Cover image: Emdoneni Lodge
TRAVEL SA brings you a snippet of what is to come in their December mag. There is a desire and real need for most people to “get away” from time to time. In this spread, we hope to spark some interest and options for future travel bookings. We do have amazing bush, beach and Berg options right here in KZN, so why not take advantage of that and travel locally as much as we travel abroad (especially now)?
Situated in the rolling hills of Nottingham Road in the KZN Midlands, Fordoun was created and is managed with the goal that every guest should leave feeling uplifted, positive and relieved of stress. Originally converted from a farmyard and dairy, this boutique hotel is an ideal spa getaway and cultural experience. Awarded SA’s Best Boutique Hotel Spa in 2016 at the Les Nouvelles Spa Awards, Fordoun boasts an oasis of relaxation and sensory bliss. This five-star location offers a convenient location, luxuriously appointed suites (some with expansive views of the entire Drakensberg range), friendly service, and a superior fine dining restaurant.
A glance at the guest comments book tells the story. “I could not have believed that five minutes from the N3 I would find utter peace and tranquility as if I was in another world. From the staff to the ambiance, everything works towards helping one to ‘chill out’,” wrote one recent guest. Combining a hotel, with a spectacular wedding and event venue as well as self-catering cottages, with a spa in a great setting like the KZN Midlands give guests the opportunity to make the most of what Fordoun has to offer. As a destination spa, the underlying philosophy of Fordoun is focused on positive energy and the enjoyment of life. Whether guests are combining hotel and spa or just staying in the hotel, they will find delicious food (bordering on the indulgent), an exciting wine selection, and staff who really appreciate the privilege of hosting them.
033 266 6217
1999 was not only the eve of the Y2K year, it was also a year of inspiration for the Blevin family and the Kohrs brothers. Being raised in the magnificent Maputaland area and having enjoyed the pristine scenery of the Lebombo Mountains and the Pongolapoort dam (also known as Lake Jozini – a perfect setting for fishing and leisure), they saw an opportunity for the very first houseboats in South Africa.
Shayamanzi 1 was launched in September 2002. This magnificent vessel sports six en-suite cabins, a lounge/dining area, a jacuzzi and decks for relaxing in the Zululand sun. This houseboat can accommodate a total of 12 guests in the cabins. Shayamanzi 2 was launched in September 2007 and boasts 10 en-suite cabins, a lounge/dining area, a jacuzzi and open decks. A total of 20 guests can be accommodated in the cabins.
Guests enjoy fully-serviced amenities on board the houseboats and excellent cuisine is served. They provide DSTV, karaoke, fishing, game viewing and mountain biking, all in great style and luxury. Tiger fishing is a big attraction and there is no experience like fighting the ferocious tiger fish with its magnificent colours shining in the sun. Come and experience excellent hospitality, world-class service, pristine scenery and the ultimate in relaxation on the Shayamanzi Houseboats! Shayamanzi is moored at Jozini Tiger Lodge, just three hours’ drive from King Shaka Airport.
034 413 2299
Rhino Sands Safari Camp
Located in Manyoni Private Game Reserve, Rhino Sands Safari Camp was created as a reflection of all the things that lie at the very heart of safari. It is a place where guests are able to immerse themselves in nature, where our impact on the environment is minimised and we capture a bit of the romance of safari from a simpler time. Rhino Sands is an owner-run camp where hospitality takes centre stage and individualised attention is our standard.
The entire camp is set under canvas upon wooden platforms within the riverine forest. Guests can stay in one of only four luxurious, custom-built, private tented suites, each featuring a private living area, outdoor shower and swimming pool, complete with stunning views of the riverbed below. The camp has been designed and decorated to reflect the romance of the classical safari experience.
Boasting a rich diversity of wildlife and dramatic landscapes, Manyoni is a reserve of exceptional beauty and one of the premier wildlife-viewing destinations in KZN. The reserve is not only home to the Big Five, as our commitment to endangered species conservation has also seen the reintroduction of African wild dogs and cheetahs. Join the Rhino Sands family to discover all of the magic a Zululand safari has to offer.
082 655 0927
Gooderson Monks Cowl Golf Resort
Gooderson Monks Cowl Golf Resort takes its name from the peak sandwiched between the towering Champagne Castle and Cathkin Mountains, and is set in the Cathedral Valley with breathtaking vistas of sweeping grasslands and magnificent towering mountains as a backdrop. It also borders the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Gooderson Monks Cowl Golf Resort is known for its cozy atmosphere and warm log fires in winter, but guests at the resort can enjoy year-round fun and leisure. Besides the many activities available on site including a nine-hole, 18-tee golf course, adventure golf and swimming pools, the property is also centrally located for exploring all that this region has to offer. The Drakensberg Boys Choir, Birds of Prey Centre, craft brewery, river rafting, great hiking and MTB are right on your doorstep.
One of the best things about Gooderson Monks Cowl Golf Resort is that it is well within striking distance at just four hours from Johannesburg and two and a half hours from Durban. This makes it the perfect place for a weekend away or even a family break without the stress of having to travel too far.
