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6 Days In Kwazulu Natal

By J.F. Kloppers

While on a blitz tour around the South African province of Kwazulu Natal recently my husband and I discovered that it is never easy to maintain your enthusiasm as you pack up and leave for a new destination every day when you are so comfortable and quite happy with your present location.

Such was the high quality of each of our Natal destinations that it was possible to overcome that “don’t want to leave” feeling and appreciate the diversity of each holiday venue along the way.

We travelled from the DuBoirs Boutique Hotel, near Hillcrest, about 30km outside Durban, to Fordoun Hotel & Spa in Nottingham Road in the Midlands.

Next came the Nambiti Private Game Reserve, near Ladysmith, where we enjoyed the luxury of Springbok and Elephant Rock lodges. Finally, we headed for the beauty of the Drakensberg for the stunning views and delightful trails at Montusi Mountain Lodge and The Cavern Resort.

DuBoirs Boutique Hotel
This is one of the province’s top conference venues with 10 rooms among the lush vegetation of the area. This four-star wedding venue can host 350 guests. Even President Jacob Zuma had one of his weddings there a few years ago.

Just a stone’s throw away is the famous Inanda Dam, home of many watersports and the Valley of a Thousand Hills.

More about DuBoirs Boutique Hotel HERE!

Fordoun Hotel & Spa and Skye Bistro
This hotel, spa and restaurant, built in the 1980s, is set in the rolling hills off Nottingham Road and is near the Midlands Meander. The spa was built in the old dairy and is a delight for visitors with its renovated grain silo which contains a saline flotation pool.

With the water at 35C it is claimed that 30 minutes of floating on your back enjoying a panoramic beauty of the universe above is equivalent to an eight-hour sleep. It worked for me.

The staff are enthusiastic and smile a lot – a comforting boost as visitors survey the Drakensberg range as cattle munch happily on the lush grass.

The five mountain-view chalets are five-star and comfortable. Our large and ultra-luxurious chalet was beautifully decorated in gold and cleverly concealed the usual ugliness of the TV behind a gold gilded mirrored cabinet.

More about Fordoun Hotel HERE!

Nambiti Private Game Reserve's Springbok Lodge
This picturesque destination, outside Ladysmith, is an ideal stop-over between Durban and Joburg. The 11 000ha reserve has the Big Five and the Springbok Lodge has the staff to find them.

Head ranger Nicole Gmünder is originally from Switzerland and has fallen in love with the bush. She has an amazing knowledge of animal life and introduces guests to a big tusker nicknamed the Big Friendly Elephant (BFE pronounced beefy) as he basks in a dam. Nicole knows when not to overstay her welcome and when to move on, to the relief of guests. We were privileged to also observe buffalo, lion and cheetah. There are also 280 bird species.

The Springbok Lodge also have upmarket tented accommodation for 30 people. It is partly owned by the local community following a successful land claim in 2009.

Apart from the excellent views, the lodge provides superb cuisine and a rock pool. There is a safe 1km trail protected by an electrified fence within the camp, which is ideal for both joggers and walkers.

More about the Springbok Lodge HERE!

Elephant Rock Safari Lodge
Just a short distance from the Springbok Lodge, this camp has five upmarket suites with a view of a huge dam which attracts a large variety of animal and bird life. Even lions frequent the dam.

Manager Lee-Ann van Rensburg heads a talented team, including another woman behind the wheel of the Landie, field guide Stephanie Washington Jansen, who has an impressive knowledge of the game in the area. In both lodges we returned from evening game drives to hot, candle-lit, rose-scented baths, a welcoming unexpected treat.

Montusi Mountain Lodge
Montusi (mountain of mist) Mountain Lodge is one of the most picturesque spots in the Drakensberg with fantastic views of the mountain range, including the Sentinel, Amphitheatre and Eastern Buttress.

You race to don your hiking boots and head for the hills. The trails take you to three bubbling streams and two caves – the Bushman’s Cave with excellent paintings and the Waterfall Cave.

It is a great way to build up an appetite and here the classy Montusi comes to the party with a tantalising range of dishes. The 14 suites include king-size beds.

The 1 000ha estate is home to prolific bird life as well as antelope, small cats and reptiles. Activities include hiking, horse-riding, fly-fishing, tennis and swimming.

More about Montusi Mountain Lodge HERE!

The Cavern
The last of our blitz tour of Kwazulu Natal was The Cavern berg resort. Just 10km up the road from Montusi, its a dream venue for families with an amazing array of activities to keep the youngsters occupied and happy at the same time.

There is special entertainment on offer daily.

Guided hikes take visitors into some of the most beautiful areas of the Drakensberg and, if they have any spare energy afterwards, the guests can enjoy a game of tennis or bowls, horse-riding, croquet and volleyball, swimming and mountain bike trails.

Or rather be pampered with a spa treatment at the delightful Forest Retreat.

With a nine-hole golf course and an adventure centre close by, this is a first-class holiday destination.

For those less inclined to let their hair down, there is star-gazing, bridge and birding.

Our luxury superior suite had everything we needed to enjoy a restful visit.

Best of all is the lush vegetation of the indigenous fern forest which we enjoyed from the balcony of the suite. All three meals, guided morning hikes (including hot drinks and the Caverns’ renowned yummy crunchies) and teas are included in the daily rate.

More about the Cavern Resort HERE!

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