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“Best. Honeymoon. Ever.” 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
San Francisco, California
1 review
“Best. Honeymoon. Ever.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 17, 2013

My wife and I were married in the Eastern Cape in mid-August, and then spent a four-day honeymoon at Hillsnek. We found ourselves constantly saying to each other how "perfect" everything was. Hillsnek really strives for perfection, and achieves it in every aspect of game reserve hospitality. Rather than go on and on, I will list the highlights:
1) Food. Our chef, Donald, cooked us some of the most innovative, delicious meals I have ever had. He incorporated local ingredients and unique takes on standard South African meals. Between the proper meals, high tea (which is much more than just tea), and the yummy snacks that we took on game drive, we ate SEVEN times a day.
2) Outdoor showers. In addition to bath tubs in the rooms, there are secluded outdoor showers behind every tent/cabin that are a delight to use.
3) Game drives. Our ranger was knowledgeable, funny, and knew exactly where to go to get us the closest to the wildlife, while remaining safe.
4) Every little detail. Hillsnek really thinks of every little detail throughout your stay. Things you never would have thought would make you more comfortable or feel more pampered suddenly appear (I don't want to ruin the surprise) several times a day.
5) Constantly innovating. There could be something monotonous about staying at any game reserve for too long, but Hillsnek is constantly changing the routine, serving meals in different places, changing the themes/goals of the game drives, creating new activities. Makes even a long stay constantly interesting.

We will be back.

  • Stayed August 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

Review collected in partnership with this hotel

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Bushbaby99, Owner at HillsNek Safaris, Amakhala Game Reserve, responded to this review, September 19, 2013
Dearest Californian Guests,

Wow! You guys have certainly travelled the world getting to us and we are so grateful that HillsNek featured on your honeymoon. Thank you for taking the time to review us, and for elaborating on some of the details that you most enjoyed.
We have shared the great review with our chef Donald, and he is needless to say, ecstatic! Thank you thank you! We are currently doing staff profiling on Facebook, and Donald (or 'The Don' as he is affectionately known), is next in line. Please visit us on Facebook and stay in touch.
We too think the outdoor showers are very special.... and it is always rewarding when guests take note of the bush showers in place and enjoy them as much as you have.
We wish you all the best as a newly wed couple, and hope to welcome you back one day.
Thank you immensely for this amazing review!

Kind regards
Brent, Chantelle and the Team
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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
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 15, 2013

Our trip to HillsNek was amazing. Warren, James, and the rest of the crew were fabulous. Even when dealing with our seven year old son, who can be a handful of energy, they made our stay wonderful and memorable. It was the most relaxing part of our trip, and we would go back in a heartbeat! The animals are incredible, the food perfect, and we could not have asked for a better experience! Everything was perfect!

  • Stayed July 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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Bushbaby99, Owner at HillsNek Safaris, Amakhala Game Reserve, responded to this review, September 19, 2013
Dearest Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to review HillsNek. Fantastic to hear that you enjoyed your time with us, and that your seven old was well taken care of. All our staff love children, and welcome the opportunity to introduce them to the magic of nature and conservation. We hope your child has many fond memories of his/her time on Amakhala, and that they one day will venture back to Africa with their children in tow!

All the best for the remainder of 2013.
Kind regards
Brent, Chantelle and the team
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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 September 14, 2013

Our second stay at Hillsnek was even better than our first. The accommodation was superb and the weather was very good so that we even braved the outdoor shower! The food was excellent and as good as any 5 star we've had anywhere. On our last day we were treated to lunch overlooking the plains which was a wonderful surprise. Thank you Donald and the rest of the Hillsnek staff team who make this such a special place to stay! We have to give a special mention to our ranger David, who is the best ranger we have had in our 3 visits to South Africa and 12 reserves. David is passionate about the wildlife, very knowledgeable and has a great sense of humour. Our close encounters with a bull elephant and black rhino will be remembered for ever. If we're lucky enough to return to South Africa again Hillsnek will be first on our list.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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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Bushbaby99, Owner at HillsNek Safaris, Amakhala Game Reserve, responded to this review, September 19, 2013
Dearest Guests,

