BushwillowLocation: South Africa » Kwazulu Natal » Elephant Coast » North Coast » Hluhluwe
Bushwillow Luxury lodge in Hluhluwe Kwazulu Natal
Description & Location:
Bushwillow is a stylish, unique bush lodge, situated in 170 hectares of beautiful indigenous sand forest. The lodge is fully serviced and offers a bush experience where the only disturbance will be that of the game visiting the lodges? own small waterhole. Guests may enjoy walks on the self-guided walking trails where they are likely to have encounters with zebra, giraffe, wildebeest, nyala, warthogs and other ?safe? game. The abundance of bird life and the variety of trees and other flora makes for a great African experience but with the luxury and comforts of a 4-star graded establishment. Guests may either cater for themselves or be spoilt with leisurely breakfasts and first-class evening meals.
Bushwillow is ideally situated for visitors exploring the splendour of The Elephant Coast, KwaZulu Natal. Located just 16km from Hluhluwe town on the way towards Sodwana Bay, it also proves a perfect destination for a visit to the beach.
Bushwillow consists of three exceptional quality, timber-framed structures cleverly hidden in the bush, which offer peace and solitude. Wooden walkways conveniently link the bedroom suites to the central facility.
The central facility comprises an open plan, fully equipped solid wood kitchen with marble worktops. The spacious and tastefully decorated lounge and dining area with foldaway doors, opens out onto the large deck area, where guests can cool off in the pool or lie on the sun loungers soaking up the warm African sunlight. In the evening, relax and unwind whilst listening to the nocturnal bush sounds. This guest area is intimate as there are never more than 6 guests there at any one time.
The king-sized en-suite (Tambotie) has an extra length bed and with its floor to ceiling sliding windows and doors guests feel as if they are sleeping outside. The bathroom is spacious with hand made twin basins set in a beautiful and original, solid wood vanity. The frameless shower and freestanding cast iron bath makes for a tasteful mixture of old and new. Guests can relax in a candlelit bath as they soak up the peace and tranquillity whilst looking out onto the bushveld. Percale sheets, mohair blankets and quality towels ensure guest comfort. The suites own small private deck area allows guests to sit outdoors and enjoy an early morning cup of tea or a quiet evening sundowner.
The twin bedded en-suite rooms (Marula) are separated by a small lounge area. These beds can also be converted to king-size, if required. The style of the rooms and the bathrooms otherwise offer the same experience as the king-sized bedroom. The larger deck area on this unit also provides an ideal place for privacy and game spotting. Especially suitable for small family groups.
The bedrooms are air-conditioned.
Our chef prepares 3-course evening meals in full view of the guests according to the guests liking, suiting any palate. Simplistic dining with a very personalised touch. A selection of wines and other beverages are available. Breakfast is a casual affair and can be taken indoors or outdoors according to weather conditions. Continental or full English breakfast can be provided, according to guest wishes. Guests may choose to take a late breakfast after an early morning game drive, turning breakfast into brunch.
Bushwillow enjoys a 4-star status (TGCSA) and has been graded by AA as superior quality accommodation.
Bushwillow is fully serviced and makes for both a great bush and beach experience.
Just one of our many guest comments: Wow! We spent 4 days here and have been spoilt rotten. This stay totally exceeded our expectations. Absolutely fantastic staff and luxury accommodation. The 4-star rating gives it no justice - it should be 6-star
Things to bring
Listed below are some of the things to think about when packing your suitcase. The list is not exhaustive but hopefully helps give you some ideas: -
Books: It is always nice to have your own mammal and/or bird book as well as other books to at last have time to read. Hluhluwe has no good book shops and so it is best to buy books at the airport or in the larger towns. Exclusive Books or CNA are the best places to buy books. Most books are in English. A good selection of magazines can be found in the Hluhluwe shops.
Bugs & creepie crawlies: Hluhluwe has its fair share but they are 99% of the time harmless. Ticks can be a pest when walking in the longer grass. It is always a good idea to put on some tick repellent (buy it in Hluhluwe pharmacy), before embarking on a walk in the bush. Otherwise, let the insects do what they want to do and they will leave you in peace.
Clothing: During summer months, light cotton shirts and shorts are great. Don’t forget the sun hat. It is also advisable to bring along a warm jacket for game drives – even in the summer months an open vehicle can be quite chilly at early start or late return. A light rainjacket is also useful during the summer months. In the winter months a fleece jacket will definitely be good to have in the early mornings and the evenings. Swimming costumes are a must for the beach lovers.
