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“Awesome :)” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Rhino River Lodge

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Rhino River Lodge
3.0 of 5 Lodge   |   P.O BOX 2950, Hluhluwe 3960, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Perth, Australia
1 review
“Awesome :)”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 9, 2012

Thank you some much for a wonderful safari.We all had a fantastic time.Everything was as I asked and I could not have asked for more.It was perfect.Thank you Lauren for all your effort in organising an itinerary for us while we were there.From the start of finding your lodge on the web, to contacting you and booking our safari was made so easy by the effort you put in for us.
St Louisa, the cheetah sanctuary and the elephant interaction was awesome and something I can say not many people have done.The lodge is beautiful, even the kids where amazed by the use of natural timber shapes.All our facilities were nice, clean and all in great working order.
We felt very comfortable and at home in our lodge.I thought the food was great and the services too.Can’t speak for my fussy kids, but I know they ate well and enjoyed their food.
In all we found your lodge to be well kept, very beautiful and thanks to all of you guys who work there.Isaac, thanks mate, you are the man.Thanks for the great game drives and for all the awesome knowledge you gave us.Your knowledge of the bush and the animals is outstanding.We saw some awesome game and I am sure coming back, so hope to see you soon.Thanks for helping me with the kids.Great lodge, family friendly and well organised.

Room Tip: Have a great time :)
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with family
    • 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
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139 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (28)
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English first
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
69 reviews 69 reviews
48 hotel reviews
Reviews in 47 cities Reviews in 47 cities
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 8, 2012

RRL was recommended to us by a couple of very experienced African travellers, who raved about it when they returned home.

Plus Points
• Good game viewing - we saw lots of antelope and buffalo, elephant, new-born hippo and new-born rhino, plus lions on each of our three days.
• Friendly and helpful staff – when we explained that we had to leave early in the morning and so would have to cut short the early morning game drive, we were offered an early start (5.00AM) to get our full three hours and the chance to find leopard (unfortunately, we didn’t, but it was still a ‘magic morning’).
• Very acceptable food, in the usual large South African portions – the lunches, with a variety of salads, were particularly enjoyable.
• Comfortable accommodation – large, clean rooms without a TV (who cares? If you do, there is a TV lounge).
• Relaxing atmosphere - easy to sit around on the decks or under the trees and watch the variety of wildlife (birds, warthogs and red duiker) around the lodge and in the fever trees.
• Good value for money.

Not-so Plus Points
• The noise of the N2 – heard clearly from the lodge and on some of the game drives.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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18 reviews 18 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 30, 2012

Only a 2 night booking in the middle of a one week tour of KZN for an overseas visitor, but an excellent stay and well enjoyed. From the booking process, to the welcome, to the game drives, to the final departure it could not have been handled better. Isaac was an excellent guide and after living here in Natal for 30 years, and hundreds of game drives, I still found myself learning many things from him. He even spent time to show us the trail of a pofadder crossing a road earlier. Less game than I've seen on some drives; a lot more than I've seen on others. Its not a zoo or European wildlife park where the animals are presented to you along the roadside! Try some of the smaller Eastern Cape reserves for that - although still good for getting a 1-day tourist in contact with lots of game in a very short time. lots of very varied bush - nice to drive round in itself. Two very interesting sightings - 3 young lion unusually made an ostrich kill; and a very interesting 30 minutes or so with a black rhino en-route to a drink but trying to mark us out of his territory. Also got into the middle of a very large herd of buffalo just as darkness fell. Well done Isaac - you did very well.
I've been to most of the reserves in the northern Natal area (including some of the extremely expensive, highly pretentious ones) and also to many others throughout South Africa - and Rhino River stands high with the best of them. Accommodation was perfectly adequate, food was quite good, but the home-made ice-cream was the best I've ever tasted.
The only criticism was the occasional loud noise from trucks the N2 road nearby, but this did nothing to spoil the experience.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
Hamburg, Germany
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 14, 2012

We had a 2-night-booking and because s.th. mishappened with another booking, we arrived one day earlier. It was easily handled within minutes during a phonecall and we were in.
And what a welcome. Just on our way to the lodge we saw several game near our car. Our first gamedrive that very evening was one of the many highlights and we are happy we didn't miss it. Was the only time to see a Cheetah. Every gamedrive with Jason gave new insights and we saw lots of mammal including a big herd of Buffalo (>50) and 3 young male Lion walking around the car.
The meals were lekker, the staff friendly and always helpful, our chalet just great.
Just one little negative remark: Due to the location near the N2 you might hear some traffic in the night.
Good reason to come back another time.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
Darmstadt, Germany
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 12, 2012

