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A classy taste of Africa

Durban – I have always loved travelling north from Durban, along the Elephant Coast, through the Umkhanyakude District, towards the border at Pongola.

This is an especially beautiful part of KwaZulu-Natal – an area where elephant once roamed freely – an unspoilt region of wild natural beauty, scattered with fever trees, river mouths and big-five game reserves.

Having family with me and knowing that world-class accommodation and hospitality awaited, made this particular journey even more special. On reaching the heart of the Zulu Kingdom, we arrived at Jozini Tiger Lodge and Spa, which to me, is the perfect luxury getaway, in the heart of nature.

I would have been happy to spend the next few days just taking in the magnificent setting from the pool deck. The lodge is set on the banks of the picturesque Lake Jozini, with the Lebombo Mountain range forming a bold backdrop.

After enjoying a warm welcome, we headed for our room, a family loft with a balcony and magnificent view of the dam. Maybe I would just soak in the setting from my bedroom… or the balcony. Our teenagers were already happy, climbing the stairs to their loft room above our sleeping area – just far enough away to be out of earshot, but close enough for us all to be able to relax and enjoy each other’s company, bonding with a bit of space between us.

Crisp cotton linen, luxurious bathroom amenities – tea, coffee and a bar fridge. What more could we want? I felt as though I was already in the spa.

In seconds the off-spring were gone, and knowing that they could enjoy their freedom and wander safely around the grounds, walk down to the dam, swim in the pool or go fishing, gave me even more peace of mind.

It was time to eat, so we sauntered up to the restaurant and opted to sit on the deck, enjoying expansive views and enabling the teenagers to hop between table and swimming pool. For me, fresh ingredients prepared naturally are the essence of good cuisine and with an abundance of fresh fish, meat, game and locally grown vegetables. The food was indeed “gourmet” and beautifully presented.

Time in the spa, which is run by Mangwanani, with a delightfully African feel, was followed by a boat trip and fishing on Lake Jozini. It may seem strange, but I find dam walls a touch mystical and mysterious, possibly due to their power to hold all that water in place. Lake Jozini’s dam wall is spectacular – and the tiger fishing with Jozini Tiger Adventures equally so, the sunset awesome. Enjoying sundowners among happy people is a pastime that is hard to beat, except possibly on our game drive the next morning.

Or the time we spent at iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a Unesco World Heritage site on the doorstep of the lodge.

there was a conference in session and a lunch-time wedding on our departure day, we were blissfully unaware of the activity around us. Offering 70 luxury guest rooms, accommodation for 182 people through a combination of 44 classic rooms, 21 family lofts, five deluxe rooms and two executive suites, the Lodge is ideal for family getaways and corporate events.

To me, Jozini Tiger Lodge and Spa offers a relaxing haven, with a homely feel and a classy touch of Africa.

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