Our wish came true when, for a change, we arrived at the Zululand Safari Lodge in broad daylight. This gave us time to take in the surroundings, take a brief nap and get ready for an afternoon drive.
The lodge is part of Ubizane Wildlife Reserve in Hluhluwe, which is at the heart of the Zulu Kingdom. The name derives from a nearby mountain and legend has it that the mountain was an important vantage point during the time of King Shaka.
Luckily today peace reigns here. And that is the most valuable thing that one gains from a stay at this lodge. It is absolutely peaceful, so serene in fact that you can hear a mosquito at night from a distance.
After the initial check-in formalities, it was straight to our designated home for the next 48 hours. Our unit was probably not the newest around, but it still retained its charm.
Here the West meets the traditional and our hut was equipped with all modern conveniences but still retained an old-world charm.
The use of space was ingenious - the raised roof gave our unit a feeling of airiness while the adjacent bathroom is generous, taking into account what a rondavel can accommodate. And the little kitchenette had all the amenities that you might need, even if you have to feed a small army of brats running around. A full-length swimming pool meant that they spent most of the time in the water and came running back with dripping feet and empty stomachs. Otherwise, breakfast and dinner are available at the dining boma.
Having checked in, we all immediately took a siesta. In that scorching heat, nothing seemed better.
Waking up was harder but with a game drive beckoning, it was time to shake out the cobwebs.
The game drives are not restricted to Ubizane only. There is a lot to see in the nearby and bigger Umfolozi-Hluhluwe reserve, which boasts a wide variety of fauna and flora. Sodwana is an hour away and the mighty Jozini Dam is within a manageable distance.
For those who are not fainthearted, a boat ride on St Lucia lake will put you in very close contact with the hippos. Or you can watch the crocodiles taking it easy.
The number of things to do is staggering, including a beach visit to St Lucia or, as we preferred, just lazing about.
The camp itself is inhabited by all sorts of animals, including warthogs and impala but there are no lions so you can rest assured of absolute safety.
Fortunately rhinos keep as far away from the camp as possible so you have peace. Plenty of it.