Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Dumazulu Lodge – Hluhluwe - by Jeremy Williamson

The enthusiastic beat of Drums reverberated through the Jungle as we approached our deepest Africa destination!  On  approaching closer, so the ululating of the women, the thump of a foot smacking the earth after an impossible high kick, the clash of shields, spears and fighting sticks, filtered through the forest. An awesome performance was in progress!

The twice daily Zulu cultural interaction, at the Dumuzulu Cultural Village was underway as we were checking into our rather ethnically clad accommodation at the Dumazulu Lodge. 
Now this is a venue worth considering when visiting the Hluhluwe area. Close the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park – as well as the other attractions in the area. The Isimangaliso Park (Lake St Lucia) is not that far away either.
Clean comfortable accommodation with private bathroom en suite, with each of the spacious units having self-catering kitchen facilities. 
 Set in secure grounds with a large swimming pool,

braai area.....
 ... and for the children a jungle gym!
For those that do not wish to self-cater, there is a restaurant  as well as a well stocked bar.
Access to these facilities is through the Sand Forest, on a raised board-walk, well lit at night. This link access between the rondavel accommodation and the restaurant /bar passes the extensive reptile park and the recently established massive “walk-in” aviary. Access to these two attractions is through the well stocked curio shop.

The aviary is a work in progress with permission to take in indigenous birds that have been injured or cannot we released to the wild, having been applied for. Presently the incumbents are exotic, bar a rather friendly hand reared White-eared Barbet. 
 Suitable vegetation has been planted, and in time this could be a really wonderful haven for birds. 
The reptile Park houses a variety of snakes, mostly indigenous, except for a rather friendly exotic Python.
Some rather large crocodile are in separate pens, whiling away their open mouthed days in the sun.

Tucked away in the sand forest is the Dumazulu umuzi – a reconstructed Zulu Village, based on the traditional homestead of old, with thatched “bee-hive” huts,
 a central iSibaya where the cattle and livestock were secured at night inside a surrounding palisade, keeping out the unwanted wild animals etc. Daily this village comes alive with the beating of drums, the women ululating and the stomping of feet as the warriors get into dance frenzy mode.
Various live dioramas in the village depict traditional spear and shield making  

an Inyanga with his herbal and otherwise medicines ,
a Sangoma with her tools of trade – aka the throwing of the bones et al.
The ladies of the homestead preparing the meals, making beer and thatching the beehive huts. The men make the framework of these abodes.
Scantily clad maidens show off their crafts too, also a demonstration on how beer or water is carried in a clay  pot on one’s head, you should try it – not easy! The sorghum beer tastes good too.
 The morning Zulu ‘show’ is timed so that guests can go directly from that to lunch.
This has a number of traditional Zulu dishes on offer along with some more traditional fare. The Zulu staple along with Maize Meal is Samp and Beans and these with appropriate sauces and additions can really be delicious. Expect to have a braaied piece of steak, chicken and some wors (a spicy sausage) along with a stew and then vegetables al la Zulu.
Fresh salad options compliment the lunch. 

Dinners are a more traditional buffet and excellent value. With an early breakfast we were able to visit the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park arriving just after 08h00.

Photographs by Jeremy and Lana Williamson

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