternoon, we’ll set off on our walk (2 – 3 hours) into the Lebombo Mountains area of the park. We can hope to spot some plains game, but the highlight will be the fantastic bird life. Today we’ll overnight at a private campsite in the national park – our bags and equipment will be transported to the campsite by 4WD. Approx drive time: 4 to 5 hours.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

    • Time 2 - 3 hrs walking

  • Wildlife walk in Hlane Game Reserve with a good chance of seeing warthog, zebra and impala.

    'Hlane' means 'Wilderness' in siSwati and today the emphasis is walking through the greater Hlane area to experience this, led by a local field ranger. The circular walk is about 6 hours long and takes us through mixed bushveld open grasslands and onto the mountain slopes for a well deserved lunch break. There is good chance we’ll see wildebeest, zebra, kudu, impala and warthog as we follow the natural game paths through the African veldt. We return to our private campsite and enjoy dinner around the camp fire.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

    • Time 6 hrs walking

  • Game walk to local waterhole. Set up camp and opportunity of optional big cat game drive.

    After breakfast we’ll head off on foot back to the main Hlane National Park campsite (3 - 4 hours) following a different trail. The campsite is close to a waterhole were we can expect to find rhino at sunset. Once again our baggage will be transported to camp by 4WD. The afternoon is free to relax at the waterhole or to enjoy an optional (own expense) open vehicle game drive through the big game area of the reserve which is home to Lion, Elephant, White Rhino, Giraffe and a whole host of other game.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

    • Time 3 - 4 hrs walking

  • Drive to the Indian Ocean coastal reserve of Kosi Bay.

    After an early start we’ll drive south through Swaziland and back into South Africa through the Zulu heartland and into Maputaland, to Kosi Bay Nature Reserve. On the coast near the border with Mozambique, this remote reserve boats fig and raffia palm forest, mangrove swamps, sand dunes and freshwater lakes. The ‘bay’ is actually a string of four lakes: Nhlange, Mpungwini, Sifungwe and Amanzimnyama. The beaches here are often deserted and there is a coral reef which is great for snorkelling. We’ll spend the night in traditional-style reed hut accommodation. Approx drive time: 6 hours.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

  • Day free to explore the lakes, warm waters and coral reef of Kosi Bay.

    Today we’ll explore some of our surroundings on foot before visiting the Kosi Bay river mouth where we can watch fisherman in the estuary and snorkel in the warm waters (masks and snorkels can be hired for a small fee from our lodge). More than 250 bird species have been identified in the bay including the rare palmnut vulture. The research station at the reserve studies the local population of leatherback turtles and it’s possible to arrange an excursion (optional, at additional cost) to view them during the nesting season (November to January).

    • Accommodation Traditional Hut

    • Meals bld

  • Drive to the UNESCO site of St Lucia. Lake cruise and free time in St Lucia town.

    Leaving Kosi Bay we drive south to the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park. The Greater St Lucia Wetland Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site consisting of 13 protected areas and is the largest estuarine system in Africa. The marine conditions in the estuary have resulted in a variety of landforms and ecosystems, including wide submarine canyons, sandy beaches, forested dunes and a mosaic of wetlands, grasslands, forests, lakes and savannah. As this is such an extensive area with a wide range of different habitat environments, animals of all sorts may be seen including hippos and crocodiles on the St Lucia estuary. Wildlife in the park also includes nesting turtles on the beaches, migrating whales, dolphins and sharks offshore and huge numbers of birds including pelicans, storks, herons and terns. In the afternoon we head out onto the lake for a 30 minute boat ride, with an excellent chance of seeing hippo, crocodiles and a wide variety of birdlife. The boat will head to the eastern shores of Lake St Lucia where we disembark and go for a game walk with a local ranger for an hour and a half. We then enjoy another 30 minute return trip on the lake back to the town of St Lucia. We will base ourselves on the shores of St Lucia in apartment-style accommodation, with swimming pool, for the next 2 nights.

