High on a mountainside overlooking the rolling hills of the brand-new 22,000ha Babanango Game Reserve, a spectacular new lodge offers the opportunity to immerse oneself in the breath-taking scenery of KwaZulu-Natal’s Zulu heartland, while at the same time helping to uplift and empower local communities.
Having launched initially Babanango Valley Lodge a few months back, this next one is number two of a choice of four totally different accommodation options on the reserve.
The completely reimagined Zulu Rock Lodge situated in the north of the reserve enjoys incredible panoramic views over some of the most awe-inspiring scenery in South Africa and is set to become a feather in the region’s cap when it officially opens in November 2020.
Just 50km from the town of Vryheid, the malaria-free reserve is a ground-breaking conservation project being undertaken by African Habitat Conservancy, a pioneering NGO established to support the conservation of African wildlife in the area through investment and community development. Babanango is working hand-in-hand with the local Emcakwini, Esibongweni and KwaNgono communities to realise a shared dream of a better tomorrow.
The project has seen private game farms and land owned by the communities brought together to form the reserve, with local people benefitting through employment, skills development and community outreach programmes. So a stay at Zulu Rock Lodge will have a tangible purpose and will be contributing to the protection of endangered species as well as the upliftment of the surrounding communities.
Zulu Rock Lodge has a rustic yet elegant charm that creates a wonderful intimate, relaxed and homely atmosphere. The focus is on sitting back, unwinding and drinking in the incredible views of forever across the rolling hills of the reserve, which is home to a stretch of the legendary White Umfolozi River and a wealth of wildlife species, from plains game like kudu, zebra, steenbok and giraffe to hyena, hippo, rhino, leopard, and buffalo. There are plans to reintroduce the remainder of the Big Five over the next two years.
With seven beautifully appointed rock-clad guest suites combining modern convenience and luxurious finishes, the lodge can sleep a total of 16 people. The style is a combination of African traditional and modern
design, with impeccable finishes throughout and an effortless blend of organic and contemporary furnishings including rich leathers, woven textiles and wood.
Dining is set to be an event in its own right, with three sumptuous, home-cooked meals offered each day to guests, prepared by a team of talented chefs and made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Served in a variety of venues from the lodge’s wonderful restaurant to outside, in the beautiful boma under the stars.
Boredom is not an option either, thanks to a host of exciting activities available at the lodge, on Babanango Game Reserve and in the surrounding Zululand region. Enjoy morning and afternoon game drives in open safari vehicles, birding (more than 283 species have been recorded on the reserve), guided bush walks and
cultural and history tours that take in local places of interest. Mountain bike trails are also available for guests who would like to bring their bikes with them.
Zulu Rock Lodge is perfect for couples and families alike, whether it’s a romantic getaway for two or a much-needed break for mum, dad and the kids. The lodge’s beautiful two-bedroom family suite is located to one side of the lodge and has its own private boma, viewing deck and swimming pool, creating a wonderful, exclusive and private setting. Most of all – Zulu Rock Lodge is a place to connect with wonderfully warm people, where guests can enjoy welcoming smiles and amazing hospitality with the lodge’s wonderful staff, the majority of whom come from the neighbouring communities Babanango Game Reserve works so closely with, and who are partners in the reserve.
Source: Nomad Africa Magazine