Names of travellers: Cara-Lee Ruditzky and partner
Destination: Umzolozolo Private Safari Lodge, Nambiti Reserve, Kwa-Zulu Natal
Dates: 19-20 April 2014
Your reason for visiting this destination: One night getaway during a visit to Durban over Easter weekend and a chance to see some amazing African wildlife.
Our Little Black Book
The best hotel: Umzolozolo Luxury Game Lodge. Perched on a hill in the Nambiti game reserve, Umzolozolo is a five star lodge featuring three chalets, one presidential chalet and a honeymoon chalet. All chalets have outdoor showers and a balcony overlooking the reserve – the view is magical. The lodge staff are attentive, friendly and welcoming. This is one of the most romantic spots I have been to – honeymoon couples can dine privately in their chalet! We stayed in a regular luxury chalet and each chalet is separate, so you really do have peace and quiet.
The best place for dinner: The cost of accommodation includes three meals a day (breakfast and lunch buffet, sit down dinners) as well as teas, coffee and cakes (but not other beverages). We were observing our Jewish holiday of Pesach (cannot eat bread, rice, pasta etc) and every effort was made to cater for us, they even had Matzah (special cracker)! During lunch, we selected our dinner from the day’s menu. I chose: butternut soup; avocado and trout starter; rump steak and potato wedges with mushroom sauce; and a brandy chocolate slice – delish! When the weather is right, you can experience eating in the boma (an enclosed area surrounding a large log fire).
The best place for a drink: It’s is lodge tradition to gather for drink as night falls after the evening game drive. We sat around the fire in the boma – the night sky is amazingly clear and filled with stars! During your fame drive, you’re treated to drinks and a snack while you watch the wildlife. We parked off in the reserve to watch the sunset during the afternoon/evening game drive.
The first thing travellers should do upon reaching this destination: Head to the deck/pool area and soak up the views and the animals in the distance before you head out for your first game drive. Also, listen to the stillness. The quiet is alarming and a welcome relief to the stresses of city life.
The best place to shop: You don’t need to shop here – everything you need is supplied. But, stop along the drive (it is a two hour drive to the lodge from Durban) for local biltong. If you feel like getting ‘out’, the lodge has its own spa. There is also a cheetah interaction experience nearby
The best way to get around: The only time you need your car is getting to and from the lodge! Two game drives per day are included in the rate and you’ll be fetched for these. Otherwise you walk to and from you chalet. The lodge is not gated off and the animals roam free, so at night you are escorted by your ranger. The rangers are always on hand and your safety is their top priority.
If you want to feel like a local you should… listen to ranger Dave – he is full of stories about the lodge and the animals that roam below it.
Watch out for… Be aware, you are in the bush, there are creepy crawlers, but I felt safe at all times. We even got to our chalet after our morning drive to a family of buck outside our door. They were more afraid of us then we were of them!
Don’t leave without… Don’t leave without doing at least one morning and afternoon game drive or without eating or drinking at night fireside in the boma. Also, an outside shower is a must!
Insider tip: You never know what you will spot on a game drive, we saw two female lions, elephants, giraffes, hippos, zebras, buffalo, buck and a variety of bird life. It was an unforgettable experience in the most beautiful, majestic setting! If you want some special alone time or if you are travelling with children who can’t manage a three hour game drive, chat to Dave and he will arrange your own game drive at a specific time. And pack your costume whether it’s winter or not – the pool is the best spot to take in the view or soak in your Jacuzzi.
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