Battlefields and the 'Big 5': self-drive South Africa trip

Tailor-made holidays
Duration (in days): 14

From: UK

To: South Africa



Inc. International flights (per person, based on 2 sharing) 
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Explore South Africa's KwuZulu Natal region on this 2 week South Africa trip. Beginning in Johannesburg, you'll have a few days to explore the city including Soweto, for a taste of South Africa's tumultuous history of apartheid. Driving on through the Drakensburg mountains, you'll reach the historic Zulu Battlefields where you can learn a little more about the history and stories. From your lodge, you'll have wildlife including giraffes, zebras and rhinos on tour doorstep; join a walking safari and you'll be able to see them up close.

Continuing this historical tour, you'll journey on to the battlefields of Islandwana and Rorke’s Drift, where local guides will explain more of the history and answer your questions, before moving on to a private game reserve to seek out the 'Big 5'. Finally, your holiday ends in Durban, where you can relax for the last few days on the beaches and savour the memories of your trip.

This itinerary can be tailored to suit your requirements please contact one of our consultants to start planning your dream trip.

This South Africa trip includes

  • International flights
  • All transfers
  • All accommodation in 5* hotels
  • Car hire
  • Excursions as mentioned in the itinerary


  • Explore the township of Soweto where Nelson Mandela once lived.
  • Witness giraffes at close quarters on a walking safari.
  • Walk through the Zulu battlefields and learn about the bloody battles that took place here.
  • Spot elephants and look out for lions in Phinda Game Reserve
  • Take a stroll along Durban’s long sandy coastline


Kwa-Zulu Natal battlefields and safari | map



Itinerary in brief:

  • 2 nights Johannesburg
  • 2 nights Drakensburg
  • 2 nights Rorkes Drift
  • 3 nights Phinda Game Reserve
  • 2 nights Durban


Day 1: Depart UK

Depart the UK from your chosen airport.

Included: International flight

Day 2: Arrive Johannesburg

On arrival in Johannesburg, you’ll be met and assisted with your Europcar vehicle collection. A Group C car (similar to a VW Polo Classic) has been reserved for you, so you can drive to your first hotel, where you’ll check in for one night.

Included: Hotel, car hire for 12 days

Day 3: Johannesburg

Today is yours to explore Johannesburg. Why not visit the township of Soweto and learn more about South Africa's tulmutuous history of apartheid, by visitng the Nelson Mandela House or the Hector Pieterson Museum.

Included: Hotel & breakfast

Day 4: Drakensburg Area

After breakfast, you'll set off for the Drakensburg Region, a drive of approximately 5 hours before arriving at Three Tree Hill to check in.

This afternoon you can listen to the history of the Boers over a cup of tea, before heading to Spioenkop. It’s the site of one of the most famous battles of the Boer War and you’ll hear more stories of the soldiers who lost their lives here.

Included: Hotel & breakfast (activities at an additional charge)

Day 5: Drakensburg Area

This morning, be sure to join the walking safari run by the lodge. In a small group, you’ll enter Spioenkop Game Reserve to walk amongst giraffe, zebra and rhino – a truly breath-taking experience.

Other activities available at the lodge include mountain hiking, white water rafting and Drakensburg canopy tours.

Included: Hotel & all meals (activities at an additional charge)

Day 6: Rorke's Drift

Today you'll drive for about 3 hours to reach to Rorkes Drift. After check in at the lodge, you’ll have the remainder of the day to explore.

Home to the famous battlefields of Islandwana and Rorke’s Drift, which inspired the film ‘Zulu’, you can head out on a thought-provoking and often emotionally charged walk through history, with local guides who will take you to the scene of these bloody battles.

Included: Hotel & all meals (activities at an additional charge)

Day 7: Rorke's Drift

We’ve included an additional day at Rorke’s Drift for you to take advantage of the activities on offer, including horse riding and nearby walks. Or just relax by the lodge’s swimming pool enjoying the views across the plains.

Included: Hotel & all meals

Day 8: Phinda Game Reserve

After breakfast you'll drive to Phinda Game Reserve, around 5 hours to the east.

Phinda is protected land and is home to Africa’s big 5 (lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino) as well as the elusive cheetah. The staff will take you out on a safari this evening so you can spot the marvellous array of wildlife for yourself.

Included: Hotel, all meals, house wines, safari activities & nature walks

Day 9: Phinda Game Reserve

Today is yours to explore the reserve; to go on game drives looking out for giraffes and zebras or tracking black rhinos on foot.

Included: Hotel, all meals, house wines, safari activities & nature walks

Day 10: Phinda Game Reserve

We’ve included another day in this spectacular property so why not take a nature walk or head out onto the water to look for whale sharks.

Included: Hotel, all meals, house wines, safari activities & nature walks

Day 11: Durban

Today you'll drive to Durban, the final destination on your South African self drive, around 3.5 hours away. We’ve included 2 nights at the iconic Oyster Box Hotel – our recommendation is that you taste their delicious curry buffet while you’re here.

Included: Hotel & breakfast

Day 12: Durban

Today is yours. Why not take advantage of the hotel’s spa treatments or head to the beach in Durban to enjoy the sunshine?

Included: Hotel & breakfast

Day 13: Durban

This morning you'll return your car to the airport, ready for your flight home.

Included: Hotel & breakfast

Day 14: Arrive UK

Arrive back in the UK


The climate in the KwaZulu Natal Province is stable with the capital Durban getting 320 days of sun per year, meaning this is a great year-round destination. Temperatures range from 16 to 25 degrees in the winter (April to September). During the summer temperatures range from 23 to 33 degrees with January being the hottest month of the year. Sea temperatures near Durban remain at an average of 21 degrees all year.

This itinerary is purely a suggestion, and can be tailor-made to your requirements, so please contact us with your dates and requests and we’ll put together a bespoke quotation for you

What's included: 

  • International flights
  • Meet and greet on arrival
  • 24 hour emergency contact
  • Car rental
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Excursions as mentioned in the itinerary

Not included: 

  • Any meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Any excursions not mentioned in the itinerary
  • One way rental fees
  • Traffic tolls and petrol
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips and gratuities


11 nights in 5* luxury accommodation.

Hotels in this category include:

  • The Peech Hotel, Johannesburg

  • Three Tree Hill, Drakensburg Area

  • Fugitive’s Drift Guest House, Rorke’s Drift

  • Phinda Vlei Lodge, andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve

  • Oyster Box Hotel, Durban


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