Umlilo Lodge is in the village of St Lucia in iSimangaliso Wetlands Park, an area of great natural beauty, with lakes, rivers, mangroves and vast coastal dunes waiting to be explored. The lodge is small, just 12 rooms, and owner-run, so the welcome is personal and the atmosphere homely. All rooms are air conditioned, have a TV, safe, fridge and complimentary tea and coffee. Each has a bathroom that is stocked with a range of toiletries.
Each day begins with a plentiful buffet breakfast where you can take your pick of fresh fruit, yoghurt, cereals and savoury items such as cheese and cold meats, to set you up for the day ahead. There's plenty to keep you busy with water-based activities like kayaking and boat cruises and land activities including safaris, night drives, bird watching tours and horse riding.
You can also spend time relaxing at the lodge, lounging by the pool and enjoying a cooling swim. There's a lounge with an honesty bar and a satellite TV. The lodge has free Wi-Fi which can be useful for keeping in touch with people back home. Dinner can be provided on request, served around the fire in the boma, which is a great way to round off the day.
Open: Umlilo Lodge is open all year.
Location: Umlilo Lodge is in St Lucia village, in iSimangaliso Wetlands Park, a World Heritage Site in northern KwaZulu Natal.
Rooms: There are 12 rooms. Facilities include air conditioning, satellite TV, fridge, kettle and supplies of tea and coffee. All are en-suite and have hot and cold running water, toiletries, towels and a hairdryer. Some rooms are larger and make good family accommodation.
Activities: Snorkelling, kayaking, boat cruises, deep sea fishing, mountain biking, horse riding, bird watching, safaris and night game drives are all available when staying at the lodge. Seasonal activities include whale watching (add dates) and turtle night walks (add dates). Excursions can be arranged to a crocodile and snake centre and cultural tours to a local Zulu village can be organised. You can walk into St Lucia village from the lodge, where you’ll find various shops, cafes and bars. The friendly owners are on hand to help you plan your stay and can make any necessary arrangements for you.
Facilities: There is a lounge with satellite TV, an honesty bar and an outdoor deck. The lodge has a swimming pool. There are leafy gardens and fishpond stocked with koi carp.
Dining: Breakfast is served between 07:30 and 09:30 each morning, a generous continental buffet meal. Dinner is provided if requested a day in advance. Popular choices include a barbecue by the fire or the national dish of South Africa, boboti. There are a number of restaurants in St Lucia which you can reach on foot in a few minutes.
Children: Children of all ages are welcome. They should be kept under supervision at all times.
Health: This is a low risk malarial area.
Communication: There is free Wi-Fi internet access and a computer for guest use.
"We got rather a duff, very dark, airless \"family room\" with the noisiest air conditioning on the planet. The pool was not very clean but the braai was good, the breakfast delicious and the owner very friendly."