036 468 1300
Ashton Wold Estate
If you are looking for a spot where you can enjoy a break from the city, as well as some exciting outdoor activities, then you’ve come to the right place.
Ashton Wold Estate offers the best of both worlds, with comfortable cottages and a scenic, tranquil setting, as well as access to dams for fishing, canoeing, tubing and swimming, forests for walks and mountain biking, and beautiful walks around the Estate. With some gorgeous views of sunsets, sunrises, birdlife and wildlife, Ashton Wold is also a great place for avid photographers to get some great pictures or hone in on their skills. Conveniently located close to Howick (26km) and The Windmill (21km), guests are able to enjoy all that the Midlands has to offer.
Whether you are coming to spend some quality time with your partner, or enjoy a weekend away with the family, there is something for everyone at Ashton Wold Estate.
082 440 1882
Hluhluwe Bush Camp
Hluhluwe Bush Camp overlooks the treasure trove that is False Bay Park in the Isimangaliso Wetland Park and is only 20 minutes drive to Hluhluwe/Imfolozi Park. The camp offers five enticingly luxurious self-catering glamping tents (including four five-person tents and one six-person tent), two fully-equipped adventure tents with an outside bathroom, and small intimate camping for bush lovers with a braai and an ablution block. Its simple design belies the luxury within, with room for proper beds in separate bedrooms, a stylish, well-equipped kitchen and dining area, and a very luxurious bathroom. There is also a spacious veranda with a large braai area where you can enjoy the great outdoors. It’s perfect for couples, a family holiday or a breakaway with friends.
Enjoy tranquillity whilst sitting on the deck viewing your neighbours: nyala, reedbuck, duikers and pineapple fields. At the camp pool, you will find sun loungers, swings, jungle gym, darts, and a large climbing wall. For those who feel like being active, we have a bush trail through the forest of 2.2km with a beautiful picnic site. Our farm stall offers cappuccino, espresso, wines and beers, fresh food and products, wood, charcoal and water.
There are lots of activities to be enjoyed in and around the camp, including biking, hiking, and fishing in bordering iSimangaliso Wetland Park, game drives in Hluhluwe/Imfolozi Park, diving and snorkelling in Sodwana Bay, and boat tours in St Lucia. Guests can also visit Mkhuze Park, the cheetah farm, Rhino Mountain bike trails, the Zulu village, or experience a pineapple tour. Introducing your new favourite bush location!
Umngazi Hotel and Spa
No one can deny that COVID-19 has upended everyone’s lives in 2020. However, now that life is slowly starting to return to a new normal, there is an overwhelming sense that our nation is looking for retreats where they can be at one with nature and where they can enjoy endless space, time and solitude with those who are most important to them. They are going to be searching for balance and looking to refresh, restore and nourish themselves both physically and emotionally.
At Umngazi Hotel & Spa, we offer ample sunshine and warmth, endless blue skies and natural beauty, and the opportunity to relax, explore, restore and reconnect at your leisure. There are beautiful trails and seemingly never-ending unspoilt beaches to escape to, welcoming the freedom in isolation, where you have the opportunity to breathe in deeply and feel your soul come alive.
While enhanced health protocols, procedures and training have been implemented at the hotel, our utmost priority is to maintain the Umngazi experience while ensuring the safety of you, our staff and our community. Now that the time has come to escape the confines of the pandemic, we look forward to welcoming you to our special place where you can pause for a while, recharge and leave feeling ready to take on the world again.
047 564 1115/6/8/9
Bayala Private Safari Lodge and Camp
Bayala Private Safari Lodge and Camp is a welcoming, affordable and family-orientated safari lodge situated in a Big Five, 30 000ha game reserve just three hours north of Durban, South Africa, in the ancient kingdom of Zululand. Bayala welcomes guests to two independently-run lodges, each with 24 rooms offering all of the essential comforts. The camp is best-suited to families, with children of all ages welcome, and the lodge boasts chic lounges and bars, dining areas both indoors and out under star-sprinkled skies, and a pool deck that keeps close company with the wilderness. Twice-daily safaris bring spectacular sightings of lion, elephant, leopard, buffalo and rhino in their natural world, along with cheetah, zebra, giraffe and a remarkable variety of other wildlife.
Bayala also hosts beautiful weddings and couples are able to celebrate with their guests beneath Zululand’s iconic acacia trees, or in a traditional, all-African boma or our elegant lodge. With delicious meals provided, there is no need to worry about food and guests are able to completely relax and enjoy some time out. The friendly staff at the lodge is local and part of the Bayala family. Green living and sustainability are also prized, and guests are invited into our earth-friendly way of life. For a meaningful, memory-making wildlife safari in South Africa, visit Bayala.
Rhino River Lodge
Situated in the Manyoni Private Game Reserve just 30km north of Hluhluwe, Rhino River Lodge is a relaxed, family-friendly safari property. Known for its excellent customer service and value for money, guests can choose from three types of accommodation: the double en-suite luxury rooms, family chalets, or one of two private safari homes (the Cottage and the Homestead). All accommodation types feature air-conditioning, ceiling fans, private verandas, mosquito nets, coffee and tea making facilities, and a fully-stocked minibar.
