Khula’s Cottage is a charming self-catering cottage built in a truly unique and extraordinary location within the perimeter of The Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre.
Basic electricity is provided via solar panels and limited mobile phone coverage facilitates a true African getaway from the hustle and bustle of city living. The cottage offers an exclusive and private setting to observe the life of HESC’s cheetahs, and is the perfect base from which to explore the scenic wonders of the lowveld, including (but not limited to) God’s Window, Bourke’s Luck Potholes and Pilgrim’s Rest.
This is a birder’s paradise, for the region supports a diverse and kaleidoscopic number of bird species. Another treat for feathered enthusiasts is watching vultures descend from the sky to avail themselves of the pickings delivered to the Vulture Restaurant at HESC.
Khula’s Cottage is set within its own enclosed and protected area, offering a private and personal experience. This is the ideal experience for self-drive clients who do not wish to compromise on comfort, but are looking for an authentic bush experience with great value for money.
The cottage comprises three en-suite bedrooms and is perfect for larger families, or for friends traveling together. The cottage consists of two twin rooms (each with an additional day bed) and one double room. An expansive wooden deck boasts spectacular views of the surrounding wilds. Amenities include towels, linen, cutlery, tea and coffee making facilities and cooking utensils. The cottage has a gas fridge and stove.
Clients staying at Khula’s Cottage will have a dedicated ranger on hand should they require any assistance. Visitors will leave their vehicles at HESC and a ranger will escort them to the cottage.
As a self-catered unit, guests determine their own meal times and preferences. The outdoor boma is THE spot for a magnificent meal underneath the stars – nothing quite tops a traditional South African braai (barbeque).
For those who are not inclined to bring their own food, à la carte breakfasts and lunches are served daily at The Deli, based within HESC. Click on the tile below to view the menu.
Those who are travelling from afar may also send their grocery list through in advance, and the HESC team will purchase the items on their behalf.
Dinners may be arranged by HESC too. Click on the tile below to view the menu.
Please note, should a menu option not be selected, the default menu is Menu 1 (Chicken Pie).
Visitors may also define their preferred catering option:
1. No hosting or set up required, and dinner is simply delivered to Khula’s Cottage.
2. No hosting required, but dinner is set up for guests’ enjoyment (ZAR 250.00 charge)
3. Dedicated hosting by one of HESC’s Guides, and dinner is set up for guests’ enjoyment (ZAR 500.00 charge). The host will also take care of ‘braaing’ meat on behalf of guests should they require.
Those who prefer not to bring their own food may choose from two meal plans when confirming accommodation: Dinner, Bed & Breakfast OR Bed & Breakfast. This must be requested at the time of booking. Online bookings through Nightsbridge have the meal plans available as options.
Khula was born to Tom and Belinda, both resident cheetahs at HESC, on 29 August 2005. Tom is a king cheetah, and Khula is therefore a carrier of the king cheetah gene. Khula was always a remarkable animal, reared with love and care by Lente Roode (after his mother was unfortunately unable to feed him). He loves humans and has a beautiful personality. It has always been Lente Roode’s vision to see her cheetahs released into the wild and it was with more than a little tenderness that she and her team planned for Khula’s release onto the Kapama Game Reserve.
Khula was released on 26 March 2010 and equipped with a cellular tracking device to track his movements online.
Although Khula adapted well to life in the wild (and in fact single-handledly brought down an adult kudu bull), he started returning to the centre to visit his family. Each time he was released a little further into the reserve. Lente tracked Khula and visited him daily in an attempt to keep him away from the centre and to make sure he adapted to his surroundings, but she sensed that he was very restless. On further investigation, numerous leopard tracks were spotted on the part of the reserve where Khula was released and for his own protection, Khula was brought back to HESC.
Says Lente Roode, “Khula feels safe here. He kept returning because this is where he wants to be, surrounded by the other animal residents and the humans he has come to trust. We therefore named the cottage after this very special cheetah, as I have no doubt that guests will come to love this place as much as Khula does, and will return with the same affection.”
- A standard tour through the centre is excluded in the rate for accommodation.
- Regret no pets allowed.
