Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Umzolozolo Lodge 2012 Nambiti Game Reserve – Jeremy Williamson


On one of the highest hills , overlooking the rugged valleys of the Nambiti Game Reserve, is one of my favourite venues, the incredible, Five star, Umzolozolo Private Safari Lodge.
We just had to revisit this wonderful, luxurious Game Lodge, indulge ourselves, be pampered  and meet the  new staff we had heard so much about, since our previous visit.

 Yip, I value the people directly involved with guests at a Lodge, as the most important of staff members, they can add so much to ones experience. Umzolozolo has not lost its touch. The management couple, Dave and Debbie certainly made our visit memorable.  Then probably the person who spends the most time with guests, and to me probably the most important person, is the guide. Rowan made our game  drives so interesting,  here we have a tracker of note ! He so nearly had our first sighting of leopard at the Nambiti Game Reserve secured for us. . Next time.

We were so fortunate to have Dave accompany Lana, Rowan and I on one of the game drives, to expound his knowledge on the local flora. That was special, with Lana and he prattling off in Latin as we discovered this new, ( to us), plant, reidentified that species, and in between, saw a multitude of our mammalian friends as well. Such intense game drives couldn’t get much better.  We learn so much on these visits whilst having fun too. I must try that wild Basil in one of my next kitchen concoctions. Stagger grass - Zephyranthes Atamasco - could be worth a try?? What would it do for me if it gets the Zebra on a high? That might be too radical. Did the local San try the Datura stramonium, known locally as Malpit, which is believed to have originated in the Americas, but is now found here. It is a powerful hallucinogen and deliriant and used spiritually, for the intense visions it produces when ingested.  Then the myriad variety of colourful flowers bringing the veld to life in glorious speckled  technicolour. Dave's knowledge was so expansive and intriguing.

More wonderful staff, Bridgette who has been with Umzolozolo for years is certainly expert at getting rid of one’s tensions – her massage technique, the aromatic oils, coupled with the magnificent view from the Spa, which has one of the best vantage positions and outlook at the Lodge, had me rejuvenated, Lana too. No wonder Spa’s are becoming so popular at Lodges. One cannot merely rely on the rough roads and game drive vehicles to give you the necessary manipulations and therapy.!
We arrived at Umzolozolo at about 12h30 and the spoliations began. Refreshing vanilla towels, orange  and cherry drink and then to our room. This time it was to be the ‘Presidential suite’. Quite lovely with all one could wish for to add to the pampering. 

Presidential suite
A steaming Jacuzzi, comfortable loungers on the enormous sun deck, an inside, an enormous bed, huge stone bath with the entire window disappearing when opened, to offer an almost alfresco bathtime, and with this view – Ooh !

The Presidential Bathroom - Umzolozolo
Outdoor showers too if you really wanted to be there with nature. Every comfort, a well stocked bar and large flat screen TV, if you had to watch the rugby. Hang on leave the TV, it stayed off ,  this has privacy, comfort and romance.

Umzolozolo - Presidential suite

Felicia met us for luncheon and produced gourmet fillet kebabs, crumbed chicken, delicious salad and effusive smiles.  Pity I don’t have a sweet tooth, or do I, the chocolate pecan nut pie for dessert was just so good. We enjoyed a cup of coffee on the Lodge veranda with views fore-ever.

Time for a soothing massage or maybe a nap to set the relax mode in readiness for the afternoon game drive. Ready the cameras !
Rowan found lion for us. Mattresses of them, lying all about  – then it was dusk and the felines became active, the large male mating,

the cubs eyeing then following the game drive vehicle with evil intent, naughty!  Rowan let them be, without encouraging their  “playful” unsolicited  intentions.

Inquisitive or just naughty?
So besides the lion, there were wonderful sightings of giraffe,



The one on the right is pregnant
 impala, eland and even two jackal. There had been some rain around and the sun and clouds creating some very pleasing images as we sipped our wine and snacked on biltong, chips and pretzels.

 This set the tone for the evening , on our return to the Lodge we opted to proceed directly to the Bar where we were hosted by Dave, giving us an insight to the happenings at Nambiti Game Reserve. Debbie joined us for dinner which made for such a pleasant evening.
Dinner was a delight. Imagine Tomato and Zuccini soup followed by a very interesting seafood pot with a divine crispy topping.
Umzolozolo Lodge’s Lamb shank is legendry and I should have chosen that yet again. Instead I opted for the Dorado with couscous and lemon and caper sauce. There was also another favourite cut of mine on the menu, rib-eye steak in pepper sauce, all dishes also with a stir fry veg option. The meal was really excellent and the conversation,  superb. The wine was good too. Then more with the Marula pudding. Was Dave being polite in taking us back to our suite or would that be Lodge policy? Anyway we made it. Might be easier when they have their golf cart commissioned. I seemed to trip on things.
We woke to blue skies, hot espresso, yes they too have realised that I like good coffee and there it was, a Sprada, super coffee machine and I knew how to operate it. I’m getting to learn how to operate all these oh so important Barrista substitutes.
Then into the game viewer and out into the bracing early morning freshness.  What a delightful morning drive. Steenbuck, giraffe,

wildebeest,  zebra gambolling like youngsters and with focus today slightly off the flora and more on the Avifauna, we had some super raptors, recently arrived from the Russian steppes along with the local African mix.

Steppe Buzzard
We even had some stumpy nosed rhino and to our delight one of the newest of impala nuzzling up to its mother  for some sustenance,

Impala only a day old
Hartebeest too.

Hartebeest and very new calf

The meals at Umzolozolo are a delight. The coffee excellent, the people amazing , the views go on almost forever with the rolling hills of Zululand disappearing in the Tugela River lowveld haze. The game drives produce some spectacular game viewing with four of the Big 5 regularly seen and now, even elusive leopard are being sighted more frequently. Back at the Lodge, what now? Well the Spa was our choice and a good one too. I could do this! No wonder we are such a relaxed couple.!
The tariffs at Umzolozolo are really affordable  and such incredible value for money, especially when considering the excellence of this venue. 

Family suite - Main

Family suite - twin
Family suite bathroom

Luxury suite - Umzolozolo

Luxury suite bathroom - Umzolozolo
With regular specials especially during my favourite time to visit this Game park, Winter, check our website for these special reduced rates that makes Umzolozolo so accessible to our South African clients http://www.nambitireservations.co.za/Umzolozolo_Lodge_Nambiti.asp

Photographs by Jeremy and Lana Williamson

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