Oyster Box Hotel
The Oyster Box combines colonial charm, impeccable service, lush tropical gardens and breathtaking seaside setting. A lovingly refurbished landmark, it offers guests a vibrant, contemporary experience, while evoking the warm nostalgia of bygone days, delivering a blend of hospitality and elegance with a wealth of modern facilities and fresh touches to satisfy today’s discerning guests.
Situated on an impressive beachfront on the eastern seaboard of KwaZulu Natal, the hotel is just a five-minute walk from the Village Center, a 15-minute drive from Durban, and convenient to Ushaka Marine World, the historical Natal Midlands, the Drakensberg Mountains, and excellent “big five” game parks. With its feeling of classical charm and elegance, The Oyster Box offers a timeless expression of exceptional hospitality, luxurious accommodation and personal service unmatched in all Africa.
Old-world splendour oozes from the expansive terraces, walls crawling with ivy, towering trees scattered across manicured lawns, and lush gardens of Hartford House. Nestled on Summerhill Stud in the undulating hills of the Kwazulu Natal Midlands, five-star country charm awaits at this hotel where any stay is undoubtedly a decadent affair.
Guests can enjoy a slow trot around the farm on one of their magnificent steeds or cast a line for trout or bass in their tranquil dam. Lounge by the swimming pool, enjoy high tea on the curtained terrace or spend an afternoon walking and game-spotting on the nearby game conservancy. Hartford House boasts a tennis court while world-class golf courses are a short drive away.
Hartford’s 15 luxurious suites feature heated towel rails, underfloor heating, and satellite TV, and are set around a scenic trout lake on the estate. The award-winning restaurant offers opulent 5-course dinners and 3-course lunches. Select dinners are accompanied by the sights and sounds of tribal dancing and drumming, while the Hartford Wellness Centre is the perfect venue for pampering.
Three Trees Lodge
With the Drakensberg Mountains as the backdrop and views of the Spioenkop Nature Reserve and the eponymous Spioenkop Hill, Three Tree Hill Lodge finds itself in a setting of pure serenity. A strong advocate of responsible tourism, this eco-friendly lodge is Fair Trade Tourism (FTT) certified and actively involved in the local community. With its economical use of electricity and water (as well as a rigorous recycling program) Three Tree Hill Lodge strives to impact the environment as little as possible.
Spioenkop Nature Reserve affords plenty of opportunities to get in touch with the surrounding environment and to learn more about this land. Explore the Drakensberg foothills on guided nature walks or go mountain-biking through the reserve. Bird lovers will be pleased to learn that around 300 bird species have been recorded in the area.
Accommodation is a throwback to a bygone era, with soft wooden interiors and antique sash windows. Each room or suite has a private deck with sprawling views of the surrounding wilderness. The open-plan main lodge houses an elegant dining room and a lounge area with countless board games and puzzles.
Fugitives’ Drift Lodge
Set on the eponymous Fugitives’ Drift Game Reserve, a 2,000-hectare wildlife sanctuary and registered Natural Heritage Site. Overlooking Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift, known for the Anglo-Zulu War battles that took place here, this lodge offers guests a chance to explore this part of history.
Daily tours to these battlefields are conducted by some of the finest guides in South Africa, eager to impart their vast knowledge of these historic conflicts. Nature walks and horse-riding are some of the best ways to explore the surrounding wilderness and its many inhabitants. Bird lovers will be pleased to know that over 250 bird species have been recorded in the area, from the yellow weaver to the peculiar purple-crested turaco.
The accommodation offerings range from Luxury Suites at the Lodge or Guesthouse buildings to the self-catering Umzinyathi House with a capacity of 6 guests. The suites offer a luxurious experience, with en-suite bathrooms and a lush garden outside. Umzinyathi House is a more rustic option: less opulent but with a lot of heart, catering to those whose primary interest lies in the region’s rich history and culture.
Phinda Mountain Lodge
Offers its guests a special experience: not only is it set on a mountain crest, overlooking the surrounding wilderness from one of the best vantage points possible, but the nearby reserve is home to some of the rarest wild animals around (including cheetah and both the white and black species of rhino).
The layout of suites and public areas at Phinda puts privacy first, resulting in a very personal experience, with nothing getting in the way of the breath-taking vistas unfolding all around. And while admiring the wild from a distance is its own reward, getting up-close-and-personal with nature on one of the game drives or boat rides is a truly unforgettable experience.
Accommodation consists of 25 Suites, including 2 spacious Family Suites. Each suite has a private outdoor shower and plunge pool, allowing you to cool off with ease. Meals at Phinda come in different forms, from a delicious spread on the veranda to an impromptu treat in an undisclosed location. You can trust the fun and friendly staff to make your stay at Phinda one for the books.