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“A great Game Lodge, very recommandable!” 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
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Allensbach, Deutschland
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“A great Game Lodge, very recommandable!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 24, 2012

The Rhino River Lodge is a beautiful private Game Lodge, which belongs to the Zululand Rhino Reserve with an area of 23.000ha land. They share this land with the neighboring Lodges Leopard Mountain Lodge and Zebra Hills Lodge. As the name says is the focus in this reserve the Rhino: One can see Black Rhinos and White Rhinos, but also all the others of the Big 5, as well as Antilopes, Zebras, Giraffes, Hippos, Crocodiles and aplenty of birds.
The way to the lodge is a little bit adventurous. After a few kilometres on a dirt road, you have to drive about 5km through the reserve, after you arrive at the reception. On our way we saw some Waterbucks and Rhinos in less than 60m distance and I found this quite exciting.

There are only 6 rooms and 2 family chalets, which guarantees a cosy and private atmosphere. Die rooms are situated in a long thatched house, but are built that one definitely has its privacy and each room has a small veranda. In addition there is a common lounge with a sun deck, as well as the pool area. The lodge is situated directly at the Msunduze River, the garden – although natural – is very cultivated. The rooms are not super-luxury or top-modern, as one might know this from other private Game Lodges, but they are comfortable and primarily clean. Moreover, they should now be refurbished gradually.

The licensed bar is fully equipped, the food is tasty and plentiful, the tables are nice covered for Dinner and in the evening you can sit around a cosy campfire in the boma. But first of all the service is fantastic. Hier is everybody responsable for everything. The Reserve Managerin welcomes you at the reception and a little bit later, she is the barkeeper or serves the dinner. The same applies to the Rangers and everyone is open for a small talk or provides useful information. One realises that everyone here really loves his job and is doing it with his heart and is bothering about the welfare of the guest.

I already stayed at really luxury Lodges in South Africa, too, and with this luxury the Rhino River Lodge may not compete, but this is not even necessary, because they have a absolutely great value for money and mainly they have an unbelievable factor of convenience.

Anyway I didn’t want to depart after my 3 nights I spent there and I would definitely consider to stay there again on my next South Africa vacation, if this agrees with my travel plans.

Not at all I can confirm what someone else wrote here, that the rooms are dirty or that there are insects or other animals in. Nothing in this sort was the case and I'm very critical with things like that!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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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181 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    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 (35)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Polish first
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English first
Hardinghen
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 19, 2012

We stayed in one of the family chalets for four nights and had a fabulous time. 2 game drives per day, a guided bush walk, sundowners with the wildlife and aperitifs around the fire in the boma. Rhino River is a beautiful place to stay, with well run game drives, good food and great staff. Nothing was too much to ask and everything done in a such a relaxed way. Perfect atmosphere, we could happily have stayed much longer.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 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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Stockport, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 10, 2012

We really enjoyed staying in this small Lodge rather than a great big complex. The rooms were all lovely and set apart so you had peace and tranquility and they are in very nice grounds. Staff were all very, very friendly and helpul, you were made to feel like a special and valued guest. The first night there was a fire outside the dining room that we all sat round having drinks - this was fabulous, we could have sat round this all night! Sadly the second night there was a storm so we couldn't do this, however they lit a fire in the very comfortable lounge instead which was still nice though not quite as good.
Very good food throughout, espcially the steaks on the BBQ the first night - amazing! A large area of game reserve though the stock is still building up, we saw Lions but disappointed not to see any elephants. We went on a bush walk which we loved, really worth doing if you like to be a bit more adventurous.

  • Stayed October 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2012

Had to write review this evening with regrets could have stayed longer. Booking made by friend resident in SA. Sadly just one night. While on route to lodge received a call from Shona with respect to what sundowner drinks we wanted on our evening drive. This pretty set up idea of how staff prepare/ care for guests. Isaac our ranger on evening and morning drives was professional, great knowledge and respectful of wildlife. Scenery in this area beautiful. Our lodge room was large and spacious. Not having a Television set allows to be absorbed in the bush. The cricket sounds the rhythm to go to sleep to. The standard of food is basic but wholesome. Some portion and presentation management would help lead to finer touch. Overall this lodge is very fairly priced and excellent value for money. In comparison to accommodation of higher end of the market it is up there and working to achieve a good product. Trip Advisors in comparison think three nights Rhino Lodge is possibly equal to one night in high end lodge product. Rhino Lodge well done.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Waukesha, Wisconsin
Top Contributor
88 reviews 88 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2012

In October, my son and I visited Rhino River for a second time (see my previous review from 2011) and it was even better than the first!

There have been fantastic upgrades since our last visit. There's a new lounge area that is beautiful and relaxing complete with fireplace, books, and comfortable seating... and the occasional vervet monkey! The dining area is now larger and less cluttered now that the lounge has its own (attached) building. The folks there are reassessing how they were doing meals and so now offer breakfast options you order the night before and two choices at dinner and delicious choices they are!! (So please note that Shona and the entire staff are paying attention to your reviews and feedback!) The reception area also received an upgrade and includes a nice gift shop.

