The Shayamanzi houseboat

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Lois Kuhle
Lois Kuhle

LOIS KUHLE chills out on Lake Jozini

Teach a man to fish, he’ll buy a boat, drink beer, and you’ll never see him again. Teach a woman to fish and she’s out there luring them in. Tiger fishing is one of the most exciting catches for the aspiring angler.

Sarah Cameron set the pace with her 2.5kg tiger
Sarah Cameron set the pace with her 2.5kg tiger

Shayamanzi houseboat was our home for the weekend and to the delight of Captain Branson, sisters Louise and Sarah Cameron were the most enthusiastic fishwives of us all. Sarah set the pace with her 2.5kg tiger, soon challenged by Cornelius Bezuidenhout’s 3.5kg catch. The fish were biting and everyone reeled them in.

Just when they thought it was safe to go back into the water, the Sharks came out to play – a minor rugby distraction that ensured the sisters the full attention of the Captain. Not being a rugby fan I even considered fishing. Who would have thought a houseboat in the middle of Lake Jozini would have DSTV?

 Captain Branson and Shayamanzi II
Captain Branson and Shayamanzi II

Shayamanzi I & II are the only licenced houseboats on Lake Jozini that can host 12 to 24 passengers. The vast Lake between the majestic Ubombo and Lebombo mountains on the Elephant Coast covers over 16 000 ha. Built in the early 60’s the dam was created to irrigate over 80 000 ha of farmland. Often compared to Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe it is fast becoming popular for wild life enthusiasts who can view over 350 species of birds plus a multitude of animals.

Shayamanzi-staffCaptain-Branson,-Sandile-Alan-Chef-Mike-Sofiso.
Shayamanzi-staffCaptain-Branson,-Sandile-Alan-Chef-Mike-Sofiso.

Some of the private lodges and reserves in the under-populated northern part of Zululand battle to compete with five star accommodation offered in other wildlife locations, but one thing they do deliver is exclusivity. Tourists enjoy an intimate relationship with this beautiful wilderness.

Who guessed there would be DSTV on the upper deck of the Shaymanzi?

Lake Jozini offers a tranquil and relaxing boating experience. Viewing a huge herd of elephant from the boat was an absolute privilege with little else to spoil the encounter, except the guffaw of hippo.

The Shayamanzi staff attend to your every need, from dealing with macho fishermen to subtle, sweet touches to make the ladies feel special. The five staff members are all men from captain to deck hands.

We set off from the 4 star Jozini Tiger Lodge through the mouth of the gorge and into the open water. As a young boy my husband used to swim in the river below us, before the dam was built. The area is steeped in history and it was a bonus to find someone to share this wonderful heritage.

The houseboats can be hired as a group or individually. It’s offers fantastic corporate team building opportunities or special weekends away. Shayamanzi has teamed up with White Elephant Lodge to offer guests the thrill of guided mountain biking rides on the Pongola Game Reserve.