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The Zulu Battlefields, Luxury Safari & Lesotho View Full Screen Itinerary

8 NIGHTS, JOHANNESBURG, PHINDA PRIVATE GAME RESERVE, ZULU BATTLEFIELDS WITH ROB CASKIE, LESOTHO MOUNTAINS 

This 8-night itinerary takes you on a journey of discovery through a region that was fiercely fought over and is packed with history. Travel through areas of outstanding natural beauty, from the imposing Drakensberg Mountains and the Golden Gate Highlands National Park, to the game reserves of Zululand or heading into the high altitude independent kingdom of Lesotho.

LET THE ZULU BATTLEFIELD STORIES BE BROUGHT TO LIFE WITH THE INCREDIBLE ROB CASKIE 

Your expert local guide will be none other than the storyteller extraordinaire, Rob Caskie. Rob will bring your trip to life: he is a specialist in the history and current affairs of South Africa, and also has a real affinity and connection with the local Zulu people, speaking their language fluently. Rob was the prodigy of the late David Rattray at Fugitives Drift Lodge and his ability to bring the stories and drama of the battlefields to life is second to none. He has established himself firmly as a world class orator. Rob has been fortunate enough to be guest speaker at the Royal Geographical Society in London.

ITINERARY HIGHLIGHTS

  • VISIT JOHANNESBURG, AFRICA'S BEATING HEART AND ECONOMIC POWERHOUSE
  • GAME VIEWING ON THE WORLD FAMOUS PHINDA PRIVATE GAME RESERVE
  • DISCOVER REMARKABLE TALES OF HEROISM FORM THE ZULU BATTLEFIELDS 
  • JOURNEY INTO MOUNTAINOUS KINGDOM OF LESOTHO
  • SAVOUR LUXURY ACCOMMODATION THROUGHOUT YOUR TRIP
Day 1

Day 1: Arrival in South Africa –Apartheid Museum Tour

On arriving in Johannesburg, you will meet your guide before an early check-in at your small private hotel, 33 on Melville.

Over lunch you will get to know your expert guide and discuss the week that lies ahead, all whilst enjoying dining al fresco overlooking the indigenous gardens of Johannesburg’s suburbs....

On arriving in Johannesburg, you will meet your guide before an early check-in at your small private hotel, 33 on Melville.

Over lunch you will get to know your expert guide and discuss the week that lies ahead, all whilst enjoying dining al fresco overlooking the indigenous gardens of Johannesburg’s suburbs. After lunch you will visit the Apartheid Museum with your guide who will set the scene for this period in South Africa’s history. This area in South Africa’s history has played a pivotal role in how the country is today and you will gain a greater appreciation and understanding of this incredible part of the world.

This evening you will enjoy dinner at the hotel and relax before flying directly to Zululand the following morning.

Included: Lunch and dinner. 

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Day 2

Day 2 : Zululand - Phinda Game Reserve

This morning you will fly directly from Johannesburg to Zululand, where you will be transferred to the incredible Phinda Private Game Reserve. Here you will check into the stunning Phinda Mountain Lodge. The 25 suites at Phinda Mountain Lodge are positioned in secluded parts of the camp, all maximising the...

This morning you will fly directly from Johannesburg to Zululand, where you will be transferred to the incredible Phinda Private Game Reserve. Here you will check into the stunning Phinda Mountain Lodge. The 25 suites at Phinda Mountain Lodge are positioned in secluded parts of the camp, all maximising the beautiful views of the surrounding landscape. Each suite boasts its own private plunge pool, a personal sitting room and spacious bathrooms. At Phinda Private Game Reserve’s Mountain Lodge, you will experience a world-class safari.

This is one of the country’s top game reserves, and set within prime safari territory. It’s fascinating to imagine that over one hundred years ago, this whole region would have been controlled by the mighty Zulu King, Shaka. The current monarch of Zululand is in fact a direct descendant of the famed warrior King Shaka.

Phinda Private Game reserve benefits from a variety of landscapes and some breathtaking scenery. Within this you will find an abundance of wildlife including rhino, elephant, leopard, lion and cheetah.

