KwaZulu-Natal, Rocktail Beach Camp Lodge
By Fiona McIntosh
When it comes to convenience, Rocktail Beach Camp takes some beating. The camp is right next to the Rocktail Dive Centre so it’s a quick kit selection if you don’t have your own gear, then while you listen to the briefing, your gear is rigged and taken down with the boat to the beach. By the time the second vehicle ferries you to the beach, the boat is idling in the shallows and all you have to do is walk out and hop aboard!Rocktail Dive Centre needs little introduction to most Divestyle readers. It’s truly a great centre with a professional, passionate dive team, top quality gear and excellent guiding. And since there’s a gentleman’s agreement with the only other dive operation with a concession to dive in the area (Thonga Beach Lodge), you’re guaranteed exclusivity on the reef. Boutique diving at its best.
The new Beach Camp is interesting and should be popular with both divers and nature lovers. One of a new generation of Safari & Adventure Co. camps throughout Namibia, Botswana and South Africa (a new arm of the Wilderness Safaris portfolio), it aims to provide an authentic, yet affordable wilderness experience for small groups, families and self-drive tourists looking for an active and involved holiday. So although the Wilderness Safari touch is evident, camps within the portfolio are very relaxed and child friendly. And, in this case of course, diver friendly.
The camp is set back from the beach in the lush coastal forest and consists of 12 rooms – three of which are family units. You’re surrounded by trees and twittering birds, but from most of the decks there’s a view though to the shimmering blue of the Indian Ocean. All the tented rooms have en-suite bathrooms, overhead fans and beautiful private decks on which to chill, while the main area of the camp, the central dining room, bar and lounge, has high ceilings and a fresh décor. There’s plenty of space in which to lounge around and read, while meals are served on the veranda which overlooks the large swimming (and dive training) pool.
Going out to sea from the glorious, deserted beach is always a treat. Bottlenose dolphins are regularly seen on the way to the dive sites, and when I was there in May they had seen Whale sharks every day of the previous week. Those not interested in venturing beneath the surface can enjoy snorkelling trips, quad and horseback rides, cultural visits to local communities and a glorious sundowner trip to check out the exquisite fever trees of Lake Sibaya. The cherry on the top, if you’re visiting between November and March, is the opportunity to go out at night to watch as the Loggerhead and Leatherback turtles come ashore to lay their eggs.
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