I was blessed enough to be treated to a weekend away with my parents to the Bush Baby Lodge near Hluhluwe in the Northern part of Kwa-Zulu Natal. What a treat! We were greeted by the owner, Pim, and his dogs. My dad engaged in a lengthy discussion about Land Rovers and camping. My mom, sister and I set off to find the best campsite. Upon discovering that half of the campsite was inundated with families of young children, we firmly decided to avoid that half. I’m on holiday from teaching, I don’t want screaming children anywhere near me!!! So we settled in the other half, populated by three camps of mature people (yes, I mean old). Bliss.
It was raining when we arrived and continued to do so for the first two days of our four-day weekend. All this meant though, was that copious amounts of Old Brown Sherry and other forms of delicious giggle juice were consumed. The highlight of Bush Baby Lodge was the privilege of seeing the actual Bush Babies which were fed bananas at precisely 7 pm every night. These little creatures were both adorable and almost scary looking at the same time. They get scarier when you hear them crying and screeching right above your tent at night!
We woke to the sounds of rain pitter-pattering on the tent on our second day and decided to close up the tent and drive to the St Lucia Wetlands – about an hour’s drive from the Lodge. Our first priority was to go on the 2-hour boat trip along the estuary. We were so blessed to see all the hippos enjoying the warmth of the water. Some of the babies treated us to the sight of them playing in the water, lumping about in their graceful-ungraceful way. We even spotted a few crocs, and much to my horror, were informed that the estuary is also home to various sharks. Definitely not a good place to swim!
After the boat trip, we walked around the town and then made our way to the ski boat club which Dad had heard was the best place for cheap beer. We soon found out it was also the place of the best calamari we’ve ever had! The service was slow, but they do warn you that there is a wait involved on arrival, so you get into chill mode quite quickly. We headed home with much fuller tummies than anticipated after ordering starters which were actually like main meals. Family game of Uno and more giggle juice once home, then bed time.
Thank goodness the next day was sunny! Finally my toes had a chance to warm up!!! Day three involved a trip into Hluhluwe to find biltong. We also found pineapple fudge and caramel mampoer (basically the South African version of moonshine). We headed to the game reserve for the rest of the day in the hopes of finding some exciting animals to see. As a South African who often visits game reserves, nyala, impala and zebra just don’t excite me anymore. We saw a lot: warthog, giraffe,
buffalo, rhino, elephant, baboon, eagles and vultures. But our hearts left unhappy that we hadn’t seen any of the predators. We will try again another time!
Back to the lodge for braai and to wash off the dust of the day. Tent was set up again, and we crashed with our tummies full and our hearts sad that the next morning would be our final day. We woke to birds tweeting and the sun shining, with a heavy wind starting to blow. We went for a walk around the 50 hectare property of the Lodge and spotted the zebra, nyala and red duikers resident there. We finished off our stay with a huge cook up breakfast and a wave goodbye to this lovely little place. Before we left the area, we went to check out Bonamanzi Game Reserve – I think that might be one of the future stories for another time! We made one last stop at Richards Bay Harbour to see what that was all about and then headed home to the waggy tails of dogs and a littl bit of reality. What a lovely mid-term trip to reset the batteries, fill the heart and calm the soul. Pictures below!
Visit www.bushbabylodge.co.za to find out more about this lovely little spot!