Well-proportioned and sensitively designed, Lazuli Bush Lodge is set in Kuleni Game Park, an indigenous Sand forest on a tract of land set within easy reach of the Indian Ocean coastline, the heritage site of Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park, Hluhluwe and Phinda Private Game Reserve, known for its abundant wildlife, including not only the Big Five but many rarer and less easily spotted species, such as the elusive cheetah and the scarce black rhino. Remarkably, this rare and ancient forest thrives in the sandy soil almost in deﬁance of its environment.
Kuleni is a natural habitat for timid bushbuck, zebra, nyala, giraffe and tree-dwelling bush babies that cling to high branches. By day bird life keeps watchers glued to their binoculars with over 140 species that live and breed here. Beautifully maintained walking trails criss-cross the reserve, leading you along magical, winding forest paths, past magnificent endemic sand forest trees, to emerge at intervals onto open savannah, with distant views of the Lebombos.
The lodge itself is equally at one with this game-rich landscape. Designed by architect Joy Brasler, well known for her eco-sensitive design of luxury lodge Singita Lebombo on the Eastern border of the Kruger National Park and many others, used similar concepts and ideas for the Lazuli Bush Lodge.
Ultimately, the main living area was built along the lines of a grounded tree house, with wooden walls and ﬂoors, and expansive sections of glass that slide open to connect seamlessly with the surrounding forest. The result is an almost ethereal space deﬁned by materials that are at one with their surrounds.
The central living area of the main lodge is extensive and allows for individual pursuits; a quiet reading corner; a zone for animated conversation; the indoor central sunken fireplace lounge is a warm and intimate space for a shared bottle of good red; in summer, the large swimming pool with its 8 loungers and outdoor table on the deck adjoining, invite ice-rattled gin and tonics over lunch outdoors.
Four free-standing bedrooms, each with their own private deck, living room, freestanding bath opening onto your secluded patch of bush, and outdoor shower, are set at a distance from the main lodge and interconnected by boardwalks. Raised up off the forest floor, these units are designed to ‘touch the earth lightly.’ You sleep within a natural cocoon, with only glass separating you from the forest beyond.
The verandas are dappled with light fractured by branches and leaves, and from a short distance, the dwellings are well camouﬂaged. Seligna wood and stained pine form the basic structural materials of the lodge and suites. Sections of the walls are painted ivory, and the overall impression is one of light and airiness. The soft furnishings, fabrics and throws take their cue from the natural colour spectrum presented by giant aloes and sky between the tree tops. The effect is one of natural harmony.
Anyone staying here feels an immediate and strong connection with the environment. Time seems to stall and blissfully with every day appearing to stretch to two, truly balm for the soul.
KULENI GAME PARK: 200 HECTARES
LAZULI BUSH LODGE
Price: R3 900 000