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REVIEW: Shayamanzi House Boats, Jozini

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Experience the first Houseboats in South Africa – the only ones of their kind: Shayamanzi Houseboats.

Soak up the stunning scenery of the Lebombo Mountains and superb wildlife of the Pongola Game Reserve on the shores of Lake Jozini (also known as Pongolapoort Dam). Enjoy the calm serenity of the open Lake Jozini waters, the thrill of Tiger Fishing or the adventure of Mountain Biking in the heart of the Zululand bushveld! Shayamanzi is about taking time out to appreciate Africa’s special wonders.

We were recently invited to experience a stay on the Shayamanzi Houseboat.

“Shayamanzi Houseboats are based in Jozini Dam and has for some time offered a cruise with a difference onboard their houseboats.

We took the 3 and a half hour drive from Durban and made our way to Jozini Tiger Lodge where we met our host and the rest of the guests.
We then boarded the Shayamanzi II Houseboat where we were given a welcoming drink and set off on our journey with our very able and competent captain, Alan at the helm.

John our host, made everyone feel so welcome with his warm and hospitable nature as he got everyone relaxed and looking forward to the adventure that lay ahead.

We moored at our first stop where 2 small tender boats were used to take us to view wildlife and also to try our luck at tiger fishing.

Lucky and Bheki, the 2 crew members that were assigned to each tender boat were so helpful as they baited up and helped everyone. After a fun afternoon out, we made our way back to Shayamanzi for a rewarding hot shower and then all met up in the dining area to have drinks and wait for our supper. We were all served a delicious 3-course meal.

After dinner we all settled in the lounge, partying and exchanging stories, getting to know the other guests.

Shayamanzi

View from our cabin

With the following morning being overcast, it didn’t damper our spirits and so we went on the tender boats again! But not before we finished a scrumptious  breakfast.
On our boat trip, we were blessed to have seen hippos, elephants, crocodiles and fish eagles. Truly a remarkable sight, and not something you get to see everyday all in one place!

For the rest of the day, we relaxed in the jacuzzi while the men caught tiger fish off the back of the boat. Words cannot describe the wonderful feeling one gets whilst viewing the game in their natural environment from the comfort of a houseboat, whilst still being able to fish for tiger fish at the same time.

The last day we were all so sad to leave as we had 4 incredible days of fishing, game watching, laughing, dancing, eating glorious food and getting to know new people.

Shayamanzi

The wonderful, helpful crew at Shayamanzi

We would highly recommend this unique cruise if you would like to get close to wildlife and still have some luxury thrown in for measure.”

To book a Shayamanzi Cruise:

Tel: +27 (0) 34 413 2299
Fax: +27 (0) 34 413 2396

Address: P.O. Box 1070, Pongola, 3170, South Africa
E-mail: shayamanzi@saol.com

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Accomodation

Want to stay in the heart of Cape Town? Here’s why The Cape Milner should be your go-to.

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For Durbanites, a trip to Cape Town is always enthralling. White-sand beaches, throngs of restaurants, and sea life sightings are just some of the things we look forward to when visiting our Mother City. Of course, the various accommodation on offer forms part of said hype – and can either make or break your experience!

Well, we’re here to tell you this: If you’re looking for a hotel that’s contemporary, comfy, central, quiet and not too costly, we’ve found the place for you. Not to mention its fascinating decor, great hospitality, and luxury charm that just wraps you up and keeps you snug throughout your entire stay.

The opulent Cape Milner building matches Cape Town’s Victorian aesthetic. But inside you’ll find a mix of art-deco, modern and African chic; much like the feel of modern Africa today.

As if wedged at the bottom of Table Mountain, the views from the rooms and lounges are spectacular. We particularly enjoyed dining out in the swanky Glass Lounge, where you can look up into the blue sky or night stars while you enjoy a hearty lamb shank below.

Our homely rooms overlooked the serene Milner Road, with its impressive avenues of trees. We were given complimentary macarons on arrival and enjoyed them with tea as we watched the rain pitter-patter on the tails of unbothered squirrels — how cute! The Milner Hotel really is a place you can enjoy come rain or shine.

The hotel was the absolute, perfect base from which to explore pretty much everything and anything. Just a few minutes drive away lies Bree and Kloof  – two favourites, Metropolitan streets for tourists and locals alike. Over the few days of our stay we visited many great spots, all within 5-10 minutes away.

We sank our teeth into cheesy pizza at the much-hyped “I love the dough” and tried out “Mochi Mochi” for dessert; we ordered fizzing and steaming cocktails from “Cause and Effect” at the V&A; and of course, we spent a fun-filled evening at the cheeky and illustrious “Beefcakes” in Green Point.

After each jam-packed day, coming home to our state-of-the-art bathtub and luxurious linen was the cherry on top. It fitted in perfectly with our diverse range of activities we had planned, and matched the entire style of our trip.

We didn’t want to leave!

And of course, we can’t wait to stay again…

To book your stay at the Cape Milner, contact

Tel: +27 11 516 4367
Email: res@extraordinary.co.za

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Tugela River Lodge – A must for your bucket list!

