Kululapa, Howick, KZN. Taking the road less travelled.

In the language of flowers popular with Victorians, ferns represent fascination, secret love, and magic




Morning at Kululapa.

The mist rolls in over the surrounding hills, obscuring the entire valley and covering the vegetation in a blanket of white that quickly burns off and vanishes as the sun heats up the early morning air.




All the buildings on the property were constructed by Anton with help from locals and his two sons.

Given that almost everything used in the buildings is recycled, the workmanship is exemplary.

Every chainsaw mark tells a story and the fixtures and finishes are unique to say the least.

Although this angle makes Birdsong look like a double story building, the ‘upstairs’ window leads to a single bedroom that we nicknamed the Hobbit Room due to a doorway that was smaller than usual.




Looking down from the doorway to the Hobbit Room. When we were ‘at home’, this is where we spent most of our time… not at the top of the stairs, but in the lounge!

The huge lounge windows have a view uninterrupted by burglar bars and give a vista of most of the indigenous forest that stretches out almost to the horizon.

There are books and magazines scattered all over so that if a guest wants something to read there is an array of subjects to choose from.




Birdsong is self-catering and that is not something this family does on a regular family, hence us taking FAR too much food and drink with us.

I suppose that it retrospect we could have done with a LOT less food as we had our main meal at lunchtime in Howick or out along the Midlands Meander, leaving us only needing a snack for supper and something to nibble on while I worked at putting Blog postings together. And tea…countless cups were dispensed over the 4 days that we spent here.




The main bedroom. Every window has a forest view. And I was informed that if I got up early enough, the birdlife that I could hear could actually be seen in the foliage behind our accommodation.

I did try, but only managed to see a few brief glimpses for species that I did not recognize and which were to swift for me to photograph.

The number of pillows needed to adorn a bed largely depends on personal preference and comfort. Ultimately, the ideal number of pillows on a bed is subjective and should be tailored to individual comfort and aesthetic preferences. That being said, I always travel with my own pillow as I prefer to sleep on a pillow that I know will give me the comfort and support that I require, whether it is for a single night or an extended stay.




I always to try to find a corner that catches my attention. At Birdsong, it was this rocking chair in the corner of the main bedroom.

Seeing that there were SO many pillows on the bed, I had placed those that were not required here. Luckily I put them back onto the bed before we left as I found several items of my clothing that would have been left behind had I not tidied up.

Top Tip: Go through the room carefully before you leave as you never know WHAT you might leave behind.

Some while ago I left a particular charging cable behind at a hotel and it took me MONTHS to get is back.




It might look compact, but this en-suite toilet and (out of shot) basin serve both the Hobbit Room upstairs as well as the occupants of the main bedroom, where this room can be found.





Top left…It might look rusty and decrepit, but this donkey boiler produces piping hot water almost instantaneously… if you remember to stoke the fire timeously.

Top right: The exterior of the outdoor shower. Just a few steps away from the main entrance of Birdsong, but for some it might also be out of the box. But even though it was chilly, I was able to shower and change outside before heading in to the warmth of a fire and a hot beverage.

Bottom left: Hot water! A great way to end off the day and it obviates the need to shower in the morning when it was colder.

Bottom right: Release you inner child and hang your towels and change of clothing on these colourful pegs.




There are Nguni cattle that call Kululapa home for part of the day. They belong to a neighbour who utilizes the field in front of the main house as grazing for the herd.
How now brown cow is an example of assonance. Assonance refers to the repetition of vowel sounds, which creates a sort of alternative type of rhyme and is widely used in poetry, and in verse specifically.

Did you know?

The phrase how now brown cow does not have a fixed meaning. People who teach English speech and elocution use it to demonstrate how rounded vowel sounds are pronounced.

This bridge is one of several that seem to be scattered in random fashion on the property.

Each one is hand built and although they might look as if crossing them could be an issue, those that we did traverse were well constructed and sturdy.




The bridge crossed this particular section of a local river and the sound of the water added another layer to the sound of the birds and the aroma of the plant-life.




Having crossed the river via the bridge, we found ourselves at this small waterfall. One of several at Kululapa. I was told that there is one high enough to actually jump off. Luckily for me, time was against us and there was no time to investigate that possibility.

You time here is your own and there is no need to be constantly running and jumping. Standing still is an option. Like sitting at this waterfall and enjoying the sound of the water as it cascades over the stones.




Anton demonstrates that the best way to cross a swinging (suspension) bridge is at speed.

It seems that walking makes the bridge resonates more than when tackled at speed.

I will take his word for it, as someone had to record his attempt. And that someone was me.




Table for one?

This table and chair is situated just outside the main bedroom and while seated here, guests can enjoy and uninterrupted vista across the valley.




A romantic dinner? Perhaps or maybe it was load shedding. Whatever the cause, these candles added an ambiance to Birdsong.




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

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




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