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“Probably one of the best trips in my life!!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of HillsNek Safaris, Amakhala Game Reserve

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HillsNek Safaris, Amakhala Game Reserve
4.0 of 5 Lodge   |   N2 | Greater Addo, Eastern Cape, Amakhala Game Reserve 6011, South Africa   |  
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Hotel amenities
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35% off room rate
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Probably one of the best trips in my life!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2013 via mobile

We felt like we were living in our own private mansion! Staff were extremely hospital and friendly! Rooms were very clean, the food was delicious and fresh!! The ranger was friendly and very knowledgable about wild life! The view from lodge was just awesome! And the whole experience was breathtaking :) high recommended!!

  • Stayed January 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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170 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (25)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Devon
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2013

From the moment we were picked up and transported to the lodge - we fell in love with Hillsnek. Like many other customers we are well travelled and have stayed in lots of different places around the world, and been to South Africa many times - but never have we been anywhere that captivated us like this.
Everything about it is special - there is certainly something in the air here!
The staff are dedicated, knowledgable and professional and nothing is too much trouble, the tents (if you can call them that) are luxurious, the views spectacular, the food and drinks first class and thats before I start on the landscape and wildlife, which have left such an impression on us.

Meeting a Bull Elephant on the track late at night as we returned to the lodge, Cheetahs at sunrise, searching for Lions in the undergrowth, a Mother Rhino and her Calf, hundreds of baby Warthogs (which we nicknamed Wartlets!) incredible starry skies and sundowners with Trevor and the rest of our fantastic group, are just a few of the memories that will stay with us forever.

Don't even think about booking anywhere else, there are only 3 tents, so this means you get a truly personalised service.
We cried as we left on the Land Rover - a Meercat popped its head up and seemed to wish us a fond farewell (like I say there is something in the air here).
Everyone should experience Hillsnek at least once in their lives - but we will be experiencing it second time - as we plan our next trip!!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Hochheim am Main, Germany
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2013

We've stayed in South Africa for 15 days and stayed in different places for about 2 days. My daughter (6 years), my husband and I were so amazed by the beauty of the lodge and the unbeatable kindness of the staff. Tamsin was so lovely taking care about every tiny wish we had, Trevor was the best guide we've ever been on tour with and James shared his last cigarettes with us (thanks again for that!!!). The tents are definitively 5 stars, the food ( I will never forget the freshly baked bread) is brilliant and wildlife is thrilling with having such an experienced guide like Trevor. Feeling at home on vacation is very seldom and they were simply said better than home! We three are still remembering Hillsnek and we will for sure come back. As I'm writing that, my eyes get wet and I would love to get back right now. I send Hillsnek my warmest regards and see you soon guys!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Chester, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2013

We stayed for four nights and our only complaint is that four days was not long enough, we have been fortunate enough to have stayed in many fine establishments throughout the world, Hillsnek does rank right there at the top, it was not only the camp that makes this place special but the staff as well, Trevor our ranger was just amazing,how does one person retain so much detailed knowledge, Tamzin the camp "boss" is just the most caring host, there was nothing that was too much trouble, the "tent" was luxury, and the outside shower is the most romantic shower I have have ever had, under the heat of the African sun with sunbirds cheaping, little lizzards stealing a drink of shower water and bush bucks skitting by trying not to be seen what a way to shower, all the little touches of the camp make this a place to re visit and soon, I could go on for pages and ages, but I will not, just to say there are so many place's in the world to see, one should not go back to the same place again but to experience new ventures, My wife and I will return to Hillsnek,

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Manchester, United Kingdom
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 22, 2013

Its difficult to find new words to express how amazing this place is after such a lot of detailed feedback here. Having travelled to many places in the world and stayed in all sorts of accommodation I have to say this was truly one of the best!

Its a decadent experience and quite an eye opener to have a nature/luxury combination. (Usually nature involves a bit of suffering...having to trek to a toilet block, climbing a mountain for a view etc). I felt pampered but not in the formal 5 star hotel manner, more like I'd gone to stay with some close friends who really cared I had a good time.

The tents are contemporary and fab with loads of privacy and space to chill. I wish I could have that bath and view at home with me. The main lodge is tastefully decorated and a great place to share the days experiences and laugh over a meal/drinks with your fellow guests.