Travelled from Kruger NP and hence had quite a long drive through Swasiland to Rhino River. Just arrived on time for the afternoon GameDrive and were very thankful that our ranger Isaac and the other family staying in Rhino River Lodge waited for us to join the Drive. The landscape is somewhat different to what we have seen in Kruger and we could also see some animals which we haven't been spotting in the BIG Nationalpark before - such as Buffalo & Cheetah & Black Rhino. This was really great. However we have to state that compared to Kruger (where we in fact really had been spoilt), the GameDrives in Rhino were less fun: we always had the impression that animals, which in fact weren't all actually born in the reserve, stayed near the roads in order to wave hello at us. For sure, for people who don't want to travel that long distances to Kruger, visiting reserves like Rhino River might do for getting a glimpse of "Safari feeling.
Accomodation in Rhino River is ok for a 3star Lodge, missed actually the aircon in our room which would have made the warm night more comfortable. Food was ok also, and we can't actually complain about the service: Staff is nice and tries to make your stay as perfect as possible.
Don't forget to bring a torch when you go to dinner as the way from the rooms to the dinning room / boma is unlit - which hit us by surprise at our first night in Rhino River Lodge.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
duze, General Manager at Rhino River Lodge, responded to this review, May 18, 2012
While a review that's major complaint is that they saw too many animals does not usually warrant a response from management, there is a little misinformation here that we would like to clear up. We too, love the Kruger National Park. The vast wilderness is nothing short of awe-inspiring. The scenery in Zululand is in fact very different from that in the Kruger as they are very different habitat types. Here in the Zululand Rhino Reserve, our dominant vegetation is a mixed acacia bushveld, which is often a bit more dense than some of the habitats observed in the Kruger. This is a very important habitat type in South Africa, and indeed the oldest game reserve on the African continent, Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, is a relatively close neighbor of ours, with very similar scenery. But the best part about our habitat is that it has an even higher carrying capacity than the habitat in Kruger, meaning that it can support more animals per land area than the Kruger is able to, and what that often translates to for our guests is better game-viewing. Our game-viewing experiences are also enriched by using experienced game rangers to guide drives, coordinating with other game drives in the area to report sightings, and through responsibly habituating animals to the presence of game drive vehicles. Although we would love it if our animals always stood close enough to the road for all of our tourists to see them (particularly with our more elusive species!) this is not always the case and the animals do have free access to the reserve's entire 23,000 hectares. The Zululand Rhino Reserve is a new reserve formed just 7 short years ago with the joining of many game farms and traditional farms forming a new reserve committed to nature and conservation. Although many of the species have grown in numbers naturally from the original stock, some species needed to be introduced to restore ecological balance as well as promote the conservation of endangered species. These species include black rhino, cheetah, buffalo and lions. So although, as the review mentioned, some of our animals were not born in the Zululand Rhino Reserve, they have all been introduced as part of our conservation strategy, they were all born in the wild in South Africa, and we hope with any luck, they will continue to reproduce successfully here in the reserve. The reserve is doing its best to return this piece of Zululand bushveld to an ecologically balanced state and to aid in the conservation efforts for endangered species like the black rhino and cheetah.
Lastly, the path between the rooms and the lodge dining area is normally lit and we apologize if there may have been a problem with the lights that evening. But yes, we do suggest bringing a torch (flashlight) with you on your safari!
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Luck, Wisconsin
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 12, 2012

This place is beyond. From the moment we entered the courtyard from a dusty back road drive through the bush-veld you new instantly this was beyond special. Bush-pigs blazed in front of us as we approached our accommodations, a beautiful straw roofed cottage, immaculately presented and wonderfully furnished...to bad there was no time to stay inside as our time was dominated by game drives for all the big African five with our ever present guide Issac. The food in the guests 5 star dining tent was superb and some of the best I have ever eaten anywhere. With a campfire at night and choice wines with daytime spent rousting up game, discovering crocodiles, enormous snakes, Giraffe,wilderbeast, Rhino (white and Black) Zebra, Ellies and whatever else the continent could provide...the fabulous looking pool never saw a toe.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 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.
Blythedale Beach
13 reviews 13 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 20, 2012

My husband & I recently visited Rhino River Lodge - we decided to spoil ourselves for our wedding anniversary. Well spoilt we were! We were warmly welcomed by Lauren on our arrival and shown to our very comfortable, clean and well equipped accommodation, We had arrived in time for a super lunch set in the boma area, over looking the river bed and fever trees and well cared for gardens. Warthog and buck were busy keeping the lawns trimmed & the bird life - amazing.
We learned so much on the game drives and had a very relaxed time with Isaac & Jason - our rangers for the weekend. The spiders and their webs really fascinated us. The early morning coffee & rusks and evening drinks were so special and we are so blessed to have all this beauty on our doorstep. Nothing like an African sunrise & sunset.
We must commend Lauren, Isaac & Jason for all the effort they put into making our wedding anniversary such a memorable & romantic evening. The paper lanterns, warm log fire and cozy table for two in our own private boma, was just so special and greatly appreciated. At the end of an amazing meal it was just so relaxing to sit next to the fire with a glass of wine in our hands and look up at the millions of stars and listen to the sounds of the African night. Even the cries of the bush babies.
It was wonderful to see the dams full and the bush so lush, making game viewing a bit tricky, but at least we know that the animals are well fed and watered.
Rhino River Lodge will certainly be a place that we will recommend to friends and family & I'm sure we will return in the not too distant future.
To Lauren and her team - thank you for a wonderful weekend.
Jeff & Margie

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
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Additional Information about Rhino River Lodge

Address: P.O BOX 2950, Hluhluwe 3960, South Africa
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Zululand > Hluhluwe
Free Parking
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 27 Specialty Lodging in Hluhluwe
Hotel Class:3 star — Rhino River Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
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