Tugela Bush Camp

"Relax as hard as you like" is the tune by which things are run at this canvas-and-thatch bush camp, nestled amongst the aloes and acacias of the mighty Tugela River, central KZN. Wake to the call of a Fish Eagle, enjoy an early morning game walk or trail-run, sunbathe on one of the giant boulders in front of camp, or unwind with sundowners, roaring campfires, open-air dining and evening skies awash with stars.

Whether its adventure, nature, or relaxation that you after, the surrounds and company of this river bush camp offer the perfect tonic. From game viewing, fly fishing and birding, to more adventurous pursuits such as 4x4'ing, mountain-biking, river rafting, abseiling and trail-running, you'll never run short of things to do. And now look out for our scheduled ‘retreats’ of yoga, meditation and other soulful pursuits.

  • Trip DurationWe recommend a min stay of 2 nights, to allow sufficient opportunity to unwind and reset.
  • Daily Distances0 – 50km, depending on how much – or how little – you wish to fit in to your day.
  • Trail Grading1-2 / 5 - Fitness.There are circular walking-running trails which are just a few km, but you can extend your network as far as you are fit.2 / 5 - Technicality. The trail network is surprisingly well cleared and maintained, but the overall terrain is pretty wild.
  • Trail TerrainThukela Thornveld and Valley Bushveld – comprising river valleys, rocky ridges, alluvial sands, gnarled and ancient Shepard trees, aloes and acacias.
  • AccommodationCamping sites, 'glamping', stone-thatch-canvas units - al-natural
  • Logistic Support4x4 or high-clearance vehicle needed to get in to camp but transfers can also be arranged in – leaving your vehicle near Colenso (4hrs from JHB / 2.5hr from Durban)Ask us about the option of hiking or mountain biking IN to camp.
  • Group SizeNo minimum – camp can accommodate up to 100 persons
  • PricingVaries based on accom choice: from R250/pp (own tents) to R1600/pp (FB) – Larney lane units
At a Glance

From humble beginnings, this family-run bush camp has evolved slowly over the years. A firm believer that rocks and trees are here to stay, the owners have passionately crafted their accommodation around the natural features of this rugged landscape. Enjoy a river view or a window in to the bush canopy from your outdoor ensuite, or the morning banter of the mocking chats as they hop around your room.

Tugela Bush Camp offers a unique getaway for friend and family, boys or ladies retreats and adventurous corporates. Itineraries are tailor-made from the many activities on offer, and experienced facilitators can be brought in. Bonds are created through shared experience and this environment provides the natural playground for this to happen.

Most activities are offered year round, but the best month for rafting (summer rainfall dependent) is November through to April. During winter, the river drops and cleans up considerably, making conditions favourable for fighting Yellow's on fly. The rocky roads and animal tracks around this former biosphere reserve provide organic mountain biking terrain and there is an extensive network of hiking and running paths, created for their annual trail running event, and maintained by wild animals and a dedicated team of trail-blazers.

Have your concept of outdoor living stretched to its limits, down here in the Tugela Valley.

  1. Yoga - Nature Retreat ItineraryArrival / Day 1

    Self-drive drive to Weenen - Meet and Greet

    Group transfer (or self-drive if you have a high clearance vehicle) into camp

    Light lunch on arrival – settle into your accom

    Afternoon: Intro Yoga session

    Late Afternoon: Walk up to Sunset Rock. Sundowners. Silent Walk back to camp

    Campfire Dinner

  2. Day 2Yoga, Meditations & Nature Walks

    7am: Kundalini Yoga or Trail Run/ Walk

    9am: Breakfast

    Vinyasa Yoga

    1pm: Lunch under the acacia’s

    Own time: Time to reflect or do whatever makes you happy! Paddle, swim, read, relax

    From 4pm Fascia Release & Yoga Nidra

    From 6pm – snacks at the Campfire followed by dinner

  3. Day 3Hippo Hill Meditation, Vinyasa, Brunch - Return

    06h30: Walk and Meditation at Hippo Hill

    Fruit salad, yoghurt & muffins at camp

    08h30-09h30: Vinyasa Yoga Session

    From 10 -11: Brunch

    12pm - Depart or transfer back to Weenen

Trail Running past Sunset Rock

Over 50km of handcrafted trail exists - built for Zingela's annual trail-run event, but kindly maintained by game and the dedicated trailblazing team.

