Battles, Boers & Brits Self-drive South Africa

A fascinating and fulfilling 10 day journey through the history of battles between the Boers, Brits, Basotho & the Zulu Nation

Army 1


Travel through time and some of the most captivating scenery you’ll find on earth in this ten day journey of discovery, history and luxury

– including Johannesburg, the Getty’s Phinda Game Reserve, iSimangaliso Wetland Park World Heritage Site, Fugitive’s Drift in Zululand, Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift battlefields, Ladysmith, Spioenkop Battlefield and the Basotho people.

enquire-1N.B. This itinerary is a guide only. You can add time and places to this and upgrade, reduce, or change travel and accommodation with us to make this a truly personal journey. Just click ‘enquire’, complete your own personal itinerary request at the end or simply phone us.

PHONE: 01202 030443, click ‘enquire’, or just fill in your preferences below

Boers map


Day 1: Johannesburg
Joburg grasslands
Welcome to Johannesburg! You will be met at the door of your aircraft with your name on a paging board and assisted through immigration, baggage collection and customs. You will then be shown to your awaiting transfer vehicle for drop off at 33 on Melville.

Please note: Should your arrival aircraft be directed to the apron and not the terminal, you will be transported to the terminal by bus. Your Meet and Greet will then be waiting for you as you step off the bus with the paging board.

An exclusive private hotel, 33 on Melville Road is located in the opulent suburb of Hyde Park in northern Johannesburg. Securely set, the hotel is surrounded by generous manicured gardens, rolling green lawns and beautiful large trees. A truly exclusive treat with only three completely unique and luxurious suites: the Rose Room overlooks the rose garden, the Black and Yellow Room overlooks the front garden brimming with Hydrangeas and Agapanthas and Victoria’s Room is sunny, contemporary and vibrant, a collaboration of colour with turquoise the most predominant. The kitchen is the heart of this home, welcoming, sunny and spacious with massive wooden doors opening onto the expansive patio that overlooks the indigenous gardens and Johannesburg skyline. Ideally situated within the kitchen, the breakfast table accommodates up to 12 guests with meals designed specifically to match individual tastes and requirements. Guest areas are spacious and comfortable, with music throughout the hotel and in rooms.

• 3 luxury suites
• Indigenous gardens & skyline views
• Close to Melrose Arch shopping complexes
• Pool & gym

Meal basis: Breakfast
Overnight: 33 on Melville


Day 2: Johannesburg/Phinda
Transfer back to Johannesburg Airport and board a commercial flight to Richards Bay. Once in Richards Bay, collect your rental car and drive to the Phinda Game Reserve.

carCar Rental: 1 x Group M (Automatic, aircon & power steering): Ford Eco Sport Automatic or similar on a Premium Package basis5 Door 4 Seats
Luggage: 3 medium bags, 1 small bag, Airbags, Air conditioning, ABS, Power Steering, Electric Windows, Central Locking,Automatic,Radio/CD
Fuel Capacity: 60 litres – unleaded. Includes: CDW, TLW, PAI, unlimited mileage, location surcharge, tyre windscreen damage, claim admin fee, 1 additional driver, one way fee within the country, third party liability insurance, general public liability insurance, water and undercarriage damage and sandblasting damage.


Owned by the Getty’s, Phinda Game Reserve is in prime safari territory, in an area controlled over a century ago by the mighty Zulu King, Shaka.

Today, the Zulu monarch is a direct descendant of this famed warrior. The reserve itself is unique in that it has 7 distinct biomes, making for varied and dramatic scenery, as well as a wide range of wildlife, including elephant, leopard, lion, cheetah and rhino.

Your 2 night stay here will allow your guide to lay the foundation for the story of the Zulu nation, while your ranger will bring to life the natural wonder of the Zulu king’s former royal hunting ground.

Loftily elevated above the Phinda Reserve, Mountain Lodge commands spectacular views over the Lebombo range and the untouched natural wilderness below. The largest of Phinda’s 6 luxury lodges, Mountain features 24 contemporary suites, with spacious rooms, private verandahs and plunge pools (except the family suites). Mountain Lodge, with its boldly traditional edge, makes the most of the extensive vistas, its beautiful guest spaces include an al fresco courtyard, terrace and three-tiered verandah. Between exciting game experiences, soak up the wonders of this location from the viewing deck, or whilst languishing in the pool. Socialise around an open fire, under the infinite African skies, before delicious meals are served in the boma, a fitting end to a perfect day.

