Thunzi Bush Lodge manages to achieve something rather special: located not even 20 minutes’ drive from the heart of an industrial city but utterly tranquil, private and 10 minutes from a beautiful unspoilt beach and river mouth.
The chalets (read bungalows) sit completely surrounded by indigenous bush forest which back onto a large local nature reserves and the De Stades River – you’re surrounded by the sights and sounds of the African bush 24/7 but all the glam of Port Elizabeth’s Broadwalk is just down the road. Thunzi is a place to immerse yourself in nature, with fishing, canoeing, whale watching, sandboarding and endless bird watching all on hand without having to get into your car and without any of the trappings of a resort.
Offering four self-catering chalets, Thunzi’s accommodation is very private indeed: each chalet has its own elevated and shaded deck and also a ground-level firepit area. Mark and Trenwyth, the owners, have been really clever to include absolutely every modern convenience, including kitchenettes and wifi, inside the chalets, whilst not cluttering them or ending up with a series of tiny rooms. Mark actually built all of them by hand himself, so the design and build quality is superb.
Port Elizabeth has a lot to recommend it but it isn’t in itself a destination, being the centre of South Africa’s car industry. However, its transport links are superb, particularly its airport which has regular international and national flights. Thus Thunzi makes a perfect place to spend a night or two winding down after the Garden Route from Cape Town or, if you’ve been staying at the splendid game reserves of the Eastern Cape, it’s a convenient place to rest before getting back into the melee of planes and airports.
Pricing starts at R1 495 ($108 / £85 / €95) for a single chalet and R3 050 for a triple chalet.