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KwaZulu-Natal 5-Day Zululand Mammal Tour

Zululand – Maputaland  Elephant Coast

Scheduled Dates: 

  • 21 − 25 March 2023

  • 25 − 29 April 2023

Or alternate date on request.


This 5-day Zululand and Maputaland Mammal Tour is specifically orientated toward mammal viewing, with birds and other species being a secondary focus. The tour is a moderately-paced safari available as a set departure (or on request) where you can expect to see approximately 40 mammal species, including the ‘Big 5’, and around 320 species of bird, including 5 endemics. This wildlife tour explores several abundant and premier game reserves in the famed Zululand and Maputaland (Elephant Coast) region of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Each reserve offers unique attributes, breath-taking beauty, and captivating experiences.

The region is a large mammal playground and birding mecca, with many specials and endemic species on offer − from Leopards, Wild Dogs and Black Rhinos to Southern Banded Snake-Eagles and African Broadbills − the possibilities are mouth-watering.

Habitat types vary greatly from savannah to woodlands, sand forests to coastal forests and riverine forests, lakes to flooded grasslands, estuaries to seashores. This variety ensures tremendous species richness and an experience of great intrigue and appeal.

Tour Highlights:

  • Explore the extraordinary iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a World Heritage Site.

  • Expect to find the Big 5 mammals in the oldest game reserve in Africa, Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, as well as in the Mkuze section of iSimangaliso, and numerous rarer small mammals as well.

  • Hunt for desirable mammals such as Lion, Leopard, African Elephant, Black Rhino, White Rhino, African Buffalo, Cheetah, African Wild Dog, Spotted Hyena, Pangolin, Hippo, Giraffe, Serval, Caracal, Honey Badger, Cape Porcupine, Samango Monkey, Thick-tailed Bushbaby, Suni, Red Duiker, Blue Duiker and Side-striped Jackal.

  • Search for numerous bird endemics and specials, including Martial Eagle, Crowned Eagle, Lappet-faced Vulture, Pel’s Fishing Owl, African Broadbill, Southern Banded Snake Eagle, Woodward's Batis, Southern Bald Ibis, Narina Trogon, Livingstone's Turaco, Knysna Turaco and many more.

Daily Itinerary

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


Day 1: Durban, St Lucia, iSimangaliso Wetland Park (Eastern Shores)

On Day 1 we embark for the famous estuary town of St Lucia for 1 night, where we explore the ‘Miracle and Wonder’ of South Africa’s first World Heritage Site − iSimangaliso Wetland Park. We explore the Eastern Shores section of the park as we search for Leopard, Black Rhino, White RhinoAfrican Elephant, Spotted Hyena, African Buffalo, HippopotamusGiraffeGreater Kudu, WaterbuckSide-striped JackalBlue Wildebeest, Burchell's ZebraTsessebeRed Duiker, Warthog, Bushpig and Nile CrocodileThat evening we also search for Swamp Nightjar, African Wood Owl and Thick-tailed Galago (Bushbaby), amongst others. We will also seek many great bird species, including Black-throated Wattle-eye, Southern Banded Snake-Eagle, Crowned Eagle, African Fish EagleAfrican Cuckoo HawkSooty Falcon, Livingstone's Turaco, Narina Trogon, Green Malkoha, Eastern NicatorBrown Scrub-Robin, Woodward's BatisGreen TwinspotAfrican Pygmy Goose, Lesser JacanaRufous-bellied Heron, and Blue-cheeked Bee-eater.

AccommodationAmaZulu Lodge (or similar), St Lucia

   Rhinos in Imfolozi riverbed            Mkuze sand forest sunrise           Teeming water wonderland

