Kwazulu Natal & Swaziland

Blessed by a sunny year-round climate KwaZulu-Natal, known as the Kingdom of the Zulu, offers travellers diverse attractions.

Landscapes range from mountains and forests to wetlands, while activities include deep-sea diving, white-water rafting, hiking, historical tours, horse riding, trout fishing, safari, golf and much more. Zulu, Indian and European influences have created a cultural mosaic.

The Voortrekker-Zulu War (1836-1852), the Anglo-Zulu War (1879), the two Anglo-Boer Wars (1881 and 1899) and the Bambatha Rebellion (1906) are dramatic chapters in South Africa’s history that helped shape the present day nation. Today visitors from around the world come to roam the battle sites, graves, memorials and museums which tell stories of courage, betrayal and tragedy. 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 sensational battles can be described as the ‘main events’ of these conflicts and these sites are easily accessible from a selection of establishments.

But don’t think they are only of interest to military historians and enthusiasts. The way the tours are conducted and the events presented make them accessible and enjoyable to all.

Travel Itineraries Featuring Kwazulu Natal & Swaziland

Special Places To Stay In Kwazulu Natal & Swaziland

Fugitives Drift

Experience the extraordinary saga of the Anglo Zulu War. Set within the Fugitives’ Drift Game Reserve, which overlooks the battlefield of Isandlwana, both the Lodge and Guest House have extremely comfortable and spacious cottages, each with a veranda.

The Oyster Box

Umhlanga Rocks - 86 rooms, suites and villas

Situated on the ocean’s edge, a short walk from Umhlanga, the Oyster Box Hotel opened its doors in 1947. The combination of colonial charm, impeccable service, tropical gardens and seaside, still appeals today.

Nambiti Game Reserve

Ladysmith - Esiweni Lodge - 5 rooms (including family unit) Springbok Lodge - 15 tents

Nambiti Private Game Reserve, not far from the town of Ladysmith, is a malaria-free Big 5 game reserve, offering a choice of lodges.

Thonga Beach Lodge

On the pristine Maputaland coast, with unspoilt beaches, forests and lakes, Thonga captures the essence of a rustic hideaway. Each air-conditioned chalet is tucked away in the coastal dune forest and raised on stilts, with a deck, some with sea views. Scuba diving (and snorkelling) is phenomenal and the dive boat launches directly from the beach. Enjoy the Open Ocean Experience, spotting marine wildlife including game fish, bottlenose dolphins, whale sharks, turtles and Humpback whales (seasonal). Morning guided kayaking trips or sundowners on the shores of Lake Sibaya. November to February, witness the rare sight of turtles laying their eggs or hatchlings returning to the ocean.

Thanda Private Game Reserve

Thanda is a private Big 5 game reserve in northern Zululand. Built under thatch, and based on traditional Zulu design, the Main Lodge has sweeping views of bush and mountains. The Bush Villas each have a private splash pool, deck, sala and bathroom with indoor and outdoor showers.

Thanda's Tented Camp has fourteen tents, each with viewing deck.The Royal Private Villa offers exclusive use with 5 bedrooms. Game drives in open Landrovers through the reserve and bush walks with rangers. Or visit a traditional Zulu homestead and cultural experience. TGCSA 5-Star Lodge.

Rocktail Beach Camp

Rocktail Beach Camp is situated on the pristine coastline of Maputaland, a 20-minute walk to the beach through the protected dune forest. The camp has warm and friendly living spaces, and the 17 rooms are on elevated wooden platforms with canvas walls and wooden supports. The en-suite bathrooms have large showers. Seven of the rooms are family suites. Activities include extraordinary diving and snorkelling, turtle research drives and walks (seasonal, November to January), horse-riding and quad bikes.

Makakatana Bay Lodge

An intimate contemporary rustic hideaway set on the banks of Lake St Lucia, within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park World Heritage Site, Africa’s largest natural marine estuary. The lodge is positioned in the forest on the edge of the lake, and accommodates only 12 people. The park supports 367 bird species, five different eco-systems, increasing wildlife reintroduction and turtle nesting grounds in the marine reserves. Activities include safaris into the wetlands by vehicle or boat and trips to the coastal beaches.

