Imagine our surprise, when after typing “Kosi Forest Lodge” into Google search we were confronted by www.hellopeter.co.za of all sites! We immediately jumped to conclusions and scrambled to the post to see what we were getting ourselves into. We were confronted by words such as “brilliant”, “beautiful”, “friendly” and the likes. We realized that not only does Kosi Forest Lodge have a fan — but one willing to take the time to compliment the lodge and their good service in writing! On more research we realized the Hello Peter post was just one of many, many favourable reports across multiple websites. And rightfully so!
Kosi Forest Lodge is set in a beautiful sand forest on the banks of a Kosi Lake, which is situated in iSimangaliso Wetland Park, which is recognised as a World Heritage Site — in fact South Africa’s first recognized World Heritage Site. The 332 000 hectare National Park contains three major lake systems which are separated from the ocean by a strip of forest and some of the highest dunes in Africa.
Who takes the time to compliment good service these days? People visiting Kosi Forest Lodge, that’s who!
Nelson Mandela once described ‘iSimangaliso as the only place on the globe where the oldest land mammal (the rhinoceros) and the world’s biggest terrestrial mammal (the elephant) share an ecosystem with the world’s oldest fish (the coelacanth) and the world’s biggest marine mammal (the whale)’.
And while all these beasts do in fact co-exist together here, as a guest of Kosi Forest Lodge, you will not need to co-exist with any other guests as the thatched suites are positioned in such a way as to allow for maximum privacy — and with open air bathrooms, we say that’s not a bad thing!
The rooms have beautiful views of the forest, roll-up canvas blinds, mosquito net draped beds, Persian carpets and charming wooden walkways. What they don’t have however is electricity — and how wonderful that is. Kosi Forest Lodge is after all an eco-destination so why have TV and Internet to interfere with the beauty that people from around the world flock to see. Picture the romantic ambience offered by strategically placed candles. And when the burning African sun rises, get ready for a day of adventure in paradise.
The most popular form of adventure is the guided canoe excursion on the Kosi Lakes. A knowledge-sharing guide will wade you by the gorgeous Raffia Palm forests where you can spot the resident Palm-nut Vulture — the only fruit-eating vulture in the world. In fact the Kosi system is home to many rare bird species including Flufftails, White-backed Night Heron, Crab Plover and pockets of flamingoes.
But, if you’re not really a paddler, then opt instead for a boat trip through the lake system. You can cover a lot more ground… erm, water, in a boat and excursions often lead to a refreshing dip in the Indian Ocean and a late afternoon picnic on white sandy beaches.
And if, at any stage, you find yourself at the Kosi River mouth then congrats, you’ve arrived in snorkeler’s heaven. The water here is not only warm but it’s also crystal clear and the unique rock pools offer an abundance of sub-tropical fish.
In fact Kosi Bay as a whole is teeming with wildlife. Hippos dominate these wetlands and it’s not uncommon to spot families of up to 60 members frolicking in the waters. Of course there are crocodiles too, but it’s the rare water mongoose and clawless otter, that keep the eyes of nature-loving guests peeled at all times.
If you’re more into two-legged species, then interacting with the local Tsonga fisherman is a must. Here the people use traditional fishing traps or kraals to reap the fishy rewards from the estuary — a method passed down from generation to generation.
After a full day of adventure and discovery, make your way back to the heart of Kosi Forest Lodge — a massive Zulu Podberry tree at the centre of the main deck. Here you can relax beneath the massive branches and enjoy a culinary extravaganza, aka dinner!
Not only will the food have you nodding in approval, but the excellent and friendly service, memorable life experiences and unbelievable beauty of the area will also have you writing positive reviews on all the travel (and customer service) websites of the world.
· Kosi Forest Lodge has six twin rooms; one family suite and one honeymoon suite.
· Kosi Forest Lodge falls within a malaria area and precautions should be taken before a visit.
· The nearest scheduled flights are from Richards Bay or Durban
Recommended route from Johannesburg:
Head to Piet Retief on the N2, pass through Pongola and proceed south towards Hluhluwe (approximately 113 km from Pongola). Turn left into the town of Hluhluwe (approx. 4 km) and drive through the town until you reach the last traffic circle. Turn left towards Mbazwane/Sodwana Bay and proceed for 0.7 km and turn right again towards Sodwana Bay/Mbazwane. Shortly after turning right you will cross over a railway line. Proceed for 87 km bypassing Mbazwane on your right. Proceed straight through the circles following the signs to “Coastal Forest Reserve” and pass. Proceed for 46 km after Mbazwane (passing the Mseleni turn-off) and turn right at the circle Kosi Bay / KwaNgwanase sign
For non 4 x 4 guests:
Drive into KwaNgwanase (Manguzi or Kosi Bay), through the town and near the end, look out for the Total Garage – on your left hand side. Once you arrive at this service station, a Kosi representative will meet you there and drive you to a secure car parking area not far away. The trip to the lodge from here will be approximately 25 mins in an open 4x4.