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“An experience of a life time!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Zulu Nyala Game Lodge

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Zulu Nyala Game Lodge
4.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Msinene Rd, Hluhluwe 3960, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Johannesburg, South Africa
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“An experience of a life time!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 12, 2013

I drove to the Game Lodge with 8 of my friends for a get-away weekend to celebrate the new year.
The drive was short and sweet, practically straight the whole way and the roads were pleasant to drive on.
The lodge was fully booked on our arrival with a vibrant bunch of people from Israel.
Being a young group ourselves, we thoroughly enjoyed the pool party and the trance party set up for them which we were all welcome to join.
The staff at Zulu Nyala Game Lodge are nothing short of outstanding. Very accommodating, passionate about people and always willing to assist.
The game drives we went on were excellent! Amon was our guide and he was incredibly informative and knowledgeable. He always made sure that our drives were different and packed with adventure! We got to get out of the game vehicle and walk right up to two young cheetah and the mother cheetah - what a breath-taking experience! We were even lucky enough to see a leopard, as they are generally scarce on the property.
The food at the game lodge was excellent too, so much variety and packed with flavor!
I am planning on going back at the end of the year for my annual 'bush adventure', this truely was a trip to remember.
My only regret was not finding out about this place sooner.

Room Tip: Rooms by the pool have the best view!
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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335 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (129)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
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English first
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2013

I was not blown away by the Zulu Nyala experience.
Although the Lodge had good things going for it, the bad outweighs and clouds the experience.
Our stay at Zulu Nyala came as part of our wedding package from the Fourways Country Manor - which in itself was rather challenging in terms of getting everything together but beautiful in the end.
Back to the Lodge. We received our confirmation of booking from the lodge but no information that goes with it. There is a link included on the email to the Game Lodge website.
Firstly we were meant to stay at the Heritage hotel but somehow made it to the Game Lodge instead... no communication regarding this change to us.
The website for the Game Lodge is very limited and misrepresents the Lodge entirely. There is no information regarding checking in or checking out. It states that there are TV's in all the rooms - which there aren't. The resort manager also has no clue of what is on his website, also he does not seem to have much of a clue in general...
We arrived early at around midday, the rooms were not ready. This wasn't a train smash though. We decided to have lunch and then the lady at Reception would notify us the minute our room was ready. Not a chance. At 14:30 when we went to inquire the lady said that the room was ready.
The resort misplaced our room key and we had to leave our luggage unsecured while someone hunted for the key.
There was no tour from the lodge's side to familiarize us with the grounds and what is available. No maps provided either. They operate on a seek and ye shall find philosophy.
I noted that there was no insect repellant in the room - strange for the area, as it is an accepted fact that there were going to be mosquitoes galore. I inquired with the manager and he explained to me very politely that I need not worry as the mosquitoes were not poisonous. That was however not the point now was it. You cannot sleep with mosquitoes buzzing around you like you were the least meal on earth.
Only after my second (demand) did I get a can of Doom sent to the room.
The game drives were great!
Apart from the fact that the organizing of the game drives were very haphazard. It didn't seem as though the resort knew its bum from its elbow unfortunately.
The game rangers were very knowledgeable and we had a great time with them.
Dinner was good. Although the insects were rather problematic in the dining area. Great care was taken to keep the insects away from the food, but not much consideration towards the guests that were the insects dinnertime treat.
The lunch time menu is a joke! The website claims "you can indulge your palate with Zulu Nyala’s abundant and African style cuisine." There are only 4 options for lunch: chicken salad, venison wrap, fish & chips and a tuna mayo sandwich. Hardly what one would describe tantalizing to the taste buds.
Breakfast is an average event with the usual suspects. Do arrive early or you will find yourself going hungry if you wanted certain items.
The water in the area is not safe to drink, yet the lodge does not provide you with an alternative and even have the gall to charge you for ice if you request it. I refused to pay of course.
Other than the game drives and the dining there is not much else to do on the resort. The pool was being treated with heavy chlorine doses as the weather had turned it a paler shade of green. Not ideal.
There is no gym, all other activities are communal on a first come first serve basis. Not much room for guests in the lounge / library considering you have 51 rooms and less than 6 couches...
The lodge also does not provide a full satellite TV bouquet leaving you with very limited choices.
We arranged to go visit a nearby cheetah rescue programme, the lodge was kind enough to provide us with the directions on how to reach the destination, however they neglected to tell us the operating times for the tours. We ended up 15 minutes late for one of the two interactive tours for the day. As the lodge also arranges excursions to the venue from their side I felt it was negligent of them not to explain the timing to us. We made a trip for nothing.
The rooms are lovely.
Please note to take your own toiletries as the complimentary ones do not get replaced after the first day.
Our trip was meant for 5 nights, we left after 3. We had had enough.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Durban
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2013

