In my previous post, “Serene waters of Kosi Bay“, I wrote about swimming in a crystal clear lake, with flamingos and hippos wading in the distance, and about gliding on a glassy channel, surrounded by tall palms. Relaxing. Remote. Revitalising. This sums up the location and experience I had at Isibindi’s Kosi Forest Lodge a few months ago.
It’s set in the north east corner of Kwa Zulu Natal, far from most of the urbanized world. From King Shaka International Airport, it is a 5 hour drive up the North Coast to the village of Manguzi. From there, we were picked up in a jeep for a short drive (over sandy tracks) to the lodge. The lodge itself is cosy – about eight thatched bush suites are spread through the forest, each far enough from the other to give a sense of exclusivity. Wooden chairs deck the veranda. Inside, mosquito nets cover the comfy poster bed. Adjoining the room is a shower and bath open to the skies above, and shaded by large trees.
Meandering pathways lead back to the main lodge, which has a cozy lounge, complete with mini library. Adjoining it, is the restaurant where meals are served as well as on the wooden decks beneath leafy trees. On arrival, a light salad lunch was served, along with freshly baked rolls (gluten free on request, in advance). Be warned, there are no shops close by, so it’s a good idea to eat something before you arrive, or have some snacks on hand, in case you get the munchies between meals.
Although meals do feature highly at Kosi Forest Lodge, there are plenty to keep you occupied. On the first day, we trekked through the Raffia Palm forest on a guided walk where the rare palm nut vulture alluded us. Birders will be in their element. Non-birders too will enjoy the natural setting. Back at the lodge’s pool, we watched the sun recede and adorn the twilight sky in a palette reflected on the lake below. Thereafter, dinner was a tantalising three course affair amongst dazzling lanterns.
The next day, after a hearty breakfast while being serenaded by birds, we went on a day trip on the lakes that make the region famous. Read about the lakes here. A light picnic lunch awaited us on the sand dunes leading down to the ocean. Hundreds of crabs scurried along the shoreline as we waded in the water.
The lodge offers other activities too, including canoe trips (which I highly recommend in the early morning), cultural tours and deep sea fishing. But to really appreciate your surroundings, simply relax on your veranda, at the pool side or at the lounge and be taken away by the remoteness.
Accommodation: 8/10 (comfy, private)
Ambiance: 7/10 (relaxed)
Meals: 7/10 (fresh, simple but good)
Service: 8/10 (attentive and friendly)
Activities: 8/10 (lots to keep you occupied for a weekend)