Location: South Africa Duration: 12 nights Price: From £4,950 per person in low season based on two adults travelling together and including all flights in economy class, accommodation, most meals, car hire, experiences as stated and taxes

Hemmed in by the sculpted Drakensberg Mountains, this diverse itinerary is ideal for couples seeking an exclusive getaway to South Africa’s historic and secluded eastern landscape. From wallowing in the award-winning spa in Karkloof to horse riding through the Drakensberg Amphitheatre, the first half of your holiday is spent nestled in the heart of KwaZulu-Natal, brushing up on your South African history at the Battlefields brought to thrilling life by a Zulu storyteller. After your history lesson, you’ll then go on a big game spotting adventure in Hlujluwe, before ending up along the Indian Ocean where you can soak up sweeping vistas from the turtle-laden Elephant Coast.

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Perfect for

Couples seeking a blend of culture, scenery and wildlife in South Africa. Horse lovers, spa goers, avid historians, the turtle-obsessed and scuba diving fans are all catered for on this trip!

In the know

If you are very interested in watching loggerhead and leatherback turtles laying their eggs or photographing hatchlings scurrying across the sands to the ocean, consider travelling to the Elephant Coast between November and February.

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KARKLOOF – 2 nights

You’ll start out with a healthy dose of indulgence, staying in the award-winning spa and boutique lodge Karkloof Spa. Flying into Durban, you’ll collect your car and head towards Karkloof Nature Reserve, swapping the coastal cityscape for a landscape dominated by thundering waterfalls, mistbelt forests and trout-filled rivers –just perfect for fly-fishing. Feel your stress melt away and the nagging worries of your work life disappear with a magnificent treatment at the spa. From a Thai massage to a Moroccan-flavoured Rassoul chamber, the heated oils, fresh flowers and honey teas will have you releasing that age-old tension within minutes. Built high above the wildlife-teeming valley, you can view the surrounding region from the decking area or explore the area on a game drive and nature walk. Whilst there are no big cats, the nature reserve does have three of the Big Five (elephant, rhino and buffalo), as well as giraffe, wildebeest, zebra and serval. In between drives, walks and spa treatments, don’t miss an opportunity to see the spectacular Howick Falls or to visit the art and crafts outlet along the Midlands Meander.

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BERGVILLE – 2 nights

Driving deeper into the mountains that border Lesotho, you’ll spend two nights at the Montusi Mountain Lodge. With a focus on space, the lodge is situated on 1,000 hectares, dotted with quiet streams, three dams, pockets of natural indigenous forest and two caves with bushman paintings. During your stay, you’ll be taken on a Bushman Cave walk in order to see the beautifully preserved ancient paintings, which depict the San people and the animals that used to live in the area thousands of years ago. With an endless supply of activities, you can also go fishing, mountain biking, hiking along the scenic trails and quad biking. For a different perspective, go on a tree-top tour or canter through the landscape on horseback. For the less active or those who don’t want to shake off the zen-like atmosphere of the Karkloof Spa just yet, lounging by the rock swimming pool or reading a book on the private patio is just as scenic thanks to the superb views of the Amphitheatre Mountain and the jagged cliffs of the Drakensberg escarpment.

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DUNDEE - 2 nights

Next, you’ll drive east, towards the town of Dundee and into the fabled region known as the Battlefields. Here you will stay in the heart of the history at Fugitives Drift for two nights, where you will join a battlefields tour to Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift. Listen to the thrilling tales of the Anglo-Zulu wars brought to life by a Zulu descendent or take a more active approach and discover the region via horseback or bike – with (non-threatening) wildlife in the area you might even whizz past zebra, giraffe and wildebeest on the way. Afterwards, it’s a humbling experience to visit the graves of the soldiers who were killed in these famed 19th century clashes.

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HLUJLUWE – 3 nights

Established to protect the white rhino, which now numbers over 1,000 in the park, Hluhluwe iMfolozi Game Reserve is renowned for its wildlife as well as for its conservation efforts. The park is home to elephant, rhino, Cape buffalo, lion and leopard, has 340 bird species, and is one of the world’s top spots for viewing nyala. You’ll go on intensely active morning and afternoon game drives, rewarded with national geographic-worthy snapshots, and bush walks that’ll get your heart-pumping because of the exciting close up encounters. Your home is the contemporary and aptly named Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge, perched on a ridge overlooking the southern section of the Zululand Rhino Reserve. You can spend your entire stay sweeping the bushland for a glimpse of startled antelope or slinking cats on hunt or you can set some time aside to visit the St Lucia wetland park, taking a boat trip on Lake St Lucia for crocodile and hippo viewing.

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ELEPHANT COAST – 3 nights

From Hlujluwe, you’ll drive to the pick-up point Coastal Cashews and be collected by a guide for your final three nights along the beautiful east coast. Carving through the thick golden sands, you’ll soon see the necessity of a land cruiser transfer, as you scramble up the coastal dunes to the rustic-chic, Robinson Crusoe hideaway of Thonga Beach Lodge. The stand-alone chalets are a great balance of light woods, thatched roofs and glass walls and the raised platform balconies mean that you’ll have incredible views of the Indian Ocean from your bed. Grab some binoculars and look for the white spray, created from a breaching whale, or head out on a boat to go swimming, snorkelling or scuba diving with these gentle giants. The shallow reefs right in front of the lodge are perfect for quick dips down below the surface, where you can spot octopus and big shoals of fish, while the miles of empty beach are ideal for whole days spent walking and basking in the sun. You can kayak in the nearby lake, spotting crocodiles and hippos, witness the rare sight of turtles laying eggs and have a seaweed-based treatment, we highly recommend the deep muscle massage, at the Sea Spa. As the sun sets, visit the bar for a brightly-coloured cocktail or a Savannah and head along the raised walkways to the beach platform – as great a place as any for a memorable and final holiday photo!

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Best time to go

Best time to travel

Good time to travel (but some limitations)

Travel is possible (but it’s not the best time)

Travel is not recommended

  • Jan
  • Feb
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  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
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  • Nov
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Best time to go
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