Nagle Dam’s swish safari tents offer a bush breakaway within an hour’s drive from Pietermaritzburg and Durban. Recently awarded three-star grading, this tented camp is ideal for nature lovers looking for comfort under canvas. By Magriet Kruger

Less than an hour’s drive from the bustle of Durban and Pietermaritzburg lies the tranquil haven of Nagle Dam. For city folk looking for respite from the buzz of traffic and phones, Nagle offers the soundtrack of birdcalls and cicadas. And when you check into the reserve’s safari tents, you’ll feel your bush holiday has begun.

The tented camp is situated on an island within Nagle Dam and offers views of the shimmering water. There are just six tents, sleeping two people each, so you won’t have to contend with crowds.

Each safari tent is comfortably furnished with two roomy three-quarter beds, crisp white bed linen and blankets for the occasional cool night. There’s a kitchen area with a stove and bar fridge, as well as all the necessary crockery and cutlery. The tent also has an en-suite shower and toilet.

The safari tents have recently received three stars from the SA Tourism Grading Council, so you’re guaranteed that your accommodation meets a certain standard. There’s even a TV with DSTV!

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“We’ve had rave reviews from visitors,” says senior ranger Ntokozo Hlongwane. “The experience of staying in a safari tent in close proximity to Pietermaritzburg is something totally unique.”

Ntokozo says you’ll be able to do game viewing even from the private patio at the entrance to your tent. If you want to get a closer look at the wildlife in the main reserve, book a guided three-hour game drive (R120 a person, minimum R350 per drive). The game drives take place morning or afternoon, according to guests’ wishes, and offer you the chance to see giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, warthog and grey duiker, among others.

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Of course, a visit to Nagle Dam is a great opportunity to take to the water. You can rent a paddleboat (seats four) for R200 a day. You’ll be amazed at the birdlife you can see from the water. Another relaxing way to spend the day is to go for a hike into the surrounding hills.

“I’d like to believe that at Nagle we cater for all ages and interests,” says Ntokozo. Why not visit this summer and experience it for yourself?

Visitor information

  • Six modern safari-style tents offer en-suite accommodation for two people in furnished comfort. R800 a tent a night.
  • Check in at 12:30, check out at 10:00
  • Accommodation is self-catering. Pick up supplies in Cato Ridge or Camperdown; you can get wood and ice from the on-site kiosk.
  • Nagle Dam is situated about 25km off the N3 between Durban and Pietermaritzburg. The nearest off-ramp is Mpumalanga/Hammersdale/Inchanga.
  • Entry fee R25 an adult, R12.50 a child, Wild Card members free.
  • Book by calling +27 (0)31 782 8085 or +27 (0)79 500 3189, or email [email protected]