Leaving the highway you start to leave the modern world, as we know it, behind. With the last town in the rear view mirror the rural tar road leads to sand. At the end of the sand track the final gate leads to Hluhluwe Bush Camp, a totally off grid glamping site.
We got out of the car at reception to check in and the first thing I did was stand still, look up and listen. Wow, it is so quiet, just a gentle breeze and birdsong. The long car journey was already leaving my old body. I have spent a lot of time in the wild but here seemed a little different. There was no long transition and winding down we were just moving quickly into a relaxed state.
After checking in we were given a quick tour of the outdoor pool area and facilities plus the farm stall. We had opted to self-cater and the stall had a good selection of basic and local groceries. For me there is no better pineapple, golden and sweet, than one grown in this part of the world. There is also a café with a great selection of freshly prepared home cooked meals. Maybe we should not have self-catered on this occasion?
Our tent was the star of the show. Very cleverly designed and constructed with gas to cook on, solar for lights and power, and water from a bore hole. This truly is glamping off grid. After unloading the car it was time again to stand still, look and listen. The breeze and birdsong were all that could be heard. Our tent consisted of two bedrooms, a bathroom and open plan kitchen and seating area complete with comfy chairs and a dining table. From the veranda at the bottom of the tents steps is an outdoor dining area with table, chairs and braai (barbecue) all covered with a sail suspended above from wooden poles.
Our view looked down into the bush where nyala took shade from the heat of the sun. We were hoping for a glimpse of elusive and tiny suni antelope but that was not to be. Above them we watched bee-eaters flying from tree to tree feasting as they went. Beyond the bush there are fields of pineapples and beyond that is a place of miracle and wonder. Yes, that is what iSimagaliso translates to and we are looking into False Bay part of the iSimangaliso Wetlands. Every time I hear or read the translation I have Paul Simon singing in my head The Boy in the Bubble and the words these are days of miracle and wonder. But this truly is a place of miracle and wonder and that is why it is a UNESCO world heritage site.
We took a late afternoon drive into False Bay. We drove and explored for a while before drinking a sundowner on the lakes shoreline as the sun started to set behind us. It was a slow day, and the sun was beating…The way we look to a distant constellation…And the baby with the baboon heart… Paul Simon, inspired by his time in South Africa was singing in my head. But it was fitting and never louder than the sound of the breeze and birdsong.
Back at camp we lit a fire in the braai place and dined under the milky way, and various other distant constellations, on the finest boerewors, mutton chops and spicy chakalaka. Whatever you eat here is fit for a king as your surroundings depict it. The breeze and bird song had gone with the daylight. Now it was the sound of the night, of insects and amphibians.
Hluhluwe bush camp is also ideally placed for exploring various sections of the iSimangaliso Wetalnd Park. You are central to the towns and beaches of St Lucia and Sodwana Bay just over an hour away. Mkuze Game Reserve is also an hour away and the world famous Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park is just over half an hour away. Another option here is to just sit and listen, day and night, to the sounds of the bush. Let your mind and body get in tune with camp and surroundings and allow them off grid. Our minds are full of miracle and wonder but they all need to be recharged and realigned with the natural world.