Beating around the bush
By Adrian Rorvik
Durban - Bushlands Game Lodge near Hluhluwe is a favourite among tour groups and locals. Set in 120ha of bush and surrounded by a further 120 000ha of national parks, the three-star Bushlands Game Lodge is the perfect place to escape the stresses of everyday life. It is quiet and tranquil, with only the abundant birdlife punctuating the stillness of the bush.
The choice of accommodation includes wooden lodges on stilts and self-catering six-sleeper units, each with their own secluded clearing.
There are five double rooms, 14 twin rooms and two family rooms.
All have air conditioning and ceiling fans. They also have the usual amenities apart from TV, which is in the bar area.
You can now buy vacation time, thus guaranteeing many happy returns. The timeshare units are currently being refurbished with occupation available from January.
We were accommodated in a cabin set deep in the trees, connected by walkways through the bush. A map, available at reception, details the layout of the resort, its walkways and trails.
There is no dangerous game, though it is always wise to be cautious around any wild animal. The self-guided Nyala walking trail was a delight for all, especially the children. It is unusual to get so close to browsing giraffe. The kids had to be restrained from rushing off to pet them.
Apart from giraffe, there are nyala, impala, wildebeest, zebra, duiker and other antelope. Vervet monkeys abound and the thick- tailed bush babies are the evenings’ show-stoppers. Squeals of delight from children and adults alike greeted their pre-dinner appearance at the lodge, where they came down from the tress for a fresh fruit snack. They really are a joy to behold.
The buffet was also a joy and included interesting starters, salads and a choice of several mains (venison is usually on the menu), vegetables and desserts.
It is wholesome and hearty grub and Bushlands cooks have a way with vegetables. Vegetarians or those with special dietary requirements will certainly not be short of delicious options. At dinner or breakfast the staff were all extremely friendly and eager to please.
The lodge is well laid out, with a deck and swimming pool in front of the dining room, while the boma and bar (best popcorn) behind are perfect for socialising and discussing the day’s highlights.
There is a wonderfully spacious viewing deck with comfy armchairs that looks straight over the plain and from which you can see ostrich and buck.
Bushlands also organises daily game drives to Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve where you can see the Big Five. Mkuze, Ndumo, Sodwana Bay and the iSimangaliso Wetland Park are also recommended for day trips.
Much closer by is Gooderson Leisure’s DumaZulu (thundering Zulu) Game Lodge and Cultural Village.
The village experience was authentic enough to make tourists and youngsters more than a little nervous during the dancing and stick fighting and it is a worthwhile educational experience.
Fortune Sibiya, our entertaining guide at the reptile farm, is passionate about his work – notwithstanding his having spent a year in hospital in a coma after a snake bite. Watch out for the tricks up his sleeve.
Dumazulu’s massive aviary is almost complete –a 3 000m2 wonder including an elevated walk way, waterfalls, dams and a flowing river.
Back at Bushlands, it was heartening to sit on the verandah after a satisfying meal watching the children enjoy the simple pleasures of bugs and little creatures around the walkway light with a full moon shining through the trees.
Phone 035 562 0144, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.goodersonleisure.co.za - Sunday Tribune