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November 22, 2011

Gwahumbe Game & Spa

Gwahumbe Reserve Game & Spa offers guests the ultimate intimate, relaxing bush experience. Located in a Malaria free environment and easily accessible from both Durban and Pietermaritzburg. Be pampered with catered or self-catered accommodation and service in accordance with our AA Superior accreditation. A wide variety of catered and self catered accommodation ranging from ultimate luxury to a rustic bush camp, together with excellent cuisine and a history of renowned good service and satisfaction, makes Gwahumbe Reserve Game & Spa a superb location to breakaway and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the bushveld. Gwahumbe Reserve boasts an exclusive Spa containing massage rooms, steam, hydro and wet room which are all enclosed in a tranquil setting where meals can also be had. Qualified therapists offer a variety of treatments and day or night packages can be arranged. Conferencing, weddings, game walks, game drives and teambuilding are our forte. Gwahumbe Reserve prides itself in being small and offering personal service to you our guest. Rhino, Hippo, Giraffe, Zebra and Antelope as well as an abundance of bird life can be seen close up in a beautiful riverine environment on the banks of the Gwahumbe river, from which the reserve derives it’s name. To enjoy this paradise, reservations are essential.

“ Gwahumbe “ is the Zulu word for the river that flows through the reserve. Pronounced – “Gwa –ghoom-bee”.


This private reserve overlooking the confluence of the Gwahumbe and Umsunduze Rivers forms part of the greater Gwahumbe Valley. This river system joins the Illovo River in the southern midlands of Kwa Zulu Natal and ultimately flows into the Indian Ocean south of Durban. The area covers 3000 ha of riverine forest, valley bushveld, plateau grassland and majestic cliff faces. Ranging from 700 m above sea level to 400 m in the river valleys, the topography is reminiscent of northern Kwa Zulu Natal but enjoys a milder climate and is malaria free.


This region once formed part of the ancient elephant trail as they moved between their winter-feeding grounds in the mangrove swamps of what is now Durban, to their summer habitat, the nearby Byrne Valley. This trail was later utilised by Boer Pioneers as a wagon route from the Cape to Durban. In a cave near the source of the Umsunduze River, Dick King and his Zulu companion, Ndongeni, are said to have rested while on their historic ride to Port Elizabeth. Agriculture at the turn of the century consisted of tobacco growing for which a factory was built in the Gwahumbe Valley.

In 1999 Gwahumbe Game and Spa was recognised as a natural heritage site and was issued the natural heritage certificate, which was signed by President Nelson Mandela.

• Wildlife
• Game Drives/Rhino hire
• Fishing
• 4×4
• Nature walks
• Mountain Biking
• Team Building
• Weddings
• Conferences
• Romantic Getaways

Gwahumbe Reserve Game and Spa caters to a wide variety of guest requirements from family getaways, special interest parties, product launches, to corporate conference and team building functions. Gwahumbe Reserve Game and Spa has a diverse variety of activities available, including – testing your driving skills on challenging 4 x 4 trails, bring along your mountain bike to navigate our 18km fully marked route which forms a part of the Mid-Illovo Husqvarna Classic Mountain bike race, teambuilding activities; enjoying game viewing drives in open Land Cruisers; hiking through the dramatic Gwahumbe Gorge; bird watching; enjoying a refreshing dip in the pool at the lodge or at the waterfall or just relaxing and taking in the breathtaking scenery. Spoil yourself at our well equipped Spa which includes – steam room, hydro bath and a variety of touch and beauty therapies by our qualified therapists.


Over 180 bird species have been recorded in this area. These range from forest species such as the trumpeter hornbill and colourful narina trogon, waterfowl, grassland “little brown jobs”, bushveld birds such as thrushes mouse birds and barbets, to a variety of raptors of which the Crowned Eagle is recorded to have bred in the valley for over twenty five years. Another endangered species that occurs here is the ground hornbill. A variety of antelope may be seen including, nyala, impala, blesbok, black and blue wildebeest, reedbuck, kudu, eland and the endangered blue duiker. White Rhino, Giraffe, zebra, Caracal, large spotted genet, black backed jackal, porcupine, Cape clawless otter, thick-tailed galago, aardwolf and warthog are also found on the farm. Hippos were re-introduced into Malinga Hippo Pool in 2000, a first for the region.

Game Drives

Gwahumbe Game and Spa offers game drives in open 4×4 vehicles with a qualified field guide to ensure your safety and viewing experience. We have two 10-seater Landcruisers and two Unimogs, which are used for larger groups. Game drives are undoutedly the best way to view our exceptional fauna & flora and offers the ecotourist the opportunity to get up close and personal with the game in a natural setting. As our reserve is relatively small, there is always an excellent chance for guests to view our game – namely rhino, hippo, wildebeest, giraffe, zebra and many antelope species.