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Tugela River Lodge is a self-catering eco-lodge situated in Winterton. They are completely off the grid, using solar power and gas to run their lodge.

Being pet-friendly, Tugela is the perfect place to bring the entire family, literally! As well as for singles, couples or friends.

ACCOMMODATION

With 5 cottages to choose from, you can either book the Main Lodge which sleeps up to 14, The Hideaway which is a 6 sleeper and The Rapids, The River House and Kingfisher Cottage which are all 4 sleeper.

All of the cottages don’t have any TV sets. Tugela River Lodge wants to instead encourage visitors to experience nature – which we definitely agree with.

We stayed at the River House which was a double storey house, ensuring we each had privacy as a couple.

 

HISTORY

The Green family have been running the lodge for over 20 years. They have a passion for mountain biking, trail running and the outdoors in general. Every year, The Berg & Bush cycle ride and The Oxpecker trail run take place.

THE EXPERIENCE

Upon arrival, check in was such a breeze – we found our accommodation easily and settled in for the night.

For dinner we opted to have a braai. The boys loved catching up while us girls chilled on the comfiest couches with a glass of red.

We were joined by two of the owner’s dogs, as well as a cat, making us feel right at home.

Our double storey house had more of a modern feel than the rest of the cottages. We had a spacious lounge all to ourselves which was part of an open plan kitchen. The main bedroom had a double bed with an open plan shower and toilet, while the upstairs room had a double bed with the most gorgeous outside view.

We were fully equipped with high speed WI-FI too. A bonus if you’re needing this feature while on your trip away. The River House is the only unit to have this functionality.

The River House is also ideal for bringing your pets as the property is well fenced off – You don’t have to worry about losing your fur-babies!

WHAT TO DO NEARBY

You don’t really need to leave Tugela. With plenty of walking trails available, one can find themselves walking along the beautiful Tugela River.

If you feel like a drive however, we would recommend  Spioenkop Nature Reserve. A popular water sport destination, it also offers a serene game reserve environment. We saw rhino, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest and many different species of birds.

You can also take a drive through the Tugela game reserve with a cooler box and watch the sun go down with views of the Drakensberg on one side and the Freestate on the other.

ACTIVITIES AT TUGELA:

Other activities at Tugela include trails for walking/running, kayaking along the river, daily animal feeding and use of their farmstall for any fresh produce.

BOOK YOUR STAY AT TUGELA RIVER LODGE:

Email: info@tugelariverlodge.co.za
Cellphone/Whatsapp: +27 82 823 4746

Website: www.tugelariverlodge.co.za

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Accomodation

REVIEW: Hilton Hotel Umhlanga Arch

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Hilton Garden Inn is the first of its kind in South Africa, situated at the new Umhlanga Arch, welcoming both local and international guests. Durbanite recently experienced first hand what they have to offer.

From the moment you walk in, you experience a relaxed environment, making you feel right at home. The Hilton Garden Inn Umhlanga Arch is a technologically advanced hotel, allowing guests to check in, select and unlock your room, as well as access the guest lift, easily from your mobile phone. The hotel boasts a fitness centre, outdoor swimming pool with a great view of the upcoming developments in the area as well as the stunning sea Durban has to offer, as well as a laundry room and currency exchange for international guests.

The staff at the Hilton Garden Inn Umhlanga Arch are friendly and extremely helpful and have adopted a “Brightheartered Hospitality” approach.

“It was amazing, the staff remember your name, they learn more about why you are visiting and really go out of their way to make your experience a memorable one.” Commented Bianca Hauser, Durbanite contributor.

There are 203 rooms kitted out with coffee and tea brewers, a flat screen HDTV, a hairdryer, iron and ironing board (perfect for out of town guests), along with a mini refrigerator. Hilton Garden Inn Umhlanga Arch ensure to adhere to Covid-19 safety regulations by cleaning rooms before check in as well as after check out. They are currently participating in the Hilton CleanStay Program with Lysol Protection to deliver an even cleaner and safer experience for guests.

“I really felt comfortable during these times, as once staff clean a room, they have the Hilton CleanStay Room Seal that indicates to us that a room has not been accessed since it was cleaned and disinfected.”

The hotel ensures sufficient spacing in the dining hall and hand sanitizers can be found throughout the hotel. Guests are encouraged to use disposable gloves provided when dishing up salad for the meals and the Chefs are responsible for dishing up dinner, limiting exposure.

Together & Co aims to bring people together, “one meal, coffee and conversation at a time”. Those who are not guests at the hotel are also welcome to dine at the restaurant or have a drink at the bar. Hilton Garden Inn Umhlanga Arch also boasts a 24-hour self-service retail space, “The Shop”, which offers snacks, locally sourced food and beverages as well as essential personal items, should guests need anything.

To book your stay, visit their website.

Address:
1 Ncondo Place, Umhlanga Ridge Umhlanga

Durban, 4320, South Africa

+27-031-0070775

 

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