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Eastern South Africa 14-Day Tour

Midlands & Drakensberg – North Coast – Zululand & Elephant Coast – Grasslands & Wetlands – Escarpment & Kruger – Canyons & Dullstroom

Scheduled Date:  02 − 11 November 2023.

Or alternate date on request.


This guided best of KwaZulu-Natal birding and wildlife safari package with Sustain will lead you to some extraordinary destinations within KwaZulu-Natal, including 2 World Heritage Sites (the Drakensberg section of the Maloti-uKhahlamba Park and the very special iSimangaliso Wetland Park) both renowned for amazing bird and mammal sightings, as well as numerous Important Birding Areas. The tour will focus on optimizing your chances of experiencing many endemics and specials, as well as other highly sought-after animals and all other manner of biodiversity. The scenery on offer is also breathtaking, making spectacular landscape photos possible.

The route caters to a huge bird list in excess of 600 species, and we can expect to find over 300 bird species (including many raptors, owls and endemics). In addition, we can expect to encounter over 55 mammal species along our route, including the Big 5 and many other large and nocturnal predators.

This safari both commences and ends at King Shaka International Airport in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

Tour Highlights

  • Group size: maximum of 6 participants and 1 guide per vehicle.


  • Birding in brief: Sightings goal of 300+. Excellent variety of birds to be seen, with a good chance of large birds of prey and many special and endemic species.


  • Wildlife in brief: Sightings goal of 55+ mammals. Excellent variety of mammals, reptiles, amphibians and butterflies to be seen across a wide variety of habitats. iSimangaliso Wetland Park offers a very good chance of the Big 5.


  • Areas visited: Creighton, Coleford, Sani Pass, Marutswa, Midmar Dam, Karkloof, Benvie Gardens, Dlinza, St Lucia, iSimangaliso (Eastern and Western Shores), Nibela Peninsula, Mpempe Pan, Muzi Pan, uMkhuze, Umlalazi, Ongoye, Dlinza, Sappi Stanger Hide.


  • Top birds: Cape Parrot, Blue Swallow, Black Harrier, Striped Flufftail, Bearded Vulture, Cape Vulture, Gurney’s Sugarbird, Yellow-breasted Pipit, South African Cliff Swallow, Cape Eagle-Owl, African Grass-Owl, Malachite Sunbird, Drakensberg Rockjumper, Drakensberg Siskin, Drakensberg Prinia, Mountain Pipit, Layard’s Tit-Babbler, Sickle-winged Chat, Grey-winged Francolin, Red-winged Francolin, Shelley’s Francolin, Bokmakierie, Barratt’s Warbler, Red-breasted Sparrowhawk, Wing-snapping Cisticola, Wailing Cisticola, Black-winged Lapwing, Mountain Wheatear, Denham’s Bustard, Sentinel Rock-Thrush, Eastern Long-billed Lark, Knysna Turaco, Bush Blackcap, Ground Woodpecker, Chorister Robin-Chat, White-starred Robin, Southern Bald Ibis, Dark-capped Yellow Warbler, Buff-spotted Flufftail, Red-chested Flufftail, Wattled Crane, Blue Crane, Grey Crowned Crane, Orange Ground-Thrush, Forest Buzzard, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, African Emerald Cuckoo, Mountain Wagtail, Greater Painted-snipe, Western Yellow Wagtail, Pied Avocet, Black Coucal, Palm-nut Vulture, Southern Brown-throated Weaver, Black-throated Wattle-eye, Swamp Nightjar, Narina Trogon, Crested Guineafowl, Orange-breasted Waxbill, Cape Longclaw, African Finfoot, Goliath Heron, Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeon, Spotted Ground-Thrush, Green Barbet, Striped Pipit, Plain-backed Pipit, Black-rumped Buttonquail, Mangrove Kingfisher, Sooty Tern, African Oystercatcher, Southern Banded Snake-Eagle, Green Malkoha, Green Twinspot, Livingstone’s Turaco, Brown Scrub-Robin, Yellow-breasted Pipit, Cape Eagle-Owl, Pel’s Fishing-Owl, Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Bateleur, Rosy-throated Longclaw, African Broadbill, Woodward’s Batis, Pink-throated Twinspot, Secretarybird, Rudd’s Apalis, African Pygmy Goose, Common Ostrich, Lappet-faced Vulture, Neergard’s Sunbird, Purple-banded Sunbird, Southern Ground-Hornbill, Stierling’s Wren-Warbler, Grey Tit-Flycatcher, African Pygmy Kingfisher, Half-collared Kingfisher.


  • Mammal viewing: Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Black Rhino, White Rhino, Buffalo, Cheetah, African Wild Dog, Spotted Hyena, Pangolin, Hippo, Giraffe, Sloggett's Vlei Rat, Serval, Caracal, Eland, Red Hartebeest, Grey Rhebok, Oribi, Mountain Reedbuck, Samango Monkey, Thick-tailed Bushbaby, Suni, Red Duiker, Blue Duiker, Cape Clawless Otter, Honey Badger, Bushpig, other general game, and good chances for uncommon smaller species.


  • Special interests: birding, wildlife, photography.


  • Specialist guiding: 4x4 Sani Pass Tour; uMkhuze Fig Forest walk.


