Tala Game Reserve is open to day visitors and overnight guests, following a successful business rescue by Dream Hotels & Resorts
Located in Camperdown, a 50-minute drive from Durban central, Tala has welcomed its first local and international visitors for 2019 after a soft reopening last year.
Dream Hotels & Resorts which currently operates 22 mixed-use properties across South Africa and Mozambique, says the future of Tala Game Reserve is now secure.
“While Tala has been given a new lease on life, we have been careful to ensure that it has retained an authentic wilderness character,” adds Sharmila Ragunanan, Dream Hotels & Resorts Marketing Manager. “It is a place that is close to our hearts, and we are proud to continue its long-standing legacy.”
The reserve spans a 3000-hectare malaria-free area and features a mix of accommodation, wedding and conferencing options catering to different markets, budgets and group sizes.
Leadwood Lodge features six luxury stand-alone cottages, and will soon launch four luxury rooms at the newly renovated Manor house, while Aloe Lodge has seven comfortable rooms. There are 12 deluxe rooms at Tala’s Paperbark Lodge, six en-suite rooms at Mahogany House, and a seventh unique private rondavel which opens onto the swimming pool.
Overnight guests also have the option to self-cater at the Fisherman’s Cottage located near one of the reserve’s dams or enjoy a family getaway in the 5 bedroom Figtree house, a beautifully restored farmhouse set under beautiful fig trees with serene vistas.
“Day visitors are welcome at Tala, and there are picnic & braai areas surrounding the impressive Rockpools swimming area,” says Ragunanan. “Meals are served at La Tala Restaurant, which has stunning views on both sides, a cosy fireplace and is regularly visited by both giraffe and nyala.”
Tala School Camps
Tala has been hosting school groups for the last 10 years, with kids from all over coming to enjoy nature, animals and the outdoors.
Says Ragunanan: “Outdoor education is extremely important for any child at school – this builds leadership qualities and creates an opportunity to learn about nature and all its creatures. Together with the current school curriculum, we create the perfect camping experience that will stay with each child for life!. A full itinerary can be personalised for each school.”
She advises a two, three, or four night sleepover. “We accommodate the teachers at Figtree Barn, bus drivers at Fisherman’s Cottage and the students in our brand new permanent canvas tented campsite. It’s a complete package that includes all meals, a range of great activities and more.”
Birding: More than 380 bird species are found at Tala, with numerous dams, perfect for the avid birdwatcher.
Game viewing: Game drives are held throughout the day, led by experienced trackers. You are almost guaranteed sightings of rhino, hippo, giraffe, nyala, zebra and numerous other Antelope and game. Self-drive is also an option but it is preferable to use a 4×4 vehicle as some areas are not reachable by regular vehicles
There are currently no large predators on the reserve, apart from jackals and caracals, which hunt across the plains at night. “Wildlife viewing is relaxed and easy at any time of the day. This also makes Tala safe for families and visitors who want to explore on their private self-drives,” says Ragunanan.
4×4 Tours: Whether you are an experienced 4×4 driver or a novice needing to learn, tala has the facilities you are looking for. There is an extensive 4×4 trail along with a training area with obstacles for practice and testing.
Adventure bikes: Tala also offers an adventure bike training facility and guided tours available only via prior arrangement.
Mountain biking: Tala is also ideal for mountain bikers who only need to pay a R70 conservation fee to enter the reserve. Bike rentals are available for the day. Cycling routes range from a 5-kilometre novice loop, to a 13-kilometre intermediate loop with mostly well-maintained single tracks, steep climbs and exciting descents. An advanced 27-kilometre circuit boasts 600 metres of climbing, bridges and rolling drop-offs.
Paintballing & Archery: New additions to the activity list, Tala also now offers groups these adrenaline high activities set in the natural bush.
Weddings & Conferences
Tala is already a well-known wedding and conference destination in KwaZulu-Natal, with state-of-the-art venues such as:
Acacia Venue: A private and popular wedding venue, Acacia accommodates up to 120 guests with scenic views through the large glass doors and windows that surround this open-plan structure and open out onto the great wooden deck that stretches out towards the watering hole. The perfect venue to watch Tala sunsets.
Figtree Barn: The large farmstead building has been creatively restored to create a magnificent wedding venue perfect for large weddings of up to 250 guests. It also features a Stone Chapel for wedding ceremonies, opening out onto a manicured lawn, perfect for pre-wedding drinks or sun-downers.
Leadwood Lodge: At this five-star lodge, a dedicated chef will cater for small and exclusive functions and wedding ceremonies of up to 60 guests. Leadwood Lodge is a place of relaxation and tranquillity and more of an intimate venue available for your special day.
iDube Conference Room: Accommodates up to 20 people in a u-shape configuration and 50 cinema-style. Venue hire includes bottled, water, notepads, pens and data projector. Ask us about other equipment.
Figtree Auditorium: Fixed concentric desks accommodate 60 delegates. The auditorium is ideal for presentations and meetings with exclusivity and very little distractions other than the sounds of nature. Venue hire includes bottled, water, notepads, pens and data projector.
Paperbark Conference Room: Accommodates a maximum of 50 guests cinema-style for conferencing and can be converted to a function room for smaller functions wanting privacy. Paperbark’s manicured lawns are also ideal for outdoor garden functions and ceremonies, perfect for a picnic. Venue hire includes bottled water, notepads, pens and data projector