Whilst staying in what is the heart of Zululand, over your 2-night stay here, you will be able to really gain an insight into the story behind the Zulu nation. Whilst out on safari, your rangers and trackers will also bring to life the wonder of the Zulu king’s former royal hunting ground.

Included: All meals, local drinks and two game drives per day. 

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Day 3

Day 3: Full day on safari at Phinda Private Game Reserve

Today you will experience a full day on safari in the ancient Zulu king’s royal hunting ground. A morning game drive will give way to a sumptuous breakfast and some relaxation time before an exciting evening game drive with your expert guide and tracker. 

Today you will experience a full day on safari in the ancient Zulu king’s royal hunting ground. A morning game drive will give way to a sumptuous breakfast and some relaxation time before an exciting evening game drive with your expert guide and tracker. 

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Day 4

Day 4 : Discover Zululand - The iSimangaliso Wetland Park

After your morning game drive at Phinda Private Game Reserve, you will leave the reserve and visit a traditional Zulu homestead. This will give an insight into how modern rural Zulus live and deep appreciation of their still thriving culture. This afternoon you will check in to Makakatana Bay Lodge,...

After your morning game drive at Phinda Private Game Reserve, you will leave the reserve and visit a traditional Zulu homestead. This will give an insight into how modern rural Zulus live and deep appreciation of their still thriving culture. This afternoon you will check in to Makakatana Bay Lodge, situated in the World Heritage Site of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park.

In the afternoon, after settling into your new environment, you will be taken on a private river boat excursion meandering its way through the complex wetland system. There will be the opportunity to photograph pods of hippo, crocodiles and beautiful Goliath Herons and African Fish Eagles.

Included: Breakfast and dinner. 

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Day 5

Day 5 : Continue to Fugitives Drift Lodge – The Zulu Battlefields

After breakfast this morning you will leave Makakatana Bay Lodge and head into the heart of the Battlefields area of KwaZulu-Natal.  This is a 3½-hour journey that takes you to the famous Fugitives Drift Lodge. From a landscape perspective this area is fascinating as it is where the escarpment meets...

After breakfast this morning you will leave Makakatana Bay Lodge and head into the heart of the Battlefields area of KwaZulu-Natal.  This is a 3½-hour journey that takes you to the famous Fugitives Drift Lodge. From a landscape perspective this area is fascinating as it is where the escarpment meets thornveld savannah. You will find this region to be gentle mountain scenery and wide open savannah plains. Fugitives Drift Lodge is set overlooking the Buffalo River and the plains of the nature reserve in which it stands.

This afternoon you will enjoy a private tour of the Isandlwana Battlefield, where the might of the British Army suffered its worst defeat in its colonial history - the red-coated soldiers were taken by surprise as swarms of Zulu warriors descended on them. Your specialist guide will enthral you by regaling tales of incredible heroism and bravery that took place on the very spot beneath your feet. The stark white cairns dotted around the battlefield stand as a poignant reminder to the dozens of fallen.

The battlefield tour goes beyond the historic stories brought to life by your guide: you will learn the significance of how this sacred site is deeply intertwined into modern-day South Africa’s political climate. The battles that played out in and around this area had a direct consequence on how the country and cultures subsequently developed. Today you will essentially learn how the South Africa we know today came into being.

This evening you will enjoy a wonderful hosted dinner at Fugitives Drift.

Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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Day 6

Day 6 : Head toward the Drakensberg Mountains

After breakfast at Fugitives Drift, you will set off on a road less travelled to Ezakheni, and then on to Three Tree Hill Lodge, your accommodation for the night.

The road to Ezakheni passes through many villages, often untouched by development, giving you a fascinating look back into history. You will...

After breakfast at Fugitives Drift, you will set off on a road less travelled to Ezakheni, and then on to Three Tree Hill Lodge, your accommodation for the night.

The road to Ezakheni passes through many villages, often untouched by development, giving you a fascinating look back into history. You will see local people in their traditional dress, and can even visit a ‘sangoma’, or local healer, as you pass through. During your journey today you will pass through Ladysmith, where a famous view of the Barrier of Spears opens up before you, an iconic view to savour whilst travelling in the Drakensberg Mountains.

