With its breathtaking Lubovane Dam water setting, Wendy’s Lodge is the perfect place to be if you want to escape from the all-night booming sound that drives you crazy in the townships.
Sick and tired of the blaring music from my neighbour’s house on weekends, I take a 65-km drive from Zakhele Township in Manzini to Wendy’s Lodge, which offers a tranquil atmosphere.
What is on top of my mind is to be away from the annoying sounds that deprive me of tranquillity. The other is listening to the jazz’s pulsating, rhythmic pattern while driving that makes me go to bed with a happy and tranquil mind. Those in-the-know say it makes you happy, slows your heart, relaxes your breathing and lowers your blood pressure. That is what matters most to this quinquagenarian.
Growing up valuing nature as a herder, I always long for time to commune with nature. I find driving through the lush green fields of fortunes – sugarcane – therapeutic and good for health. While keeping my eyes trained on the 9.2-km St. Phillips road and the 5-km Wendy Lodge’s road, I enjoy the unforgettable views of the spectacular landscape.
Taking me longer than expected to reach destination, the Wendy’s Lodge gravel road appears to be a road to nowhere. As I fight the urge to turn back, there appears a wooden plaque written “Welcome to Wendy’s Lodge” hanging on a tree beckoning me. I heave a sigh of great relief. I now start wrestling with the idea of how to immerse myself in the rustic atmosphere.
Tucked away in the forests on the dam’s edge, Wendy’s Lodge boasts not only of rustic beauty of the countryside but also rustic charming lifestyle. Run as a family business, Zweli Gamedze, whose wife is Wendy, warmly welcomes me. Seeing that I am passionate about eco-tourism, he chooses to show me around. Luckily for me, he has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the establishment.
He lets me experience the unique setting of the resort. He reels off its range of offerings including the resort space, outdoor space, accommodation, meals and entertainment. He counts on the rustic landscape. He also takes pride in that they have kept nature intact as the landscaping was only done to introduce the flowers.
“It is home to indigenous tree species like umkhuhlu, palms and flowers. We don’t import alien plants to degrade the nature,” Gamedze says, exuding confidence.
The first stop is at an open chapel with neatly laid out logs as pews under the shade. This chapel serves as an ideal place for garden weddings. This is one resort that has a rustic appeal to tourists from all walks of life.
Among the resort various options to lay your head is the tented campsite where guests bring own tents or rent them. There are also cabins with outside ablution facilities. There is an ensuite camp house with air-con that accommodates six people sleeping in bunk beds.
The resort’s flagship is a tribute to the ‘lady of the resort’, the Wendy’s houses with outside bathrooms. I marvel at the distinctive design of the under tree showers and basins fitted to trees.
If you intend to relax and enjoy outdoor life, there is a gazebo-like Esangweni. You can enjoy the surroundings while having drinks and braai meat with friends. The braai meat is served on umgcwembe to give you a taste of the village experience. It is prepared using firewood, not the gas cylinder stoves we have become accustomed to.
It offers African dishes – think of boiled meat, offals and indigenous chicken before your pork, wors and stews. For entertainment, the resort provides quad biking, swimming, boat cruise, pony riding and horse trailing outside the resort. There is also a kiddies’ wing with swings.
Afraid of the deep waters, I politely turn down Gamedze’s free offer to join him in a boat cruise in the dam.
From the camp house overlooking the dam, you can experience the gentle breeze and enjoy the panoramic views of the rustic landscape. Phone Wendy’s Lodge at 76083721, Facebook: Wendy’s Lodge, Instagram: Wendy’s Lodge