uMfolozi Big Five Reserve is a 6000-hectare concession that is an extension of the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. Made of tribal land owned by local tribal communities; uMfolozi is a monumental example of land reform in a time when South Africa is staring blank-faced at the Land Issue. Unused land was adjoined to existing government protected land to benefit the environment and create sustainable economic benefits for surrounding rural tribes.
Biyela Lodge is the latter of two 5-star lodges in this wilderness, and the team welcomed their first guests on the 1st of May. Enjoy this sneak peek of the lodge.
Biyela Lodge is a spectacular showcase of modern safari lifestyle tiered on a descending cliff overlooking an oxbow lagoon in the White uMfolozi River. Biyela Lodge has 12 Private Villas which are perfectly appointed with a minimalist sense that suits the humid Zululand bush. Each Villa has a lounge area with monochromatic accents and cool greys, whites and creams. This clean, crisp theme is a beautiful contrast to the dense ever-green bushveld and a welcome reprieve from the humid atmosphere.
Standing on your private balcony in one of the Private Villas perched on the ridge; you look directly towards rock-faced cliffs dotted with ancient cave entrances.
Right below you is a cascading thicket that meets the sandy river bed where herds of elephants, buffalo, baboons, crocodiles, hippos and wild dogs may be spotted. There are over 600 bird species in the area, and sitting from your private deck you can spot a variety of them weaving about the indigenous thickets.
The middle chalets that flank the main lodge make you feel like you’re seated in a wilderness amphitheatre and encompass a wide angle view of the bushveld, river, the cliffs and the beautiful façade of Private Villas cupping the oxbow lagoon. The Family Villas are situated lower on the embankment providing more privacy and views of the river.
The guest lodge has various lounges and a large restaurant which all lead onto a large extended balcony with a fire pit and rim flow pool. There is also a bar and Africology spa with a single and 2 double treatment rooms. A range of wellness experiences is offered in the spa which is on a lower level beneath the main lounge making it a cool sanctuary where you can enjoy a peaceful revival of your mind and body.
Guests of Biyela Lodge enjoy fantastic game experiences right from their cinematic spots in the lodge and Private Villas, as well as game drives in the Hluhluwe iMfolozi Big Five Reserve. The 6000-hectare uMfolozi Big Five Reserve is exclusively for our guests and because of the river, many wildlife and bird species are found here.
When staying at uMfolozi Big Five Reserve; guests become part of a monumental legacy of conservation, responsible land-use, and sustainable economic development for Rural Communities. All they have to do to make a difference is enjoy the best of the good life in this precious ecosystem that we have all been given the privilege of sharing with the wildlife and the people of the heavens – amaZulu.