When I was invited to join a friend on her annual Kuzuko Gal-Palweek-end during February this year, I excitedly accepted the invite and started counting down the days. There are various reasons why Kuzuko has been on my ‘some-day’ list for quite some time: - Nika & Angel, Sylvester, Fielies and off course their beautiful accommodation and passion for conservation.
As you can see from the first paragraph there are many wonderful stories to tell about the animals that have been taken in and that are flourishing at Kuzuko. The most well-known of all, must be that of Sylvester or Spook. Now, if you don't know his story and would like to read a short version of it, there is a link at the end of this blog for you to read.
We stayed at Kuzuko Country House for our time here. The Country House is a
four-bedroom house with three on-suite bathrooms. Two of the rooms have double beds and the other two bunk beds - Two & Three Bunks of two each, thus 10 single beds in total. The house is spacious and decorated quite basically, comfortably and neat. It also has a full kitchen, scullery, dining room and lounge. From the outside it doesn’t look like much, but oh man it really surprised me when I walked in. The beds and couches were very comfortable and we were supplied with towels and basic toiletries.
A few minutes after our arrival at the house, we were surprised by a drop-off of a huge box of ice. Really welcome when it gets so hot here, you think you might actually melt! No chance of that! Staff were helpful, friendly and courteous.
We even had a fire lit and roaring by the time we got home every night after our game drive
The Country house is definitely the more affordable option at Kuzuko and ideal if you like your own time and just want to chill and be close to nature together with friends or family.
We had such a great time staying here and thoroughly enjoyed the outside braai area where we spent every night braai-ing and talking serious stuff and nothing stuff in front of the fire.
After our Saturday morning game drive, we decided to stay at the lodge and have breakfast. They have an al-la-carte menu or you can help yourself to the stunning buffet breakfast. We thoroughly enjoyed sitting on the deck sipping wine (whilst having a bite), and taking in the glorious view with the Winterberg mountain range as a frame.
PS: My favourite day-time Kuzuko wine was the Fielies Chenin Blanc, only available at Kuzuko Lodge.
There are no predators on the property where the house is situated, thus you can also go for a self-drive in the area surrounding the house. Late Saturday afternoon we did just that and found a spot not far from the house over-looking a small valley with a big flat rock in just the right spot for us to have a picnic. In no time we settled on- and next-to this rock, talking girl stuff and sipping cold gins. Sometimes we were just quiet and enjoyed the smells and sounds of the bush and our own thoughts.
Before we knew it, it was four hours later and the sun was starting its decent. A few rain drops fell as we were packing up - how we wished we could dance in the rain! Given the current drought that most of our country is experiencing, that would’ve been the perfect ending to a great afternoon.
Kuzuko Lodge, member of the Legacy Hotels & Resorts Group, borders the Northern boundary of the Greater Addo region and is located on a private section of the Greater Addo Elephant National Park, managed in partnership with Sanparks.
They currently have twenty-four luxury chalets, each with its own secluded balcony and
en-suite bathroom, three of which are wheel chair friendly. The lodge obtained it's UA grading (Universal Accessibility) this year, which in short means that “The design of products, services and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for personal adaptation or special provision” - Tourism Grading Council of South Africa.
The Lodge itself, was built over a period of 20 months employing around 100 workers. They now employ around 60 permanent staff members and another 10 during peak season. This is quite significant given that the area in which Kuzuko is located has an unemployment rate of 70% - Kuzuko certainly is making a difference in the local community.
Kuzuko also has a Wellness Centre with qualified therapists and offer various treatments from body wraps and massages to facials and pedicures. Myself and Amanda decided we were treating ourselves and each booked a treatment. The Spa rooms are located next to the Conference Centre, downstairs from the reception & deck area, which means you also can enjoy the view from here. While I was inside having a back, neck & shoulder massage, Amanda was sitting outside on the little stoep having a Karoo Pedicure and enjoying the view from her chair. Our therapists were helpful, friendly and professional, definitely a must-do when visiting Kuzuko.
Gerhard de Lange, Reserve General Manager, has had great success with big cats, first was Nika & Angel that he took on as five-month-old orphaned lioness cubs and raised them without human contact, a completely hands-off approach, meaning he was unable to walk with them, touch them or call them. Then came Sylvester, or Spook as some of you may know him, who has also successfully settled here and has formed a coalition with Fielies (another lion from Addo Elephant National Park that had an uncertain future) and now a pride with Nika, Angel and their cubs.
Given the success they have had with the lions is was only natural for them to move onto the critically endangered Cheetah, make a difference here. This is still a rather new endeavour for Kuzuko & Gerhard, but already showing promise. Jasmin, a captive-bred, four-year old female has already showed great progress and within her first twelve weeks here, she has astonishingly made eight kills, all by herself! Is it not amazing how quickly animals regain their natural instincts?
This project has been made possible by working closely together and forming a partnership with Ashia Cheetah Conservation, a registered non-profit company. The aim of this special project is to release captive bred cheetah, like Jasmin, back into the wild after wilding them.
As part of this project, another four captive-born Cheetah have been brought to Kuzuko during 2019. One of which, another female. As the others before her, her wilding journey started in the holding boma where she was monitored carefully and introduced back into a natural environment after which she was released into a larger Breeding Section of the property. Soon she also successfully started hunting. Already pregnant when she arrived at Kuzuko early 2019, she gave birth to three cubs (one male and two female) mid-March 2019 – very exciting news that was released just this week.
Read more about her and her new-born cubs here
Kuzuko have very kindly extended a SPECIAL OFFER to those of you who enquire about staying at the lodge and mention that you are responding to this blog.
Contact reservations, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or any of the below telephone numbers, should you wish to qualify for a special tariff, remember to mention my blog - either Sanette Jonker or Africa Unplugged.
Want to celebrate Mothers Day in May and not sure what, where or how?
Spoil mom and make a booking for any two nights in the month of May and Kuzuko will have mom sleep for FREE and include a 30min Wellness Treatment for mom.
To keep up with all their latest news and all things Kuzuko, visit their website www.kuzuko.com
Tel 042 2031700
Fax 086 590 6453
Kuzuko Lodge, Olivenfontein Farm, KommadaggaGreater Addo Elephant National ParkEastern CapeSouth Africa
Bookings can also be made through these channels:
Until the next adventure
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