Win a weekend for two at Umkhumbi Lodge! Your prize includes dinner, bed and breakfast, a half day game drive in the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve and a 2.5 hour guided kayak on the St Lucia Estuary. See below for more information!
Our Environmental Awareness Course with Mid Kent College is now featured in an educational catalogue!
A round up of all the fantastic pictures that have made it onto the facebook page of our lodge in South Africa.
Every day we put a new photo on our Facebook page, we’ve put a selection of them here!
At Umkhumbi lodge we are proud to say that each room has a resident Velvet gecko (they stay outside, don’t worry!) The Velvet gecko is on the IUCN list due to it’s rarity. One species of the Velvet gecko is so rare that it was only recently rediscovered!
They are larger than the non-indigenous Tropical house geckos that are so prominent here in South Africa. They have been known to grow up to 120mm in length (and that is just the body, add the tail on as well and you have a fairly substantial portion of gecko!).
So, I hear you ask, if they are so big; How on Earth do they run up the walls? How do they not fall off the ceiling?
Well, each toe is covered with large, wide pads. These pads are covered with tiny little hairs, shorter than 2 diameters of a human hair(1) and much thinner, it is these hairs that allow geckos to run up even the smoothest surface. Each of these hairs is subject to a weak molecular attraction – Van Der Waals theory – which gives geckos the ability to be able to hang from a wall by just one fingertip. This adhesive effect is very strong and the tiny hairs only become detached by changing their angle (almost like velcro).
For more information about the discovery, read this and this from the Lewis & Clark College, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of California at Santa Barbara, and Stanford University.
Yet another fantastic review of Umkhumbi Lodge, this time at the TheTravelEditor.com
Check it out here!
It was with heavy hearts last week that we said goodbye to 8 of our guests who came to Umkhumbi Lodge to film the latest promotional video for Tourism KZN.
From Kayaking with crocs, spa treatments, and even jumping off of a football stadium roof – there was plenty to film!
Our film stars were:
Peter from South African Airways (SAA).
Samantha from Travel2.
Yaksha from Thomas Cook.
Lindsey from TUI (Thompsons).
Bruce from Travel Counsellors.
Claire from TTG (Travel Trade Gazette).
our Cameraman Blair “The Kiwi”
And of course Storm from Tourism KZN who was responsible for unleashing this motley crew on KwaZulu Natal.
After a week of seeing Vader but being unable to capture him on photo we were successful yesterday! He looks in good condition and judging by the speed he shot off at, he is as happy as Larry with his new home.
All in all a good day, we located Lucas the little Black Mamba and even Chelsea the big Black Mamba had decided to disengage herself from her nice warm bed and venture outside for a spot of sunbathing.
After a week of eluding us she was so keen to show us she was still alive that we almost stepped on her! Only when we’d seen her did she decide that that was enough and she shot off into the bush again. Presumably tag-teaming with Lucas to keep us on our toes and searching further and further into the bush for the both of them.
Lets talk cameras!
A big thanks to African Imagery for hosting their recent photo workshop with us here at Umkhumbi Lodge in Hluhluwe.
Well, ok, not exactly dinosaurs, but pretty close! Today was spent at Zulu Croc – the crocodile centre a mere 5 minute drive from Umkhumbi Lodge.
Everyone was a bit shy at first and stayed as a group around a single enclosure – it wasn’t long however until everyone was lying on the ground trying to get some nice crocodile close-ups through the fences.
Then it was time for the photography workshop to really begin. Here is where Roger De La Harpe and all attendees (gently) picked apart images. It’s great, not only did we learn from our mistakes but everyone elses as well.
Day 2 – Afternoon
Poor Ntombi she had the joyful job of posing for us. Ntombi works at the lodge, and as well as cleaning the rooms, feeding the iguanas and occasionally being one of our servers at the lappa, she now had to smile until her cheeks hurt (thankfully Ntombi is so usually always so cheerful this isn’t too much of a problem for her)!
Dressed in beaded clothes Ntombi was the perfect model for us.
And I have to say, I have a lot of respect for fashion magazine photographers, people are not as easy to shoot as they look!
Day 3 – Last day :’(
Touch up class and snakes!
The morning started with a brief critique of our shots of Ntombi and then Roger further helped us to enhance the beauty of our shots with some five minute touch ups using Adobe Lightroom.
To finish up, snakes.
From Antons collection in the garage: juvenile Puff Adder, juvenile Gaboon Adder and a Variable Bush Viper.
Pics to follow!
Arriving at Hlane Royal National Park, the Waterhole by the restaurant was like a scene out of the Lion King!
Rhino, Hippo, Elephants, Impala, Stork, Ox Peckers and Crocodile, all that was missing was the Giraffe!
Another evening drive for Stephanie and Adrian Tonight followed by an early morning mountain bike ride around the park (to say they are excited would be an understatement!)
Again, these waters contain both Hippos and Crocodiles, but this time Stephanie and Adrian are on Kayaks.
Paddling in the waters with Hippos and crocs doesn’t seem like such a good idea as you carry your paddle to the waters edge…
…but after the first few strokes of the paddle you are soaring across the water and all thoughts of turning back are gone from your mind.
Lead by our trusty guide Justin, Stephanie and Adrian ventured out in search of the Hippos, Crocs and birdlife of the estuary.
Once more Adrian and Stephanie have decided that they’re not ready to leave South Africa yet.
But we caught them and brought them back!
Don’t worry you two, the estuary, the crocodiles, the hippos and the kayaks will still be here when you get back!
Adrian and Stephanie enjoyed yesterdays full day game drive so much that they’ve decided to go on another one!
They’ve clocked the Big 5 – but it would appear that’s not enough, they want to see a Cheetah in the wild and they want black rhino.
Well done Adrian!
On todays game drive he spotted the first Lion, and before the game ranger!
That never happens!!
Today was a busy day!
The morning was spent tickling and feeding elephants…
The afternoon was spent having a spot of lunch at Ilala Weavers (and shopping) and then a tour around a local township.
And then the last item on the days agenda is a bit of a hardship….