Thonga Beach Lodge, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife, Coast and Battlefields



12 Days

Prices Start from

$7,218pp(ex. flights)

This holiday offers a perfect mixture of history, culture, wildlife and relaxation, all in KwaZulu-Natal, a province of South Africa blessed with a great climate and incredible scenery.

Showcasing the best of this remarkable province from private wildlife concessions to gripping stories of forgotten battles and a coastline of saline lakes and wild beaches.

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

Cheetah, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa 1

Wildlife of KwaZulu-Natal

Embark on game drives and nature walks in search of cheetah, rhino and rich birdlife.

Sandlwana Hill, South Africa 2

Historical Insight

Delve into the history of KwaZulu-Natal, from ancient rock art to tales from the battlefield.

Ndebele house decoration, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa 3

Cultural Durban

Meet Mama Nkosi for a fascinating insight into the traditional art, indigenous beliefs and local culture of Durban.

turtle viewing, Thonga Beach Lodge, Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa 4

Coastal Explorations

Dive, kayak and spot wildlife among the sandy beaches, marshlands and lakes of the Maputuland Coast.

Explore our suggested itinerary

South Africa on your wishlist? Talk to our experts about tailoring this trip for you.

  • Day 1

    Johannesburg - Drakensberg Mountains (Three Tree Hill Lodge)

  • Days 2-3

    Drakensberg Mountains (Three Tree Hill Lodge)

  • Day 4

    Drakensberg Mountains - Ballito (Sala Beach House)

  • Day 5

    Ballito (Sala Beach House)

  • Day 6

    Durban - Phinda (Phinda Mountain Lodge)

  • Days 7-8

    Phinda (Phinda Mountain Lodge)

  • Day 9

    Phinda - Maputuland Coast (Thonga Beach Lodge)

  • Days 10-11

    Maputuland Coast (Thonga Beach Lodge)

  • Day 12

    Maputuland Coast - Phinda - Johannesburg

Day 1

Johannesburg - Drakensberg Mountains (Three Tree Hill Lodge)

Arrive in Johannesburg and transfer overland for around four hours to your accommodation at the base of the Drakensberg Mountains in KwaZulu-Natal.

Days 2-3

Drakensberg Mountains (Three Tree Hill Lodge)

Over the next two days, explore the surrounding mountains and bush on foot, horseback or mountain bike. Visit ancient rock art sites and visit World Heritage Sites, key to the Anglo Zulu and Anglo Boer wars.

Day 4

Drakensberg Mountains - Ballito (Sala Beach House)

Transfer around three and a half hours to the city of Durban before continuing up the coast for a further 60 minutes to your coastal accommodation.

Day 5

Ballito (Sala Beach House)

Spend the day at leisure on the coast or head back to Durban to explore this vibrant city through the eyes of one if its residents. Visit the botanical gardens and sample some of the delicious Indian cuisine for which the city is known before meeting with Mama Nkosi, curator of one of the largest collections of traditional art, for a fascinating insight into indigenous beliefs and local culture.

Day 6

Durban - Phinda (Phinda Mountain Lodge)

Transfer around three hours north along the coast to the Phinda private game reserve and your accommodation.

Days 7-8

Phinda (Phinda Mountain Lodge)

Over the next two days embark on twice daily game drives, nature walks in search of wildlife including cheetah, rhino and rich birdlife.

Day 9

Phinda - Maputuland Coast (Thonga Beach Lodge)

Transfer around 80 minutes to Librodi Lodge from where you will transfer a further 60 minutes by 4×4 to your beachside accommodation.

Days 10-11

Maputuland Coast (Thonga Beach Lodge)

Spend two days relaxing and exploring this beautiful coastline of sandy beaches, marshlands and saline lakes. Dive, kayak and spot marine life.

Day 12

Maputuland Coast - Phinda - Johannesburg

Transfer back to Librodi Lodge by 4×4 and onto Richards Bay airport for your flight to Johannesburg and onward travels.

Our travel experts can tailor this itinerary to suit you.

More Details

Site of Isandlwana Battle, South Africa
Isandlwana Battlefield

Battlefields & Mountains

The World Heritage Sites of Isandlwana, Fugitives Drift, Rorke’s Drift and Blood River played witness to the Anglo-Zulu and Boer Wars of the late 19th century, conflicts that have come to symbolise the best and worst of human history. Tales of unbelievable bravery abound from a time when warfare bore no resemblance to the high-tech combat of today. Listen as passionate accounts of bravery unfold against the backdrop of the African veld and Drakensberg Mountains.

Giraffe, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa
Giraffe, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

Phinda Game Reserve

Phinda Private Game Reserve is home to varied habitats, an abundance of wildlife and a range of safari activities including game drives, walking safaris conservation experiences from elephant collaring to rhino and pangolin tagging. It was here, some 30 years ago that &BEYONDS Care of the Land, Wildlife and People impact vision was formed and what was once farming land has been regenerated into a wildlife rich wilderness, much of which has been returned to its ancestral owners in neighbouring Zulu communities.
Read about Chris’s recent safari in KwaZulu-Natal.