• 24 luxury suites with views
• Private verandahs & plunge pools
• Mountain setting & lovely vistas
• Pool & safari shop
• Extensive selection of activities

Meal basis: All meals, local drinks and 2 game drives per day
Overnight: Phinda Mountain Lodge


Day 3: Phinda

Phinda scene


The award winning Phinda Private Game Reserve is 22 000 hectares of pristine wilderness, situated in the lush Maputaland region of northern KwaZulu-Natal. This ‘Big Five’ reserve encompasses 7 distinct habitats, including the rare dry sand forest, which is a preferred habitat of the leopard. The rocky hillside, wooded and floodplain landscape provides ever changing scenery and the chance to see the rarer species, such as the elusive cheetah or the scarce black rhino. Phinda has the highest concentration of privately owned Nyala antelope in the world and with only six remote lodges sharing the reserve, the game experience is personal and exclusive.
Spend the day at leisure and on your twice daily game drives.

Meal basis: All meals, local drinks and 2 game drives per day
Overnight: Phinda Mountain Lodge


Day 4: Phinda/St Lucia

Set off from Phinda after your morning game drive for a visit to a local Zulu homestead, for insight into how modern rural Zulus live and their culture – and the pride they have in their tribe – before checking in at Makakatana Bay Lodge, in the heart of the iSimangaliso Wetland, a World Heritage Site.

This afternoon, a private boat excursion on the wetland system awaits, giving you the opportunity to see huge pods of hippo, crocodiles, Goliath Herons and Fish Eagles.

Surrounded by vast stretches of the wilderness and the wetlands of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park World Heritage Site, the Makakatana Bay Lodge is a luxury property in a spectacular destination. 6 spacious suites look out into dune forests, bush or vlei. Private viewing decks invite guests to soak up the tranquillity of the region, whilst keeping an eye out for the small animals which wander around. Makakatana décor is contemporary and makes use of natural woods, neutral colour and fibres which skilfully enhance the surrounds. The traditional main lodge, hidden within cool dune forests provides beautiful spaces for socialising, and includes a pool and bar on the lake edge and an outdoor dining area for candlelit meals. Activities include game drives, boat trips and beach safaris.

• 6 spacious suites with private decks
• Lodge within iSimangaliso Wetland Park
• Lake-side pool
• Outdoors dining
• Activities include game drives, boat trips & beach safaris

Meal basis: Breakfast and dinner
Overnight: Makakatana Bay Lodge


Day 5: St Lucia/Battlefields

Fugitives Drift Lodge 4

Set off this morning for Fugitive’s Drift, a 3.5 hour journey to the heart of Zululand. It is an area where the escarpment meets thornveld savannah giving gentle mountain scenery and wide open plains: your lodge, Fugitive’s Drift overlooks the great Buffalo River and nature reserve lands rich in acacias and aloes.

This afternoon, a private tour of the Isandlwana battlesite, where the mighty British army suffered one of its rare defeats of colonial times to the proud Zulu army, under the brooding Isandhlwana Mountain. Your specialist guide will enrapture you with the tale of this encounter, made all the more emotional by the stark white cairns along the field where soldiers in their dozens fell.

This is much more than a historical tour though. The evocative background to the battle, related en route to the site, sets the picture not only for the areas that you will visit after Fugitive’s Drift, but is essential in understanding South Africa today as the political climate is a direct consequence of the events in this and other battles in these wide open fields and will give you a very deep understanding of cultural differences evident to this day.

Fugitive’s Drift, where the escarpment meets thornveld savanna, offers gentle mountain scenery and wide open plains. The lodge overlooks the great Buffalo River and nature reserve lands rich in acacias and aloes. This afternoon relax and meet your genial hosts and fellow travellers around the camp fire.