But the bottom line is that what really matters is where Hillsnek excels – the staff.

We were met at the gate by the lovely James, our ranger, who welcomed us with a huge friendly smile and an insistence that we didn't lift our own luggage. On arrival at the lodge we were met by Chantelle and the team offering drinks, nibbles and cool flannels to help us settle in. Chantelle explained the pattern of each day and how the game drives work so we knew exactly what to expect. That sounds basic but for a couple of people who spend life planning having this all done for us was incredibly reassuring and helped us relax. The personal wake up call should be recorded and sold to download onto smartphones, it was so gentle (and accompanied by a flask of fresh coffee)! I'm so sorry I have forgotten the names of the lovely ladies who did this......they were like magic fairies in the background, tidying and making our space clean. Emma and Donald, the chefs, produced great quality food that was beautifully presented and the wine flowed. I loved the high tea and the best G&T ever for our first sundowner on the reserve.

Of course, the game drives were the main attraction here and they were way better than I expected. We got close encounters with rhinos, giraffes, lions, cheetahs, the many varieties of antelopes, zebras and the funny little warthogs that kept me giggling for days. I am still giggling actually. James was knowledgeable and had an enthusiasm for his job that was refreshing in this jaded world. He made a mean G&T (oh, I think I repeated that, but it was gooooood!) and could reverse up those tracks pretty damn fast if necessary. How he spotted that tiny fluffy mane of the lion I will never know. (By the way James, if you're reading, we discovered that phrase 'I'm a gnu' was a 1970's TV advert for tea, we weren't going mad!)

We were so tuned into the game drives after we left we spent the following 2 days of of our holiday scouring the countryside for animals as we drove.....only to remind ourselves that we had left.
I didn't want to leave. I want to be there now as I write this. I honestly don't usually get this attached to places. If you've got to this point in this rather long review then have no doubts, book up now, its a little slice of heaven that everyone should experience!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Oxford, United Kingdom
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 12, 2013

From the moment Trevor collected us at the reception lodge he was pointing out animals, birds and insects. His knowledge was incredible and we learnt and saw so much during our 3 night stay at HillsNek. At the lodge we were welcomed by Tamsin and nothing was too much trouble for her and her staff team. Our tent was great with a beautiful view over the reserve; the service and food were excellent. We enjoyed the chance to do a bush walk and also a river trip where we saw a stunning malachite kingfisher and a fish eagle. We saw many different animals and were lucky enough to see a caracal, small spotted genet and a spotted eagle owl with a mouse on our evening game drives. We would highly recommend Hillsnek and hope to return some day.

Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hove, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 9, 2013

We stayed for four nights and could fault nothing. The tent is magnificent, and is a "tent" only in name - very luxurious. Because HillsNek only has 3 tents, it makes for a very intimate experience - only 6 or 7 guests are there at one time. The view from our private deck was stunning, and we found it very easy to while away the afternoon lazing on our deck chairs in the sun sampling the great wines that were provided in our private fridge. The outdoor shower is really something. The food was incredible, and the staff were more than happy to put together something for us to eat even outside of set mealtimes. Our ranger, James, was outstanding - very knowledgeable and we felt perfectly safe with him even in precarious situations with elephants! We were very sad to leave and will definitely be back, such an amazing experience.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about HillsNek Safaris, Amakhala Game Reserve

Address: N2 | Greater Addo, Eastern Cape, Amakhala Game Reserve 6011, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > Eastern Cape > Amakhala Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 6 Specialty Lodging in Amakhala Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — HillsNek Safaris, Amakhala Game Reserve 4*
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
HillsNek Safaris is an intimate, luxury tented camp positioned on the banks of the Bushmans River. Situated in a tucked away corner of the Amakhala Big 5 Game Reserve, the lodge is 70km's from Port Elizabeth in the malaria-free Eastern Cape. An abundant variety of wildlife includes white and black rhino, elephant, giraffe, cheetah, lion, buffalo, zebra and a myriad of plains game. The stone, canvas and thatched main lodge is at the heart of the camp, with four private safari tents elevated on wooden decks that enhance the spectacular views of surrounding plains and bush. All tents have panoramic views of the African plains, and game viewing can often be enjoyed from the comfort of your bed. Personalized service and outstanding hospitality is the hallmark of every stay. ... more   less 
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