KwaZulu Natal’s Elephant Coast is home to world-renowned game and birding parks including Hluhluwe-Imfolozi and iSimangaliso Wetland Park. The Elephant Coast is characterised by pristine wetlands, beautiful beaches and Big 5 game parks. Here’s our recommended 6 Night / 7 Day Itinerary to see it all.
Day 1: Durban & St Lucia
After landing at King Shaka International Airport outside of Durban central, take the 2 hour drive to St Lucia along the sugar cane-lined roads of KwaZulu Natal. Look out for hippos as you drive over the St Lucia Estuary Bridge. In the afternoon we’d recommend a boating safari and possibly a night drive along the western coast of iSimangaliso Wetlands Park. These activities offer the unique opportunity to see nocturnal animals and birdlife which flourishes along the waterways of St Lucia.
Day 2 and 3: Nibela Peninsula
After a night in St. Lucia, head north along the lake towards the Nibela Peninsula. Nibela Lake Lodge is just under 2 hours’ drive from St Lucia and is situated along a beautiful section of the coast overlooking parts of iSimangaliso Wetlands Park. The lodge offers excellent birding and tranquil timber suites to relax in and soak up the beauty of the KZN bush.
Day 4 and 5: iSimangaliso Wetland Park & Kosi Bay
After a bit of relaxation at Nibela Lake Lodge, head onto the final stretch of the South African coastline to a wilderness that remains largely unexplored and unexploited. A highlight of the area is Kosi Bay – a network of lakes which stretch from Lake Zilonde on the Mozambique border in the north to Lake Amanzimnyama in the south. Aside from its beautiful beaches, Kosi Bay is a superb whale watching destination and a place to see loggerhead and leatherback turtles laying their eggs on the beach.
Day 6 and 7: Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve
Day 6 starts with the journey back towards Durban, for a 2 night stay at Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve. The Big 5 reserve spans 96 000 hectares of wilderness and is South Africa’s oldest game reserve. Days will be spent exploring the reserve in search of its impressive array of wildlife. After an early morning game drive and breakfast on day 7, you make your way back to King Shaka International Airport to catch your homeward bound flight, usually arriving home the following day.
The best time of year for a game viewing safari along the Elephant Coast is from July to October. At this time of year, there is very little rainfall and game viewing is at its best. If birding is more of an interest for you, the best time to visit is during the wet months from December to April when endemic and migratory species flock to the region. Get in touch with us at Nibela Lake Lodge for more information regarding your 6 Night/ 7 Day Itinerary along the Elephant Coast.