We purchased a Daddy's deal and really enjoyed our time there. Food is great and the pool overlooking the valley is a must. very serene and the the animals (Impala and warthog) walking around you at the pool is such an amazing experiance.

Some negatives:

Park is very small, so game drive is not very stimulating. Suggest heading to Hluhluwe and Phinda for their game drives.

Service is lacking in some areas such as romm cleaning and restaurant.

Was it good, yes! Would I go back if it wasnt a special, no. Their ordinary non-special prices are not justified.

We paid R900 a day for 2 people vesrus the normal R3000 a day pps! Also, the excursion itenary is prohibitively exspensive and obviously catered to overseas tourists.

  • Stayed January 2013, 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
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oakland, California, United States
1 review
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2013

My husband and I recently returned from Zulu Nyala and we had an outstanding trip. Like many others, we won this trip at an auction and visited December 23 to December 29.

Accommodations: We spent the first three nights in the tents and I really enjoyed this experience. While rustic, staying in the tent was delightful and I really felt like I was on safari in the African bush. The animals were right in front of us and we enjoyed hanging out with them.
The tent had a concrete floor and a very nice tiled bathroom and was very clean.

Initially was concerned about the heat since the tent only had a fan and while it was too hot to stay in the tent during the day, at night it cooled off and it we never felt too hot. One day a huge rainstorm hit and the tent got a bit wet inside, but housekeeping came and mopped up the water. It wasn't really a big deal and it added a great adventure to our stay.

After three nights in the tent, we moved to the game lodge and we had a room by the pool- #14. The room was just OK but the view was A-1! It was a bit small, and the bedding was stained which I found annoying, but the bathroom was lovely and the fan and air-conditioning worked well. For some reason, the game lodge had a lot of mosquitoes, both in the room and in the dining room. The fan and air-conditioning kept them from biting me in the room, but at dinner I had to wear spray. I do recommend trying to get a room by the pool because of the spectacular view. I highly suggest staying three nights in both places to get a varying experience. I'm glad we did.

Game drives- Jacques was our ranger and I can’t say enough great things about him. He was a true professional and he had a great understanding of the animals and of plants and flowers. He also knew a ton about birds and about spiders. Our group had a lot of spider fans so Jacques went out of his way to teach us about African spiders. It was a delight to spend time with him and learn from him. I suspect all rangers at Zulu Nyala are great guides.
While some people complain about seeing the same animals day-after-day, I never tired of this. Each day we saw different and new things and being on a small game reserve allowed us to get really close to the animals, especially the cheetahs which we saw almost daily. I was really surprised by just how close to the animals we were able to get. It was so cool!

Food: I thought that the food was really great. It was a bit repetitive, but the selection was very diverse and the lodge tried hard to please everyone. Breakfast was great! On several occasions the chef made me Kingklip because I don’t eat meat and I wanted to try some local fish. It was awesome! The lodge excels at making puddings and desserts, too. I cannot complain about the food. The wine list was reasonably priced and soft drinks were not expensive.

Internet: Previous reviewers have complained about internet prices but I think many individuals got their conversations wrong. Internet is 50. RAND per minute, (not USD) which is very cheap. The internet connection was fast and computers were always available.

