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

Indwe - - Contents - Text: Bernard Hell­berg Jr Im­ages © Shaya­manzi

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.

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