WHY YOU SHOULD GOSwim with whale sharks, and track Giant Leatherback and Loggerhead turtles on nocturnal walks and drives. Kayak South Africa’s largest freshwater lake home to second largest population of hippopotamus and crocodile in KwaZulu-Natal. Pay a visit to local schools to experience the hundred year old celebration of Zulu.
Safari in South Africa draws people year round with its amazing array of wildlife and some of the biggest beasts on Earth. We here at Black Tomato wanted to come up with a trip that would satisfy all your safari cravings, away from the throngs of visitors. So that the only thing you will be looking at next to you is the hordes of wildebeest. However we couldn’t head to the remarkable region of Kwazulu Natal without adding some of the most treasured secret spots and cultural experiences to make this trip completely unforgettable.
Adventure or beach life?
Arrive at Durban airport where you will be immediately whisked off to the gloriously isolated shores of the Maputaland coast, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Mabibi is a magical place of coastal forests, grasslands, bush, shimmering lakes and exquisite sandy beaches in which to call home for the next six nights. The exquisitely luxurious thatched eco-suites are thoughtfully designed for comfort and elegance overlooking secluded white sand beaches while being tucked away in the coastal dune forest.
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For the next 6 days choose how adventurous you want to be, preferring to spend lazy days on the beach or head out for one of the many coastal adventures. Snorkel and/or dive the great underwater seascapes of the Elephant Coast, home to a display of colourful sea life, including shoals of fish, sharks and if you are lucky bottlenose dolphins and whale sharks, or head above water to try your hand at turtle tracking, or fly fishing.
A little further afield lies the dramatic world heritage site of Lake Sibaya waiting to be explored by guided kayak. Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for hippo and crocodile along your travels, before heading back for sundowners along the dramatic shoreline. Each evening a delicious meal will be prepared and brought to you from a large thatched ‘rondavel’ – opening on to an expansive wooden deck, where guests can enjoy the dining experience al fresco, or dine by candlelight on the shores of the Indian Ocean. However you decide to spend your time the Thonga Beach Lodge experience perfectly captures the essence of a luxury Robinson Crusoe hideaway.
Uncover the secrets
After your fill of the Matuland coast, head inward to a truly unique location. Set in Thanda’s Private Game Reserve, visitors are treated to game drives free from the crowds of mass tourists where humans and nature harmoniously co-exist. Drop your bags in one of the luxury bush villas or colonial safari-style tented camps that make you feel like you’re in a private world. Thanda meaning ‘love’ in Zulu is an expression of the magical union of powerful Zulu culture, wildlife, romantic decadence, and exclusivity. Witness a hundred-year-old ritual performed by Zulu warriors that will mesmerized you, offering a glimpse of a powerful nation that still retains its deep traditions.
Thanda’s offers an authentic private safari experience with an abundance of African game including the Big Five (lion, rhino, elephant, buffalo and leopard) and the endangered wild dog and cheetah found at Thanda Private Game Reserve. If you are in the mood for something a little less wild, take one of the guided bush walks or indulge in the most exquisite African bush spa to help ease your stresses away. After a day in the bush, the rewards of a private plunge pool are truly worth waiting for. As the sun goes down wrap yourself up and head to one of the private salas raised high in the bush to enjoy the night sky before snuggling down in front of a roaring fire.
Thanda Game Reserve offers guests a choice between the opulence of the main lodge and the rugged refinement of the safari-style tented camp. Circular in structure and reminiscent of a traditional homestead against a hill, each of the villas boasts a breathtaking view of the surrounding game reserve and has its own spacious lounge area and master bedroom with inter-leading fireplace. The in-house restaurant offers versatile, mouth-watering dishes that appeal to guests of all cultures and nationalities. The hotel boasts a well-stocked wine cellar and cigar bar for the discerning guest.