Two-daily guided game drives afford guests the opportunity to experience world-class wildlife viewing in this Big Five game reserve, with scenic coffee stops and sundowners included every day. Enjoy hearty South African cuisine highlighting local ingredients, served under the stars around a campfire or in a private boma area. The lodge grounds sprawl through an area of thick riverine vegetation, rich with bird and animal life, and filled with magnificent fig and fever trees. The grounds also include a reception with a curio shop, dining room with a bar, Wi-Fi, lounge and swimming pool. Offering unpretentious luxury at affordable prices, Rhino River Lodge is the perfect option for families, couples and groups of friends travelling together.
083 781 4924
Nestled in Champagne Valley, Dragonview Lodge is perfectly located to explore all that the Drakensberg has to offer. The first of its kind in Central Drakensberg, Dragonview Lodge is an environmentally sustainable boutique hotel. With only eight suites, this lodge provides an intimate and exclusive holiday destination offering personalised services. Unwind by the rim-flow rock pool while the kids explore the Dragonland playground.
Our two lounges, games room, children’s playroom, indoor heated pool and gym ensure that the whole family is entertained even on chilly winter mornings and rainy days. Our on-site restaurant serves contemporary café food prepared using the best locally sourced ingredients and is open to the public seven days a week.
The six contemporary family suites are all uniquely decorated with a king-sized bed downstairs and twin single beds and a couch upstairs. All suites lead onto a private deck with uninterrupted views of the Drakensberg Mountains. Our two executive suites boast an exquisitely decorated downstairs bedroom with a king-sized, four-poster bed and an intimate lounge upstairs. Enjoy a romantic dinner on the deck or raise a glass of champagne while taking in the breathtaking views from your private lounge. Experience the Berg like you never have before!
084 815 1113
Nambiti Hills Private Game Experience
The Nambiti Hills Private Game Experience is set on the Big Five Nambiti Game Reserve, 23km east of Ladysmith in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The lodge offers intimate and luxurious accommodation in the midst of the spectacular African beauty of the Nambiti Game Reserve. It is a haven of sophistication surrounded by wild terrain – perfect for anyone seeking both privacy and romance, or simply time to reflect whilst searching for the Big Five. One is also called to relax at Nambiti Hills whilst taking in the exquisite vistas from the quiet comfort of the lodge deck.
The Nambiti Private Game Reserve has three times the carrying capacity of regions like Botswana and is the only reserve in the region with the Big Five. Encounter one of these magnificent animals only four hours from Johannesburg and three hours from Durban. The spirit of Africa will fill your soul and the experience will stay with you forever.
We recently spent some time at the lovely Nambiti and here is our experience:
“There is nothing more special than time in the bush. Nambiti Hills Private Game Experience was the perfect getaway. The staff were friendly, very organised and, most importantly, client focused. On top of that, their food was amazing! The chef outdid himself – it was a daily treat from breakfast and high tea to our three-course dinner.
Joe was our guide and not only was he knowledgeable but also very friendly, patient and passionate about the reserve and lodge. The room was so comfortable, with all of the essentials and more. The pool area and lounging/seating area also allows for more than enough options to not sit in the same spot twice on your stay. We enjoyed a couple’s massage at the Zolile Spa, which is on site and heaven between early mornings and all that relaxing you’re sure to do here. It’s always a different experience every game drive you go on and every time you go to the lodge.
When going on safari, you need to understand that the reserve is huge – finding animals is not so easy – but the well-trained eye can spot Beefy, the 60-year-old elephant, on the opposite ridge, the lioness in the tall grass, the rhino and buffalo grazing, and the cheetah brothers sitting a kilometre down the road. As always, Nambiti, we will see you again!”
031 333 6723
Booking code: NH-FAB2020
This multi-award-winning, three-star lodge, situated on a small game farm in Hluhluwe between two Big Five game reserves and the iSimangaliso Wetlands (greater St Lucia wetlands), is owned by Louis and Cecilie Nel and is where your dream of a true African experience can become a reality!
A two-hour drive from Durban’s King Shaka International Airport with an abundance of wildlife and natural vegetation, superb accommodation and impeccable service, it is the ideal place for a family holiday or a romantic weekend getaway. Emdoneni’s accommodation is designed to give a ‘taste’ of Africa with a ‘touch’ of luxury and has three accommodation options: standard and deluxe chalets, African-style rondavels (ideal for families) and the Windfall Cottage, nestled in a private area, which is ideal for honeymooners.
With “Okuhle esikwenzayo Kwanele” (Zulu for, “Only our best is enough”) as Emdoneni’s motto, the friendly staff, and the warm and welcoming Louis and Cecilie, a stay at Emdoneni Lodge is a special and memorable experience. So come and “touch the wild where the waterberry grows”, and book your stay now. Take advantage of Emdoneni’s great special – book for more than one night and get a fantastic 40% discount! Rates are based on dinner, bed and breakfast per person, per night sharing (guided Zululand Cat Conservation tours are excluded).
035 562 7000/7001