This remote northern KwaZulu-Natal outpost will make you feel like the only people in the world.
Untamed palm fronds unfurl from humid heights, and thick fern foliage clogs the forest floor for a positively Jurassic undertaking. Walking on paths cleared by hippos through the tangled realm of Kosi Bay's Raffia palm forest feels like a voyage to the end of the world. Largely speaking, it is.
Kosi Forest Lodge is the only private stay in this part of iSimangaliso Wetland Park and a balanced base for meeting Maputaland and its blend of wooded, wetland wilds that eventually merge with the borders and beaches of Mozambique.
Whether by walking, canoeing, snorkelling or aboard a motorised boat, all guided excursions are hosted by Maputaland residents who illuminate the flora, fauna and fish with local lore. There's plenty of adventure to be had beside the glittering lakes and serene beaches, but for every rugged jaunt, there is an equally romantic opportunity.
Withdraw from all the activity to one of the eight secluded cabins. Admittedly, this stay is not strictly tented thanks to a thatched roof. Still, canvas walls let just enough of the outside in to feel at one with the wild (though simultaneously safe enough from any creepy crawlies).
Engulfed by forest, the supreme feature of these charming suites are open-air fairytale baths best enjoyed in the honeyed glow of golden lanterns - a gentle reminder that at Kosi Forest Lodge, you can do as much or as little as you like.
Plan your trip to Kosi Forest Lodge
A 4x4 vehicle is required to access the sandy beach roads of Kosi Forest Lodge. Take advantage of the 40% discount for SADC residents at all Isibindi Africa Lodges. All-inclusive stay costs from R2022 pp until 30 April 2021 (dates exclude 15 Dec 2020 - 15 Jan 2021 and Easter weekend 2021).
A version of this story originally appeared in Escapes magazine.