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1 week in KwaZulu Natal - advice & drive times?

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We (6 adults) are planning a family trip to South Africa in early May 2013. We only have a week and want to visit only 2 places, with ~3 days in each place. We're looking for uncrowded national parks for solitude, scenery, game watching and hiking.

I think a 3-day stay in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi NP and a 3-day stay in Royal Natal NP (Thendele) would work well for us. My concern is the driving. Can anyone help with estimated driving time AND route from JNB --> each park, and especially between those two parks? I don't know if it would be more efficient to cross through central KZN or take the highways & coast via Durban. On any of these legs, would a one-night stopover be advisable? Is 4x4 necessary?

Also any advice on the locations would be nice. I'd considered others (Giant's Castle, Ithala NP) but these two seemed like the best.

(Why not Kruger: my sister is spending the whole semester there before we arrive. We'd consider spending 2-3 days there, but we'd want to see someplace else as well, and I didn't see anything as appealing and different up in Mpumalanga/Limpopo, as the Berg area is in KZN. I'm very open to suggestions, though.).


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