Cooking utensils: All lodges are fully equipped and there should not be any need to bring your own pots, pans or other cooking utensils. Dishcloths, washing up liquid etc is all provided, including the housekeeper to do the washing up for you!
Currency and Banking: Foreign currency is not accepted in South Africa as trading currency. Cash purchase must be done in Rand. Be sure to pack your credit cards, which are accepted in most shops and restaurants. ATM machines are located in all towns (including Hluhluwe), so it is easy enough to get cash once in country.
Diving and snorkelling enthusiasts: There is nothing like having your own trustworthy mask and snorkel. So, if you have room in your suitcase, bring it along. Masks, snorkels and flippers can be hired if you go out with an organised dive trip.
Electricity: 240V is the standard in South Africa using 3 pin (round pin) plugs. It may be a good idea to bring an adaptor with you. During windy weather and heavy rainfall and storms, the area is prone to power cuts. It may be a good idea to bring along a small torch. All lodges at KuleniGame Park do provide torches or candles in the rooms but this may not be the case at other accommodations.
Food provisions: There are several well-stocked supermarkets in Hluhluwe town as well as liquor stores. Specialised items are not easily found but otherwise there is a good selection of meat, vegetables, bread and dairy produce. You may want to bring along your favourite snacks or treats, but otherwise, let Hluhluwe cater for your requirements. Good coffee – no! Bring your own if you are a coffee-holic.
Game viewing enthusiasts: Don’t expect the field guide to lend you his/her binoculars! Bring along your own. And, don’t forget the camera for those special pictures.
Linen & towels: All towels and linen are provided in the lodges. It is a good idea to bring your own beach towel though since the lodge towels are not to be taken out of the lodges.
Malaria: The million dollar question! The Elephant Coast is considered a low risk malaria area and cases that do occur are very few indeed. It is really your choice whether to take anti-malarial tablets or not, so take advice from your doctor. All lodges at Kuleni Game Park provide mosquito sprays in the rooms, have mosquito nets or mosquito proofed windows.It may be a good idea to bring along a repellent for when you are sitting outside in the early evening.
Long sleeved shirts and long trousers are also sensible when mosquitoes are about.
Shoes: If you are keen on doing some walking, then a good pair of walking shoes will help keep out the thorns! Webbing sandals with nylon straps always go down well on the beach and for more leisurely strolls. Remember in high summer the sand and even the lodge decks can be too hot to walk on without shoes! In Hluhluwe and Kuleni Game Park, ladies are rarely seen in high heels – they get stuck in the sand or in the wooden deck ways!
Spectacles & contact lenses: Sunglasses are a must for all of us sensitive to the sun. Don’t forget your prescription spectacles. There is, however an optometrist in Hluhluwe if you forget or break them. It is best to bring along the contact lens solutions that you are used to. You can buy them in town but it is not always a good idea to change from what you are used to using. Bring along some spare contact lenses as well!
Suncreams and other lotions and potions: Hluhluwe has a good pharmacy where you can buy all the necessary toiletries, feminine hygiene and routine medicines. Obviously, bring your own special requirements with you.
Telephones: Now that mobile or cellular phones are so popular, fewer people make use of the public phones and they are often broken and inaccessible. It is a good idea to bring your own mobile or cell phone and upon arrival at the airport, buy a local SIM card so that you have a local rather than international number to call out on. Most supermarkets and other shops also sell SIM cards. The SIM cards are very cheap and will save you a lot of money, especially if you are making local phone calls to organise safaris, trips etc.
Weather: The Elephant Coast has a sub tropical climate with mild winters and hot summers. The summer temperatures are usually between 28ºC and 30ºC with December to February being the hottest and most humid months where temperatures can reach 40ºC in some areas. The winters are not really cold and temperatures are rarely below 17ºC during the day and 10ºC at night. The coolest winter months fall between June and August. March through to June offer super days when the days are warm and dry with low humidity and no wind.August and September are traditionally the windy months of the year. Rainfall occurs during the summer months.
Bushwillow is ideally located with many attractions close by. The region offers a great variety of activities to suit all travellers of all ages, whether feeling adventurous or feeling in the mood to just relax. One could easily stay a week in the region to appreciate its diversity and beauty.
Bushwillow will endeavour at all times to facilitate your experience whilst on your vacation on the Elephant Coast. We will be happy to assist in making enquiries and bookings but it should be understood that Bushwillow takes no responsibility if the activity does not meet your expectation or has to be cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances, etc.
The list of activities below will be updated on a regular basis, so please be sure to check back here for new items.