Thank you for taking the time to review your second stay at HillsNek, Amakhala Game Reserve.
We are thrilled that you enjoyed the time spent with us, that the weather was kinder, and that the game viewing was exciting and presented new opportunities. Our ranger David is of course beaming like a Cheshire cat after reading this.... you have made his day, his month, his year with the kind accolades!! Thank you again and we would only be honoured to welcome you both back.
Kindest regards
Brent, Chantelle and the team
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Johannesburg, South Africa
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2013

Our family of 2 adults and 3 teenage children spent three nights at Hillsnek. What a treat! The staff were freindly and attentive the food was delicious and we had great game drives. Although we are regular bush visitors, we had some really special encounters with elephant, rhino and lion - one can always learn something new. We saw 73 birds (not bad for winter) including Denhams Bustard which was a lifer for me. Donald, the cook, was very accommodating in allowing our eldest son to have a cooking lesson - he prepared supper under supervision while we went on a game drive. David, our ranger, obviously loves nature and was an excellent guide. Warren made sure that everything ran smoothly - we really appreciated the extras - the boat trip on the Bushmans river and a visit to Born Free Foundation. We all really enjoyed our stay and hope to be back soon

  • Stayed August 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bushbaby99, Owner at HillsNek Safaris, Amakhala Game Reserve, responded to this review, August 15, 2013
Dearest HillsNek Friends,

Many thanks for reviewing your stay on Tripadvisor. We have shared this fantastic review with our staff, who are all beaming from ear to ear!! It is endearing to hear that even seasoned safari goers continue to get a thrill from the bush and we completely agree, there is always something new to admire in nature. Our rangers are always excited when guests show interest in the other species such as birds. We are thrilled that you got a sighting of a Denhams Bustard on Amakhala Game Reserve!! What a treat! From the team, thank you for spending time with us and for being enthusiastic in all aspects of your stay. We would gladly welcome you back any day!! All the best until then, the HillsNek Team
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Milton Keynes, UK
Top Contributor
71 reviews 71 reviews
54 hotel reviews
Reviews in 56 cities Reviews in 56 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2013

The staff were amazing and their servcie and attention to detail was like nothing we've experienced before. The 'tent' was luxurious and the facilities far exceeded my high expectations. The entire camp was beautifully and tastefully decorated, well maintained and spotlessly clean. The first game drive was a little tedious at times, it was a cold, very windy and damp afternoon and for long periods we saw nothing at all. We missed out on a sundowner but the hot chocolate upon arrival back at camp was very welcome! The morning game drive was excellent. Trevor is an extremely knowledgable and informative guide. Tamsin and her staff go out of their way to look after you and ensure you have everything you need. The food was amazing. An outstanding experience overall.

  • Stayed November 2012, 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bushbaby99, Owner at HillsNek Safaris, Amakhala Game Reserve, responded to this review, August 15, 2013
Dear Friends,

Thank you for taking the time to review your stay at HillsNek. We are thrilled that your expectations were exceeded from both a service and attention to detail perspective. Our staff really do go out of their way to accommodate our guests in all ways possible. Glad to hear that you were kept warm on a winter safari!!
All the best for the remainder of 2013.
Kind regards
the HillsNek Team
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Cape Town Central, South Africa
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 19, 2013

We recently spent time at Hillsnek Safais in the Amakhala Game Reserve. This lodge is a little piece of heaven and we were treated like 5 star guests. Although the lodge, tents, en suite bathrooms, food and staff were wonderful - it was the bush that was just amazing. Along with the big 5 it also boasts the most diverse terrain and a visit up to God's Window overlooking the Bushmans River is a must! Thank you to everyone at Hillsnek who made our visit so very special!!

The owners of the lodge also started the Chipembere Rhino Foundation and do some incredible work to help save our Rhino! Take a look at their website www.chipembere.org!

  • Stayed June 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.
New York City, New York
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 26, 2013

I'm a frequent traveler to East and Southern Africa and was very pleasantly surprised by the amount of wildlife and the feeling of being in a wild place at HillsNik, knowing that all of Amakhala is reclaimed farm land. The reserve is large, at 7,000 hectares, which allows enough space for elephant and other big game to move around and behave in a natural way. The view from the very chic, newly decorated lodge, looking over the reserve, is beautiful. The camp and tents are just the right combination of warmth, tradition, and good taste. Your charming hosts, Chantelle and Brent are the owners so you will feel more like a personal guest than a client. Vehicles are excellent and you can expect lovely sundowners and morning coffee stops. The camp is excellent value for money .

Room Tip: All the tents seem to be great.
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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 2
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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