Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Kosi Forest Lodge, Kosi Bay

Be there hippos

Sometimes glamping is so removed from the natural environment that you may as well stay in a hotel. Not this one. This is the “real deal” in terms of close contact with nature, of course combined with a good dose of plush comfort. Rustic and beautiful tents on raised wooden platforms in a nature reserve, Kosi ForestLodge gives a feeling of being amongst the trees. One of the Isibindi Africa characterful stays (see, this is African safari style at its most authentic and lovely.

Each tent has a thatched roof, with half-wooden, half-canvas sides – the ideal way to feel both connected with the outdoors and safe and cozy from within. There are smooth wooden floors and a private deck with outdoor furniture. The beds are garnished with white linen and an African-style throw, and a wide, white mosquito net. An indoor basin, toilet and dressing area are separated from the bedroom. From the indoor dressing area one walks out to a heavenly bathroom – literally open to the night skies, with a generous bath, raised from the sand, and an open-air shower set under a pretty tree. The bathroom is completely private, with a natural reed wall all the way around. Happy sighs.

There is limited electricity, which adds to the safari feel. At night the path through the sand forest to dinner is lit with oil lamps. One may choose to have meals in the lounge, on the deck or at a boma with roaring campfire in the centre, with meals that are both generous and delicious.

The open bar is the gathering place to discuss the choice of adventure activities for the day, which include snorkeling, a Raffia Palm walk, kayaking or a boat ride through the lakes to a natural swimming beach.

With some intense discussion we choose the self-drive snorkeling option, and arrive to find a duffel bag packed with every possible convenience for our day trip. We feel like children, where a kind Mom has thought through every possible moment and has packed everything one might need for the day. After an hour's drive to the mouth of Kosi Bay, we spend a surreal time floating gently along the reef. Tired and happy we drive up to a viewpoint of the four lakes for our picnic lunch, squealing with delight when we open our packed picnic basket, which is full of interesting treats. We sit on our picnic blanket and nod with approval, saying “These people know how to keep a tourist happy.”

Accommodation Experience:
The next morning we wake at 7am after almost 10 hours of sleep. We lift every one of our tarpaulin awnings and watch the sun rise through the dappled forest. We speculate about the size of the critter we heard munching outside our tent at 3am. My partner insists it may have been a hippo, but I argue that sounds get magnified in the dark night such that it may have been a large grasshopper. We settle on the more likely scenario – that it was probably an antelope (albeit a very large one, mumbles my partner).

At 7.15am a flask of hot water and fresh milk arrives for our morning coffee, with a gracious and gentle “good morning.” I take my coffee out to a warm open-air bath and lie watching the run rise higher in the sky, while an Emerald-Spotted Wood Dove calls. 

Suddenly there is a loud honking, followed by a snort and grunt. “You see!” calls my partner. “There are hippo here.” “Yes,” I concede, “and it did sound rather close.”

No comments:

Post a Comment