The Ladies of the Lake
It is becoming increasingly difficult to find new places from which to explore South Africa’s exquisite natural beauty, especially when one wants to combine it with a sporting activity. The Shayamanzi Houseboat experience offers it all – picturesque scene
World-renowned golfing legend, Jack Nicklaus, once remarked: “There are always new places to go fishing. For any fisherman, there is always a new place, always a new horizon.” True though this may be, finding those places are not always easy in a saturated tourism landscape.
That makes our recent discovery of the Shayamanzi Houseboat experience all the more magnificent, as it offers the perfect synthesis of world-class luxury travel and an individually catered living experience, set within the splendid beauty of Northern KwaZulu-Natal.
Traversing Lake Jozini (also known as Pongolapoort Dam), Shayamanzi I and Shayamanzi II are by far the best vantage points from which one can enjoy the superb wildlife seen on the shores of this vast natural expanse.
Lake Jozini is located close to the bustling town of Pongola, and is a comfortable, yet brisk drive – on relatively good roads – from either Johannesburg or Durban. Shayamanzi is launched from the jetty at the world-class Jozini Tiger Lodge, where there is ample secure parking and a shuttle that ferries you and your luggage to the shore.
Once on board a Shayamanzi Houseboat, guests can soak up the stunning scenery of the Lebombo Mountains and Pongola Game Reserve, and either enjoy calm serenity on the water or the thrill of tiger fishing.
Meaning “to hit the water” in Zulu, the Shayamanzi experience is more than a
trip on a boat on a lake. Shayamanzi II’s luxurious cabins, stylish upper deck bar, and dining facility is a holiday haven for everyone.
If attracting “tigers” on the fly is your game, then Jozini Lake is the place to be – in fact, it is the only place to be in South Africa to attract the striped “water dog”. Within minutes of boarding Shayamanzi II on our recent visit, both the experienced as well as the novice anglers in our group were bending their rods from either of Shayamanzi II’s three powered tender boats, as the “tigers” lit up the water’s surface.
If you think fishing is best left to more experienced anglers, the surrounding Pongola Game Reserve and Pongolo Nature Reserve provide spectacular game viewing from the water’s edge. A large variety of wildlife can be viewed from the Shayamanzi decks or the tender boats, and even birders will find the area’s 350 species very enticing. Bush birds, raptors, and water birds are plentiful, as are cormorants, herons, ducks, storks, and many more.
Shayamanzi I and Shayamanzi II were the first houseboats in South Africa and are designed to deliver a one-of-a-kind experience. Manned by experienced staff, a trip on Shayamanzi is all about taking time out to appreciate the special wonders of the area in comfort and style.
All meals served on board are prepared to the highest standards. A hearty breakfast will prepare you for the day’s many activities, while a sumptuous lunch is the perfect way to spend an early afternoon recalling the morning’s tall fishing tales. In the evenings, the onboard chef will prepare a stylish threecourse dinner, or even a braai under the stars. The fully stocked bar is open until late, while bottomless tea and coffee is available all day, accompanied by freshly baked rusks and other treats.
On-board accommodation is in one of ten cabins serviced daily by the deck hands. Six comfortable cabins are situated on the lower deck, and offer spectacular views of the surrounding Lebombo Mountains through large sliding doors that open onto the lake. The houseboats’ catamaran design allows for four more en suite cabins – two per pontoon – each with generously sized windows. With all cabins occupied, Shayamanzi II can accommodate up to 20 passengers, while Shayamanzi I will easily lodge up to 12.
Every Shayamanzi adventure is to be savoured and can be enjoyed by both young and old. Perfectly suited for corporate getaways or special family celebrations, the Lake Jozini experience on board Shayamanzi will change your perception of this local holiday and call you back to “hit the water” again and again.
For more information on the Lake Jozini experience aboard Shayamanzi, visit www.shayamanzi.co.za.