St Lucia, two and a half hours up the N2 from Durban, is the centre of an increasingly important tourism hub that includes the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, diving near Sodwana Bay, Cape Vidal beach and further inland, the Hluhluwe–iMfolozi Park.
Most visitors to the town are stocking up on supplies and on their way somewhere else – either into iSimangaliso, the chalets around Sodwana or to the game lodges of Hluhluwe. But there’s a good reason to stay in town – the glamping setup called Urban Glamping, which is a new kind of resort.
Essentially it is a collection of permanent tents under roofs that are set in a garden-like environment, with mature trees and two swimming pools to give it the feel of one of those sophisticated South Asian beach resorts, with wooden walkways between the units.
Each tent has a private walkway up to a raised balcony, and outside, its own table, chairs as well as a sleeper couch. Inside there are single or double beds, a standing fan, mosquito nets, a mini fridge and a kitchenette. There’s also an en-suite bathroom with a shower, toilet and sink, in addition to plenty of cupboard space and a digital safe.
Outside is where things are really special. The resort has wonderful public areas, all focused around the two pools. Communal eating areas look out onto the pool and the many loungers suggest there’s not much reason to head to the beach when you can just kick back and spend the day by the pool.
If exploring is your thing, though, the area is an adventurer’s dream. Close by – literally next door – are a wide selection of restaurants and bars, good for collective evenings of fun and laughter. Further afield, St Lucia’s main ocean swimming spot Ingwe Beach is a few minutes down Beach Road. The St Lucia Estuary and the St Lucia Game Reserve are next to the beach, ideal for kayaking and hikes. And of course, not far away are all those treats we mentioned – the big five of Hluhluwe–iMfolozi (50 minutes away), Sodwana Bay (two hours 30 minutes away) and Lake St Lucia (one hour 30 minutes away).
Great area, excellent adventures and a glamping experience to be remembered – highly recommended!
Need to know
Urban Glamping is a lodge in the middle of the town of St Lucia that offers tents, rooms and beds in a village-like environment. The lodge is divided into luxury and budget accommodation. The luxury tents are around two pools, set among the indigenous trees. Each tent has a kitchenette and bathroom with a toilet and shower as standard. Breakfast is available on request.
Tents from R253 pn pp sharing. There are rooms and dormitory beds available as well: From R230 pn pp urbanglamping.co.za
Words: Peter Frost | Photography: Unsplash, Courtesy Images