“After 2 days of traveling, my 84 year old mother and I sank into the chairs on the thatched, open-sided deck of Khula’s Cottage, and absorbed the scenery and peace. We just melted into the here and now with no need to discuss anything. Over the next 3 days my brain slowed to neutral, reaching a calm, devoid of voices and thoughts. The 3 books and 2 lots of knitting remained in my case. Bordered on one side by Kapama Private Game Reserve, HESC’s rhino enclosure in the front, and one of the cheetah enclosures in the back, this cottage is about 5 minutes from the main entrance through 2 lots of gates – the perfect stay for those seeking solitude and a bush experience. The 2 en suite bedrooms with mosquito nets provide a little extra luxury, and the dinners delivered each evening were a nice touch. With a full moon we heard lions grunting, as well as a hyena and night birds, and we were visited by the rhino in the dark up close to our fence – heavy steps in the sand and sniffing. One afternoon we saw the 2 rhinos grazing in front of us, the next day had a troop of Vervet monkeys visit, and on the last afternoon we saw the black Sable Antelope. We were greeted each morning by 4 cheetahs in the corner of their camp as we made our way to the car. On our drives to and from the main entrance we saw the 2 male lions sleeping near the fence, and 2 female brown Sable antelopes with their “comforter” donkey. At the entrance we were privileged to see a Verreaux’s eagle-owl nesting in a tree. We enjoyed the Cheetah Focus Tour one morning, unhurried and very informative. Although bred to be released back into the wild, I believe in years to come places like HESC will be the only place left to view these majestic animals. The Centre has some 83 cheetahs as well as the King Cheetahs, Seeing the different vultures was a special treat. The second morning we experienced the elephant interactions at Camp Jabulani – allow plenty of time to get there down ungraded dirt roads! We were booked on the Kapama Sunset Drive, but due to a miscommunication missed it.”
From: Nkosisikeli – 02 Oct 2016
“Went there in the morning and started with very nice breakfast. Then we had a 5 min video explaining everything about the centre. Then a nice drive round the place where our driver/guide gave us the back story to the animals we saw. Vultures, spotted dog, cheetah, King cheetah, lion and baby rhino(!!!) as well as others. Lasted about 2 hours but well worth the R140! It’s very obvious that they care and that it is a real conservation concern, not a front to canned hunting like some others.”
From: rosmannhp – 02 Oct 2016
“Khula’s Cottage is a wonderful way to experience the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre and take in all the wonderful work they are doing there to help protect Southern Africa’s wildlife. The accommodation has 3 double rooms in a treehouse set up with a great deck area overlooking the African bush. We had visits from cheetah, ostrich, sable antelope and a monitor lizard all observed safely from our vantage point. Food was delivered to Khula’s for our evening meal and we had the option of heating and serving it ourselves (including a traditional South African Braai) or one of the staff could help us out and dine with us. All in all a great start to our trip. Thank you.”
From: Chris H – 01 Oct 2016
“The proximity of animals, Khula’s Cottage was beautiful, tranquillity, was just wonderful.”
March 2016, Michel from France via Booking.com
“A really special and unique experience in the South African bush. The self-catering cottage, consisting of two gorgeous and en-suite bedrooms, is well stocked and the BOMA or braai-area is a dream for all lovers of outdoor barbecues under that spectacular African sky. The cottage is located between the HESC and the Kapama big five game reserve. At night you hear lions and hyenas battling it out whilst you are safe in bed in the fenced-off compound of the cottage. A true bush experience, good for the soul and the senses … Thank you.”
March 2016, Julia from France via Trip advisor
“This is a must see if you are in the area. All the staff are working for the same cause and it shows in the overall experience. Stay in Khula’s cottage if you have the chance.”
September 2015, Michelle from Australia via Booking.com
“We had a wonderful 4 night stay in Khula Lodge and were delighted with the facilities and the privacy of the lodge. It was spotlessly clean with lots of hot water and very comfortable beds and the lounge area is brilliant – we loved looking out at the water holes and watching the sun set. The children (16, 14, 10) loved having cheetahs as ‘neighbours’ and the braai area was fantastic. Our hosts were very helpful, the food we ordered very tasty and plentiful and the tour of the sanctuary by Sibohan was a definite highlight of the trip. With the Kruger so close by and lots to see and do, we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this place to anyone – especially as it’s also supporting the vital work that the HESC does. Fabulous!”
August 2015, Thorsten from the UK via Tripadvisor