Fugitives’ Drift Lodge is located within a natural heritage site, overlooking the infamous Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift battlefields. Owned and run by the Rattray family, respected pioneers of SA’s Heritage Tourism, the property is a tribute to the region’s historic past. 8 luxury suites, a cottage and guest house are decorated in a classic, colonial style. Accommodation is spacious and light, each suite featuring a private verandah with vistas over the plains below. The lodge’s central areas boast a collection of memorabilia from the Zulu War, and the Hartford Library, dining room and viewing decks are wonderful spaces to socialise and absorb the ambiance. In between fascinating battle tours, soak in the pool, appreciating the silence and beauty of the location.

• 8 suites, 1 cottage & guest house with private verandahs
• Views over the Buffalo River Gorge
• Historical collection & memorabilia
• Top battlefields experience
• Swimming pool

Meal basis: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Overnight: Fugitive’s Drift Lodge


Day 6: Battlefields

Army 1

Enjoy a more leisurely morning, time to enjoy the tranquil scenery and catch up with your hosts.
After lunch join an afternoon tour to the Siege of Rorke’s Drift, where the aftermath of Isandlwana played out, or join a walk on the game reserve on which the property is found. Dinner is served at the lodge.

Army 2

Meal basis: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Overnight: Fugitive’s Drift Lodge
Day 7: Battlefields

Three Trees Lodge 1


After breakfast, we take a less travelled route via Evukheni to your next lodge. The road is well tarred and passes through rural villages, many unchanged since the last century – you will see evidence of traditional dress and perhaps even a sangoma – or local healer – on your drive. As you pass through Ladysmith, the dramatic panorama of the Drakensberg – the Barrier of Spears – opens up before you. You arrive at Three Tree Hill, ideally located overlooking the Spioenkop Nature Reserve, the mountain to one side and the Drakensberg to the other.

Lunch is served on arrival, before you join your guide for a tour to the Battle of Spioenkop, where the British army met the guerrilla war tactics of the Boers in the last century. In a war which gave rise to Afrikaner nationalism and eventually the Apartheid state, this was a defining moment in the shaping of South Africa and its people.

Three Trees overlooks the spectacular, secluded valley of the Spioenkop Game Reserve and its expanses of pristine game-rich wilderness. Owners Simon and Cheryl Blackburn manage this eco-friendly lodge, sharing their knowledge of the Spioenkop Battlefield and surrounding Anglo-Boer sites with guests. Three Trees, a colonial Natal farmhouse, authentically captures a turn-of-the-century ambiance. Step back in time with the haunting memorabilia and old-world charm. 7 rooms and a cottage are tastefully furnished, and feature antique sash windows, wood panelling and corrugated iron exteriors. Socialise in elegant main areas and immerse yourself in the history of the region. Delicious meals are hosted on wrap-around verandahs, in a warmly communal atmosphere, followed by nightcaps around a blazing fire. A swimming pool and deck boast stunning views over the surrounding landscape.

• 7 rooms & 1 cottage with private decks
• Turn-of-the-century décor & historic feel
• Stunning vistas over Spioenkop Game Reserve
• Base for Anglo-Boer battlefields tours
• Hosted, communal meals

Meal basis: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Overnight: Three Trees Lodge


Day 8: Battlefields/ Lesotho


Set off after breakfast this morning. Climb the Drakensberg mountains via Oliviershoek Pass, leaving behind Kwa Zulu Natal and entering the Free State, with Sterkfontein dam spread before you (make a stop here at the vulture hide, where rare and endangered vultures feed on cattle brought by farmers). Follow the road through Golden Gate National Park – great sandstone cliffs line your route and sweeping plains alternate with deeply forested gulleys. It is a unique and very distinctive landscape. Arrive at the little town of Clarens where you can stop for a stroll and lunch if you like. This village has become home for many artists and is charmingly built in sandstone rock around the village green: many of the restaurants here serve typical Afrikaans farm food and organic lamb and beef.

Continue to the nearby border with Lesotho, Africa’s most mountainous kingdom and home to the shy, soft spoken Basotho people with their traditional hats, thick blankets and sturdy mountain horses. The kingdom was founded by the revered King Moshoeshoe in 1822, who took refuge in the mountains to escape the marauding Zulu army. Never colonised, it was rather a British Protectorate, to prevent insurgency from the Boers.

