More to humble river-side retreat than meets the eye

Amanda Ngudle

Amanda Ngudle

Khaya Ibhubesi, which I'm sure should read Ikhaya Lebhubesi, cuts a very humble sight at first glance. Sure the Zulu huts are endearing on any given day, but my colleagues and I wanted more for the undisclosed amount the company had spent.

We had been cluelessly driven to our destination for our team-building weekend. So expectations were very high by the time we got off the bus. To heighten the mixture of anxiety and enthusiasm, we were not to book into our rooms before going through various team-building drills.

The food was not bad for a group of 110 people. The vegetables especially were impressively prepared. But the catering staff could use a little team-building themselves.

We thoroughly enjoyed our team activities and learnt inestimable lessons about collective effort and team spirit. As we dragged ourselves from the battlefields, reeling from physical experiences ranging from quad biking to canoeing, I was in no mood to wait for instructions, booked myself in and took the key to my room.

What a pleasant surprise! I could not have imagined it if someone had dangled a bag full of gold in my face.

Shaka 5A in the Shaka Village section of the resort used some decor ideas I immediately stole to revamp my dull crib.

The thatch-roofed Zulu huts are a delightful cross between traditional African and modern design. The chalet clusters, river lodges as well as river-side log cabins all carry different elements of a charming and innovative composition.

Dinner time was like a royal feast. The barmen who kept the drinks flowing must have been magicians in their past lives. How they managed to serve everyone in one night and still look as if they were at the top of their game was pure magic.

As the night became more colourful, with music pumping and voices getting louder, it was apparent some bridges had been mended.

By morning, the bacon was piping hot, the coffee brewing and the stereo dishing out some easy morning tunes. Breakfast was sumptuous. We had to load ourselves enough for more activities.

Some chose river rafting, while others opted for archery.

My friends and I chose sun basking which we dressed as deliberations on the previous night's discussions.

The river rafters came back drenched to the bone, but quickly changed into dry clothes and it was adios to our weekend nest.

I am making plans to go back for a week with my mother, who is adamant no white-owned place can beat the real thing.