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Memela “Primitive-chic bungalows, great hosts, fabulous location!”

Date posted: 2012-11-20

“Primitive-chic bungalows, great hosts, fabulous location!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2012

Our family stayed at Memela for 2 nights as part of a Kosi Bay hiking trip organized through Active Escapes. We really loved this place, run by Willis and his wife Janie.

Memela provides basic accommodations, but it is incredibly attractive and atmospheric . Willis, who built the bungalows himself, put lots of thought into their design—I\'d call them primitive chic. They are thatched with only 3 walls; one side is completely open to nature. The comfortable beds with crisp linen and mosquito netting are free-standing, nestled against an attractive cement headboard and sitting on gleaming cement floor. Our bungalow was situated to capture the incredible African sunrise. There is no electricity in the bungalows (only the main house). They are illuminated by kerosene lamps that provide a very romantic feel. The outdoor bathroom facilities are directly adjacent to the bungalow - basic, clean and plenty of hot water.

The main house, where Willis and Janie live with their 2 year old daughter Lily, is where family-style meals are served. Janie is a terrific cook and the dinner quality and presentation was befitting a 5 star resort. Janie and Willis are incredibly interesting and friendly hosts, and we had wonderful conversations with them -we felt like we were staying at a friend\'s place.

Memela is very remote and you need a 4X4 to get there (although pick-up was arranged for us). Memela is well located to explore the amazing Kosi Bay beaches and lakes. Willis can organize all sorts of different excursions -hiking, fishing, boating...

During our 4 week trip to South Africa we stayed in places that were more luxurious and expensive, but Memela was my favourite. It\'s a wonderful spot, run by great people.

Memela - "Simple and Authentic"

Date posted: 2012-06-01

“Simple but authentic”

4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 1, 2012

Willis and Janie (yanni) were great hosts and although the lodging is simple (outdoor toilet and shower, battery lights), the food was great and the guiding professional. We were able to see the Palm Nut Vulture, a particular wish, and also found baby loggerhead turtles at night hatching and heading for the ocean. Willis had only said he would try since it was a bit late in the season, but he made arrangements with a great guide and the interest of both in the resource was quite touching. He has great contacts and can arrange pretty much anything you would like at a reasonable rate. We were lucky enough to be there with his Mom and Dad as well, so we got to know the family - longtime SA, and his wife, Janie, as well. They have a lovely child, Lily, and we all shared a braai on the beach in addition to the regular fine meals at home. As an additional plus, Willis knows his birds, so if you have a special one you'd like, I would recommend that you try him.
Photos of Memela Bush Lodge, Maputaland, Maputaland Coastal Forest Reserve
This photo of Memela Bush Lodge, Maputaland is courtesy of TripAdvisor

What an awesome week! "I can definitely recommend Kosi Bay!"

Date posted: 2012-05-23

I came across this blogsite with excellent photos of Maputaland Bush Camp posted by Michelle on her blog.

Kosi Bay and the hatchling turtles!

Posted by michellelutener in South Africa.

Well, what a fantastic weekend. Five of us hired a car and I drove us up North (300km) to Kosi Bay which is still part of the Isimangaliso Nature Reserve. It was a lovely drive and the beaches and lakes around Kosi Bay were beautiful! We went up there because it is the season to see the baby hatchling turtles making there first journey down thebeach to the big open ocean.

We were picked up from the town of Manguzi and driven by 4×4 to the accommodation we were staying at(Memela Bush Camp). You can only get to Koi Bay by 4×4 as it is basically all sand dunes. We were staying at a lodge which was basic and rustic. It was awesome. We were out in the bush in the middle of nowhere with an outside toilet and bathroom. It was wonderful and actually very comfortable:

After a spot of lunch we then went off road to the lake where we were played a bit f volleyball in the lake and then jumped on a boat for a drive around two of the lakes in the area which are connected by a channel. We saw several hippo and different birds and then had another swim. It was so picturesque and relaxing, especially with the beers supplied on the baot! That’s the life.

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After the boat trip we headed to a beachfordinner. We watched the sun set whilst eating dinner and trying to avoid the crashing huge waves that were creeping up the beach. It was simply beautiful.

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After dinner (and a few more beers…) we met up with our guide, Victor, who was going to take us for a walk along the beach to try and find the hatchling turtles. We headed of in the darkwith the beach only being lit by the moonlight. Victor had a torch and walked higher up the beach to look for the hatchlings. After about 45 mins walking he found the baby turtles that were out of their eggs and heading down the beach to the ocean. We sat and watched them for ages as about 30 baby turtles were walking straight down the beach one after another or in pairs or threes. Their little legs / fins (or whatever you want to call them) were struggling to walk through the sand, but they all somehow managed to and then just got swept away in the waves. It was amazing to watch. Just look how tiny they are!

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We then headed back to the lodge and our chalets and the sky was so clear I decided to try and capture a star trail shot. I have been wanting to do this for ages but have never quite managed, so am realy pleased with this attempt!

The next morning we headed to the beach and I tried to swim in on the waves which were huge. It really was the perfect end to a wonderful weekend. I can definitely recommend Kosi Bay!

By the way, here is one of my hippo shots from the other day that I promised I would add to this update.

Kosi Bay Accommodation

Date posted: 2012-05-14

Where to stay in kosi Bay and the region?


Kosi Bay Hiking & Slackpacking

Date posted: 2012-05-21

The Kosi Trail is a collaboration between various Kosi Bay Lodges, Bush Camps, Communities and guides. It is designed for guests to experience a variety of accommodation(lodge, huts, camps), catering and hosts. During the trail guests will see and experience the best attractions and activities Kosi has to offer.



Maputaland Bush Camp

Date posted: 2011-05-21

Maputaland Bush Camp & Horse Safaris changed it\'s name. We are now called Memela Bush Lodge. The reason for this is that we no longer have horses. We do a lot of other activities and the horses became expensive to keep.

We still serve excellent home cooked meals (european breakfasts, lunches and dinners) served in the main house or a picnic lunch when on a day excursions / activities.

Memela Bush Lodge

o Beach Trips
o Turtle Tours - Come and see the giant sea turtles lay their eggs on our beaches. Unforgettable!
o Go for a game drive in Tembe Elephant Park
o Go out with a boat to sea - dolphins, whale-watching and snorkeling on reefs
o SCUBA - qualified divers only

o Cultural Activities (visit to local Tonga and Zulu houses)
o Boating on the Lakes
o Guided Hikes - Walk with our guides and experience bush, savanna, forest and beaches.
o Canoe on the Siyadla river.

Willie and Isabelle


Kosi Bay is in South Africa, Kwazulu Natal, Maputaland (part of the Isimangaliso Wetland Park).
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