Day 1 UK - Durban
Today you'll depart on your flight to Durban, the largest city in the province of KwaZulu-Natal.
Day 2 Ubizane Wildlife Reserve
On arrival we'll transfer you to your hotel, located in the heart of South Africa's Zululand. This area in the north east of KwaZulu-Natal is known locally as the Elephant Coast. For the next three nights, you will stay in a thatched tree lodge in the Ubizane Wildlife Reserve. This privately owned reserve, home to an abundance of wildlife, stretches over 1,200 acres and has the Mzinene River flowing through it. Perched on stilts and surrounded by the natural beauty of Fever Tree Forest, your stunning accommodation also comes with its own private viewing deck. That means you can watch animals as they freely roam right in front of your eyes.
The rest of the day is yours to enjoy at leisure, as you look forward to the days ahead. You're extremely well placed here not only for the thrills on offer in Ubizane, but for included excursions to nearby Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve and iSimangaliso Wetland Park too. High tea will be served this afternoon and this evening we'll get together for dinner.
Day 3 Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve
This morning you'll head off on your first thrilling safari. Ubizane is overflowing with magnificent wildlife and the sights you see are sure to be just incredible. Your Local Guide will know where to look for the park's residents, but keep a lookout yourself – nothing quite beats the feeling when you are the first to spot a rhino, giraffe, zebra or wildebeest.
This afternoon, the excitement builds again as we head to the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve in search of more thrilling wildlife. This is Africa's oldest game park and was the hunting ground of the Zulu kings. Amongst its rolling hills, look out for a whole host of animals, not least the 'Big Five' – lion, elephant, leopard, Cape buffalo and rhino. In fact, the park is renowned for its conservation efforts to save the white rhino from extinction, so hopefully you'll get to see this magnificent creature this afternoon. If you're really lucky, you might even see the endangered black rhino on your safari, as the reserve is now turning its attention to the dwindling numbers of this species.
As the sun begins to set we'll make our way back to the lodge, where you might choose to enjoy a sundowner before dinner.
Day 4 Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve
You've a full day of game drives today, heading back into Hluhluwe Imfolozi early, when the animals are at their most active. After notching up more wildlife sightings – you're sure to see giraffe, zebra, hippo and many types of antelope – we'll head back to the lodge for breakfast. Spend the rest of the morning at leisure and enjoy high tea before setting off on another game drive this afternoon.
Tonight, back at the lodge, you're invited to a special farewell dinner in the form of a braai – a traditional South African barbecue.
Day 5 iSimangaliso Wetland Park - Scottburgh
We'll bid the Elephant Coast farewell today as we head further south to our new base of Scottburgh. On the way there's another chance to view amazing wildlife with a stop at St Lucia and the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, whose name translates to 'miracle' or 'something wondrous'. South Africa's first UNESCO-listed site consists of three major lake systems, eight ecosystems, most of South Africa's remaining swamp forests and 25,000-year-old sand dunes, which are among the highest in the world. It is also where you'll find more than 500 species of birds and over 6,500 types of plant and animal.
The best way to explore this unique area is aboard the luxurious double-decked ferry, Advantage Cruiser, and that's exactly what you'll do. Over a couple of hours you'll see animals in their natural habitat, with close encounters with hippos and crocodiles a breathtaking highlight. The knowledgeable guides on board will tell you all about Africa's largest estuarine system and help you spot fish eagles, kingfishers, herons and more.
After disembarking, lunch is included in the town of St Lucia before we continue to Scottburgh. This will be your base for the next six nights, and your accommodation, the Blue Marlin Hotel, is located just steps from the beach.
Day 6 Scottburgh - at Leisure
After all the excitement of the last few days why not simply relax at your hotel. Enjoy the facilities here, which include an outdoor pool, spa, games room and dive centre. Or why not head to the beach, which is just steps away, and enjoy a dip in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.Meals included: B,L,D
Day 7 Malangeni & Pennington
You'll get an insight into life in South Africa today on a morning visit to local communities. You'll meet the members of a women's sewing group, tour a cookery school and see a computer teaching scheme in action. These projects are all part of a social scheme which aims to redress past inequalities and enhance the quality of life for the people living in these villages. Over tea and cakes you can have a chat with the scheme organisers and the locals who are benefitting from it.
You'll be back at the hotel in time for lunch, and the rest of the day is yours to spend as you wish.
Day 8 Valley of a Thousand Hills
A morning tour takes you to the Valley of a Thousand Hills, an area of spectacular unspoilt natural beauty. Take in views down to the Umgeni River, which flows to the inviting waters of the Indian Ocean, en route to PheZulu Safari Park, nestled amongst this undulating landscape. Here, you'll learn about the Zulu culture as you watch dancing displays, explore traditional thatched huts and shop for traditional carvings and beadwork. You'll also take a tour of the crocodile and snake park to learn all about these fascinating creatures. And there's even the chance for a hands-on experience with a Burmese python that weighs in at a whopping 42kgs.
Your tour comes to an end as we head to The Pot & Kettle, a lovely restaurant overlooking the valley, for lunch. Here, home-style cooking and stunning views are on the menu.
Day 9 Oribi Gorge
There are more scenic views to enjoy on today's included excursion, which takes you inland to the Oribi Gorge. Cut by the flow of the Umzinkulwana River, this million-year-old steep-sided valley is 400 metres deep and we'll head down into its heart. From here, you'll get spectacular views of the cliffs that now tower over you. We'll then drive out of the gorge for views over and beyond it.
Lake Eland Reserve is our next stop, to observe animals such as giraffe, zebra and many types of bird, including five species of kingfisher and seven species of eagle. Keep an eye out too for various members of the antelope family, although the gazelle-like oribi, after which the park is named, is a rare sight. You'll then have the chance to take a thrilling walk across the gorge on a suspension bridge. And if you want to see even more, you could take the 300 steps down the cliffs to the caves, and you could also opt to ride a zip line across the gorge or try abseiling if you're really feeling adventurous.
Day 10 Scottburgh - at Leisure
After the excitement of yesterday, why not spend a day at leisure, with a spa treatment or a stroll along the beach at the top of your agenda. If you're still up for adventure, there will be optional excursions available at your hotel, including a day out in Durban or a visit to a crocodile conservation centre.Meals included: B,L,D
Day 11 Durban - UK
We transfer you to the airport for your overnight flights back to the UK
Day 12 UK
You'll arrive in the UK today