South Africa: Drakensberg & Zululand

Code: DKWHW

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Activity types:

  • High Mountains
  • History
  • Wildlife

Level

  • Medium
More information

Difficulty indicator

Difficulty is measured on many factors such as distance, ascent/descent, terrain, weather and more. There's no magic formula, but from our experience we use yellow for easy, orange for medium and red for hard. Challenger holidays require a high level of fitness and stamina.

More about difficulty levels

From £1,999.00 - 10 to 11 nights

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Prices are per person

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Holiday overview

A journey into the heart of South Africa in some of the best walking environments in the world.

See the spectacular cliffs, gorges and valleys of the Drakensberg mountains, the Zulu homelands and the history of the battlefields of the Anglo Zulu wars, the wildlife and coastal reserves in Maputaland and the Elephant Coast.

Holiday highlights:

  • Walking in the mighty Drakensberg mountains, know to Zulus as the ‘Barrier of Spears’
  • Explore both the northern and central Drakensberg, including walks to Tugela Gorge and the Contour Path
  • Visit the battlefields of Isandlwana & Rorke’s Drift with a specialist guide to bring the story of the battles to life
  • Spot elephants, hippo, crocodile and bird life on a cruise on Lake Jozini and a guided bush walk
  • Visit a Zulu village
  • Stay in a collection of luxurious country lodges in spectacular locations
  • Enjoy excellent South African cuisine and hospitality

Price includes

  • 10 nights’ accommodation in en-suite rooms
  • Full Board from lunch on day 2 to breakfast on departure
  • A full programme of guided walks led by a local tour director and local guides
  • All sightseeing and entrance fees
  • Travel by air-conditioned coach/minivan
  • Tips

Accommodation

A selection of mountain and game lodges with distinctive local character.

The Ghost Mountain Inn is a secluded retreat with a traditional colonial country house character. As well as modern well appointed rooms, there are a number of restaurants and a large bar. The fragrant gardens have watchtowers for viewing the wonderful birdlife as well as views towards Ghost Mountain. 

The Battlefields Country Lodge is a stone's throw from the hub and heartbeat of the battlefields, in a beautiful position with magnificent views of Zululand, rolling lawns and browsing wildlife. .

The Champagne Castle Hotel is our base in the central Drakensberg, an area of high peaks, lush valleys and a long settler history. The hotel offers dramatic views of the Drakensberg Escarpment and the 'Barrier of Spears', the magnificent amphitheatre of the Little Berg. With ample space in the restaurant, bar, lounges and spa for relaxing. 

In the northern Drakensberg we stay at the Cavern Resort, located on a private mountain reserve with great views of the river gorge below and across to the mountains. It has large rooms, sumptuous dining area and bar with a terrace.   


On occasion we may need to change the accommodation listed above. If this happens, your replacement accommodation will be of the equivalent standard or higher. In the rare instance this is not possible, we will contact you in advance. 

Itinerary

Walks are part-day and full day with opportunities to walk direct from the hotels. Distances are from 1 to 11 miles (1.5-17.75km). Ascents range from virtually nil to 2,100 feet (630m) with some rough terrain and steep ascents. In the Drakensberg there are opportunities to do challenging hikes including the ascents to the spectacular Amphitheatre summit.

Day 1: To Durban - Overnight flight from London to Durban via Johannesburg.

Day 2: To Ghost Mountain - Morning arrival and drive up the Elephant Coast to the Ghost Mountain where we stay for 2 nights. This luxurious hotel is located in a lovely relaxing location in a traditional area, close to a number of game reserves and in the shadow of Ghost Mountain. Afternoon walk to Ghost Mountain, a sacred place for local tribes, which is said to be haunted.

Day 3: Mkuze Game Reserve - Enjoy a morning game drive in the Mkuze reserve, a great place to see elephant, giraffe and possibly white rhino as well as lovely bird life. This afternoon we take a guided naturalist walk through the reserve’s Fig Forest.

Day 4: To Battlefields - Morning cruise on Lake Jozini, for wonderful scenery and hippo, crocodile and other wildlife as well as lovely tropical birds. Continue inland into the heart of Zululand (2 nights), through rolling countryside with small traditional villages. 

