Legend has it that Phezulu Safari Park in Botha’s Hill, overlooking the Valley of a 1000 Hills, was popular for school excursions. My mother seems to recall that I too went on excursion there. And while I have a very good memory, it fails me on this one.
It meant that I could feel like a tourist in my own backyard; and explore the park with fresh eyes and no expectations.
It was love at first sight – lush greenery and untainted air. And to think we were only about half an hour away from home. Of course, I had to stop and capture this picture – even though our friends were waiting for us closer to the entrance.
The trip to Phezulu was in fact our friends’ idea. Rita and Ashik were looking for a relaxing shot left getaway before schools opened for 2019 and with our sons the same age and great friends too, a joint holiday seemed perfect.
It was! And the price was pretty easy on our pockets too. Rita contacted the manager Xanthe and secured one night accommodation for 6 of us at the beautiful lodge with breakfast for under R1600.
One night – I hear you say?
Well given that it was the first week of January, there was only one night available at the lodge. And Rita had a plan to maximise our time there.
We arrived early – at 10am – feeling energised and ordered drinks before enjoying the activities on offer…. Cue morning cup of java for me!
We opted for the village tour, Zulu dancing and crocodile and snake tour combo package.
I loved it! The village tour, play in Zulu and the dancing was wonderfully crafted and a great way to foster social cohesion and understanding of the Zulu culture.
Then it was off to the part that I don’t really fancy – only for the reason that I’m tempted to jump up every time I see something move from the corner of my eye. But I have great respect for all creatures – that snap, slide or slither. We also had great respect for the snake and crocodile handlers who were knowledgeable and handled them with such care and grace. The children were in their element as these pictures prove. I wasn’t as brave!
We finished the tour just in time as the raindrops grew heavier. And as planned, we could now check in.
The lodge was simply wow! It was tastefully done up, spacious and well-maintained, complete with a jacuzzi and sauna!
The lodge was so cosy and comfortable that we got busy chatting and forgot to order supper from the restaurant. Since they close early, we drove a few kilometres away to one of our favourites in Hillcrest – Mozambik. From the service, to the ambience and the delectable dishes – it was excellent dining experience – and yes, as a vegetarian, my tastebuds did a happy dance!
Back at the lodge, it was time to bath and relax in bed. No guesses for who got to the jacuzzi first!
As the sky grew darker, the silence that pervaded grew even more beautiful. It felt tangible. And it really felt like I was far away from the craziness of city life. It was what my soul needed… a moment I will treasure forever.
With a truly restful sleep for this otherwise insomniac, I woke up feeling refreshed. Breakfast was lovely and homely. And the coffee was freshly brewed!
Again we were on the move. The overnight rain had cleared and it was the perfect morning to tackle the game drive. I suffer with motion sickness so decided against the bumpy ride.
An hour later, seeing these pictures, there were definite feelings of missing out!
My husband said it was the most informative game drive he had been on with a ranger who certainly knew her terrain and the animals. Kudos to Phezulu for this!
This establishment must certainly take a bow for providing an intimate experience of all things natural and nurturing. The friendly demeanour all around certainly brightened our stay. And we will certainly be back to explore more!
Who says holidays need to be long and expensive? Phezulu defies this notion and is truly a gem in KwaZulu-Natal’s tourism landscape.
Start planning your next holiday right here!