There is no place quite like the African bush; when life’s demands get too much, it’s what my soul craves. It’s the space, the quiet and the peace. I love this quote, it expresses much of what I struggle to put into words:
“…few can sojourn long within the unspoilt wilderness of a game sanctuary, surrounded on all sides by its confiding animals, without absorbing its atmosphere; the Spirit of the Wild is quick to assert supremacy, and no man of any sensibility can resist her.”
James Stevenson-Hamilton (first warden of South Africa’s Sabi Nature Reserve)
Life has been very busy, we’ve adjusted to two children (it feels like a lot!) and we continue to navigate the ups and downs of owning your own business. So we didn’t think twice before grabbing the opportunity for a getaway to eKhaya Bush Villa with both hands.
We flew into Joburg, picked up our perfectly appropriate Isuzu double cab, and hit the road, destination: Hoedspruit.
In the last couple of years this town has exploded – from a tiny little stop on your way to your game lodge, Hoedspruit has become a destination in and of itself and is being hailed as South Africa’s Big 5 capital.
They have everything you could possibly need in the town including fibre (it was laid in Hoespruit before Joburg even had fibre), tattoo removal (I kid you not), a great butchery, schools, shops and restaurants.
eKhaya Bush Villa
We spent two nights (and could have stayed a lot longer) at eKhaya Bush Villa where we were warmly welcomed by Mike and his team.
The concept behind eKhaya Bush Villa is to be a base from which to explore Hoedspruit and the surrounding area. They are perfectly situated for day trips into Kruger (they’re about 30 minutes from Orpen Gate), but there is so much more on offer.
“Ekhaya means “Home” in isiZulu and this embodies our commitment to our guests, come “home” to the African Bushveld”
If you have a look at the reviews on TripAdvisor, you will quickly see that Mike is the person that you want customising your trip to the bush. He has spent so much time in the bush, speaks fluent Zulu, and he loves sharing his knowledge with his visitors. He has great insider tips and will go to great lengths to make sure that you have an amazing time.
Through eKhaya Bush Villa you can plan day trips to Kruger, the scenic Panorama route, traditional shangaan tribal dancing, and get access to a host of other activities that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to do.
Meals at eKhaya are a real treat, and they are able to cater for different diets if needed. The breakfasts were spectacular – prepared fresh and to order. And a special treat was the homemade banana bread that we snuck into our room to enjoy with a cup of tea.
The décor for eKhaya was managed by Mike’s partner who has been the creative direction behind many lodges in the area. And it shows, the details are perfect, neat splashes of colour perfectly complement the natural textures that dominate the lodge. Each of the six double rooms are beautifully decorated using sustainable textiles, furnishings, artifacts and fittings sourced from around South and Southern Africa, supporting local artists, artisans and entrepreneurs where possible.
Thank you Mike for sharing your passion for the area and for taking the time to make our stay in Hoedspruit so memorable.
Getting to and From Hoedspruit
The roads from Johannesburg to Hoedspruit have improved over the years, so the drive is very pleasant. We stopped in Dullstroom on the way up and back for lunch and thoroughly enjoyed walking around the little town. Our vehicle for the trip was an Isuzu double cab which was very comfortable and made the change seamlessly between freeway driving and bush driving.
- It was a bit overcast on the days that we were there so I have used a couple of eKhaya’s images in the article
- A big thank you to eKhaya for hosting us, and to Isuzu for providing the perfect vehicle for us to get around in