8 days from £1095pp plus international flights.
Fun for all the family! KwaZulu Natal is the perfect holiday for families, with abundant bird and animal life, beautiful sandy beaches and loads of activities to choose from. There's something for everyone.
We've selected three wonderful family-friendly lodges. At Amangwane you'll stay in a Robinson Crusoe-style chalet made of reeds, cosy as anything. Meal times are opportunities for everyone to mingle, enjoying traveller's tales and getting to know each other. Your next home-from-home is Umkhumbi Lodge where your hosts will entertain you with stories of their life in the bush and children will love hearing about their adventures. Finally is a gem, with pretty gardens and ponds filled fish where you'll have the chance, if you wish, to try a genuine South African braai (BBQ) around the campfire.
Days will be busy. Whether it's kayaking through mangrove swamps in Kosi Bay, exploring fish traps with local fishermen, watching out for the Big 5 on safari, meeting elephants and cheetahs up close - it's supervised and safe!, spending time on the beach or spotting crocodiles and hippos on a boat cruise, the time will fly by. The little ones will be entranced and, by the end of the day, exhausted, so Mum and Dad can enjoy some precious 'me-time' at the end of each day. It'll certainly be a holiday to live long in everyone's memories!
Your driver will be waiting for you at Richard's Bay airport ready to drive you north to Kosi Bay, near the Mozambique border. You'll be staying a simple reed chalet set among trees. There's an en-suite shower room and a small veranda at the front. Put your feet up and unwind after your journey. Later you can enjoy a drink in the lapa before enjoying a tasty, home-cooked dinner and retiring for a good night's sleep. Dinner.
Nature is the star at Amangwane and today the water beckons. Whether you're snorkelling amongst shoals of tropical fish in the clear ocean or kayaking on the lakes through bird-filled mangroves, you'll have fun exploring the great outdoors and enjoying some healthy fresh air and exercise. There are some lovely viewpoints, too. You'll be able to chat to local people, too, finding out about their day-to-day lives. Full board.
Today, once you've had breakfast, you'll head back south to Umkhumbi Lodge near the Hluhluwe Game Reserve. This is a family-owned lodge with a friendly atmosphere, with your hosts on hand to make your feel at home. Settle in - you'll have three nights here. This afternoon you can take a walk in the bush near the lodge. As well as animals there are lots of harmless creep-crawlies, which children are bound to love! Returning to the lodge you can watch a glorious sunset before sitting down to a delicious dinner. Breakfast, dinner.
Safari time! You'll be whisked off to Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve this morning. It's the only park in KZN where you can see the Big 5, but there's more, with hippo, crocodile, bushpig, zebras... If you're really lucky you might even spot a cheetah or wild dog. And there are birds. Over 300 species. So there'll be plenty to look at it's sure to be a full and exciting day. You'll be ready for a hearty dinner back at the lodge tonight. Breakfast, dinner.
Today's a free day to spend as you wish. Your hosts are happy to chat over possible activities and excursions. You might want to visit the nearby elephant reserve where you can meet the resident free-roaming family, and might have the chance to touch Rambo (dad), feed mum Rachel and watch young Jabu's mischievous antics. It's a heart-warming encounter. There's also a cheetah rehabilitation centre near the lodge where you'll have the privilege of spending time close to these beautiful animals and learning about the vital work being done to protect them. Breakfast, dinner.
This morning there's time for another thrilling game drive in Hluhluwe reserve before you head to iSimangaliso Wetlands Park. It covers a vast area and is known for its stunning natural beauty with gorgeous beaches, coastal dunes and forests. You'll check into Umlilo Lodge before setting out on a boat cruise in the estuary. Keep your eyes open for crocodiles and hippos. Back at the lodge you can cool off with a swim in the pool or relax in the bar lounge. Breakfast.
Today is an opportunity to see more of the park as you embark on a half day tour of Cape Vidal. It's an opportunity to see some of the best that the park has to offer. You should see hippos, crocodiles and a whole host of birds including the pelican, whose bill will hold more than his beli-can! After such excitement you can indulge in a lazy afternoon by the sea perhaps,or at the lodge, taking a stroll through the pretty garden. Breakfast.
Why not enjoy a leisurely breakfast on your last full day in St Lucia? Today is yours to spend as you wish, perhaps take a last stroll through the gardens or spend some quality family time down at the beach. Soak up the atmosphere, the beauty and the sun before you have to head for home tomorrow. Breakfast.
Enjoy breakfast this morning before packing your bags. Your guide will then take you back to Richards Bay for your onward flight. Breakfast.
Guide price from (pp sharing): £1095 (ex. international flights)
Price notes: 2017 guide price pp sharing, based on a family of 4 with 2 children under 12 years. £1095 all year, except for supplements at festive periods. NOTE: We can also price this for adults only or for different numbers or ages of people. Please ask.
2 nights Amangwane full board; 3 nights Umkhumbi Lodge half board; 2 nights Umlilo Lodge bed and breakfast; transfers as specified; activities at Amangwane; national park fees for 1 visit to Hluhluwe; elephant and cheetah interactions visits; St Lucia estuary boat cruise; trip to Cape Vidal in St Lucia.
International flights and taxes; visas; vaccinations; travel insurance; personal expenses; meals not specified; drinks; optional activities; laundry; tips.
Getting there: This holiday starts and ends at Richards Bay airport. Return flights from the UK will cost from around £1400 per person, slightly less for a child under 12 years, depending on season and availability. We'll be happy to look into flights for you.
Departure dates: This is a tailor-made holiday that can be started on the day of your choice.
The Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park is renowned for its variety of animal and bird life, and a varying landscape of valleys, hills, forests, rivers, thicket and savannah.
A rustic, partly community-owned camp in Kosi Bay in KwaZulu Natal, with 10 reed chalets.
Umkhumbi Lodge is in the heart of Zululand, a great base from which to explore the surounding wildlife reserves.
A small, owner-run lodge in St Lucia village, a perfect base for exploring iSimangaliso Wetlands Park.
How this holiday helps
You don’t have to have a family to take this trip, but we do think it makes a great family holiday! Not only that, but local communities definitely benefit from this superb little holiday.
Anton and Emma who own Umkhumbi Lodge, also partly own Amangwane Camp as a joint venture with the Tsonga community of Kosi Bay. You’ll get a great insight into life in the Kosi bay area including some local traditions since Amangwane is run by members of the local village. There’s not much chance of employment around Kosi, so this little rustic camp makes a big difference here. You’ll also be staying in an owner-run guest house in St Lucia village, the only village in the world to be completely surrounded by a world heritage site – Isimangaliso. All in all we hope you’ll end up feeling a little bit ‘at home’ here in this area of KwaZulu Natal after this trip.
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Time: GMT +2 hours
Flight time: There are daily flights from Europe to Johannesburg (about 10 ½ hours direct) and Cape Town (about 11 hours). There is also a good network of domestic flights connecting all main towns.
Language: English is South Africa's main administrative language and is widely spoken. There are also 11 official tribal languages.
Visas: Visas are not required for British passport holders.
Health: No vaccinations are compulsory. Malaria is found in certain areas (mainly Kruger and the east coast towards Mozambique), but not throughout the country.