Affordable Family Vaycay: Your Gooderson Adventure Awaits
We all know money is tight and holidays aren’t something many of us can splurge on but Gooderson Leisure – operating since 1957 – is run on the ethos of good value, good fun. Our recent trip to the Gooderson Bushlands Game Lodge and the Gooderson DumaZulu Lodge in Hluhluwe was just that.
Both lodges are nestled in the heart of Zululand and are a 20 minute drive from the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve – home to the Big 5! On our game drive, we were treated to a magnificent elephant sighting as they treated themselves to a mud-bath.
The Gooderson Bushlands Game Lodge
Overall, this lodge offers guests’ cosy outdoor, rustic vibes with sandy roads and wooden walkways weaving through thick bush and tall trees. The accommodation offered varies to your travelling need. Book yourself into one of the newly renovated double rooms with en-suite bathrooms or a twin room on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis. We like this, because when on holiday mom needs a night(s) off too!
We stayed in a self-catering two-bedroom chalet. It was clean, cosy and had everything it should for a comfortable stay in the heart of the bush (including aircon). These chalets were set a little further away from the reception and restaurant area which gave us more privacy as well as prestinely manicured gardens, a swimming pool and jungle gym for the kids to play.
After a day of game drives and adventuring, it’s time to wind down before dinner and Gooderson Bushlands seems to have been built for the ‘perfect sundowner’. The undercover viewing deck overlooking the watering hole is the perfect spot to sit back, relax and catch a sighting of some Zebra or Giraffe. The boma offers guests the opportunity to soak up the last bit of the day under the stars next to a roaring fire.
The restaurant opens onto a wooden deck overlooking a second swimming pool which is surrounded by lush greens. Meals are served buffet style and were found to be fresh and delicious. Naturally I had to try a bit of everything – the roast potatoes in particular deserve a tasty mention!
And on a special night, if you are lucky enough you may have the opportunity to spot the resident family of bush baby. On occasion they pop round for a bite to eat. Don’t get too close though, they are quite private and shy little creatures.
Gooderson DumaZulu Lodge
The Gooderson DumaZulu Lodge is a 5-10 minute drive from Gooderson Bushlands. It sports a newly built Wozani Restaurant, Jabula Bar and entertainment area with great flow and an impressive boma.
Like the Gooderson Bushlands, meals are served buffet style. Again, the kitchen did not disappoint us. The food was tasty, hearty and filling! The Lodge is also home to the popular Traditional Zulu Village, Reptile Park and curio shop which along with the restaurant are open to the public daily.
Before we go any further, let’s take a moment to talk about the accommodation. It really is an experience in itself.
31 unique and gorgeously designed rounded ethnic huts surround the crystal blue swimming pool, perfect for cooling off on a hot Zululand day. Each hut is designed to reflect the different tribes of Southern Africa – Zulu, Swazi, North Sotho, Xhosa, Venda, Tsonga and Ndebele. The inside is cosy, with rustic warm finishes to the bedroom. En-suite bathroom and kitchenette for the bigger units. Each room comes with the usual comforts including aircon!
The Traditional Zulu Village
The Traditional Zulu Village runs tours 3 times a day, for prices click here. As you step inside the village, visitors (both young and old) are transported back in time and treated to an exhilarating, entertaining and energetic song and dance performance. You are also shown how the locals made spears, shields, baskets and clay pots back in the day. And if you are daring enough, you can taste their traditional beer called Umqombothi.
The Gooderson Reptile and Bird Park
While you are in the area, you should also pop into the Gooderson Reptile and Bird Park. It is open daily from 8am to 4.30pm, for prices click here.
The highlight for me was the reptile park which houses various exotic and indigenous snakes. We were lucky enough to handle two of the snakes which was both an exciting and harrowing experience for some in our group.
We would like to thank Gooderson Leisure for taking us on an incredible adventure. Teaching us about nature, tradition and especially for the good food!
A special thanks to CK Travel and Tour who chauffeured us to and from the Lodges in a comfortable, air-conditioned bus. If you are looking for reliable transport for your next school / church / corporate / conference / tour, hit them up.
If you enjoyed this review, check out our recent review of the Gooderson Natal Spa Hot Springs & Leisure Resort.