Activities at Zingela
The Zulu Kingdom boasts superb all year round sub-tropical weather with an average of 320 days of sunshine a year! Zingela’s average rainfall of 600mm falls mainly over the summer months This is when the peaceful Tugela wakes up from its hibernation and provides some of the most exciting rafting in the country.
With these statistics in mind you might decide to do absolutely NOTHING while unwinding at Zingela. The camp is ideally situated for guided game walks, birding or fishing. Sitting in the shade of a thorn tree with a good book is also a wonderful alternative. African time rules here and the Tree of idleness might find you a common visitor!
Adventure activities are largely dictated by the seasons and nature has provided a wonderful playground.
The river for rafting, kayaking, fishing and zip sliding. The cliffs for abseiling. Spectacular terrain for 4x4s, quad and mountain biking. The variety of birds, trees and game that makes every walk an adventure.
· White Water Rafting
· Mountain Bikes
· Paint Ball
· Fly Fishing
· Birding About
Zingela must be one of the most romantic venues for a wedding with a difference.
The reception can be a champagne picnic lunch on the lawn, a festive affair in the thatched boma or tables set under the stars.
Most wedding guests make a weekend of it so it is an ideal opportunity for a celebration, which in true Zulu tradition, lasts more than one day! The candlelit honeymoon suite with its stunning views over the moonlit hills completes the dream.
Zingela has been the happy venue for many other festivities including milestone birthdays such as 21sts 40ieths and anniversaries. Some clients book out the camp for a New Years Eve celebration, others come to commiserate on a groom-to-be s’ final days as a bachelor. All of these have been special events, who would forget the star of the bull’s party in a pink Tutu! But the most memorable event was when everyone forgot to fetch the minister! We have all heard of runaway brides but this took the wedding cake! Thank heavens for cellphone and well-sprung 4x4s…he made it the hour long trip in record time!
Corporate Functions: Out of the office & into Africa!
At Zingela neither your cell phone nor your car will be of use so it is time to move to the beat of a different drum! The 26km bush track is not Citi-golf friendly and the venue is accessible by high-clearance, diff-lock or 4×4 vehicles.
A team is often moulded through shared experience and the Zingela environment provides ample opportunities for this to happen. The itinery is tailor-made from the physical activities on offer and in discussion with your organiser.
On request we source highly experienced facilitators who link the physical activities with discussions in the conference room.
Corporate bookings of 20 or more are regarded as exclusive. Contact name of companies that have been here recently are available on request.
Most romantic venue for weddings
Zingela must be one of the most romantic venues for a wedding with a difference. The reception can be a champagne picnic lunch on the lawn, a festive affair in the thatched boma or tables set under the stars. Most wedding guests make a weekend of it so it is an ideal opportunity for a celebration, which in true Zulu tradition, lasts more than one day! The candlelit honeymoon suite with its stunning views over the moonlit hills completes the dream.
Graded 5 stars by Getaway writer Don Pinnock
We often get asked for a description of the accommodation and have found it easier to say what it is not than what it is! You will not be staying in a chalet, rondavel or tent. Each en-suite design is unique and has been built in unity with its immediate environment. We have used river stone, reed and canvas as materials. Larney lane is ideal for couples while Hotel & Aloes are more suitable for family groups or friends who know each other. J. camp is an extension of main camp but as it has its own bush kitchen and dining area, it does double up as a Bed &Breakfast or self-catered camp for those who prefer that option. The recently refurbished House on Hill is the original Zingela farmhouse. Perched on a cliff overlooking the river, it is just downstream from J camp. We use it for both those who want catered accommodation as well as for groups who would prefer to self cater and join the main camp for selected meals. We can comfortably host groups of forty and erect extra tents for larger parties. As an example, Zingela has been the venue for weddings and adventure races where we have catered for over a hundred guests. Our permanent campsite situated between Main camp and Jame camp is open all year round while wild camping at Warthog Island is best in the dry season.
WHITE WATER RAFTING
Summer is all about white water rafting and Zingela has twice hosted the South African White water rafting championships. There is an excellent 20km stretch of rapids and pools on this section of the Tugela Canyon including the intimidating Washing machine and Finger rock rapids. Water levels alter the mood of the river but whether the river rises along with adrenalin levels or whether the water converts to a “smell the roses” experience, these adventure trips are unforgettable. Rafting on big water is traditionally between November and April but as always Mother Nature has the final say! On big water we use the eight and four man rafts while in lower water the two man crocs and one man kayaks are ideal. Our experienced guides are trained by and registered with the African Paddling Association. Many of our clients are novices so no previous rafting experience is necessary.
