Life worth living
A game ranger I once met in a different part of the world once confessed how much he misses the bushveld of Northern KwaZulu-Natal. The sights, sounds and smells are uniquely rural African and you are instantly transported into a different world. We are travelling North and as we turn into Hluhluwe River Lodge’s game park we instantly feel what he is talking about. This is wild country, with a soulful depth to it that is difficult to describe.
The perfect African safari style thatched huts of Hluhluwe River Lodge amplify the bushveld effect. There are two decks facing indigenous forest and birds call from every height of the bush. No effort has been spared in connecting one to nature, with full glass walls reaching right into the apex of the roof on two sides. Exposed beams and high ceilings make the hut feel cool and light.
The suite is enormous, with glossy floors and natural furniture. A wooden headboard, chunky railings and fittings complement the theme. Even the lamps are made of buck horn. A white mosquito net over the bed completes the look.
However the real reason I chose this lodge is obvious – the inviting wide bath set against glass doors overlooking a private area of the natural forest. Lying back in the bath, all doors folded right back, I look up and out into the trees. Lying quietly in this state of bliss, more and more shy birds and buck come closer and reveal themselves, unaware of my presence.
The main lodge is a lapa style thatched open structure over a wide wooden deck. There is a cool bar area and indoor and outdoor seating areas with comfortable couches with cushions covered in golden African fabrics. The dining area is vibrant with a bright red wooden wall. Its deck has far-reaching views down to False Bay where hippos graze.
It is our first night on our holiday travelling North and this space is so different from our usual lives – the bushveld thatch, the romantic suite and open-air bath – that we relax instantly. It is like a burden is shed and the life energy comes flowing out of us. We find ourselves joking and laughing uncontrollably about the silliest things. The contrast shows how tense we are in everyday life – tight packages held together with stress and duty. And when unwound, even in the space of a day, our life energy and a sense of fun bursts forth unbidden, unstifled. This is the great gift of even a weekend away in a characterful place and once again we vow to do this more often.