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I haven't been everywhere yet,

but it's on my list!

  • Writer's pictureDeborah Latham

KwaZulu-Natal - Hluhluwe Safari Time!

Updated: Sep 21, 2023

Endomini Lodge, Zulu Village and Hluhluwe Game Reserve Safari - SmarTours (get $150 off - YOUR REFERRAL CODE: NGK-6KV)

Leaving Cape Town was bittersweet. I enjoyed my time there so much and felt there was so much still to do and see, but the time had come for our tour to move on. So, off to the airport we went to fly to Durbin and then get on a new bus which we would have for the remainder of the trip. SmarTours planned the tour so well that getting through the airport was a breeze! After we got on the bus, we had a very scenic drive to our home for the next 2 nights. Endomini Lodge is a game preserve itself and home of the Cheetah Project. I was mostly excited to begin the safari part of our trip and start seeing wildlife up close and personal. Pulling into the lodge, we saw our first Bushbuck! When we arrived at the lodge, we were greeted warmly, and check-in was fast and efficient. We were warned to make sure windows and doors were closed and locked every time we left the rooms so that we didn't get left any presents of the stinky variety by the monkeys that roam the grounds! I was glad for this advice as I didn't want monkey poop in my bed! This lodge was definitely my favorite place we stayed on the trip! I loved my room! It was beautiful, although basic, but had everything I needed. The dining area and sitting areas of the main building were beautifully decorated. I highly recommend a stay here!

After everyone was settled in their rooms, we sat around the fire pit and had a get to know each other session before dinner. It was very relaxing to sit outdoors and just enjoy the landscape and conversation (I may have enjoyed a glass or two of my favorite Pinotage also)! The staff had prepared us a lovely buffet dinner with many delicious choices. They also treated us to some singing (make sure to have tip money, because they do pass the basket after their songs).

I slept wonderfully, and woke up early enough to take a stroll around the grounds before breakfast. I was lucky enough to spot a couple of antelope. After breakfast, I donned my safari hat for the first time and took the Cheetah project tour to see all the cats up close and personal. It was an amazing and very educational experience, and the guides were amazing. You definitely want to do this if you stay at Endomini Lodge!

Following the Cheetah Project tour, we departed for the Zulu Village. It was such a fun experience. We were greeted by the chief, and taken on a tour to learn about their customs and way of life. Thankfully, we had a great interpreter for this visit. We saw demonstrations of shield making and hunting, basket making and how the women carry them on their heads, beading, medicine man practices, and more! At the end of the village tour, we got to see the war dance. My favorite part was watching the children of the village mimic the adults in dance! They were adorable. After this was over, we were served a buffet lunch that was really delicious!

I love that this day was packed with wonderful experiences. After lunch we headed to Hluhluwe Game Reserve for our first safari! This was where I earned my nickname "Eagle Eyes!" If there's wildlife around, I'm great at spotting it! That probably comes from having a dad who is a hunter. I was so thankful that I had my Canon zoom lens for this first safari. December marks the beginning of summer there, and the bushes were green and full, and wildlife a little harder to spot. However, this is also the season of babies being born, so I am so glad I was able to experience this season there. Just sayin', baby warthogs are just adorable with their little tails sticking up running after their momma! I was able to experience things I never dreamed I'd see in the wild; such as dung beetles rolling down the road, vultures on a rhino kill, trees full of weaver birds building their hanging nests, warthogs, rhinos, elephants, zebras, and so much more! Our guide was informative and lots of fun. The first safari afternoon was amazing and pictures and videos don't do it justice. The landscape is absolutely stunning and not at all what I was expecting.

After the reserve, it was back to the lodge for another great dinner, good conversations with great people and a good nights sleep! The next day would be an early morning departure for a very long bus ride into the Kingdom of Eswatini - the shortest way to Kruger National Park. More on that soon!

If you are traveling soon, and need an eSim card there are two Promo Codes available with Airalo until September 30, 2023:

Promo code: SEP15

This promo code is valid until September 30.

With this promo code, new users can receive a 15% discount for one booking made on the Airalo site or app. The maximum discount any new user can get is $500.

Promo code: SEP10

This promo code is valid until September 30.

With this promo code, existing users a 10% discount for one booking made on the Airalo site or app. The maximum discount any existing user can get is $100.

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