Aerial View, Thonga Beach Lodge, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa
Thonga Beach Lodge, South Africa

KwaZulu-Natal Coastline

The Maputuland coastline in northern KwaZulu-Natal stretches for some 220 kilometres and is made up of marshlands, swamps and coastal forests all fringed by the azure of the Indian Ocean. Lake Sibaya is the largest freshwater lake in South Africa and a great place to spot hippo and crocodile as they bask in the sun. Rich in marine life the coastal waters are home to whales, dolphins and various species of turtles and offer great diving opportunities between November and February as well as snorkelling and kayaking.


Below you can see some of the wonderful places we have recommended for this journey.

Three Trees Hill Lodge £££££

  • South Africa
  • Wilderness

Tucked into the side of a rocky hill, overlooking the secluded Spioenkop Game Reserve in the valley below, lies the Three Trees Hill Lodge.

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Phinda Mountain Lodge £££££

  • South Africa
  • Safari Lodge

Perched on a hilltop with uninterrupted mountain views, Phinda Mountain Lodge is the ultimate safari destination in the Phinda Private Game Reserve.

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Thonga Beach Lodge £££££

  • South Africa
  • Wilderness

Stretching along the azure shores of the Maputuland coast in northern Kwa-Zulu Natal is Thonga Beach Lodge; with no development for over 60 miles up and down the beach, this sanctuary for marine life is unrivalled.

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How does this holiday make a positive impact?

The Three Trees Hill Lodge employs all staff from the neighbouring village of Hambrook which is home to a small portion of the vibrant Zulu population. All stays at the lodge directly contribute towards the funding of community and conservation projects in the area.

During a stay at Phinda Mountain Lodge guests can get involved in rhino notching, elephant collarings and pangolin tagging, all of which are still actively protected within the reserve.

Conservation is a passion for Thonga Beach Lodge and a stay here actively helps to protect loggerhead and leatherback turtles which are found in the reefs directly in front of the lodge.

South Africa: Johannesburg

Spend a few days in Johannesburg – discard preconceptions and you might be surprised by the wealth of history, art and culture on offer. Known locally as the New York of South Africa a stay here offers a window into the country’s turbulent past while opening another on the gastronomy, creativity and people of modern Africa.

3 days - Price on request

Looking out over the city, Johannesburg, South Africa
Johannesburg, South Africa

Mozambique Beach Escape

Cross the border into Mozambique and encounter some of the best beaches on the Indian Ocean. Mozambique is home to long stretches of sandy beach and secluded island archipelagos, fringed by mangroves and colourful reefs. Kayak, experience rich colonial history and swim, dive or snorkel in waters that are home to a wealth of big and small marine life. Stay in one of our preferred beachfront properties

4 days - Price on request

Azura Benguerra, Mozambique

A note on price

Prices will vary depending on the time of year you are travelling. Prices do not include international flights. Please ask one of our Travel Experts for an accurate quote. Flights purchased through Steppes Travel departing from the UK are ATOL protected.

This Itinerary
From $7,218 Per person

When to travel

South Africa in January

A great time to visit around Cape Town and the Garden Route, as it is hot and dry. Further north in the Kruger, it is also hot, but there is a much greater chance of rainstorms.

South Africa in February

Peak season in the Cape continues, and it is often the hottest time. It is worth booking well in advance to get your preferred accommodation.

South Africa in March

It is an excellent time to visit all parts of the country, as the weather is still warm and the rain eases in the north. In the Kruger, it is lush and green after the rainy season.

South Africa in April

Visitor numbers drop, and lower temperatures make for ideal hiking conditions in the Drakensberg mountains. It is warm and dry across the country, making it a great time to explore multiple regions.

South Africa in May

A quieter time of year and a good time to visit, especially if you are not looking for balmy heat. The north and especially the Kruger enters its dry season, with cooler temperatures.

South Africa in June

Midwinter brings the rainiest time in the Cape, but it is still pleasantly mild in the day with the sun shining. The dry season in the north makes for excellent wildlife viewing as animals congregate around watering holes.

South Africa in July

Clear skies and crisp sunshine dominate in the north, as it is the driest month. It is low season so parks are generally quiet and it is easier to spot wildlife around the sparse waterholes.

South Africa in August

A fantastic time to see KwaZulu Natal as is one of the warmest places in the country at this time. In the Western Cape, it is starting to dry out in time for whale watching season.

South Africa in September

The West Coast springs into life as the flowers bloom and temperatures rise across the country. A chance to spot newborns and it is prime time for whale watching in the Cape.

South Africa in October

A great time to see both the north and south, as it is relatively dry everywhere. Flowers carpet the countryside as temperatures continue to rise.

South Africa in November

The start of the rainy season in the Kruger and the north, as temperatures heat up. Impressive thunderstorms become more regular in the afternoon. The last chance to see whales in the Cape, and a good time to see inland areas before they toast in the summer heat.

South Africa in December

Summer approaches and with it visitor numbers rise, especially in the south. If you want to travel around Christmas and New Year, you should book well in advance to secure the best spots.

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