Current Activities Available During Your Stay
Boats allow one to explore the further reaches of the lake systems. Find yourself up close to hippos and crocodiles, as well as a variety of bird life including the awesome and vocal fish eagle. Boat cruises depart from St Lucia or nearby, on the Mzinene River, subject to weather conditions.
The Indian Ocean and its long sandy beaches are here for your enjoyment. Picnics, leisurely walks and snorkelling can be enjoyed by all. Be advised that the sea has strong currents and not life guarded and therefore swimming is for the experienced only. Cape Vidal, St Lucia & Sodwana Bay are all ideal beach sites in this region.
For the 'twitcher' or bird enthusiast, Zululand offers many 'lifers' with over 400 species, 5 of which are East Coast Littoral endemics. With 29 Red Data species and a number of other special birds, the bird watcher will hardly have chance to put his/her binoculars down. Experienced field guides can help facilitate and enhance this experience. During the winter months some of our birds migrate northwards, but there are still many good birds to be seen, and those with patience will be duly rewarded.
Visit one of the cultural villages in Zululand to better understand the Zulu culture. Take a cultural walk into the heartland and enjoy a traditional lunch. Craft shops will offer you that piece of Zululand to take home with you.
For the keen fisherman, shore fishing and deep sea fishing permits can be obtained. Fishing trips from St Lucia, False Bay and Sodwana will test and satisfy even the most experienced fisherman.
Flight in Small Aircraft
Take a flight in a small aircraft over the area and literally have a birds eye view of the Wetlands system (weather permitting).
Be taken on a game drive in an open vehicle with a qualified field guide. A half or full day excursion in Hluhluwe Umfolozi Park, the premier rhino reserve in the world. It is a must for the wildlife enthusiast. Its scenic hills and valleys and bushveld are in sharp contrast to the open, flat savannah of Mkuze Game Reserve; another must see reserve. At Mkuze, the hides and pan systems allow for a relaxed and excellent bird viewing opportunity. Alternatively, you may drive your own vehicle in the parks in the daytime. Night drives can also be arranged into a nearby Big 5 private game reserve.
Take a ride on the beach at St Lucia or Sodwana Bay or in a nearby Game Reserve. All levels of experience are catered for.
Quad or Mountain Bike Safari
For the sporty - take either a quad bike or mountain bike safari at a nearby lodge, on the banks of False Bay.
Be taken on a scenice drive on the Lebombo mountain range and have magnificant views of the area. Stop off for a walk up Ghost Mountain if you are feeling in the mood for some exercise. The sandy roads make the drive a fun experience.
Paddling and Canoe Safaris
Explore Greater St Lucia Wetland Park getting close to hippopotamus, crocodiles and the abundant bird-life by canoe. Day and overnight trips can be arranged.
Scuba Diving & Snorkelling
Snorkel or scuba dive on the Southern most coral reefs in the world at either Sodwana Bay or Cape Vidal. Enjoy the great variety of sea life. Being close to the vivid colours of the seabed and its marine creatures can leave one humbled. There are a variety of operators to choose from. Equipment can be hired or you can bring your own.
Visit a nearby health spa and enjoy a relaxing massage or other beauty treatment. The therapists will ensure that you leave feeling pampered. Enjoy a healthy lunch after your treatment and relax away the rest of your day.
KZN Wildlife (Provincial Conservation Authority) operates an interesting and informative night trip to watch the Leatherback & Loggerhead turtles laying their eggs on the shorelines.(Seasonal: November to March)
Get close to nature on foot. Self - guided walking trails of various lengths are found in False Bay Park. A wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors, be it bird watching, tree identification or just ambling through the bush. Guided walks can be taken at a variety of destinations with a suitably qualified guide.
Take a boat trip from St Lucia and get close to a variety of marine mammals including southern right whale, minke whale, brydes whale, orca whale and a variety of dolphin species. It is the entertaining humpback whale that steals the show, being active and readily approachable. The tours are conducted in a very sensitive manner; the operators may only stay with a group or individual for a maximum of twenty minutes, and then he cannot approach again for a period of three hours in order to keep the impact to the minimum. Be sure you have sea legs for this trip! (Seasonal: June - November).
DirectionsOn the N2 freeway, take the Sodwana Bay/Hluhluwe off ramp and travel to Hluhluwe town. Go through the town and turn left at the bottom (fourth) roundabout towards Sodwana Bay. Cross the railway line onto the new Sodwana Bay Road (R22). Travel 16km along this tarred road until you reach the sign for Kuleni Game Park on your left. Enter the gate and you will be directed to Bushwillow.