    • Accommodation Apartment

    • Meals bld

  • Full day exploring Umfolozi and Hluhluwe Game Reserve. Afternoon village visit.

    Today we’ll have a full day exploring Hluhluwe Game Reserve. Hluhluwe-Umfolozi parks are the oldest proclaimed reserve in Africa, dating back to 1895. The parks are not adjoined, but a linking corridor reserve allows the animals to move freely from one park to the other. The Hluhluwe reserve is much smaller than Kruger at just 231 square kilometres, and has a very different feel. This game reserve has won worldwide renown for its work safeguarding the future of the White Rhino. The park also has lions, elephants, black rhino, giraffes and birds. After a day of game-spotting, we’ll stop off en route to visit a traditional Zulu village to learn more about the culture of these proud and fierce people whose famous battle tactics include the “horns of the buffalo” fighting formation – it was very simple, the warriors formed the “horns” encircling their enemy while the “head” took on the main weight of the attack. The Zulu are the largest ethnic group in South Africa and are known for their beautiful brightly coloured beadwork and basketry. We then return to our comfortable apartment accommodation in nearby St Lucia.

    • Accommodation Apartment

    • Meals bld

  • Drive to the rugged Drakensburg Mountains via the Durban and Pietermaritzberg.

    We depart the apartments after breakfast and head inland, via Durban and Pietermaritzberg, crossing the South African Highveld before reaching the town of Bergville close to the Drakensberg Moutains. Rising above 3000m on the western edge of KwaZulu Natal, the rugged escarpment is known by the Zulus as “uKhahlamba” – barrier of spears. The escarpment stretches for almost 200kms and forms the border between South Africa and Lesotho. Arriving at our campsite, within the Royal Natal National Park, in the afternoon, we should have time for a short walk to explore the surrounding area and to enjoy the views. Approx drive time: 8 hours.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

  • Day walk in the Royal Natal National Park.

    We have a full day for walking in the nearby Royal Natal National Park, at the foot of the dramatic Drakensberg escarpment. The park was founded in 1916 and contains some of the most spectacular scenery in Africa. The main feature is the Amphitheatre, a rock wall 5kms in length and 1000m in height that forms part of the escarpment and most famously was the backdrop to the battle scenes in the film “Zulu” starring Michael Caine. Five rivers rise at the top of the escarpment, most dramatically the Tugela River which plummets 948m and is the world’s second highest waterfall. Today we can choose to walk the Tugela gorge to visit the foot of the falls or try shorter walks like nearby Tiger Falls and its cascades where there is a lovely swimming spot and we can also see some bushmen paintings.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

    • Time 5 - 6 hrs walking

  • Another exploring the Drakensberg. Day walk to Surprise Ridge and Cannibal Cave.

    We have a further day in the Drakensberg foothills, where there are many trails to explore including Surprise Ridge or the walk to Cannibal Cavern. The mountain air is crisp and invigorating and the views of the escarpment are outstanding. A final night camping in the Drakensberg.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

    • Time 5 - 6 hrs walking

  • Departure day. Johannesburg Airport transfers are provided.

    After a leisurely breakfast and the chance of a short stroll around our camp, we drive back to Johannesburg Airport in time for a late afternoon check-in. KE land only package services end on arrival at the airport. Approx drive time: 6 hours.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • A professional local guide and driver
  • Single timed Johannesburg Airport transfers
  • All land transport involved in the itinerary
  • All accommodation as described
  • Game drives as described
  • All Meals
  • Entry fees to the various parks and reserve areas

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas if applicable
  • Tips for local staff
  • Entrance fees and optional excursions
  • Miscellaneous expenses - drinks and souvenirs etc

During this holiday the group there is a variety of accommodation. 6 nights are camping in designated national park campsites. The South African national park campsite facilities are generally very good, with hot and cold showers, restaurants, washing facilities and laundries and with post office/telephone access. Our most basic accommodation is the 2 nights wild camping in Hlane National Park. We will be self-sufficient taking our own water and all equipment. Toilets are long-drop and a simple bucket bush shower will be provided, but there is no 'facilities' as such. Camping will be in 2-person tents. You will be provided with an 'army cot' style camp bed for all 8 camping nights. All camping equipment will be provided, with the exception of sleeping bags and pillows. An essential part of your holiday is participation in camp chores including erecting tents and packing up. It's all part of the adventure and if everyone puts in little effort the trip will run smoothly.