Day 5: Rorke’s Drift & Isandlwana - In the company of an expert historian guide explore the battlefields of the Anglo Zulu wars, the haunting fields of Isandlwana and the famous siege at Rorke’s Drift. Your guide will bring to life the history, events and personal stories surrounding the battles in this area as we walk through where they took place.

Day 6: To the Drakensberg - Morning drive across the countryside of KwaZulu-Natal, rich in history, until the Drakensberg mountains come into view and we climb into the central part of the range (3 nights). An unbeatable location for walking and offering a splendid place to relax and enjoy the surroundings. This afternoon we take a walk to see San bushman paintings.

Day 7: Drakensberg walks - Enjoy excellent full or part day walks in the stunning mountains. Walk options include the dramatic Rainbow Gorge or the popular Contour Path.

Day 8: Drakensberg walks - Another great day of walking, with a variety of routes available direct from the hotel.

Day 9: To the Royal Natal National Park - Morning at leisure, followed by the short drive to the northern area of the main Drakensberg range and the Royal Natal National Park (3 nights), where it is easy to see why the Zulus named it the Barrier of Spears. We stay in the heart of the park.

Day 10: Tugela Gorge - A full day’s walking, with harder and easier options, in the stunning Tugela River gorge, through valleys of yellowwood trees and protea savannah, unusual geological formations with names like Devil’s Tooth and Toothpick and great mountain views.

Day 11: The Amphitheatre - A fantastic full day’s walk to the summit of the Amphitheatre, the symbol of the Drakensberg and close to the highest point in South Africa. Drive to a well marked trail with a zig-zag path leading onto an undulating contour path which then leads to the summit. A less challenging shorter walk in the area is available.

Day 12: To Johannesburg - Enjoy a relaxing final morning in the mountains. Afternoon drive to Johannesburg for our flight home (airport lounge entry included)

Day 13: London - Early morning arrival.

General Information

Passport
A full passport valid for at least one month after departing South Africa is required, with at least 2 blank pages for entry stamps.

Visa
Holders of EU passports and nationals of the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand can stay in South Africa for up to 3 months without a visa. Other nationals should check with their nearest South African embassy for details of entry requirements.

Health advice
Before booking, you should check with your doctor to see if any health precautions are needed. The following websites provide a wealth of information on travelling and health:http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk   www.traveldoctor.co.uk

Vaccines: Diphtheria, Hepatitis A & Tetanus vaccinations are recommended. Typhoid, rabies and hepatitis B vaccines are sometimes recommended too.

Climate
Holidays are scheduled for the South African summer when the weather will be warm.  Some days can be quite hot, and you should experience plenty of sun. It is cooler in the evenings in the mountains and there is always the chance of rain. This can sometimes be in the form of heavy downpours, though they are often fairly brief and don’t affect the daily activities greatly. The lowland valley of KwaZulu Natal and down to the coast is generally hotter and more humid than the Drakensberg, and there can be some rainy days.

Money
The South African currency is the rand. Banks are open Monday to Friday 9am to 3.30pm and Saturdays 9am to 11am and are the most convenient place for exchanging money. Credit cards are also a convenient way of obtaining money and Visa and Mastercard are all widely recognised. Cash machines are found in most towns. Traveller’s cheques are not advised.

Tipping
Tips are included on this holiday.

For flights information please see the Dates and Prices tab.

Leaders

Trevor Boulle

Trevor, our local South African leader, lives in Durban and leads all of our South African holidays, both The Cape & Garden Route, and The Drakensberg & Zululand.

He has been involved in tourism for over 16 years, initially as a tour operator and for the last ten years as a full time tourist guide. Trevor has a strong passion for history, culture, hiking and the great outdoors, all of which South Africa has in abundance.

Leading our HF Holidays’ groups on their holidays in South Africa allows Trevor the opportunity to share his deep warmth and knowledge of the land and its people. A wicked and sometimes dry sense of humour is utilised at opportune moments to convey this message!

For him, the most endearing legacy of one of our holidays is to witness the group bonding and to see strong friendships being nurtured and forged. To be an integral part of this process he feels is very special indeed.

