Zululand in northern KwaZulu-Natal is home to diverse offerings to suit all kinds of travellers - from wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers to adventure seekers. Just a few hours drive from Durban, this magical part of KwaZulu-Natal will leave you entertained and enthralled.
If you are planning a trip to Zululand, here are 5 hidden gems you must tick off your bucket list:
Ithala Game Reserve
Among the top game reserves in Zululand, Ithala offers some of the oldest rock formations that date back some 3 000 million years.
With an expansive history, travellers will get to hear some interesting stories when they visit. The reserve is home to the Big 4: elephant, rhino, buffalo and leopard. Guests can indulge in a range of activities, including self-guided walking trails, game drives, self-drive auto trails and picnics. There is also a restaurant, coffee shop, bar and a swimming pool on the property. And, if you are staying over, chalet, bush camp and campsite accommodation is available. Visit www.ithala.info/
Zululand Cat Conservation Project
Want to get up close with a cheetah? The Zululand Cat Conservation Project at Emdoneni Lodge offers daily tours where you get to meet two male cheetahs named Moya and Juba. The duo love posing for pictures, all within a safe two-metre distance. No touching or petting is allowed. No one under the age of 16 is allowed to enter the enclosure. The tour also introduces visitors to serval cats, African Wildcats and caracal. Visit www.emdonenilodge.com/cat-rehabilitation/
Babanango Game Reserve
Babanango Game Reserve, located 50km from Vryheid, is home to a copper mine National Heritage Site. The malaria-free reserve offers three lodges – Valley Lodge, Zulu Rock Lodge and Matatane Lodge. Dubbed a “bush lover’s paradise”, travellers will get to see buffalo, giraffe, hyena and zebra. Besides game drives, guests can enjoy hiking, mountain biking, birding, conservation helicopter flips, guided walks, horse safaris and more. Nearby attractions include Isandlwana Battlefield, Rorke’s Drift and Devil’s Pass. Visit www.babanango.co.za/
Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge
For travellers who want to explore their surroundings on foot, Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge offers bush trails at Hluhluwe iMfolozi Big 5 Game Reserve.
You may spot lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and white rhino during the walk. Headed up by the legendary Nunu Jobe, a highly experienced trails ranger who also goes by the name of “The Rhino Whisperer”, guests will hear about the wildlife activity and other interesting tidbits of the area. Guests can also enjoy game drives and spa treatments at the lodge. Visit www.rhinoridge.co.za
Thonga Beach Lodge
Luxury Thonga Beach Lodge is known for its turtle tracking experiences, which take place from November to February. But it also offers an assortment of activities for guests all year round. If you love the beach and water activities, you can enjoy snorkelling, kayaking, scuba diving, fishing and ocean safaris.
For those who want some pamper time, the spa features a rejuvenating range of spa treatments aimed to “de-stress and reawaken your senses”. The 24-bed lodge also offers guided walks and cultural tours.