There will be 2 nights in reed hut lodge-style accommodation at Kosi Bay where each hut has twin beds and an en suite bathroom. In St Lucia we will spend 2 nights in apartments, with twin share bedrooms in each apartment with a shared bathroom between 2 bedrooms. There is a swimming pool, bar and restaurant at the apartment complex.

Accommodation is based on twin sharing. If you are travelling by yourself you will be paired up with another single client of the same sex. It is possible to have a single room and tent for an additional cost.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

All meals are included, from lunch on day 1 to breakfast on day 13.

Food throughout the trip will mostly be prepared by the guides, although everyone is expected to lend a hand! This is usually a fun and sociable time. Breakfast will be cereals and yoghurt, with coffee, tea, toast and the occasional cooked breakfast. Lunch will typically be picnic style - cold meats, cheese, salads, bread, rolls and fruit. Dinner will be potjies (traditional stews), braais (barbecue), stir fries and pasta. Very often cooking will be on an open fire. Fresh produce will be used wherever possible and fruit squash, tea and coffee will be served with breakfast and dinner.

A single-timed transfer will depart Johannesburg Airport at breakfast time on day 1 of the land only itinerary. You must arrive to meet with the transfer in order to make the long drive to the first night's campsite in Kruger National Park. At the end of the holiday, a single-timed transfer will depart from the campsite in the Drakensberg in the morning arriving at Johannesburg Airport in time for a late afternoon check-in.

The group will be accompanied by a local English-speaking professional guide from arrival on day 1 to departure on day 13. During the tour the group will travel by minivan driven by a professional driver.

We estimate that a total of around £250 per person (or equivalent in euros/dollars) should be allowed for personal spending. This amount should also be sufficient to cover miscellaneous expenses, including any departure tax, and approximately £30 to £40 per person for tips to local staff. If you are intending to buy expensive souvenirs or undertake any additional activities or excursions, you should budget accordingly (credit cards can be useful in this respect). Also, if you expect to buy considerable quantities of soft drinks or beer, you should make an allowance for this. You can choose to take your money in pounds Sterling, dollars, euros or in South African Rand. There will be the opportunity to change money into local currency on arrival at Johannesburg Airport. Additionally, you will be able to get currency from bank ATMs in many of the towns that we will visit. Credit cards are often accepted but if you intend to bring your travel money with you, we recommend that you bring this in the form of cash rather than travellers cheques, since this will be much less time consuming to exchange and generally attracts a better rate. Sterling, US Dollars and Euros are readily exchanged.

In South Africa it is usual to tip staff including your local guide and driver if you are happy with the services provided. We suggest you co-ordinate these tips as a group and as a rough guide we recommend each group member contributes around £30 to £40 per person. The exact amount should be determined by the group and the guide will give advice on the appropriate levels.

There is no weight limit on this trip other than that imposed by your international carrier (normally 20kg). However, we do politely ask you to restrict your luggage to one trek bag weighing around 12kgs and one small daypack per person

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum. The packed weight of each person’s trek bag during the trip should be no more than 12 kgs.

