JUST 45 minutes from central Durban, the Tala Valley in the Camperdown area is a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city. And it offers a range of getaway-to-it-all experiences from adventure, tranquillity, secluded luxury and a game reserve experience. If it’s not more than one hour that you want to drive for your staycation this is the place for you – either from Durban or Pietermaritzburg. While adventure seekers are well catered for, the Tala Collection Game Reserve is certainly the “must see” attraction in the area. With the country moving to Level one Covid regulations, consumers looking for a quick getaway or short stay, can nestle in the Tala for a short while. With this in mind, singers/producers Aewon Wolf and Kyle Deutsch, visited the Tala Valley this weekend with the game reserve as their home for two nights. The two have traversed the province covering 8000 kilometers shooting their new single, “We have it all” (which is about KwaZulu-Natal) but Tala was still a surprise for them. Every time we venture out, we continue to be amazed, Wolf said. HIDDEN IN THE HILLS The 3 000ha wildlife sanctuary, which is hidden in hills of a quiet farming community, is 51% owned by the local community –the Nkumbuleni Trust and the National Empowerment Fund -and 49% owned by Dream Hotels, a hotel management group. Both the local community and the hotel management are focussed on one thing: building tourism again. For any visitor coming from Pietermaritzburg or Durban, you would be very impressed at just how accessible Tala is. Ten minutes off the N3 and you are taken away from the bustle of the city life. As you drive through the reserve you would be greeted with wildlife including zebras, ostriches, rhinoceros and warthogs. Wolf and Deutsch were eager to see the rest of the animals and birds and their cameras were ready, and prodded their game ranger Lonely Masiyane to keep showing them more. Tala offers a host of activities for day visitors too: You can go on guided game drives, self-game drives, Segway tours, and then there is archery, paintball, fishing and cycling. So close to the animals, the two singers joined a few teenagers on the guided Segway tour virtually coming face to face with the wild.  OVERNIGHTING Guests are spoilt for choice with a selection of houses, cottages and lodges. There is the Paperbark Lodge; the newly-refurbished Leadwood Lodge; Fisherman’s Cottages and Figtree Farmhouse, and there is also a self-catering option in the Fisherman’s Cottage overlooking the nearby dam. La Tala Restaurant is a well-known venue, as are the traditional outdoor bomas. Attractive conference rooms are ideal for a wide range of gatherings too, including weddings. UP-UP-AND-AWAY It was the second morning, and the skies were clear and weather permitted Wolf and Deutsch to get a bird’s-eye view of the rolling hills of the region from the unique vantage point of a hot air balloon located in the Tala Valley. “An exceptional experience. If ever I have seen magic, it has been in KwaZulu-Natal,” said a beaming Wolf, who was accompanied by Deutsch and his wife Kerry, while floating in the air. Deutsch added his voice: “There’s never been a better opportunity to discover what lies right on our doorstep. We don’t have to go to far. Beauty is all around us here in the Zulu Kingdom.” The tour wrapped up with another unforgettable adventure: a visit to the quad trails at Highstakes, set on 150ha in scenic Cato Ridge. It proved the perfect place to unwind and notch up another tick on the things-to-do list. The duo together with Gagasi FM presenters Thandi “Zisto” Mhlongo and Khulekani “Daddykulz” Mbambo were like teenagers let loose with their mean machine quadbikes. Follow us as we venture into our beautiful province. Watch our video of the weekend here – WHERE TO STAY: Tala Collection Game Reserve Gwahumbe Game and Spa Insingizi Lodge Treehouse River Lodge Eagles Landing Bed & Breakfast FUN THINGS TO DO: Be a daredevil and skydive at the Durban Sky Dive Centre Go for a hot air balloon ride at Tala Valley Visit the National Lion Park at Cato Ridge Take on the Gwahumbe 4×4 Trail Visit the Indlondlo Cultural Village Visit the Umlaas Cycad Centre  
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