In a time when seclusion from society and crowds feels like a really great idea and reconnecting with nature and those closest to you is good for the mind, body and soul … a trip to Bayete Zulu Private should definitely be on your ‘to do’ list. Here are our top 3 reasons for you to visit.
1. PRIVATE, INTIMATE & EXCLUSIVE
One of the biggest draw cards for visiting this unique lodge lies in it’s name … it is completely and utterly private. In fact, the entire lodge only sleeps six people and during our stay we only came into contact with three members of staff: our game ranger, chef and housekeeper. Tucked away in a secluded fever tree forest, Bayete Zulu Private is perfect for small families or couples who want to enjoy a bush getaway that really is away from it all. You can book it as an exclusive-use lodge (with a minimum of four adults, either catered or self-catering) and literally have full use of the facilities all to yourself. The lodge comprises three luxury en-suite chalets, with both inside and outside showers and an outdoor bath (such fun!) and a main ‘lodge’ area with a beautiful, open plan lounge and dining area that opens out onto a deck and rim-flow pool overlooking a dam. Of course, the pool was well used during our stay with two small boys in tow and the humidity of Zululand in the summer … and we loved spending time around the fire in the boma recalling our day’s sightings. The food, if you choose the catered option, is wholesome and flavourful, prepared with care and beautifully presented.
2. THE RESERVE ITSELF
Bayete Zulu Private is situated in what has become one of our favourite big 5 private game reserves in the region. Situated in the heart of Zululand, the 23 000 hectare Manyoni private game reserve boasts a diverse habitat and incredible range of species. The bird life is magnificent. Surrounded by mountains, large open terrains and thick riverine woodlands, we were spoiled with lion sightings (a big hit with the smallest member of the family), as well as almost all the other big game (barring those elusive leopards) and remarkable bird, insect and reptile sightings as well. Our experienced ranger, Jason, was fantastic with the kids and full of knowledge about both the flora and fauna in the area. Manyoni became one of the largest private game reserves in the province when 17 landowners decided to drop their fences in 2004 and create a protected area for wildlife, and specifically black rhino (as part of the WWF Black Rhino Range Expansion Project) and it truly is a very special little piece of Africa.
3. ELEPHANT CONNECTIONS
If you haven’t done so yet, then you need to schedule a visit to Bayete’s Elephant Connections. It truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you will never forget. Getting up close and very personal with the majestic Rambo and Rachel (who were rescued when their herd was culled) is quite remarkable. These two phenomenal gentle giants roam the reserve freely with their handlers by their side when they aren’t greeting guests, and are incredibly amiable – with Rambo even allowing you to have a feel of his slimy tongue and rub his gigantic legs and tusks (as long as you keep the treats coming, of course)!
What you need to know …
Bayete Zulu Private: You can choose a fully catered or self-catering stay at Bayete Private. Fully catered includes three meals a day as well as all local alcoholic (lockdown restrictions allowing) and soft drinks, two game drives a day and one elephant interaction per person per stay. Self catered includes two game drives per day and exclusive use of the lodge and staff to cook your meals for you. All rates exclude conservation levies (R175 per adults and R90 per child per night). Fully Catered: R4250 per adult, R2125 per child (3-12 years) (weekends and holidays); R2975 per adult and R1490 per child (mid-week). Self Catering – R2900 per adult and R1450 per child (weekends and holidays); R2010 per adult and R1005 per child (mid-week).
Elephant Connections: Elephant interactions begin at 1am daily and rates are as follows: R580 per adult and R310 per child (3 – 12 years), children under 3 are free.
Text: Leah Shone