Lunch will be served on arrival at Three Tree Lodge, followed by a guided tour to the Battle of Spioenkop. At this particular battle, the British were faced the Boers who famously employed their guerrilla warfare tactics. This tour will give you a greater understanding of how the Afrikaner nationalism spirit was born, and how in turn that led to the Apartheid era, which you learnt about in Johannesburg on arrival in South Africa. 

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Day 7

Day 7: Leave KwaZulu-Natal for the Free State

Today you will embark on a very memorable drive, passing some unique scenery that will truly inspire. Climb up into the Drakensberg Mountains via the Oliviershoek Pass, where the Sterkfontein Dam spreads out before you. Enjoy stopping off at the vulture hide enroute, where you can encounter endangered vultures which...

Today you will embark on a very memorable drive, passing some unique scenery that will truly inspire. Climb up into the Drakensberg Mountains via the Oliviershoek Pass, where the Sterkfontein Dam spreads out before you. Enjoy stopping off at the vulture hide enroute, where you can encounter endangered vultures which are being reared on cattle meat by local farmers.

Dropping down from the loftier peaks, you enter Golden Gate Highlands National Park – here great sandstone cliffs line your route, interspersed with sweeping grass plains and deep ravines cut into the landscape by fast-flowing streams and rivers. Stop off at Clarens, a charming village built out of the local sandstone – here we recommend taking lunch in one of the many restaurants serving traditional Afrikaans farm food. The organic lamb and beef are firm favourites.

After lunch you will head into the kingdom of Lesotho. This is Africa’s most mountainous kingdom and home to the softly spoken Basotho people. See how this fascinating culture exists today, still adorned in their traditional hats, tribal blankets and often seen on their sturdy mountain horses.

As you enter the small kingdom of Lesotho, you will quickly see the differences between Zululand. The road here is a gravel road and the scenery quickly becomes like something from a fantasy film. Not far on, you will come to your overnight accommodation at Maliba Lodge, a lodge surrounded by some of the highest peaks in Africa. Dinner will be served and you may be treated to some Basotho dancing and storytelling. 

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Day 8

Day 8 : Full day in the Lesotho kingdom, exploring the Maloti Mountains

Today you will embark on some local adventures and discovery. This morning, enjoy either a guided walk along the river to the cascades, or take a Basotho horse and head up the valley for some spectacular scenery. Return to Maliba Lodge for lunch.

This afternoon, perhaps join a local guided walk...

Today you will embark on some local adventures and discovery. This morning, enjoy either a guided walk along the river to the cascades, or take a Basotho horse and head up the valley for some spectacular scenery. Return to Maliba Lodge for lunch.

This afternoon, perhaps join a local guided walk into a nearby village where you will have the pleasure of meeting the local people, friends and family of your guide, who will take great pride in showing you how the Basotho people live their simple lives. Dinner will be served at the lodge.

Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

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Day 9

Day 9 : Final morning in Lesotho before heading to Johannesburg

This morning you will enjoy your final breakfast at Maliba Lodge in the beautiful mountainous kingdom of Lesotho before embarking on a scenic drive through corn and wheat fields across the Free State towards Johannesburg. This will be a journey of around 4 hours. Arrive at Johannesburg Airport for your...

This morning you will enjoy your final breakfast at Maliba Lodge in the beautiful mountainous kingdom of Lesotho before embarking on a scenic drive through corn and wheat fields across the Free State towards Johannesburg. This will be a journey of around 4 hours. Arrive at Johannesburg Airport for your onward international flight.

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Sandgrouse brought South Africa to life!

Sandgrouse Travel's extensive knowledge of Africa and the wilderness there, matched with their professionalism makes for them the perfect company to create a unique and bespoke travel adventure for you or your family.

Our consultant, Jonny, helped piece together the perfect adventure for us and whether it's safari, wine tasting in South Africa or a hiking/adventure trip I highly recommend to book with Sandgrouse Travel for your next holiday!

Nora Connolly: London & New York

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