Game Drives: +/- 2 hour duration 1 – 2 PAX R270.00 p/p 3 – 5 PAX R220.00 p/p 6 + PAX R200.00 p/p
Full hot snacks On Game Drive At Thirsty’s Deck: R40.00 p/p
Transfers To Valley: 1 WAY R50.00 p/p min charge R100.00
(Mzigi Bush Camp/Waterfall) RETURN R 75.00 p/p min charge R150.00
Guided Nature Walks: (Best suits groups of 8 pax or less) 2 pax R250.00 pp : 3 – 5 pax R200.00 pp : 6- 8 pax R180.00 pp
Guests are taken on an interesting and informative walk with one of our knowledgeable Field Guides. This activity provides the perfect opportunity to get in touch with and learn more about the smaller fauna and flora in our reserve. The walk usually lasts for about 1 – 1 ½ hours and need not be strenuous.

A variety of team building activities are available that can be custom designed to suit the size of the group and time available.
Self drives are allowed on our reserve. The terrain is suited to 4×4 or 2×4 with difflock Conferences:
vThe thatched conference centre seats approximately 30 delegates and can be set up in a variety of seating styles. This venue is ideal for conferences, strategy meetings, product launches, training courses and teambuilding. With the surrounding landscape your only distraction, this venue is conducive to a relaxed and productive experience.. Conference pads, pencils, mints and fruit juices are provided to delegates during conferencing. Contact us to tailor make your conference package.


There is no doubt that Gwahumbe Reserve Game and Spa will provide a spectacular backdrop for your very special day and the intimate and warm ambiance of our lodge accentuates the mood even further.
Imagine having your photographs taken in the African bush where Giraffe, Rhino, Zebra and various antelope species roam free in all their magnificence in their natural habitat, and which will unwittingly and very naturally provide additional special moments for your photos.
Our functions room has glass doors providing sweeping views over our magnificent valley and can accommodate up to 50 guests.
Gwahumbe Reserve Game and Spa also boasts a spectacular variety of excellent wines in our own private wine cellar, which you may choose from for your wedding dinner, or you may provide us with a list of your favourite wines, and we will do our best to accommodate your choices.
Our enclosed Boma has a wonderful cosy African ambiance to it and can be easily converted to accommodate a wedding ceremony or reception area for the smaller wedding party.
Our veranda overlooks a beautiful expanse of green lawn with the breathtaking Gwahumbe Valley behind it, which all provides the perfect backdrop to an outdoor wedding ceremony.
We at Gwahumbe Reserve Game and Spa will endeavour to make your special day that much more memorable and stress free by giving you and your function our personal attention. We will work with you to design a wedding reception and dinner to suit your needs.

Serenity Spa @ Gwahumbe

With today’s pace of life becoming demanding and stressful, more and more of us are seeking a sanctuary into which we can escape. Never before has the quest for wellness and harmony been so great…Indulge yourself at The Spa for a truly relaxing and uplifting experience.

Directions: We suggest using our written directions below…

DURBAN (approx. 1 hour)
* Proceed along the N3 towards Pietermaritzburg.
* Take the Camperdown (exit 57) off-ramp.
* At the top of the off-ramp turn left.
* Proceed for about 3 km to the T-junction with the R603.
* Turn left and proceed down the R603 towards Umbumbulu.
* After about 22 Km you will see a signpost to Mid-Illovo. (when you reach the Caltex garage on your left at the Eston cross roads, you are 7 km from this sign – CONTINUE along the R603).
* Turn right at this sign off the R603 and proceed for 12 Km to the village of Mid-Illovo. Mid-Illovo consists of a Spar, a Police Station, a bottle store, a small filling station and a few houses.
* Drive through the village and 300m beyond the village turn left onto the Ismont Rd.
* Proceed for 1.2 km along the Ismont road, and then turn left onto a gravel road, the D368.
* Proceed along the D368 for 1.7 km and turn left at the Gwahumbe sign.
* You are now on our access road and about 800m from our entrance gate. Turn left as indicated by the arrow at the fork.
* Shortly thereafter you will reach our entrance gate.

* Proceed along the N3 in the direction of Durban.
* Take the Umlaas Road / Umbumbulu / Richmond off-ramp.
* At the intersection vere left onto the R603 and proceed past the Shell garage in the direction of Umbumbulu,
* Turn right after about 23 Km to Mid-Illovo (when you reach the Caltex garage on your left at the Eston cross roads, you are 7 km from this sign – CONTINUE along the R603).
* Proceed for 12 Km to the village of Mid-Illovo.
* Drive through the village and turn left after 300m onto the Ismont Rd.
* Proceed for 1.2 Km and turn left onto a gravel road, the D368.
* Proceed along the D368 for 1.7 km and turn left at the Gwahumbe Reserve sign ( this is opposite a farm called Java Heights ).
* You are now on our access road, turn left as indicated by the arrow at the fork.
* Shortly thereafter you will reach our entrance gate.

* Take the N2 towards Durban
* Take the Kingsburgh/Umbumbulu off ramp (R603)
* Turn right in the direction of Umbumbulu on the R603
* Proceed along the R603 for about 43 km
* Turn left at the Mid-Illovo sign post
* Proceed for 12 km to Mid-Illovo, drive through the village
* Turn left at the Ismont sign post
* Proceed for about 1,5 km along this road
* Turn left at the D368 (this is a gravel road and is opposite a small church)
* Proceed along the D368 for about 1,5 km
* Turn left at the Gwahumbe Reserve sign and follow this road to the entrance gate.