Thursday, 9 June 2011

"Kurhula Wildlife Lodge" a dream comes true.

In March 2008 my husband and I got the opportunity to realise our dream: starting a small hotel (lodge) in the middle of the bush in the Northern part of South Africa. Years of preparation, searching the internet, contacting estate agents and most important of all earning money got us leaving for a year in October 2007 to find that perfect spot.  We decided on a big road trip from Madagascar, South Africa, Mozambique towards Kenya, Tanzania, and Botswana etc.  

10 weeks Madagascar made us realise that although it is a beautiful country it was not the place for us. South Africa was next on the list, visiting friends, buying a car and all the camping equipment to survive 9 months on the road. We drove to several places and spoke to estate agents showing us property. We must admit property can look very different in real than it looks on the internet. We made the right decision to spend a year searching, instead of buying from the internet. To make a very long story short; we never made it to Kenya, Tanzania or Botswana….. 

During our stay in the Lowveld my husband realised that this is where he wanted to spend the rest of his live. This area was the place he fell in love with 10 years earlier (he lived in the Lowveld of SA for a couple of years). We put our camp up in the little town Hoedspruit and visited many, many properties. Some were way above our budget (an estate agent can always try) and some to awful to get out of the car for. Eventually we found our little paradise: a run down main house, 5 separate run down guestrooms, staff quarters and an unfinished little bungalow on a hill. The location was its unique selling point: situated on 21, 8 hectares with 250 m river frontage in a private nature reserve, part of the Greater Kruger Park. With a good renovation it had a lot of potential. We made an offer, it was accepted and we flew back to Holland to arrange everything for our big leave. 

In January 2009 we flew to SA to start a new chapter of our live. It took us 7 months to renovate and in September that same year we opened the doors of Kurhula Lodge which means “inner peace” in Shangaan.  With all our years of preparation we still had some unexpected hick ups regarding land owner ship, taxes, rules and regulations etc. But we managed to overcome these “rocks in the road” and are enjoying our live in the middle of the wild. I have started this blog to share the beautiful tales from the bush, but also to share information you need if you want to start a “hospitality business” in South Africa.