The road passes through a busy border town and quickly becomes a gravel road, flanked by dramatic scenery. With scenes straight out of a fantasy world, towering mountains frame wide, clean rivers and open grassed flood plains, with sandstone huts and blanket clad villagers along the slopes. Thirty kilometres further, in the heart of the Tsehlanyane National Park and at the end of the road, lies Maliba Lodge, surrounded by some of the highest peaks in Africa. Dinner this evening is served in the lodge, often with impromptu Basotho dancing and story telling.

Maliba Lodge offers luxurious accommodation in the heart of the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho. Maliba Lodge is elevated on the mountain side within the Tsehlanyane National Park that lies deep in the front range of the Maluti Mountains enjoying magnificent uninterrupted panoramic views across the Maluti Mountains and indigenous forests.

Maliba offers six thatched luxury chalets consisting of three doubles, two twins and one honeymoon suite. With simple, comfortable decoration and interiors the chalets feature king or queen size beds, en-suite bathrooms with a shower, separate bath, bathroom amenities, heated towel rails and under-floor heating; electric blanket, hairdryer, ceiling fan, open fireplace in the sitting area and outstanding views from the bathroom as well as the private verandah and decks. The honeymoon suite includes satellite television, a DVD player and Jacuzzi bath. Walkways through the indigenous surroundings link the chalets to the main guest areas. Offering spectacular views from the spacious, double volume communal areas, guests facilities include the deck, lounge, bar and dining room serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The beautiful natural surrounds offer a variety of activities from hiking trails, horse riding, swimming and four wheel driving to bird watching and village or community visits.

• 6 thatched chalets with private decks/verandahs
• Elevated mountain setting & panoramic vistas
• Indigenous forests
• Stunning natural landscape
• Hike, horse-ride & swim
• Bird watching & community visits

Meal basis: Breakfast,Dinner
Overnight: Maliba Lodge


Day 9: Lesotho

Maliba Lodge 4

Awake to the splendour of the Maluti Mountains. Join your guide this morning either on a guided walk along the river to the cascades, or saddle up on the strong Basotho horses and head into the valley, where the scenery grows ever more impressive. Return to the lodge for lunch. This afternoon, join one of the local guides and walk into the nearby village where he will take great pride in introducing you to friends and family and giving you insight into the very simple life that the Basotho people lead – made even more challenging in winter when the area is an ice and snow wonderland. Dinner is served at the lodge.

Lesotho’s mountainous roads wind past rural settlements and welcoming children. The unique Basotho culture is closely tied to their ponies: locals ride their animals using home-made tack, tucked warmly into their blankets. Pony-trekking is a terrific way to explore the country’s natural beauty. The Sehlabathebe National Park is home to the highest single drop waterfall in the Southern Hemisphere and for those looking for an insight into the area’s history, perhaps visit the Liphofung Nature Reserve’s sandstone cave, San Rock Art and cultural display.

Lesotho’s crystal waters invite hours of peaceful reflection for avid fly-fishermen, and the Highlands Water Project provides the country with electricity while simultaneously supplying South Africa with water. Perhaps visit the Katse Dam catchment area, and if you are looking for a little downhill-skiing, the Mahlasela Pass is the only ski location in Southern Africa.

Meal basis: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Overnight: Maliba Lodge
Day 10: Lesotho/Johannesburg


A final breakfast before you head out of Lesotho and join the road through the maize and wheat fields of the Free State, before arriving at Johannesburg 4 hours later.


Battles, Boers & Brits  from:


prices exclude international flights and are based on per person sharing for travel in 2017

The above itinerary is a guide only and can be adjusted to meet your exact requirements (phone us on 01202 030443, click ‘enquire’or complete your own personal itinerary request at the end)

VIP Meet and Greet
9 Night’s Accommodation
Meals as specified
Transfers as specified
Activities as specified
All flights
Any meals not specified
All drinks
Park Fees / Conservation levies not specified
Items of a personal nature
Some of the Small Print
Price as per current conversion rate of pound sterling (£) If variance is more than 3% (plus or minus) at the time of invoicing, we will make adjustments accordingly.
The price is subject to revision if any additional taxes or price increases are introduced by government or suppliers.
Cost is provisional and subject to change depending on the season and hotels confirmed. The exact cost will be confirmed after hotel reservation confirmation.
Hotels proposed in the itinerary/quote may not be available at time of booking, in this event suitable alternative accommodation will be offered.

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