Gwahumbe Reserve Game & Spa, KwaZulu-Natal
Did you know?
The Gwahumbe region once formed part of an ancient elephant trail that linked the mangrove swamps of Durban and the Byrne Valley.
Among the many attractions of the KwaZulu-Natal province is being able to splash in the ocean waves in the morning and savour the tranquillity of the bushveld in the afternoon.
The advantage of being just an hour's drive from the South Coast means Gwahumbe Reserve Game & Spa can offer travellers an upmarket, intimate wildlife and bush spa experience minus the challenge of long-distance travel.
At 700m above sea level, the reserve overlooks the confluence of the Msunduzi and Gwahumbe rivers. The reserve comprises various habitats that sustain different wildlife species, from riverine forest and valley bushveld to plateau grassland and soaring cliffs.
There are many reasons to visit Gwahumbe Reserve Game & Spa, not least the reserve's easily accessible wildlife. During the course of a game drive you have a chance of spotting nyala, impala, blesbok, black and blue wildebeest, reedbuck, kudu, eland, the endangered blue duiker, white rhino, hippo, giraffe, zebra, caracal, large spotted genet, black-backed jackal, porcupine, Cape clawless otter, thick-tailed galago, aardwolf and warthog. The wide variety of bird life is an added bonus, so bring binoculars when you visit.
Catered or self-catering accommodation, ranging from decadent luxury to rustic bush camp, allows you to choose the level of pampering you need. In the cooler months a roaring log fire attracts travellers to a cosy pub, while al fresco breakfasts under an acacia tree are a summer hit, particularly when the resident banded mongooses arrive for their early morning foraging session!
Gwahumbe's holistic bush spa features massage rooms, a steam room, hydro room and wet room, where qualified therapists offer comprehensive spa treatments and customised packages that are available indoors or outdoors, weather permitting.
Test your nerves and driving skills on challenging 4x4 trails or by trying some serious mountain biking. If a more sedate outdoor adventure appeals, there's game viewing from an open vehicle, leisurely walking trails and fantastic bird watching. Or you can simply laze around the pool and take in the breathtaking scenery.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Gwahumbe Reserve Game & Spa
Tel: +27 (0)31 781 1082
Fax: +27 (0)31 781 1083
How to get here
From Pietermaritzburg take the N3 towards Durban. Take the Umlaas Road/Umbumbulu/Richmond off-ramp. At the intersection veer left onto the R603 and drive towards Umbumbulu. After 23km turn right to mid-Illovo. Go through the village and turn left after 300m onto Ismont Road. Proceed for 1.2km before turning left onto a gravel road, the D368. Drive for 1.7km and turn left at the Gwahumbe Reserve Game & Spa sign.
Best time to visit
All year round, although mid-summer in December and January can be very hot.
Around the area
The superb beaches of the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast are only an hour's drive from Gwahumbe Reserve Game & Spa.
Tours to do
Game drives in 10-seater cruisers; hiking or mountain biking.
You can use your own 4X4 or take guided game drives in the reserve's open-topped 4X4s.
Length of stay
A weekend at the minimum.
What to pack
Binoculars, camera, hat, sunscreen and insect repellent. This is a malaria-free reserve.
Where to stay
A selection of accommodation, from self-catering chalets to luxury rooms, is available at Gwahumbe.
Book club packages, day visitor packages, 18km fully marked route which forms a part of the Mid-Illovo Husqvarna Classic Mountain bike race.
Gwahumbe's curio shop sells a small selection of safari clothing and African curios.