  • Add-ons: this tour can be combined with extensions to Wakkerstroom, Kruger National Park and the Soutpanesberg.

Travel regions include:

  • Explore the breath-taking and dramatic Drakensberg Mountains up to the top of winding Sani Pass for 2 nights.

  • Birding the lush grasslands, misty wetlands, leafy forests and bubbling streams of the KwaZulu-Natal midlands for 1 night.

  • Search the verdant bushveld region of Zululand and Maputaland for large and predatory mammals and extraordinary bird diversity of St Lucia, the Eastern Shores and Mkhuze Game Reserve for 4 nights.

  • Explore towering forests and mangrove in search of several ground and treetop endemic birds for 1 night.

  • An extraordinary variation of altitudes and array of habitat types. 



Each destination we visit en-route offers unique habitats, extraordinary scenery, and breath-taking beauty, providing you with fantastic photographic opportunities. Habitats we explore include woodlands, savanna, wetlands, grassland, mountains and cliffs, shorelines and estuaries, which host numerous regional endemics, threatened and endangered mammal and bird species, as well as great floral diversity.

Accommodation: On the accommodation front we typically use very comfortable private lodges and national park resorts, but should you prefer, at an added cost, luxury lodging options can also be arranged.


Tour tempo: The tempo of our Birding and Wildlife Tours are typically medium-paced, with optional mid-day breaks (advisable on hot days). If you are a keen photographer, well so are we, and we can offer many opportunities to capture the moments that will make you the envy of your wildlife-watching friends.

Expected weather conditions: Subtropical and mostly hot during the day in the summer, and cooler in the evenings, with a chance of mist. Rain is possible, usually in the form of summer convection thunderstorms, and cool wet weather is possible in the event of a cold front moving up from the south in the winter months. On a climate level, the region falls in the summer rainfall region, with an average rainfall of between 700mm and 1,100mm per year. Temperatures range from -5˚C in winter to 32˚C in summer, with an average maximum of 28˚C and an average minimum of 10˚C. The driest month is July, the most rainfall falls in January, and the warmest is in February.

Optional extension: An optional tour extension is available to also include:

  • Wakkerstroom – add 2 days by heading into the renowned and abundant Mpumalanga highland and wetland region of Wakkerstroom.

  • Kruger National Park, Blyde River Canyon and Soutpanesberg – add several days by exploring Blyde River Canyon and the iconic Kruger National Park, by proceeding from northern KwaZulu-Natal through Eswatini.


Please note: this set-departure tour is also available as a private or custom tour on request. Please submit an enquiry with your preferred dates and group size.

Tour Summary

  • Dates:  

    • 10 − 23 May 2023

    • 17 − 30 October 2023

    • Or other date on request

  • Validity:  01 January 2023 – 31 December 2023.

  • Duration:  14 days, 13 nights.

  • Price: ZAR 49,990 per person sharing, with a ZAR 6,990 single supplement. 

  • Price may be subject to change based on factors beyond our control. 

  • No. of Pax:  Maximum 6 guests per vehicle and per guide.

  • Tour Starts:  At King Shaka International Airport in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

  • Tour Ends:  At George Airport in George, Western Cape (guests to fly to either Cape Town or Johannesburg).

  • Distance:  Total driving distance (including around sites) = 1,750km.


Tour Includes:

  • Private wildlife and birding guide;

  • Accommodation (may change subject to availability, in which case similar will be found);

  • All breakfasts, dinners, tea and coffee;

  • All ground transport – Maximum 6 participants and 1 guide per luxury touring vehicle;

  • Bottled water in vehicles whilst travelling per person per day;

  • All entrance fees, conservation and community levies to parks and reserves;

  • Trip Guide and personalized checklists;

  • Specialist guide fees – 1 day Sani Pass 4x4 Tour, uMkhuze Fig Forest walk.

Tour Excludes:

  • All airfares;

  • Airport departure taxes or visa fees;

  • Travel and medical insurance (incl. personal equipment and repatriation) ;

  • All lunches, snacks and drinks (except bottled waters);

  • Optional excursions;

  • Specialist guide fees and activities not specified;

  • Travel and medical insurance;

  • Items of a personal nature.

  • Laundry and telephone charges;

  • Tips and gratuities for guides and local restaurants;

  • Anything else not mentioned in “Includes”.



  • Terms and Conditions apply;

  • Minimum of 4 participants per vehicle required to undertake the trip. Should the number of guests change, the cost of the tour and the per person cost will change accordingly;

  • The species mentioned in the itinerary represent only some of those we may possibly view on the tour, however, none can be guaranteed;

  • This itinerary is subject to change due to weather conditions at the time and other factors beyond our control;

  • Tour group is responsible for paying for all guide meals;

  • All images taken on tour with Sustain Safaris.

Russians in Sani signed.jpg
Cape Parrot hanging signed.jpg
African Broadbill1 signed.jpg
African Cuckoo Hawk2b signed.jpg
White-backed Vulture signed.jpg
Greater Painted-snipe
Lion chow bw signed.jpg
Redfronted Tinkerbird5.jpg
European Nightjar1 signed.jpg
Elephant bull appearing
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