Yoga and Nature Retreats

If you are a group of 8 or more, we can run a private retreat as per your date request (a novel book-club or corporate getaway). But we are also scheduling a handful of retreats in the upcoming year - so check-in with us if this is your call.

If you expecting a star-grading here, you looking at the wrong place.If you happy to trade heated towel rails for star-washed skies and steam rising off a hot shower in the great outdoors, then this is your place.

Tugela Bush Camp offers something for every budget – from a levelled lawn under acacia shade to pitch your tent, or your own King size bedrock with penthouse river views.

Level and shady grass patches to pitch your own tent with communal kitchen and shower facilities

Glamping: Safari-style tents with beds and bedding

Family units: thatch, stone and canvas creations

'Larney Lane' Units: private units, surrounded by bush, each with their own unique character

Our master builders have worked with local materials: boulders, trees, reeds and a little concrete and canvas to make each ‘unit’ naturally distinctive.

Hitchen Honeymoon SuiteRock forms a natural bedhead
Aloes Family UnitWhere a warm shower under a Tamboti, offers the perfect start to your day
  1. Where is this camp located and what vehicle do you need to get there?

    Tugela Bushcamp feels like you in true wilderness, but actually its not so far a drive from either JHB or Durban. It is about 4hrs drive from JHB to Colenso (meeting point for non 4x4's) or 2,5hr drive from Durban to Weenen (alternative meeting point). From here it is about an hours drive/transfer into camp. You will need a sturdy high-clearance vehicle - with potential 4x4 in the wet - to get into camp. But if you dont have - we can arrange a return transfer into camp for R750/ 7 seater vehicle.

  2. Can we hike or mountain bike into camp?

    Yes. You can certainly mountain bike via the road that the vehicles would travel in (actually great mountain-biking). We also offer a slackpacking hike (see Tugela Canyons trail) from the Colenso side - with a wild camping night enroute. There is also a hike-paddle combo that can be arrranged for groups. So many options, we'll try make your adventure aspirations come true.

  3. What is the best time of year to visit this camp?

    In the Thukela Valley you can expect very hot (but dry) conditons during Summer (Nov - Feb) - early morning starts, siesta's over lunch, and a good amount of time spent cooling off in the river, are the order of the day. Winter days are mostly sunny and dry - perfect for trail running and fishing after a lazy start. The nights do get cold, but we'll make sure you snug under your duvets, and a roaring campfire is all the more enticing.

  4. When can we do the 'Retreats'?

    If you are a group of 8 or more, we can organise a Yoga or Special-Interest retreat for you on any weekend - availabilty permitting with the lodge and our instructors. We also schedule a couple of 'holistic' retreats during the course of the year so that singles and small groups can join. Another Yoga-Meditation-Nature retreat will be on the cards again, along with Mother-Daughter, Women's Fishing, Nutrition and Couples Retreats. Please drop us a mail if you interested in attending such.

Accommodation for all Budgets

Group SizePrice (PP) 
Camping- own tents
Glamping - tent & bedding supplied
Family Units - Self-catered
R600 - R700/pp
Family Units - Full Board
Larney Lane Units - Full Board
Kids U12: half-price on accom
Babies 0-2yrs: free
Whats included in this tour
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner if Full Board accom
  • If you take units on a self-catering basis, you can book meals with the lodge as you please – Breakfast @ R130, lunch @ R100 Dinner @ R180
  • Tea and Coffee on tap
  • Casual Use of the Boats around camp
  • Trails - for walking, running & mountain-biking
  • VAT
Whats not included in this tour
  • 4x4 transfers @ R750 per vehicle return (7-seater)
  • Conservation Levy @ R70 per adult & R35 per kid
  • Refreshments from the well-stocked Bar
  • Guided Adventure Activities:
  • Abseiling & Rock Climbing: R200-R300/pp
  • White Water Rafting: R350 / R700
  • Flyfishing: R150/ Rod Fee
  • Wild Boar Feeding & 4x4 Game drive: R75/pp