The staff at RRL bend over backwards to provide superior personal service. For example, the day we arrived (a little later than 2pm as we had originally planned), we were met by Shona and Jason at our car, shown to our room, helped with our bags, and were immediately served our lunch when we walked to the dining area (including the special meal for my son). As Lodge Manager, Shona is very diligent at returning emails promptly, continually ensuring guests are comfortable, and is so pleasant and kind. I can't speak highly enough of how the staff accomodated my son's pickier dining preferences! They made him pizza, burgers, etc. since he is not very adventurous and the portions were huge! In additon, our first night we found a fairly large spider in our room and Jeanine came immediately to catch and release it. It was a harmless rain spider but she went above and beyond to check over the other corners of our room to help appease me and my son. :)

You receive two game drives a day at RRL, and Jeanine, Jason, and Isaac are all very good at teaching guests things about the flora and fauna, spotting wildlife big and small, and making each guest feel attended to (we spent most of our time with Isaac last year but he was on off days when we visited this year; Jeanine and Jason are also amazing!). We were able to see rhino, hippo, jackal, buffalo, giraffe, warthog, wildebeest, and more. I have been to the Kruger and other game parks and while I appreciate them all and they all have their own pros and cons, I feel the quiet, private, unspoilt grounds and amazing guides at RRL offer guests a much more personal experience.

Other basics: Rooms are very comfortable and clean. They include a small fridge, plenty of wardrobe space, and no tv, wifi (which for a workaholic like me makes for a great excuse to shut off for a few days!). Bathrooms are clean and they and the rooms are decorated with local flavor. Mosquito nets and turn down service are nice touches. Large decks provide a private place to wind down. Guests are not given keys (although you can ask for one) and they are not necessary there for it is such a small, safe place, we never worry about a thing. Two game drives complete with snacks and sundowners are included. When not on a drive, you have plenty of time to get some R&R here, take walks, birdwatch, read, meditate.

Overall, it was another excellent stay. The personal service and attention you receive at RRL is second to none. The value is amazing. I can't say enough about Rhino River Lodge and the staff and we will be back without a doubt! Thank you Shona, Jason, and Jeanine (and ALL of the staff!) for making another stay so unforgettable. We'll be seeing you soon! Karla and Logan

Room Tip: If you get a chance, visit Zamimpilo outdoor craft market. It's on the N2, about 20 min away fro...
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  • Stayed October 2012, 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.
Breda, The Netherlands
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 25, 2012

We stayed for two nights in this unforgetable place and had a great time. The lodge, the people, the service, the food and the game drives were all fantastic and very well organised. As we were on honeymoon, a very romantic private dinner was organised for us, matching the intimacy of this place! During the game drives our ranger Isaac really made an effort to show us the very best of the bush.

  • Stayed October 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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San Diego, California
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2012

This fantastic lodge was recommended by friends and they did not disappoint. From the moment we arrived our every need was cared for by their great staff. The mangement and staff of RRL have a solid understanding of the word "hospitality" which I fear is being lost at many of the high end hotels and lodges around the globe. When they say it's hard to find good help these days the RRL folks have it somehow figured out. Examples:
1. Not once did I see a maid in our two story chalet the entire 3 nights we stayed yet the room was always spotless, things put away, lights on and bed turned down after the evening meal. Not sure how they pulled this off, perhaps while out on game drives rooms are serviced but it was really amazing and gave us much privacy during the day - hey, that's what a getaway vacation is all about, right?
2. The kitchen staff prepared the best tasting and varied menu items that I have ever experienced in an all inclusive plan. The food was local, fresh, prepared that day and presented to the guests with class and style. There was always more than enough and man was it delicious!
3. The maintenance staff did a great job of maintaining the immaculate grounds - again, like the maid service I never saw these folks but knew they had been there doing their job.
4. The mangement provided all the little extras like bringing umbrellas to our room when it started to drizzle right before dinner one evening; bringing wine and beers over to our chalet when the supply got low; arranging side trips like the croc/hippo tour at St. Lucia and even making hotel arrangements for our further travels to St Lucia and Durban.
5. And finally, the reason all of us want to experience a game lodge is for the game viewing and it was awesome! Over a 3 night stay and 6 game drives we saw rhinos, lion, cheetah, rock python, cape buffalo, nyala, giraffe, hippos and a million other interesting things. Our guide Isaac is a true bushman yet we called him the renaissance man because he could speak on any subject - animals, history, plants, politics, language (he speaks 5) and anything else you'd care to discuss. I would ask the dumbest questions yet I always received a thorough response that taught me more about the bush than I ever thought possible.
Hats off to the owners Shannon and Dale Airton for running a top notch facility. Both Shannon and Dale are wildlife conservationists and will provide you with lots of expert information and discussion concerning their property and the wildlife therein. We had great discussions with them and the other guests during drinks around the evening campfire - what a memorable time we had!
My wife and I had dreamed of this trip for many years and thanks RRL for making our dreams come true.
In summary, if you want a high end foo-foo kind of lodge then by all means feel free to spend the big bucks and go for it somewhere else. If you want to spend relaxing, laid back kind of time with friendly folks who know what hospitality means and are dedicated wildlife conservation practitioners that know their s**t then I strongly recommend you check out RRL.
Oh, one more thing - don't forget to ask lots of stupid questions - you'll be amazed at the answers!

  • Stayed October 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 1
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
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 28 Specialty Lodging in Hluhluwe
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Rhino River Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
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