Discover the region's day trips and activities. Lodge organised or self drive. Beach, bush, cultural and top off the list the BIG 5 Tembe Elephant Park and Kosi Bay.

Tembe Elephant Park Game Drive

Besides the estimated 250-odd elephants at Tembe, including some of Africa’s biggest Tuskers,  there is also a thriving population of lion, black and white rhino, leopard, African buffalo, wild dog and a host of antelope species including the secretive Suni, Africa’s second smallest antelope. This 30 000 ha “Big five” reserve, set in an area of sand forests, pans and wetlands in northern Thongaland, falls within a transition area between tropical and sub-tropical forms, and is therefore home to a great diversity of vegetation, which supports a spectacular variety of mammals, birds, butterflies and many other precious species.


Tembe Elephant Park's bird diversity is nothing short of spectacular. It is a paradise for bird-watchers with more than 340 species and considered a premier birding spot in South Africa. Many are localized residents, others are endemic to South Africa and several are tropical species at the southern limit of their range. The secret is the diversity of habitats surrounding Tembe Elephant Park and Ndumo Game Reserve.

Our field guides are extremely knowledgeable about the local birds and their habits, and a trip out with them should prove very productive.

Sand Forest guided walk

Enjoy early morning or late afternoon guided walks through the magnificent Sand Forest at the Lodge. Keep your ears peeled for the harmonious sounds of birds, and perhaps catch a glimpse of some rare birds. The experience of walking in a sand forest is totally different to doing the "usual" bush walk.
The walk is easy to do by yourself at any time by following the sign-posted route. It takes about an hour.
The walk can also be done with one of our well-informed guides.

Ndumo Game Reserve

Ndumo Game Reserve is situated in Maputaland near Tembe Elephant Park on the Mozambique border. The Usuthu River forms its northern boundary and the Pongola River flows through the reserve to its confluence with the Usuthu River. The reserve is 10 117 ha in extent.  Ndumo is perhaps best known for its magnificent bird life with the highest bird count in Southern Africa, some 430 species.  Ndumo has many beautiful pans set about with yellow fever trees and extensive wetlands and reedbeds as well as acacia savannah and sand forest. Plan a daytrip to do a game drive through this authentic reserve.

Market day visit

A visit to a daily market is a true experience of local culture. Spend some time at the Manguzi market and get a true appreciation for the local rural fresh produce on display. This is not a tourist market but a everyday facility for the inhabitants of the local Tembe region. Enjoy the vibrancy of the hussle and bussle of this busy market and test your negotiating skills.

This trip can be combined en-route with other day trips from the Lodge.

Kosi Mouth beach

The Kosi Bay estuary system consists of channels and four lakes that flow into the sandy estuary mouth before reaching the Indian Ocean. This subtropical paradise features spectacular wildlife.
This trip is a full day activity and a beautiful drive. Witness how the sea and lakes interconnect in a wonderful swirl of color, sand and water. There’s great snorkeling all year round. The water is warm and almost always crystal clear. The rock pools along this protected stretch of coastline are a virtual aquarium of brilliant sub-tropical fish. Enjoy swimming in the warm waters, soak up the sun along this beautiful stretch of beach, followed by a scrumptious picnic lunch.

Day visitor permits are required to visit the mouth and accessible to 4 x 4 vehicles only. Access to the mouth is restricted by tides. Be aware of the changing as your return route will be cut off.

Mamoli Mission

A day visit to the magnificant project of Mamoli Mission Mozambique (MMM) in Ponta Mamoli. The charity has been in existence since 1996 and started out as the Mozambique Community Church. Simao and Annette Mucache, who founded the church, soon realized there was no teaching in the area and that many children were orphaned. A little school was started which included a boarding facility and has now grown in excess of 80 children. There are very few work opportunities and no shops to buy food, so a handcraft business was started and in addition an oven was built for baking bread for supply to local lodges and homes.

Access by 4x4 only and check VISA requirements for non-South African passport holders.

Border Caves

Border Cave is situated in the Lebombo Mountains, on the border between South Africa and Swaziland. The Border Cave is considered as an extremely important archeological site, and has yielded more than a million Stone Age artifacts, as well as some of the earliest modern Homo Sapien remains ever discovered, dating their existence back 150 000 years. The cave was first excavated by a farmer who thought that the floor of the cave was guano or bat dung. Instead, the farmer discovered various fragments of human bone.  

Well worthwhile considering as a day trip, Border Cave is 66 km, 1 hr 40 minutes from the Lodge.

Ponta beach

Ponto do Ouro and Ponta Malongane with their amazing beaches, enchanting beauty, and wondrous reefs is the place where your thirst for freedom and excitement will be quenched. Wonderful beach based activities including surfing, scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming with dolphins, turtle watching tours, hiking trails, horse riding trails and canoeing. Venture off the beach and there’s still so much to do – quad biking and mountain biking are just some of the amazing activities on offer. 

A perfect day out at the beach from your stay at the lodge. Access by 4x4 only and check VISA requirements for non-South African passport holders.

iSimangaliso Park visit

The iSimangaliso Wetland Park was listed as South Africa’s first World Heritage Site in December 1999 in recognition of its superlative natural beauty and unique global values.
The 332 000 hectare Park contains three major lake systems, eight interlinking ecosystems, 700 year old fishing traditions, most of South Africa’s remaining swamp forests, Africa’s largest estuarine system, 526 bird species and 25 000 year-old coastal dunes – among the highest in the world. The name iSimangaliso means miracle and wonder, which aptly describes this unique place.

A full day trip from the Lodge.

Butterflydome and Batviewing

With its unique location the Tembe butterfly dome provides ideal conditions for breeding butterflies and the facilities have been dedicated to breeding and scientific research programs. The dome is situated 10 minutes from the Lodge.
Alternatively spend the late afternoon with a sunset drink at the Pongola River bridge and witness the exodus of thousands of bats as they fill the sky at dusk to embark on a night of hunting. Simultaneously, Bat Hawks appear and swoop down to prey on the bats.

Marula Festival

The annual uMthayi Marula Festival is a traditional African event. Held around mid February each year. The Umthayi Marula Festival (first fruit festival) is an age old tradition, being a celebration of the harvesting of the marula fruit where all residents under the Tembe traditional leadership bring their first batch of brewed amarula beer to present to Inkosi Tembe. Inkosi Tembe will sample the first drink of the season before the whole community can join in. The event is held in the Kwa-Ngwanase district at Inkosi Mabhudu Tembe's Emfihlweni Royal Residence, located some 10 kilometers from the Lodge.

Reed Dance

Collecting and presenting their Zulu King with cut reeds in homage to their culture is just one aspect of the Zulu Reed Dance. The entire event takes place over several days and involves singing, dancing and other activities designed to help young Zulu girls prepare for womanhood. Watching thousands of young girls dressed in traditional Zulu attire singing, dancing and celebrating their culture, is a powerful and moving experience.
This annual ceremony is a centuries-old tradition. It takes place in September, right at the start of spring, in Nongoma, Zululand.