Ezulwini, (Zulu for paradise), is situated in the Balule Nature Reserve 5 hours drive from Johannesburg. It is the perfect place to get out of town and see the big 5 in luxurious and awe inspiring surroundings.
Known as a little piece of paradise with remarkable views and unique character and charm; Ezulwini was the ideal location for Stormers players Dillyn Leyds and Huw Jones to embark on their first safari experience.
A huge thank you to the owners and staff who spoiled the guys and their friends to an unforgettable experience of a lifetime. Thank you to the lovely ladies at Nicky Arthur PR for adding this little gem into the Union Sports Group family.
What were your thoughts when you first arrived?
Dill- We arrived at night and the lodge looked amazing. The reception we got was unbelievable. The girls had their own pool on their porch and myself and Huw were in our own room. We were basically on “honeymoon” ha ha ha. We felt really welcomed when we arrived.
Huw– Once inside the park it took us a while to get to the lodge but when we arrived the staff were waiting for us. They took our bags to our rooms and gave us a welcome drink. The drink was amazing especially after the long journey.
How was it getting up so early for the morning game drives?
Dill- The early starts weren’t too bad. I wasn’t too happy with it because I was on “holiday” ha ha but it was so worth getting up early and seeing all the game.
Huw– They were easier than I thought they would be. The staff come and wake you up when the sun rises and every day we were pretty excited to see the game.
What did you see the first day?
Dill– Our game drive started at 5:30 am!! On our first day we were fortunate enough to see Lions, Elephants and Buffalos. So on our first day we had already seen 3 of the big 5. Good start! We also got charged by 2 rhinos on our afternoon drive which was quite an exciting/ scary moment for all of us but we got out of that situation pretty quickly. The guides know what they are doing so we felt pretty safe with them.
Huw- The animals we saw were Lions, the alpha male- Duma, his 3 wives and 6 clubs. Then we saw Elephants, Zebras and a whole lot of Impala. Then in the afternoon we saw the same Lions again, two black Rhino that were ready to charge at us and a Sable. I’d say we were pretty lucky. We got right up and close to all of them. It was an amazing experience.
What was the highlight of your trip?
Dill- Highlight of our trip would definitely have to be when we saw a male Elephant chasing away a Rhino from the watering hole because he had two of his babies with him. It was surreal.
Huw- The whole trip was unbelievable but I would say the Elephant chasing away the Rhino at the watering hole that was pretty special.
What made your whole trip so special?
Dill- Everyone at the lodge was so friendly and easy going. After dinner they would always stay behind and chat, we could ask them questions and they were always willing to answer. They also made it possible for us to go into the Kruger. Everyone went out of their way to make our stay at the lodges as pleasant as possible. This trip has definitely been one of the highlights of my year.
Huw– The staff were out of this world, they were always there offering to help with everything.. They woke us up, offered us drinks, the meals were amazing. Our driver at our first lodge- Josh was also really cool. He even took us into the Kruger on our second day. Everything at the lodge was taken care of. We could not have asked for a better experience.
What would you rate your first safari experience out of 10?
Dill- A full 10. It was so fun and memorable! Being my first safari, I wont forget it. Good memories were made
Huw- 10!!! Would have liked to see some more of the cats but it was amazing nonetheless. Also another thing about the staff, they were always so happy, just always smiling and making jokes. The vibe was on point and made our stay that more enjoyable.
So there is no doubt about it, the next time you are in the area make a special point of visiting the magical Ezulwini and who knows what you might get to experience.