Day 2: St Lucia and Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park

On Day 2 we set off early for Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park for 2 nights. This special reserve was the saviour for both Black Rhinoceros and White Rhinoceros in Africa and is the best place in the world to find them. We will also search high and low for Wild DogLeopard, LionCheetah, African Elephant, Spotted Hyena, African Buffalo, HippopotamusGiraffeHoney Badger, Cape Porcupine, Greater Kudu, Waterbuck, Nyala, Bushbuck, Blue Wildebeest, Burchell's Zebra and Hippo. At the same time we concentrate on finding the multitude of other great birds, some of which include BateleurMartial EagleCrowned Eagle and many other eagle, accipiter and other raptor species, Secretarybird, African Finfoot, Gorgeous Bush-Shrike, Eastern NicatorSouthern Bald Ibis, Common Ostrich, Lappet-faced Vulture, Hooded Vulture, Southern Ground-Hornbill, Purple-crested TuracoAfrican Pygmy Kingfisher, Greater Honeyguide and Dwarf Bittern

AccommodationHilltop Rest Camp​ (or similar), Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park

Day 3: Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park

Day 3 sees us exploring more of the abundant Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park for the above-mentioned species, concentrating our search around the Imfolozi section in the south.

AccommodationHilltop Rest Camp​ (or similar), Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park

Day 4: Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park to Mkuze Game Reserve 

On Day 4 we spend the morning searching the northern Hluhluwe section of the Park until lunchtime. After a tasty meal we depart further north to the famed Mkuze Game Reserve, considered the ‘Holy Grail’ of Southern African birding hotspots, and a 'Big Five' reserve that offers tremendous interest on the mammal side. We will keep our eyes peeled for Leopard, Cheetah, LionBlack Rhino, White RhinoAfrican Elephant, Spotted Hyena, African BuffaloHoney Badger, GiraffeCape Porcupine, HippopotamusWhite-tailed Mongoose, Greater Kudu, Waterbuck, Nyala, Bushbuck, Blue Wildebeest, Burchell's Zebra and Hippo. At the same time we concentrate on finding the multitude of other great birds, some of which include Pel’s Fishing-Owl, Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Crowned Eagle, Martial EagleBateleur and many other eagle, accipiter and other raptor species, Secretarybird, Narina Trogon, African BroadbillPink-throated Twinspot, Gorgeous Bush-Shrike, Eastern NicatorAfrican Pygmy Goose, Common Ostrich, Lappet-faced Vulture, Dark Chanting Goshawk, Neergard’s Sunbird, Southern Ground-Hornbill, Purple-crested TuracoBearded WoodpeckerBroad-billed RollerAfrican Pygmy Kingfisher, Greater Honeyguide and Dwarf Bittern

AccommodationMantuma Rest Camp​ (or similar), Mkuze Game Reserve

Day 5: Mkuze Game Reserve

Our final morning on Day 5 sees us searching further into Mkuze for the aforementioned species before departing this biodiversity haven to head back southwards as we return to King Shaka International Airport to end our great safari adventure.


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 sand forest, riverine forest, coastal forest, woodlands, savanna, wetlands, grassland 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 Wildlife and Birding 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, with frost and even snow possible at high altitudes. 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:

  • Tembe Elephant Park – add 2 days by heading further north to this unique 'Big 5' park on the Mozambique border – home to the largest elephant tuskers in Africa.


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:  

    • 21 − 25 March 2023

    • 25 − 29 April 2023

    • Or other date on request.

  • Validity: 01 January 2023 – 31 December 2023.

  • Duration5 days, 4 nights.

  • PriceZAR 20,600 per person sharing, with a ZAR 1,450 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 and Ends:  At King Shaka International Airport in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

  • Distance:  Total driving distance (including around sites) = 950km.


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 in a 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 x Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park Night Drive, 1 x Mkuze Game Reserve Night Drive.

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;

  • 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 3 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.

Tembe Elephant Park open safari vehicle game drive
Black Imfolozi River
Tembe Rises WBS signed.jpg
White Rhino bull in Imfolozi
Male cheetah scenting in Kruger
Male lion in Mkuze Game Reserve, iSimangaliso Wetland Park
Buffalo stampede
Black Rhinos herd in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park
African Wild Dogs in Kruger National Park
Hippos & Terrapins
Elephant bull appearing in Kruger National Park
Lion male with kill in Kruger
Caracal female on night drive at Marrick Safari
Cheetah female and cubs in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park
Leopard female looking at prey in Kruger
Nile Crocodile
Honey Badger feeding in iSimangaliso Wetland Park
Samango Monkey
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