Trevor’s feedback from our groups is consistently, excellent, excellent, excellent. Here are just a few examples of what our guests say about him:

“Trevor was one of the best HF leaders I have experienced. His knowledge/enthusiasm and care was second to none. He must be one of your best ambassadors”

“Trevor is exceptional in all respects”

“Trevor made a huge contribution to the whole group’s enjoyment of the holiday” 

Reviews

Date & Rating Customer Review HF Holidays says
12 Nov 2015, 5:53 p.m.

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An excellent holiday slightly spoilt by poor pre holiday admin

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A fantastic holiday with the best tour guide we have ever experienced. The holiday was an excellent mix of harder and easier walks involving game and bird watching plus battlefield tours. The hotels could not have been better.
18 Oct 2015, 6:26 a.m.

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We returned later than the group flight and all the queries I had about flight arrangements, times and dates were dealt with promptly and were a great help with planning our trip

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A very interesting trip with a good variety of walks and some wildlife watching. Trevor is an excellent leader, very informative, but also very sensitive to the needs of the group and individuals
16 Oct 2015, 2:41 p.m.

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No review provided

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Service from start of the booking to the end of the holiday was excellent. Very well planned and organised.
8 Oct 2015, 3:33 p.m.

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Excellent tour leader who really knew his stuff and ensured everything ran smoothly.

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Only problem - I wish the holiday had been longer.
8 Oct 2015, 2:34 p.m.

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Great holiday made better by our leader

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Could do with an extra day to get over the last full day of the walks .Last walk was a 6hr round trip to and from the start of walk followed by next a5.5hr trip to airport then a11hr flight to uk
24 Nov 2014, 9:12 a.m.

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Our guide was outstanding
19 Mar 2014, 10:20 a.m.

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We have always enjoyed HF Holidays. The places visited and organisation are always excellent but what really makes the holidays is the company.
14 Mar 2014, 2:36 p.m.

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Always well organised and walks well thought out.

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It would be good, when travelling around, if the bus driver/tour guide would provide a few stops for photo opportunities.
21 Nov 2013, 2:40 a.m.

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Excellent value for the money. Trips are varied and interesting. We have always found accommodations, meals, guides excellent.

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An excellent trip.
20 Nov 2013, 11:21 p.m.

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Good holidays at a good price

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A good holiday with great hotels and lovely, interesting countryside.

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Dates & Prices

Date Description Nights Brochure price Book
21 Sep 2017 DKWHW - Drakensburg & Zululand
(Travel included)

Flight - Outbound

BRITISH AIRWAYS

  • Depart: 21 Sep 2017, 7:05 p.m.
  • Arrive: 22 Sep 2017, 10:05 a.m.
  • Depart from: London Heathrow
  • Arrive at: Durban Louis Botha International

Flight - Return

BRITISH AIRWAYS

  • Depart: 2 Oct 2017, 7:20 p.m.
  • Arrive: 3 Oct 2017, 5:30 a.m.
  • Depart from: Johannesburg Jan Smuts International
  • Arrive at: London Heathrow
11 £2,659.00 Book Now
22 Sep 2017 DKWHW - Drakensberg & Zululand 10 £1,999.00 Book Now
26 Oct 2017 DKWHW - Drakensburg & Zululand
(Travel included)

Flight - Outbound

BRITISH AIRWAYS

  • Depart: 26 Oct 2017, 7:05 p.m.
  • Arrive: 27 Oct 2017, 10:05 a.m.
  • Depart from: London Heathrow
  • Arrive at: Durban Louis Botha International

Flight - Return

BRITISH AIRWAYS

  • Depart: 6 Nov 2017, 7:20 p.m.
  • Arrive: 7 Nov 2017, 5:30 a.m.
  • Depart from: Johannesburg Jan Smuts International
  • Arrive at: London Heathrow
11 £2,659.00 Book Now
27 Oct 2017 DKWHW - Drakensberg & Zululand 10 £1,999.00 Book Now

Prices are per person

Information

  • Single room: £260 (2016), £240 (2017)
  • Discounts available for groups
  • No flight holidays start on day 2
  • Non-member associate fee: (2016) £5 per person; (2017) £10 per person