One of the most effective ways of relieving stress is to be close to water. Could be a hotel at the seaside. Perhaps a country cottage overlooking a waterfall. Our choice? A luxurious houseboat on Lake Jozini.
While many choose luxury lodges close to rivers and waterholes or along our beautiful coastlines, we loved the idea of exploring the legendary Lake Jozini, one of South Africa’s oldest wildlife havens.
Apart from being a mecca for feisty fishermen – it’s the only tiger fishing destination in SA – it’s perfect for game enthusiasts and bird watchers to enjoy a special water safari that offers viewing a host of cool water creatures – from antelope to rhinos, crocodiles to hippos, even ellies – from a whole new vantage point.
A trip on one of the intimate 12 or 20-sleeper Shayamanzi Houseboats is an experience you’ll never forget.It’s all ultra-comfy en-suite, oak-pannelled cabins, incredible views and sensational sunrises and sundowners on the deck. It’s about listening for the distinctive cry of the fish eagle or the grunt of a lazy hippo while you relax in the large jacuzzi on the sundeck at the stern of the boat… about watching the sun set over the Jozini Lake with the Lebombo Mountains behind you… about gathering at the bar for an exotic cocktail at dusk, when the frogs and cicadas add their voices to the night time chorus.
It’s a break from the city where you can get together with friends and swap fishing stories (it was this big *stretches arms wide*). A photographer’s dream … it’s just one wonderful opportunity after another to capture landscape photographs – sunrises and sunsets, of game that have strolled down for a drink, and of the incredible reflections in the water. A good wide angle lens is a good idea here to capture every inch of the spectacle.
Who’s it good for? Romantic escapes, it goes without saying, but also retirement getaway … older travellers will find this an excellent option. Since it’s small – Shayamanzi caters for a max of 20 guests – it’s also a fab option for private events … pre-wedding parties, birthday milestones and smaller celebrations. Massive bonus … you won’t have to arrange anything yourself, the team does it all for you, from menu planning to activities and games … all you and your guests need to do is sit back and enjoy the ride, ensuring that the only headache that you might have is on the morning after the big celebration.
Talking menu planning, the meals on-board are delicious, with loads of options, and those with special dietary requirements are well catered for. Generous, too… three meals a day, endless teas and coffees, and late afternoon snacks for those who’ve worked up an appetite and can’t wait for dinner!
Game watching from the main boat or one of the smaller tender boats, sitting and doing absolutely nothing (count us in), sleep in or get up at the crack of dawn to take in the sunrise … it’s up to you. 16 thousand hectares of open water. 400 species of fish in the lake. Exceptional wildlife. Heaven.
Cruises start from R2360 a person a night, meals are charged for separately (you can, if you wish, take the self-catering option, letting the on-board chef take over the cooking side of things). You can choose to book the boat out privately or go on a non-exclusive trip, which are run providing they have sufficient bookings.