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Top Billing travels to beautiful KwaZulu Natal
Jonathan explores the beauty of the Umfolozi
Six hours drive South East of Joburg and three hours North of Durban - on an oxbow lagoon in the White iMfolozi River - lies Biyela Lodge.
Owned by Barry and Sonya Theunisen, the lodge is a luxurious escape in to the wild, and each private villa comes with its own balcony from which elephant, buffalo, crocodile, and wild dogs are often spotted.
Aside from the amazing hospitality on offer, the lodge strives to emphasise the incredible history and culture of the area. In Zulu, ‘Biyela’ means protector, safeguarding local culture as much as the environment.
Sitting around the fire, guests learn how Dr. Ian Player established Operation Rhino here. On a stroll to your villa, you walk on ground where the white rhino fought its way back from near extinction.
Rhinos are just some of the beautiful animals you can see up close during safaris in the Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big Five Reserve.
As important as conservation is economic development for those whose land the lodge is built on.
To upsize the capacity of Hluhluwe Umfolozi, five descendants of King Shaka’s Chiefs have given tribal land to the reserve. These include the iNkosis Mthembu, Biyela, Zulu, Mthethwa and Malaba.
Their forward-thinking is paying dividends for their people who are trained to staff and manage the lodges and creating more work opportunities has improved the lives of many.
Offering amazing African beauty and incredibly rich local cultures, KwaZulu- Natal is an incredible place to enjoy some of Africa’s heritage!