Thanda Safari Lodge Hluhluwe
An expanse of bush from the Zulu heartland large enough to fit over 30,000 football fields, and occupied by lions, rhino, cheetahs, elephants and hippos. The land is connected with marula and congestion trees, also hosts a few fascinating animal houses — such as beautiful, teardrop-shaped weaver’s nests that hang from branches such as pendulums, and termite hills taller than a little child. The grasslands click with cicada bugs and, from the bushes, mischievous, red-eyed drongos mimic the tune of additional different birds. Richards Bay airport is just under 2 hours’ drive on a well-kept, signposted main street; Durban is just more than three hours by automobile.
Style & personality
Think a collection traditional Zulu round boma huts which are exactly the exact same colour of rust copper as the ground where they stand. Thatched roofs and genuine cobblestone fireplaces, yes but Thanda is also a sparkling temple to South African art: a beaded chief seats which portray men decapitating snakes with their own swords, here; the arresting wooden sculpture of a lady wearing a flaring red Zulu headdress there. My favorite installation proved to be a near-life-sized rhino created from branches that are polished.
The lodge is high up enough to gain from a revivifying breeze, and the atmosphere is constantly edged with all the succulent aroma of acacia trees. Grab a chair at one of the numerous balconies, arrange a g&t, and observe the spiral-horned nyala nut browse the gnarled savanna bushlands below.
Service & amenities
Service is friendly, discreet and understated; employees in the lodge were constantly at the ready to ask if I needed a drink or support once I lounged at the public places, however, aside from that they were pleased to leave me to my own devices. The manuals for the game drives are profoundly knowledgeable and filled with tales about the the obscurest of creatures and plants. Do not hold back with your queries — odds are that they know the solution. Their voices practically quiver with rapture when they speak about the bush, and also their delirious excitement whenever they encounter the new dung of a cheetah or rhino in a match drive allows you to feel a part of a rather special animal-viewing pursuit.
There are two game drives every day, and free safari photography courses are bookable. The lodge also includes a library and spa with treatments with components sourced from the neighborhood wild.
This is really where Thanda distinguishes itself from other lodges; maybe not so much chambers as nine miniature Zulu villas, with humongous balconies that contain a dip pool and outside shower. In addition they possess circular shaded sofa-cum-beds to see a book whilst listening to the squeaking churr of this pin-tailed whydahs from the neighboring trees. Art is integrated into the insides, for example Zulu bracelets displayed behind glass, and fascinating bed nets created from alloy twisted round nearby stones.
Each hut has a conventional fireplace that may be lit in the winter, a basket of games such as Scrabble and Monopoly and wildlife publications and coffee table tones such as ‘Speeches that Changed the World’. It is difficult to resist the free minibar, crammed with mint humbugs, dried mango and papaya, and a selection of spirits, such as Amarula in the marula tree. The baths, which include a bathtub and roll-top tub are kitted out with toiletries infused with rooibos and baobab tree finishes.
Food & beverage
The food is excellent here, and does not actually stop. It is coffee and snacks at sunrise until the first game drive, then a breakfast containing grilled salmon omelettes, banana sandwiches along with a buffet of stewed fruits, cold meats and yoghurt with mint coulis on both medial side. Lunch brings joy such as springbok salad at a sprightly balsamic dressing infused with almonds, the beef so tender that it flakes beneath the mild pressure of a spoon. Do not miss the chance for a traditional braai from the outside boma with a seemingly endless choice of meat with tacky glazes and powerful chars, and dance by firelight before supper.
Value for cash
Luxury Bush Suites from 7,000 South African Rand (#400) per person per night, including all meals, many drinks, two game drives every day, and also an optional photography session. Free Wi-Fi. It is pricey, but this area has a real atmosphere of exclusivity.
Accessibility for guests with disabilities?
The sprawling, complicated architecture renders this lodging unsuitable.
Yes, lots of child-friendly snacks and food, and there is a Bucks and Bugs club and Junior Rangers Course to keep kids amused.
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