South African Adventure
For most of us, our fantasies of a South African adventure would be rife with zebras, lions and spectacular safaris. But to miss out on the country’s breathtaking coastline would be to miss out on what many South Africans are most proud of. With the elegant Fairmont Zimbali Resort as your own beachfront oasis, you'll be inspired to cast a wider net and discover all that South Africa has to offer. From luxury train travel through historic battlefields, to wildlife and water slides in Durban, your South African adventure will be as diverse as it is delightful.
Seaside in Style
Lavishly positioned within the exclusive Zimbali Coastal Estate, Fairmont Zimbali Resort’s 154 rooms and suites each afford guests an enviable view of the Indian Ocean. A dedicated eco-estate, the resort is set within a lush coastal forest, where birds and wildlife meet dolphins, waves and whale sharks. For an even greater change of pace, set your sights on Fairmont Zimbali Lodge, deep beneath the forest’s canopy on the opposite side of the estate’s gleaming fairways.
The celebrated Zimbali Country Club welcomes Fairmont guests throughout the year, and is home to one of South Africa’s top-ranked golf courses, designed by former South African PGA and British Open Champion, Tom Weiskopf. The course itself plunges players deep into the indigenous forest and wetlands before serving up spectacular sea views for the final five tees. Every aspect of the course has been lovingly designed to maximize players’ enjoyment of the natural world, with the forest home to antelope, monkeys and rare birds.
Walking on Air
For an up-close encounter with nature, concierge staff can arrange your day trip to the Dlinza Forest in Eshowe, about an hour’s drive north of the resort. Famous for its 10-meter high aerial boardwalk, the forest hums with the sounds of native birds and insects. Budding photographers and bird lovers would do well to team up with a local guide, who can point out particularly colourful and exotic species for memorable holiday snaps.
When you can’t decide between good food and great shopping, look no further than The Litchi Orchard, the perfect place to recharge on your way back to the hotel. While the December litchi season is fleeting, the peaceful farm and gardens are open for visitors to explore throughout the year. Indulge in the sweet, seasonal flavours of a cake or slice at Lemon Canary Bespoke Bakery, or wind your way through the trees for the perfect pick-me-up from the orchard’s resident coffee roastery. If you can time your visit right, you’ll see The Litchi Orchard come alive with artists and entertainment during its regular night and weekend markets, where your choice of homemade gifts and local produce are as varied as the artisans who sell them.
With sweeping views of the Indian Ocean, Fairmont Zimbali Resort’s premium South African wine bar, Vinum, offers an impressive selection of local wines by the glass. Its exotic vibe and unique, contemporary design make Vinum an ideal spot to relax and reflect on the day with family and friends. Round off the night with one of the bar’s signature cocktails, or enjoy a delicious meal at OSA, the hotel’s signature restaurant.
If you can't get enough of the picturesque ocean views, make a reservation at nearby restaurant Bel Punto, which offers an impressive array of the region’s most succulent seafood. The elegant eatery offers alfresco dining and a modern Mediterranean menu, specializing in seafood, steak and service. Bel Punto is proud to be a family-run business, and you’re likely to be greeted by one or more of the Cantatore family during your visit.
As with any Fairmont hotel, it can be tempting to spend the better part of your day enjoying the luxurious grounds and superior accommodations on offer. But the greater province of KwaZulu-Natal, with its rich Zulu heritage, should not be missed.
Relive the Zulu Kingdom’s most defining moments with a guided tour of the Zulu Battlefields. Still considered one of the greatest military disasters in British colonial history, the 1879 Battle of Isandlwana is narrated in chilling detail, with visitors reliving the Zulu army’s historic victory on the day of an ominous solar eclipse. The war ultimately resulted in a British victory, of course, which was hastened by their triumph at Rorke’s Drift, and famously depicted in the 1964 film, Zulu.
Travel to and from Fairmont Zimbali Lodge and Resort couldn’t be easier, with Durban and King Shaka International Airport less than 30 minutes away by car. For a truly memorable South African experience, though, reserve a suite on one of the world’s most luxurious passenger trains: Rovos Rail.
Step into the bygone era of steam locomotion on your arrival at Capital Park station in Pretoria. The colonial-style station sets the tone for your journey to come, where guests enjoy tea and refreshments as the Pride of Africa pulls up to the platform. Once aboard, you'll settle into cozy quarters featuring rich mahogany furnishings, and suites whose royal colours are reminiscent of a 1920s film set. At the rear of the train, the Observation Car is the perfect place to toast the start of your journey with a glass of champagne or local wine. It also offers guests the opportunity to meet and chat with fellow passengers, as the South African landscape rolls by outside the large windows and open-air balconies.
Your three-day journey includes a stopover and game drive in the Nambiti Private Game Reserve, the only reserve in the area home to the 'Big 5' game animals: African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard and White/Black rhinoceros. At 22,000 acres, Nambiti's dramatic biodiversity plays out over bush, savannah, grassland and thornveld, making it one of the most uniquely vibrant properties of its kind.
Rovos Rail’s Durban Safari terminates in Durban, where you can make your way back to Fairmont Zimbali Lodge or Resort to indulge in a treatment at the Willow Stream Spa, or to book yourself for another round of golf. For families and kids, though, take a day out in Durban to enjoy uShaka Marine World, a massive theme park featuring an aquarium, beach, waterpark and an outdoor shopping village. As Durban’s most popular attraction, it’s the perfect end to your very own South African adventure.
Laura Maitland has been a professional travel writer for luxury travel groups for many years. Her family business is one of the few Virtuoso agents in Australia. She has written about many destinations in Europe, Africa and Southeast Asia in addition to articles about luxury cruises.
Are you planning a Fairmont adventure this summer? Book our Moments Offer and enjoy up to 30% off.
Copper-rumped Blue Tail Hummingbird by photofxs68
Boardwalk in a rainforest by AbhijlitGhate
Lychee by cusoncom
Isandlwana in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa by DavidCallan
giraffes in game reserve by michaeljung
Three Generations of change by WillieErasmus
Three dolphins by Igor Zhuravlov