Soul Safari – Walking in the Footsteps of African Giants

Soul Safari – Walking in the Footsteps of African Giants

With The Life Adventure

We were recently invited to experience two incredible nights at one of Africa’s newest and most ecologically-impressive game reserves. On arrival we found an incredible story of passion, perseverance, commitment and wonder and here we describe what we encountered and what you’re likely to if you decide to visit.

There is a sacred place in the heart of Zululand. A fertile land of undisturbed perfection, where no man has control and the rules of nature prevail. Once the Royal hunting ground of King Shaka of the Zulu, and the origin of every Southern White Rhino in the world; uMfolozi Big Five Game Reserve offers a personal gateway into nature as it was before us, which is how they intend to keep it.

Through perseverance, an unbelievable commitment to conservation and their determination to protect the land, they have added swathes of tribal land to the oldest game reserve in Africa. This allows more space for its prolific denizens to increase their numbers. What we love is that this means those who make it to uMfolozi become better acquainted with the authentic side of wildlife, and encounter all the denizens of a precious eco-system. Our hope is that you emerge awakened to the plight of Mother Nature.

There are two lodges in the reserve – Mthembu Lodge and Biyela Lodge. Both offer refined accommodation and amenities which have been built in harmony with the environment using local people to build, harnessing the power of the sun to heat, and employing people from the surrounding local villages to take care of their guests.  This blend of subtle eco luxury allows you incredible surroundings whilst being immersed in an utterly safe, but also wild experience. Each lodge has a distinct style that pays homage to the Zulu nation through design and décor.

The teams at both lodges welcome you with a warm Zulu spirit and are personally invested in uMfolozi Big Five as the land belongs to them and their children’s children. The villa you sleep in was hand built by members of the surrounding community, and the fresh produce you delight in at meal times is harvested on our doorstep. Each part of your experience at uMfolozi Big Five Reserve invests in the world around you.

Why it’s so special

Abutting the Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park, uMfolozi Big Five Reserve is a wilderness area that has adjoined the wilderness area of the uMfolozi side of this great park which is the oldest in Africa and the second oldest in the world. Staying here allows you to experience something so unique that no money in the world could replicate it anywhere else. In the valleys where King Shaka of the Zulu once hunted; the origin of every Southern White Rhino in the world – you’ll get exclusive access to this sacred place where no man has control, and the rules of nature prevail. You’ll rekindle a personal relationship with nature while enjoying luxury lifestyle comforts, and excellent dining.

The Wilderness Safari Experience

The reserve’s vehicles are the only ones that have a right to operate in this wilderness area, in addition to the right to traverse the greater Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park. Their staff include the best rangers and trackers because what you experience is a not just the result of luck, but of patience and skill. With no tell-tale accomplices, no markings or signage and limited vehicular pathways the guides rely only on their intimate knowledge of the bush and its allusive denizens.

Guests at both lodges will be able to traverse the wilderness area on open game vehicles, in small groups of no more than six people and under the careful guidance of experienced rangers and trackers, or on foot with armed guides. More than 90 kilometre of dirt-track is shared only by game rangers and lodge guests, and none of the general public visiting the upper Hluhluwe iMfolozi game areas will have self-drive access to this pristine wilderness area. The routes drop low and range high, and your ranger will spoil you with sundowners out on trail, as also with early morning tea or a picnic on your dawn-drives. By day, once the heat has hastened most animals into the shade, you’ll enjoy the tranquillity of the lodge and your surroundings.

Why go?

You’ll be staying in the valleys  where the very first steps were taken with Operation Rhino almost seventy years ago under revered global conservationist, the late Dr Ian Player.

Biyela Lodge nestles low on a spectacular bend on the White Imfolozi. On the other side of the river, the dramatic cliffs are used by vultures in the early morning to launch to the skies upon thermals. On the banks of the river, the scarce sighting of wild dog has been noted amidst the steady stream of animals who come to quench their thirst. Crocodiles and hippo rule the waters and the roar of lion punctuate the wilderness night. On the doorstep of nature at work, a small number of guests (32 at most) can enjoy their luxurious private stand-alone suites, with access to a central lodge with pool, restaurant, bar and viewing decks. To the right when on the viewing deck, another set of cliffs mark the entrance to the valley where one of King Shaka of the Zulu’s most rebellious commanders, Mzilikazi and his clan hid from the wrath of the King.

Mthembu Lodge, even more intimate with only 22 beds, has a different character, although equally luxurious. Situated somewhat higher off the river, it has a panoramic view of the waters and the forest for a big-picture kind of experience. That the spot chosen for this Lodge has something special about it should be evident from the fact that Dr Ian Player stabled his horses, used first on patrols and later on wilderness leadership training, in this area. Staying at Mthembu Lodge allows you to immerse yourself in a part of this special history – the story of how Dr Player started with what would become a global effort to save the rhino from extinction.

Staying at either lodge means you’ll be able to traverse the wilderness area on open game vehicles, in small groups of no more than six people and under the careful guidance of experienced rangers and trackers, or on foot with armed guides. More than 90 kilometre of dirt-track is shared only by game rangers and lodge guests, and none of the general public visiting the upper Hluhluwe iMfolozi game areas will have self-drive access to this pristine wilderness area.

Those taking care of you are committed to sharing their stories of their ancestors and the great spirits that reside in this area. You are sure to see the world in a different light after your visit, we know we did. It is the experience of a lifetime, walking in the footsteps of giants.

 

Presenter The Life Adventure

For individuals and organisations who want to feel and think better, both emotionally and physically, The Life Adventure is a wellbeing consultancy and online platform that offers you practical tools and techniques in the form of talks, workshops, programmes and online video. We teach you how to live your life more fully, how to be more present and how to operate at your best, both at work and play. We give you clear, practical takeaways on unique subject matter that will change the way you, and your organisation, sees the world, forever.

MORE »

What’s included

Flights
Transfers
2 night stay at the Oyster Box hotel in Durban is recommended
Your stay at uMfolozi Big Five game reserve
Car hire

Price contact us to discuss your requirements

Browse Wishlist

Presenter The Life Adventure

For individuals and organisations who want to feel and think better, both emotionally and physically, The Life Adventure is a wellbeing consultancy and online platform that offers you practical tools and techniques in the form of talks, workshops, programmes and online video. We teach you how to live your life more fully, how to be more present and how to operate at your best, both at work and play. We give you clear, practical takeaways on unique subject matter that will change the way you, and your organisation, sees the world, forever.

MORE »

What’s included

Flights
Transfers
2 night stay at the Oyster Box hotel in Durban is recommended
Your stay at uMfolozi Big Five game reserve
Car hire

Price contact us to discuss your requirements

Browse Wishlist