Lalaria Lodge

Relax at the pool, soak up the sun and enjoy spectacular sea and beach views. A warm welcome, generous comfort and friendly personal service await you at this spacious Mediterranean style residence, north of Durban. Stylish air-conditioned bedrooms have every modern comfort and all bathrooms have bath and separate shower.

The cocktail bar leads to the spacious deck, ideal for sundowners and dolphin spotting. Leisurely beach walks and safe swimming. Golf, horse riding and restaurants nearby. TGCSA 5-Star Guest House.

Ghost Mountain Inn

At the foot of the Ghost Mountain lies the relaxed Ghost Mountain Inn. Nature enthusiasts will appreciate the abundance of wildlife and the scenery of this diverse region during game drives, guided walks and boat cruises in the company of knowledgeable guides.

Back at the Inn, unwind with a soothing spa treatment or enjoy the warmth of the African sun within the indigenous gardens. All rooms have private patios. Well located for those travelling between Kruger National Park, Swaziland, Durban and Mozambique. TGCSA 4-Star Hotel.

Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse

If it’s amazing food, pleasant scenery and tranquillity you’re after, then Cleopatra mountain farmhouse in the heart of the Drakensberg mountains is for you. Excitingly different, Richard and his chefs offer fine gourmet food, prepared with love, care and especially flavour.

The use of local ingredients and home-grown herbs and vegetables makes dining a delightful experience. Fauna, flora, San rock art, walking, birding and riding create memories never to be forgotten. TGCSA 5-Star Country House.

Montusi Mountain Lodge

This is an exclusive lodge in the northern Drakensberg mountains, a World Heritage Site, offering superb views of the magnificent Amphitheatre from each of the individual garden suites. Hike or horse ride in the mountains, swim, play tennis, enjoy birding and fly-fishing. Swing on the flying trapeze at the Adventure Centre nearby.

Enjoy good cuisine and delicious home-made bread. Personalised service from friendly staff make this owner-run lodge very popular. Relaxation massages offered in-house.

Close to the Amphitheatre Golf Course.TGCSA 4-Star Country House.

Hluhluwe River Lodge

Tucked away in an indigenous forest setting, Hluhluwe River Lodge and Adventures offers comfortably appointed thatched Chalets with private decks.

The relaxed main lodge has a restaurant, lounge and an expansive terrace commanding spectacular views of the Hluhluwe River floodplain. Popular activities include game drives to Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Reserve and birdwatching boat trips on the river.

For adventure seekers, horseriding, mountain biking and guided canoe trips. Relax at the pool, or take a self-guided walk. Dinners served alfresco under the stars. TGCSA 4-Star Lodge.

The History Of The Battlefields

Some of the most dramatic events took place in the Anglo-Zulu war of 1879. On the 22nd January an estimated 15,000 Zulu warriors surprised, split and defeated 1,500 British troops at Isandlwana, capturing The Queen’s Colour in the process.

Within a matter of hours some 4,000 Zulu attacked the mission and field hospital at Rorke’s Drift – 100 British troops held them at bay for 12 hours earning 11 Victoria Crosses in the process. But it is the personal stories told by the tour guides and resident historians at the lodges that bring the history to life – after all, battles are fought by people.

The Afrikaaners (Boers – settlers from the Netherlands) seeking political and cultural self-determination, which they believed could not be achieved under British rule in the Cape Colony, embarked on an epic 16-year journey to establish the Boer republics. The Boer-Zulu conflict was a result of two differing cultures and agendas, and the Battle of Blood River in December 1838 near Dundee has become a significant event in Afrikaans folklore

Having established the Boer republics of the Orange Free State and the Transvaal, and after a brief conflict in 1881, gold was discovered in 1886 in the Transvaal and the Gold Rush began ! President Paul Kruger sought to maintain the Boers right to independence but the die had been cast for the final Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902).

This was a war fought across the country but it was at Spionkop, Elaadslaagte and Ladysmith that some of the more memorable events took place, many of them witnessed by a young Winston Churchill in his role as war correspondent and Mahatma Gandhi as volunteer stretcher-bearer.