Tala Private Game Reserve
Impression upon arrival
We were attending a wedding reception at Tala and decided to turn our trip into an overnight adventure. We booked into Aloe Lodge for Saturday evening so we could indulge a little and not have to travel back to Durban in the dark.
Tala Private Game Reserve is, as the name suggests, a private game reserve run by the Three Cities hotel group, about 45 minutes from Durban, it is a beautiful tranquil setting. Tala does not host any big cats, in saying that the game viewing was amazing and in our short stay we were very lucky with sightings.
We arrived on a beautiful sunny autumn afternoon at about 3:30 pm. There was a welcome crispness to the air appreciated by all those formally dressed for the occasion. After passing through the main gate we were directed to reception where we were warmly received with a friendly and enthusiastic greeting. We were shown to our room and given directions to the wedding venue along with a map of the reserve.
The room, with its rustic and simple charm, was well lit and contained everything one would expect considering the location and price. The double bed was firm, the pillows weren’t lumpy and the white sheets were crisp and clean. The bathroom was spacious and featured a large freestanding bath, perfect for soaking away the stresses of the city. The bathroom and towels were clean and neat and the accommodation got a thumbs up from the Outdoor SA team.
We enjoyed dinner at the wedding reception held at the stunning Acacia Venue. The buffet style roast lamb was enjoyed by all, although towards the end of the serving, the food seemed to be running out. Breakfast the next morning was served as a buffet at the Aloe lodge and contained all the right ingredients on a cold bush morning. The rustic charm of the dining room coupled with the buffet style selection served in traditional potjie pots had us thinking we were much further away from home and deeper in the bush than we were.
Having acquired a map of the reserve from reception we decided to venture on a self-drive around the reserve as we were testing a Toyota Fortuna 4X2. The map lists three kinds of roads; main gravel roads, bush tracks and 4x4 trails. Not wanting to get stuck or damage the vehicle, we decided we would stick to the bush tracks. However, the accuracy of the map was not great and we soon found ourselves a bit disorientated and clearly on a 4x4 trail. Fearful of getting stuck, we managed to turn around in a small clearing and decided that we should head for the exit and continue onto our next destination. A few hundred metres up the track we encountered a very lost Corolla also attempting to stick to bush tracks and we assisted them in turning around.
Tala definitely needs a new well sign-posted map! If you consider going there, we would recommend that you use an SUV type vehicle, and if you are going to attempt the 4x4 trails, then use a 4x4 vehicle. We did have a great time on the 4x4 trails with a Subaru XV and Outback a week or so later, and this kind of soft roader drove perfectly on the trails.
Although our stay was short, we were blown away with Tala. Being just 45 minutes from Durban, this has got to be a hidden gem in KZN. Everyone we have spoken to has heard of Tala but not many people seem to have visited recently. We would rightly recommend a day or weekend stay and as our team suggests that an early morning trip to Tala is in order for a delicious breakfast followed by a relaxing game drive.