The Bulungula Lodge is the realisation of a dream dreamt during years of travels through the most remote parts of Africa, China and South America: to create an eco-friendly backpackers lodge in the most beautiful place in South Africa in partnership with a vibrant, traditional community.
The lodge is situated in the most beautiful location of any lodge in South Africa. Have a look at the photo's. Beach, forest, lagoon, rolling hills, dolphins, whales, you name it.
We run on solar power, our rocket showers are legendary and our 10 huts have been positioned for great sea and forest views. Sarah, our resident London artist, has spent 9 months creating a visual spectacle – each hut has been theme painted and our odourless compost toilets are brilliant.
The Nqileni village owns 40% of the lodge and are an integral part of daily life here. No fences, no crime, no beggars, no hassles, just friendly smiles. Take a walk around the village at any time of the day and night and you'll be invited into the mud huts for a drink and a chat.
During the day you can wander around the village – horses are available - or you can chill out in our hammocks or on the beach. Our music collection is superb. Girls can head off with the village women for a crazy day of face painting, brick making, maize stamping, traditional food preparation, beer brewing and firewood collecting. Local fishermen will show you how to catch fish with throw nets, catch crayfish and octopus by hand and to make your own fishing rod from wood and wire. Lindile is your main man who'll lead you on your journeys through the village and local culture. We have a lot of wise old people in the village who have seen it all and have amazing stories to tell. Go meet Bob Marley, the elder who can tell you anything you want to know about the history of the area… despite being a big smoker in his youth, he still remembers everything. Or maybe you want to go chat with the old legend Tholelesilo who worked at the Cape Town harbour in the sixties - he has a few tales to tell. Nozolile the sangoma is always the first to laugh, and will beat the drum into oblivion after a few jugs of Umngqombothi beer. Sundays are merry – it seems every second hut has brewed beer and you won't escape without trying some.
The community offer canoe trips up the beautiful Xhora River where kamikaze fish may jump into your boat and Malachite kingfishers hunt in the forested cliffs upstream. You will also see the ancient cycad trees, relics from the dinosaur era. All this with a cooler box of beers...
And on special celebration nights there are the parties: real booming beach fire parties – we dance until dawn. And if you're lucky you'll dance on the stars.
We have 5 beautifully decorated huts with 4-6 beds and 5 beautiful huts with double beds (or 2 single beds). They all have bedding and beautiful views.
Accommodation on offer consists of:
- Dorms (4 to 6 single beds)
- Triple room (3 single beds)
- Double/twin/single room (1 double bed or 2 single beds)
- Luxury Safari Tent (twin beds or a double bed with bedding)
- Camping (3-man tents or smaller only. Unfortunately no 4x4 self-catering campers allowed.)
We fully cater for 3 meals a day at very reasonable prices: we cook excellent meat and veggie options every day.
- BREAKFAST: Cereals/porridge or cooked breakfasts
- LUNCH: toasted sandwiches or traditional lunch
- DINNER (all include salad): Malay Chicken Curry with Rotis, Lamb & Butternut Bredie, Cape Malay Bobotie with Yellow Rice, Swiss-style Alplermacaroni (a la Wood 'n' Spoon restaurant in Port St Johns), Sausage Stew with Umngqusho, Thai Green Chicken Curry, Fish & Veggie Frikkadels with Dhal... Delicious!!
- DESSERT: we have some wonderful desserts baked fresh daily including Sticky Toffee Malva Pudding, Tipsy Tart, Chocolate Cake, Apple Crumble and Peach Cake all served with either cream, hot custard or ice cream.
- BAR: our bar stocks beers, ciders, cold drinks, wine and some spirits.
- There is also munchie food: chips/crisps, chocolates, biscuits as well as cigarettes.
For self-caterers, there is only a very basic spaza shop nearby, so it's best to bring supplies with you but please leave as much packaging behind at the shop as possible.
We have helped the community start a number of 100% community-owned and run businesses including horseriding, canoeing, fishing, guiding, baking, sewing, cooking, wood-carving and environmental protection projects. We have helped some women in the village start the now legendary iLanga Fire Restaurant with the best sweet and savoury pancakes in Africa. And look out for our brand new bicycle powered blender producing the ultimate eco-smoothies! Two women from the village have been professionally trained as masseuses and offer luxurious full body and Indian head massages for those needing some pampering. All these community-owned businesses have created jobs and income for 33 families over and above those employed directly at the lodge. Obviously many of these businesses are still in their infancy and are not always as professional as you would find in the big cities - no-one in our village had any experience of tourism prior to 2004. But everyone puts there heart and soul into their new venture and as a result there is a unique, fresh edge to these activities.
Over the years we have launched a large number of education, health and infrastructural projects to assist members of our community escape the poverty trap. In 2007 we decided to formalise these projects within a separate non-profit NGO called the Bulungula Incubator (BI). Since then the BI has rehabilitated our local primary school, built and run our world class Jujurha Early Learning Centre, embarked on a number of ambitious agricultural projects, implemented various clean drinking water initiatives and lots, lots more. You can visit the Bulungula Incubator's website at www.bulungulaincubator.org
There is still much to do and, with this in mind, we encourage you to visit the BI website where volunteer needs are listed.
Find more Wild Coast Accommodation here.