Zingela offers some wonderful single track riding and interspersed with rugged 4×4 vehicle bush tracks. The ride in from both Weenen & Colenso offers 30kms plus dirt road riding at its best. The abundance of game in the bushveld wilderness adds to the riding experience. Guests are welcome to bring their own mountain bikes. Eco-friendly quads are also a great way of seeing the area and sensible riding often results in excellent game viewing along with the 4×4 terrain.
Love it or leave it but the game is guaranteed to turn you into a cowboy or a crook! The dry river beds make an ideal venue for the game.
Comment by Chris Bateman – former angling correspondent, The Cape Times. (Just in case you think we are biased)
“Mark, the owner of Zingela spends many hours in what he calls the “Office.” This is another name for the fly fishing in the Tugela.
The prime quarry for Mark & an increasingly avid band of guests is the sometimes elusive but always hard fighting indigenous Natal yellow fish (known locally as the Scalie).
Breakfast talk at camp centres on the types of bead head nymphs or bloodworm patterns that are known to work best, which section of the river to fish them, how to get there and the best riffles, pocket water and glides to work.
The Zingela section of the Tugela provides many kilometres of pristine, exciting fishing in rugged countryside that has changed little in millennia and where your only company might be a curious kudu or duiker, a herd of Impala or a string of strutting warthogs heading down to drink at mid-day.
Zingela fly fishing keeps you honest. No sluggish pellet-fed impounded prize fish just waiting to inhale your fly here. These are sleek, natural-born, silver-yellow beauties ever alert to feeding opportunities, survivors of low-water droughts, raging foods, cormorants, fish eagle and the rare angler.
When you hook one you know about it. Think of the hugely sought after northern hemisphere Greyling if you want a species to compare with in terms of fight and indigenous purity. My personal best in four winter visits to Zingela is a seven pounder that stopped my fly dead below a strong rapid before slicing upstream through the fast water with an impunity that had me shaking my head in admiration and delight. He is back there, older, wiser and waiting to do battle.
Expect to put your time in. You are in the scaliest ancient territory here and sometimes only a combination of decent temperatures, water clarity and insect hatches will get this efficient predator on the take – or not.
But my best advice, (though please refer to Mark for the latest office gossip) is to fish a floating line with a long leader and weighted fly, stick to water above 12° C and pray for some reasonable water clarity – best potential months being April to the first frosts and from August to the first big rains.
The rest is up to your skill, patience and resilience. This is an angling challenge at its most pristine. One that I reckon outshines the allure of the fanciest and most heavily promoted venues by a very long chalk.”
And one more comments from Dr Ian Gordon, a keen fisherman from Ireland just in case you aren’t convinced!
“An intimate and secluded camp right on the river where one is treated as a friend not a guest…the fishing potential is huge and whilst scalies are the main quarry, the barbel fishing is excellent”
“Have fished a few mighty rivers, and now this on our doorstep? Scotland’s Spey, the Zambezi, but this Tugela, a different league in wild unspoiled environs. The sight of those huge golden fish, disdainfully ignoring the offerings has got us plotting already for more….” Anton Smith. Siyabala Consult CC
The cliffs overlooking the Tugela Canyon provide dizzying abseil sites. Face your fear or watch other participants step over the edge. Registered, experienced guides are there to provide reassurance and safety. The following poem says it all!
Over the Edge
Cold sweat, false bravado.
Anxious eyes, fidgeting hands the senses are brought to life.
Rough rocks, cool breeze
An agony of waiting
The edge, a leap of faith
Fear becomes terrifying exhilaration
Heart pumping, Eyes popping, You touch down. Its over!
Zach Bowen-Davis (Hilton College Poetry group)
The recently re-thatched the old farmhouse gets the first and last of the winter sun. The position of the house gives those who stay there a panoramic, eagles-eye view of the majestic Tugela River. It can sleep 12 at present (5 bedrooms). Guests who stay at the H.O.H can choose the catered or self-catered option. This is an ideal venue for small corporate groups who need privacy and un-interrupted inspiration!