The idea of getting up at 4:45am to pack and get to Gateway by 6:45am did not blow my hair back but believe you me, it was all worth it. I had been invited by Carol of Personal Touch to join a group of event and conference organisors to attend a site inspection trip in Zululand.
On the trip up on a luxury coach, we all got to know each other. There were about 28 of us – strangers faced with spending the next few days together. It became apparent that there was nothing strange about any of these folk. What a great bunch!
The next 3 days went by in a haze of teambuilding, stunning venues, activities, wild animals, delicious food and memorable experiences.
At Ghost Mountain Inn the staff were so warm, knowledgeable and helpful we felt that we were leaving friends behind when we finally departed. A drive up the Ubombo Mountains through the local Zulu community, followed by drinks and snacks overlooking Jozini Dam once we reached the top, was fantastic. The boat trip on the Jozini Dam the next day was ...umm...very wet. It poured with rain. Spotting hippos popping their heads out the dam and wriggling their ears at us made our sodden state worthwhile though.
I am not keen on seeing animals in captivity but at Zulu Croc I could see that the snakes and crocodiles were well looked after and happy. The guides crammed us with fascinating facts. That reminds me, I still need to check if Vine snakes ever hang out in Durban North.
I felt relaxed the minute I arrived at Amorello Bush Golf Lodge. Could have been the yummy cocktail but I think it was the warm, close to nature ambiance that the place exudes. Although we were all pretty bushed after all our gallivanting about and early mornings, a good few of us partied till late, getting to meet some locals who frequent Amorello for its well stocked pub and pizza oven.
Considering the bleary eyes the next day – it was a good thing that it started with a look at Amorello’s eye-opening Ihlozi Private Lodge. I can but dream of spending a weekend there one day when I grow up!
Let me fill you in here that our itinerary had changed because there was a newly graded road causing problems getting to Bayete Zulu. Our trip there had therefore been delayed so we were looking forward to seeing our last site. Probably 500 metres from our destination the mud got the better of our gallant driver who, after numerous attempts to get the coach through the slippery mud, had to concede defeat.
We were picked up by Land Rovers but not after some of us had squished through the mud. The Elephant Interaction that awaited us ensured we forgot about the mud in-between our toes as we touched, fed and talked to the elephants. Rambo, Rachael and their baby Jabulani had us all mesmerised.
The vast, open view from the stunning 4-Star Bayete Zulu was our backdrop for lunch. I was impressed by what Bayete Zulu offers to accommodate families with children considering its 4 –star opulence.
We arrived back in Durban a weary but happy group of friends. To coin a much used phrase during the tour.....Viva! Viva Carol van Niekerk and Shaun Visser and all the individuals who made the tour so special. Viva Zululand and the beautiful Elephant Coast of KZN. Viva to making new friend. Viva!
p.s. If you would like to see photos of the trip – check out Personal Touch’s Facebook Page