We stayed in the tented camp for Xmas - we had three tents: ourselves; teenage daughters; another couple and had a fantastic time, would thoroughly recommend it. I'm not a great fan of camping but these tents eliminate all the things I dislike about the experience normally. Really they're like chalet suites with canvas walls. There is a proper hard floor, they are very large, there is a proper plumbed in bathroom with a large claw bath, sink and loo, and an outdoor shower for showering under the stars. The furnishings are reminiscent of a Victorian gentleman's campaign tent - wonderful fourposter beds draped in mosquite netting (not really needed) and every comfort. As I said, it is like a large suite with canvas walls, you won't feel you are in a tent really. They are widely spaced and very private. There is a main lodge which contains the lounge, the restaurant and bar area and there is a pool which is great for cooling off in.
There is another part of the resort which is the main Thula Thula lodge but it is about 2km from the tented camp.
The staff were very welcoming and service was good. Meals were mainly buffet and pretty good but not haut cuisine (up in the main lodge, the food is of a gourmet standard). In the tented camp, you get one game walk in the morning and one game drive in the late afternoon. The afternoon game drive was absolutely superb. The park is gorgeous, extremely green, full of game - giraffe, elephant, rhino, antelope, wildebeest, zebra, monkeys and many birds. We saw our fill and up close too. The rangers were excellent and the vehicles were extremely comfortable and we were generally alone. They always stop for sundowners at a scenic spot and will bring what you want - g&t, wine etc plus snacks - all very civilised.
We arrived on Xmas Eve and left on Boxing Day and didn't know whether to expect any celebrations, but the lodge was decorated and we had a lovely Xmas eve dinner which ended with the staff giving us an impromptu song and dance. On Xmas day, we had a champagne lunch which was also very good. The owner - elephant whisperer - visited every day and was available to tell about his adventures.
There were a couple of points just short of perfection: the lighting in the tents is quite dim - very atmospheric but hopeless for reading in bed or finding something in the corners after dark. The morning game walk was not particularly enjoyable or useful. Instead of splitting us as per the game drives we all went together and frankly if you were at the back of the line of about 15 people, you couldn't hear what the ranger was saying and anyway we all made far too much noise tramping along to see anything of interest. We went once and all decided that we wouldn't bother again. It would have been much better to have have a morning game drive (interestingly the guests staying at the main lodge got two drives) rather than a walk and we would have paid extra to do this if it was a matter of cost.
All in all, we loved Thula Thula - my teenage daughters counted it their favourite of all our South African locations. The elephants were very special and we got to see them a lot. One day my daughter and I were walking to the pool and the whole herd passed by just across the river. Magic.
- Also Known As:
- Thula Thula Exclusive Private Game Reserve And Safari Hotel Kwazulu-Natal
- Thula Thula Exclusive Private Game Reserve And Safari Hotel
- Thula Thula Exclusive Private Game Reserve And Safari Lodge South Africa/KwaZulu-Natal
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Thula Thula private game reserve is a unique safari destination and home to elephant, rhino, buffalo, leopard and superb bird life, in Kwazulu Natal, in a malaria free area. With its unique atmosphere, stylish decor and superb cuisine, Thula Thula offers you the choice of exclusive accommodation between the luxurious Safari lodge, renowned gourmet destination, and the 4 star Luxury tented camp, offering an authentic bush experience in great style. Special packages, spa massages, Zulu culture tours. ... more less