When you head up to the elephant coast for a conference venue inspection, you have a number of preconceived ideas and expectations. One weekend in November 2012, we visited Bonamanzi Game Reserve in KwaZulu Natal and were very pleasantly surprised.
On arrival we were welcomed with ice cold drinks and hot, refreshing cloths to freshen us up after driving for three hours in the horrendous North Coast N2 Friday afternoon traffic. We were shown to our chalets which all far exceeded what you’d expect from 3 star accommodation – aircon, comfortable beds and fresh linen, decorated with beautiful foliage from the garden. Lalapanzi – one of the lodges on Bonamanzi – has a number of different accommodation options. We stayed in the Lalapanzi chalets situated around the edges of the dam. Our chalet was next to the viewing deck where we spent many hours looking out over the dam watching the vast bird life – 426 species of birds have been logged by the Rangers on the Reserve.
On Friday afternoon we were treated to a game drive around the 4000 hectare game reserve and spotted Giraffe, Impala, Nyala and Kudu to name a few of the game varieties we saw. The game drive ended with sundowners by the pool, oh what a life. We then ended the day with a buffet dinner on the viewing deck with maybe one too many glasses of Amarula!
Saturday morning started with 06:00 game drive followed by breakfast on my favourite viewing deck, I don’t think I will ever get tired of the view. The kids enjoyed sharing their toast with the Terrapins and Barbell (ugh) in the dam, hoping to spot a crocodile. Next we jumped into the 4x4s and headed off to a once in a lifetime elephant interaction experience. I’ve had interactions with elephants before but nothing compares to the morning we spent at Bayete Zulu Lodge. We touched and fed the elephants and at one point even had our hands in the elephant’s mouth. Elephants are such amazing creatures and I know I will never forget the interactions we had, and thank goodness they don’t eat lucky beans!
On Saturday afternoon we headed down to the Hluhluwe river for a sunset boat cruise where the extremely knowledgeable Bonamanzi game rangers pointed out amazing wildlife and birdlife.
After the boat cruise we had sundowners and snacks on the bank of the Hluhluwe river, I could really get used to this lifestyle.
Saturday evening was a truly African experience with local Zulu dancers and a bush braai feast.
On Sunday, Bonamanzi’s General Manager, Tracey, took us on a full venue inspection where we were shown the conference facilities and the various accommodation options on the Bonamanzi Reserve.
If you are looking for a conference venue for anything from a few delegates up to 500 delegates, Lalapanzi Lodge on the Bonamanzi Reserve is the ideal venue. Not only are the conference facilities immaculate, but there are is a variety of accommodation options in the Reserve and many different activities for a truly African experience. Contact us to book your next conference at Bonamanzi or view our Facebook page for more photos from our venue inspection.