Kurhula Lodge, Parsons Private Reserve, Balule Game Reserve
After attending MeetingsAfrica last Tuesday and Wednesday I took 3 days to visit both Kurhula Lodge and Tanda Tula. Our first stop was Kurhula. With a great car rental deal from AVIS we took off in our Hyundai I20 from the Holiday Inn in Sandton. Oh, how I love road trips in South Africa. It’s the best thing to do.
After getting some ‘padkos’ at Pick ‘n Pay we were on the road to Dullstroom which would be our lunch spot. I’ve been many times on this road in my time as a Tourist Guide. I would guide groups of about 25 Dutch people on a tour throughout South Africa. It would take us 23 days to get back to Cape Town via Kruger National Park, Swaziland, KZN, Drakensberg, Lesotho, Karoo, Garden Route and wine lands. It was a fantastic way for me to get to know the country. I’m quite happy though to now just be by myself and go on road trips with friends.
Dullstroom is situated on a plateau and in winter this place can become terribly cold. I once had to stay overnight in winter time and it was -10 C. Not so funny in a country where there’s no such thing as central heating..
Anyway, now it was very nice and sunny so Rose Cottage for lunch is great because of their terrace and they do some delicious Trout dishes. After lunch we still had at least 3 hours to drive so no time to waste. We wouldn’t make the game drive which was leaving at 15h30.
We arrived at the entrance of Parsons Private Reserveat around 4pm if I’m correct. We still had to drive about 13 km on a very bad dirt road before we arrived at the entrance of the lodge. We were very pleased with the ‘skills’ of the Hyundai I20, not bad at all. Upon arrival at the lodge Sander welcomed us. It was so nice to finally visit. I’d already sent a few clients their way and they all had a great time. They were not affected by the floods in January because the lodge is situated a bit higher up. However, they told us horrible stories of how the river was up to 160m wide and how they’d seen a dead elephant come past. A lot of lodges in the Kruger area have been badly damaged and some need to be completely rebuild from scratch. Floods like this have happened more or less every 12 years..
Kurhula Lodge has 4 guest rooms with each their own veranda and overlooking the Oliphants River. There’s an infinity pool and lots of corners with comfortable couches and chairs. Kim and Sander have almost completely rebuilt the lodge when they bought it in 2009. You will get the true sense of Africa and it’s a great way to either start or end your self-drive trip through South Africa. You will not find tour groups because of the size of the lodge. Kim and Sander very much prefer a hands-on approach and do most of the work themselves. Kim has a passion for cooking which keeps her busy throughout the day. For dinner we were treated with dishes from Northern Africa. Most lodges stick to the usual braai, potjie, butternut soup and malva pudding, nothing wrong with any of those but I quite enjoyed and appreciated something completely different.
I could easily have stayed another 1 or 2 nights and just chill out, read a book, listen to the bush and watch the playful monkeys in the trees. Thank you very much Kim and Sander for your hospitality and I look forward to sending many more guests you way.