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Five UK Operators visit KZN [photos]

I recently hosted a week-long educational to KwaZulu-Natal, giving five operators from the UK a sample of what the Zulu Kingdom is like in the area’s late summer month of March.

The trip started at the ever popular Oyster Box Hotel in Umhlanga Rocks, where we tried the famous curry buffet after a Skycar ride to the top of Moses Mabidha Stadium.

The group enjoying lunch at The Oyster Box Lighthouse Bar FLTR: Clare Willmer - All Leisure Holidays Group Plc, Lesley-Ann Birley - La Concordia Personal Travel Planners, Darren Napier – Akorn Southern Africa (host), Tessa Robinson - Exosphere, Jackie McClean - Haslemere Travel, Cassie Song - Cultural Tours

Shopping for souvenirs at Victoria Market in Durban.

The Midlands is only about an hour inland from Durban, and home to the gorgeous Howick Falls and the Nelson Mandela Capture Site. After a bit of pampering and delicious food at Fordoun Hotel & Spa, we continued from the rolling green hills of the Midlands, to the battlefields to stay at Fugitives' Drift Lodge close to Rorke's Drift and Isandlwana.

The educational group learning about the Battle of Fugitive’s Drift, with Doug Rattray.

The history here is fascinating, and even though I have heard the Battle of Rourke’s Drift about five times in the last few years, it remains very interesting, with every storyteller adding their own personality and additional snippets of information to the story to bring this historical battle to life.

The landscape change on the journey is really dramatic, changing from an area in the foothills of the Drakensberg to a harsh, dry and rocky landscape, peppered with aloes and thorn trees.

Another big landscape change; this time to grass plains, plantations and sugarcane fields before we reached Zululand. It was time for safari at last! We were lucky enough to see a female cheetah and her cub, and witnessing the skill and speed it takes to catch a scrub hare in the Phinda Private Game Reserve. We stayed at both Phinda Forest Lodge and Phinda Mountain Lodge.

Game viewing at Phinda

Heading back to Durban, we stopped for a cultural experience at DumaZulu Cultural Village and a relaxing boat trip on iSimangaliso Wetland Park (complete with fresh sushi for lunch!) , our trip ended with dinner during a very atmospheric thunder storm at the Fairmont Zimbali Resort in Balito, bringing desperately needed rain to KZN.

Howick Falls. FLTR: Darren Napier – Akorn Southern Africa (host), Tessa Robinson - Exosphere, Reggie Sithole - Tourism KwaZulu-Natal (host), Jackie McClean - Haslemere Travel, Lesley-Ann Birley - La Concordia Personal Travel Planners, Clare Willmer - All Leisure Holidays Group Plc., Cassie Song - Cultural Tours

It is always fantastic to return to KZN, and share the diversity that this area has on offer with trade visitors from the UK. Late summer is a wonderful time to visit!

A big thank you to Akorn Southern Africa for sponsoring the ground arrangements for this educational.

All images © N de la Porte

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