You must bring the following items:

  • Sleeping bag comfort rating to 5°C
  • Comfortable hiking shoes or boots
  • Trainers / sneakers or sandals for camp
  • Trekking trousers (trekking pants)
  • Socks
  • Spare laces
  • Underwear
  • Shorts
  • Thermal base layer shirts
  • T-shirts
  • Loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirt with collar (for sun protection)
  • Fleece jacket
  • Lightweight waterproof jacket
  • Sunhat with wide brim
  • Warm hat
  • Eyewear – Sunglasses
  • Swimwear
  • Daypack c.25 - 30 litres
  • Sun protection (including total bloc for lips, nose etc.)
  • Water bottles 1 Litre (2 pint) x2
  • Several strong plastic bags to keep items separate and dry
  • Washbag and toiletries
  • Antibacterial handwash
  • Small padlock (to lock your KE trek bag)
  • Headtorch / headlamp with spare batteries
  • Basic First Aid Kit – Antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Immodium), painkillers, plasters (band-aids), and blister treatment, Insect repellent (DEET), antihistamine cream and tablets, and re-hydration salts (Dioralite). Glucose tablets and multi-vitamin tablets are a good idea.

The following items are optional:

  • Insect repellant – (DEET)
  • Travel clothes
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Pocket-knife (note: always pack sharp objects in hold baggage)
  • Repair kit – (eg. needle, thread, duct tape)
  • Camera, media, spare batteries
  • Binoculars


  • A foam camping mattress is provided for the camping nights. Camp chairs have back rests.
  • Neutral colours, like khaki are ideal for game the walks.


For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required. The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice. If you are travelling outside the EU you should have at least 2 blank pages in your passport.

Visa South Africa

UK and USA passport holders do not require a visa for short stays. You must have 2 blank pages in your passport.

Travelling with children under 18yrs

Parents travelling with children under 18 years will be asked to show the child’s full unabridged birth certificate and where one parent is accompanying, proof of parental or legal authority. Please note that they are very strict and they do not accept photocopies of birth certificates. For further details please see the South Africa High Commission in your country. For the UK

NOTE: This is also required if you are transiting through South Africa (e.g. Johannesburg).

You should contact your GP or travel clinic to check whether you specific require any vaccinations or other preventive measures. You should be up to date with routine courses and boosters as recommended in the UK e.g. diphtheria-tetanus-polio and measles-mumps-rubella), along with hepatitis A and typhoid. Malarial prophylaxis are required. A certificate of yellow fever vaccination is required if travelling from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers having transited for more than 12 hrs through an airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. On holidays to more remote areas you should also have a dentist check up. A good online resource is Travel Health Pro.

The unit of currency in South Africa is the South African Rand.

We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

It makes a lot of sense to spend some time before coming on an adventure holiday getting some additional exercise. The fitter you are, after all, the more enjoyable you will find the experience. We suggest that you adopt a suitable exercise regime. Running, cycling and swimming are good for developing better stamina. Before departure, we suggest that you try to fit in a number of long walks in hilly country.

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

South Africa has a generally sunny and pleasant climate, with regional differences due to the weather systems from the surrounding oceans and altitude above sea level. KwaZulu Natal experiences most of its rainfall in the southern hemisphere summer, from October to March. From May through to August is drier, with long spells of mild, stable weather. However, cold fronts moving in from the south-west can bring rain and snow-fall to the Drakensberg Mountains. Daytime temperatures range from around 10 to 20 degrees centigrade from April to September, to 20 to 30 degrees centigrade from October to March.

  • A Guide to the Drakensberg. August Sycholt
  • Long Walk to Freedom. Nelson Mandela
  • Cry the Beloved Country. Alan Paton
  • The Covenant. James A Mitchener
  • My Traitor's Heart. Rian Malan
  • Jock of the Bushveld. J Percy Fitzpatrick
  • When the Lion Feeds. Smith Wilbur
  • The Steps of the Sun. Joanna Trollope
  • Newman's Birds of South Africa. Kenneth Newman
  • The Safari Companion - A Guide to Watching African Mammals. Richard D Estes and Daniel Otte

South Africa Adventure Map

South Africa at 1:1,550,000 in a series of Adventure maps from the National Geographic Society with cartography provided by Reise Know-How. The map is double-sided and printed on light waterproof and tear-resistant plastic paper.

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