Sunday, March 18, 2007

Hluhluwe backpackers

Hluhluwe Backpackers is run by David and Tina Davies. David is a boer guy and Tina is from Germany. Both of them do game drives in Hluhluwe and Umfolozi and are very passionate about their work. For three years now they have run the place, situated very nicely in the heart of Zululand and at the very doorstep of the game reserve.

David used to be a manager for another lodge in the area, but he was playing with the thought of having his own place. Every day he used to drive past this house, but back then it was only walls, and no roof. After some research he found out that it was the local Zulu chief that owned the property. David paid the chief a visit and brought a bottle of whiskey to start the negotiations. They made an agreement, and David could start building his own backpackers as he had dreamt about.

The walls inside the house were completely covered with anthills, so the first thing they had to do was clean the place out properly. They hired some Zulu guys for R10 per day (probably subsidised by the Zulu chief) and got the job done. Then they built the place up and created the charming atmosphere you experience there today. But before they could open up, the chief and the local Sangoma (witchdoctor) had to hold a ceremony and bless the place. Hluhluwe Backpackers is therefore today holy ground for the Zulus. No Zulu will dare to enter that property, and it is probably one of the safest places to be in the whole of Zululand, maybe South Africa.

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