If you’re a frequent watcher of my Instagram Stories, you’ll know that at the beginning of the March, Hubs and I paid a visit to Emdoneni Lodge in Hluhluwe.
Luckily for us this was a long enough time before Emdoneni had to shut down – and not due to the Lockdown imposed by President Cyril Ramaphosa. There were 2 positive cases in St Lucia, a town near Hluhluwe, and one we actually visited while staying in Hluhluwe!
I’d like to take a moment (before I begin talking about our stay at Emdoneni) to explain that the lodge has the cat project run by the Zululand Cat Conservation, and that the tours run at Emdoneni are a big part of how the project is able to sustain itself. Not having the constant influx of tourists means the Zululand Cat Conservation will have taken a big knock. If there is any way you would be able to make a donation, or adopt a cat, READ HERE.
I also vlogged during our stay – you can head on over here to check out the full vlog of our stay: –
We arrived at Emdoneni on a very hot, sticky afternoon, ,with just enough time to drop our bags off in our room, freshen up and enjoy a G n T by the pool before we headed off to the Cat Tour by the Zululand Cat Conservation project.
We had already been on the cat tour just under 3 years ago – on our honeymoon! We spent our honeymoon in Hluhluwe and the cat project was one of the highlights. There is no physical interaction with the cats, but you are allowed to pose for a photo with the Cheetahs, which goes down very well with the tourists.
The Zululand Cat Conservation project have 4 of the 8 species of cats – African Wild Cat, Caracal, Serval and Cheetah. The animals living there are ambassador cats, and have either been rehabilitated by the project, or were born into it with birth defects, which means they wouldn’t be able to survive in the wild. They also use the healthy cats there to breed, so that they can release the offspring into the wild when the time is right. This ensures the survival of the breeds.
I was vlogging this part, so sadly don’t have many photos of the cats, but you can check out way more in the vlog!
Our time after the cat tour was well spent sipping on wine and having a dip in the pool – neither of us could believe how hot the weather was! The pool area at Emdoneni is gorgeous and it was the most relaxed we’d felt in ages.
We were also very lucky to experience both a buffet dinner and an a la carte one. When the lodge is on the quieter side, they opt to let you order off their a la carte menu when at breakfast, which is wise and allows for a lot less waste.
The buffet was beautifully varied, absolutely delicious, and contained the most amazing sweet potato salad I’ve ever tasted. We’re still trying to find out a way to recreate it!
On this busier night, the kitchen staff came and serenaded us too, which was beautiful.
The a la carte menu had a really lovely selection as well, but while we both chose a starter and a main, we decided to share a dessert rather than order our own, in an attempt to not over eat.
Hubby selected the Potato and Leek soup, and the Italian style Pork Chops, while I opted for the Sizzling Prawns and the Pan Fried Yellowtail. Then we shared the Dark Chocolate Fondant. All of it was really tasty!
Our room was perfect – basic enough that we knew we weren’t going to spend a lot of time in the rooms, but luxurious enough that we slept amazingly on the soft bed, with the air conditioning keeping us cool.
The lovely turn down that occurred each night also included a sweet little folktale and a sweet treat for each of us.
Our second day at Emdoneni was spent in the best way possible. We indulged in a leisurely breakfast, we lazed by the pool, we enjoyed one of the best full body massages I’ve had, and we then showered, changed and headed off to St Lucia for a cruise on the estuary. This was all ended off with a visit to a few places in St Lucia we love, and a slow drive back to the lodge.
We saw plenty of hippos, but sadly only one croc at quite a distance. The cruise was lovely though, it was a smaller boat and had only one other family of 3 on board, so it felt intimate and relaxed.
Our night ended off with us chatting, sipping on wine and eating our super delicious a la carte meal.
After yet another wonderful night’s rest, we enjoyed a delicious breakfast buffet again, and checked out.
We had such an incredible stay at Emdoneni Lodge, and it’s somewhere we’ll definitely revisit after our country gets back on it’s feet.
If you’d like to make an inquiry for after the Lockdown is over, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you to Emdoneni Lodge, the Zululand Cat Conservation project and Heritage Tours & Safaris for a wonderful trip up the North Coast. We’ll hopefully be seeing you again soon!
*DISCLAIMER – while we were hosted by Emdoneni Lodge, the Zululand Cat Conservation project and Heritage Tours, all opinions are honest and our own.