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In South Africa, an ultra-confidential lodge in the heart of Zulu country


MY HOTEL AT THE END OF THE WORLD (5/5) - Wishing to offer their youngest new horizons, Sophie and Ludovic left their jobs as brokers and car drivers to drop anchor in one of the most beautiful private reserves, in east of the country. For ten years, they have been shaping their Esiweni...


- Why did you leave France?

To discover

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    At the heart of the animal kingdom

The first time we went to South Africa was for a business trip in 1997. It may seem a little naive, but seeing a giraffe in its natural environment is an image that marks you for life.

Ten years ago, we were expecting our youngest daughter, Adèle.

We wondered about his education.

We wanted to raise him in a country where the strong values ​​are the connection with nature and people.

Three years passed between the decision and the departure.

Over the course of the visits, we leaned towards the Nambiti reserve.

A lodge existed, but its owner had abandoned it for three years.

It was in very poor condition, it was a mess.

But that's what allowed us to acquire it and make it our ideal refuge.

Sophie and Ludovic, the founders, with their daughter Adèle.

Esiweni Lodge / Photo press

What attracted you to Nambiti?

Nature, breathtaking and rich in lessons.

Every day is a surprise, there is no weariness.

It is common to have breakfast in front of a cheetah or an elephant.

But we also know what it is to have no more water when the well dries up.

If most expatriates live in Johannesburg or Cape Town, we have chosen to be isolated.

The nearest town, Ladysmith, is an hour's drive away.

It's a mainly Zulu city, but all the communities cohabit with respect, even if it will surely take another two generations for the failings of society to belong to the past.

We personally have no ancestral baggage in our relations with locals or traders, Adèle is very sociable and has no clichés.

She speaks English,

One of five suites at Esiweni Lodge.

Esiweni Lodge / Photo press

What is the French touch of the Esiweni Lodge?

We only have five rooms, so we do everything with common sense.

We brought our culture without imposing it and explain to our teams the historical links between our two countries.

After all, the Huguenots of South Africa are descendants of French Protestants who settled here after religious persecution and the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. There are many French names, even if no one speaks language.

In the kitchen, we use local produce to serve the best of South African cuisine, with a touch of French refinement (and silver cutlery!).

No sauerkraut or cassoulet in the bush, but bourdalou pie despite everything.

Our job is very rewarding, guests often leave crying… before coming back as friends.

Esiweni Lodge


From €1,180 per night for 2 people, full board, experiences included.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2022-08-15

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