Kululapa, near Howick. Hidden in plain sight.

From lone adventurers or solace-seekers to families, Birdsong is the ideal hideaway that offers visitors a variety of different adventure activities like hiking, cycling, photography, and bird watching. Or you can relax, read a book and allow the days and nights to roll into a time and space continuum. The choice is yours. This stand-alone, self-catering accommodation has it all, including the opportunity to enjoy breathing clean forest air.




Although it looks like a double storey house, Birdsong rose out of a wattle and daub cave that was converted into a ‘proper’ house for family members. The only upstairs room is a bedroom that can be utilized for either children or adults.

A great space for those who want to use Kululapa as an escape from the urban chaos that assails us on a daily basis. A secluded place where guests can disconnect totally and use the time for introspection and relaxation.




In Japanese culture, ferns are believed to symbolize family and hope for future generations. In other cultures, ferns are known as symbols of eternal youth, love, and growth. In Victorian times, ferns represented humility and sincerity.

In the encyclopedia ferns are said to have magical powers. It adds that, “carried or worn, fern has the power to guide its bearer to discover treasures. If you ever find yourself in a spot covered with ferns, exactly at midnight, where no sound can be heard, Puck will appear and give you a purse of gold.

Symbolically ferns have been adopted by many cultures around the world and classically represent the renewal of life. Aesthetically it is a great legacy and testament of how a species unchanged for millions of years has found a place in basic design across the globe.




A view from the sofa. No matter where you sat in the lounge, the large windows framed the view of the indigenous forest perfectly.




This table became my ‘office’ as the view was stupendous and it gave me mental motivation to write while at Kululapa.

Everything can be recycled. Even a tree branch can be turned into a light fitting.




This kettle deserves a medal as it was almost consistantly and constantly proving hot water for beverages as well as hot-water bottles.

There was a spare gas cylinder should we have run out, but that was not needed.

Both the hob and the oven are gas driven, so no need for electricity.




The Nguni is known for its good temperament. Nguni cattle are heat and light tolerant and can handle extreme heat and cold alike. They are adaptable and hardy and possess excellent resistance to internal and external parasites with natural immunity to tick borne diseases.




Did you know that barbed wire as we know it was invented in Barbed wire (or barbwire) was commercially developed in 1874 by American inventor Joseph Glidden (1813–1906). The invention consisted of steel wires that were twisted together to make sharp points resembling thorns. Barbed wire was predominantly used in the West to construct fences.

The Kansas Barbed Wire Museum in LaCrosse, Kansas is devoted solely to the history and legend of this part of American history often referred to as the “Devils Rope”. On exhibit are over 2400 barbed wire varieties; including samples manufactured between the years 1870 and 1890. Hundreds of antique fencing tools illustrate the inventiveness of pioneers.




There are a variety of ways to close a gate on a farm…all of them are unique and this is a case in point. I found three gates during my wanderings, and none of them was held closed in the same way.




As I walked from Birdsong to the car park the morning sun stretched its gentle rays across the landscape, illuminating the world with a golden hue, this feather, adorned with delicate droplets of moisture caught my attention. Each dewdrop glistened like a miniature universe, reflecting the beauty of nature’s creation. The presence of this feather hinted at the interconnectedness of life, the fleeting moments of serenity, and the ever-changing cycles of existence. Perhaps it carried a message of renewal, and the need to take time to find solace in the small miracles hidden within our surroundings.




This is the launch pad for one of the longest zip lines I have seen. “Did you try it out”? I hear you ask…luckily I was not offered the opportunity and I therefore did not have to make up an excuse why I did not want to test my capabilities.

Look carefully and you will understand why THIS song is still stuck in a loop in my head after taking this picture…

Like a bird on the wireLike a drunk in a midnight choirI have tried in my way to be freeLike a worm on a hookLike a knight from some old fashioned bookI have saved all my ribbons for thee
If I, if I have been unkindI hope that you can just let it go byIf I, if I have been untrueI hope you know it was never to you
Oh, like a baby, stillbornLike a beast with his hornI have torn everyone who reached out for meBut I swear by this songAnd by all that I have done wrongI will make it all up to thee
I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutchHe said to me, “You must not ask for so much”And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened doorShe cried to me, “Hey, why not ask for more?”
Oh, like a bird on the wireLike a drunk in a midnight choirI have tried in my way to be free

Songwriter: Leonard Cohen

Bird on the Wire lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Universal Music Publishing Group




This is an authentic ‘braai’ using a car rim to make the fire in. There are a variety of methods of making braais, my favourite is a sawn in half 44 gallon drum with old window burglar bars as the grill.

A South African braai is very different from a barbeque is as much as The main difference between a braai and a BBQ has to be the fire. A braai just isn’t considered a braai if cooked on a gas grill. People will gather around the fire after eating and spend the rest of the day or evening there.

The “braaivleis”, the South African version of the barbecue, comes from the combination of the Afrikaans words “braai” meaning “to grill” and “vleis” meaning “meat”. Braaievleis, therefore, means “grilled meat”. The word was gradually shortened to give only “braai” today.




A succulent can be grown in anything. Or for that matter, anything can be repurposed into being a container for a plant.




This is a relatively unknown destination by those who might want more of the modern conveniences that travelers have come to expect from certain establishments. That being said, everything that self-catering guests need to make their stay comfortable and memorable for all the right reasons is available in Birdsong.

Kululapa is one of those properties that I want to sing their praises from the tree tops, but at the same time I selfishly want to keep this as a bolt-hole for myself. A not quite off the grid property where I can come and recharge MY batteries while eating 28 day muffins with Hazel and walking the forest trails with Anton.

If you are a jaded traveller looking for a destination that will allow you to just ‘be’, then Kululapa is definitely be on a ‘must visit’ list.

With thanks to  Hazel and Anton Hartwick for hosting not only me, but my wife and child as well.




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