Other tips: I read that you can purchase a lot of top-quality safari clothes at Goodwill and at your local thrift store. My husband and I spent a few months scouring thrift stores for safari type clothing and we found a lot of great deals. I highly recommend doing this. It was a lot of fun and kept us engaged for many, many weekends.

Excursions: We went to Hluhluwe Game Reserve one day to see lions. We saw two and loads of elephants.We could not go to Phinda because they were sold-out. We had a car and at first we were going to drive ourselves to Hluhluwe, but I'm glad we didn't. Going with Jacques and our group allowed us to see far more of the park they we would have seen on our own. Our guide was able to anticipate were the animals might be because he knows the park intimately. It was worth the expense to go with the group.

Summary: We loved Zulu Nyala. The safari was just fantastic. The staff was always helpful and caring and I would love to go back. What a fantastic experience!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boulder, Cororado, USA
Top Contributor
198 reviews 198 reviews
37 hotel reviews
Reviews in 54 cities Reviews in 54 cities
117 helpful votes 117 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2013

It seems that the majority of people at the lodge had purchased their safari at this lodge through a charitable event in the US. That's how we came to be there as well. We thought we'd be among people from all around the world, but we quickly accepted that this was a mostly American experience of a wonderful country. Our accommodations were very good and the grounds of the lodge were outstanding. Dining was very, very good. But we save our highest accolades for the guides (rangers) who led our twice daily excursions. These are very dedicated people who have a real command of the fauna and flora of the land. They kept us entranced the whole week we were there. All in all, we had a great experience and we would recommend this place to anyone.

  • Stayed December 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 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Olney, Maryland
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 1, 2013

This is only the review of the drive to Zulu Nyala. I would give it 0 starts, but I do not want to reflect it on the Zulu Nyala Game Lodge rating.

The drive let us experience the beautiful countryside. We drove through Pretoria on N4, N11 and then N2. We drove through Gauteng, Mpumulanga and KwazuluNatal Provinces.

The car rental from Dollar was easy even though they were out of the GPS and we had to rent it from another location at the airport.

The entire drive on the left side of the road and in the rain took about 7 hours and it was full of "danger" signs. As soon as we got on N4 we saw following signs: high hi-jacking area, stray animals, no fences, people crossing. It was definitely quite the experience seeing people lined up on the side of the road hitchhiking and waiting for taxis...after seeing the high hi-jacking area signs.

The landscape went from flat, hilly, mountainous, coal mining, lumber producing to beautiful Kwazu-Natal where the road shoulders were paved and the truck drivers seemed nicer. They actually moved to the side of the road so the cars could pass them. Of perhaps we just became better at driving the South African way.

There were two construction areas, where only one lane was open. The wait varied from 15-45 min. During that time, locals approached our car selling us produce and local craft items.

During our drive we only passed one oasis area where we fueled up and got food. After that we had to stop at local towns because we didn't know when we would see another petrol station. Everyone at the gas stations was friendly. There are parking attendants (a person with a yellow vest) who would "watch" your car. We tipped them when we back to our car. There are KFCs in every town in passed. We have not seen one McDonalds

We read other reviews of the drive from JNB and heard nothing bad against it. I just wanted to post the review with the details. If you choose to drive, please note the highways starts off with a 4 lane road that turns into two lane road full of danger signs and no shoulder. There are aggressive coal truck drivers which seem so much bigger than the ones in US. And they have no problems passing and creating a third lane in the middle of the two lane road.

Most of N11 was under construction where there was a big drop off on each side with trucks passing and driving other cars off the road. It was a stressful 7 hr drive.

On the way back, we took another route and it felt "safer".

In KwazuluNatal, having a car gave us freedom other travelers did not have. We were able to take side strips to St Lucia, Cheetah Conservatory, Lion Park, Hluhluwe National Park and all were great trips. Perhaps during our next trip, we'll fly to Durban/Richard's Bay and rent a car so we only have 1.5-3 hr drive instead of seven. Or we pay to get picked up.

Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, Alberta
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2012

We stayed at the Heritage hotel in early December for two nights. It's a wonderful location; in retrospect I wish we had stayed in the tents as they have a great view (they look like cabins, not really tents at all).
Food at the hotel was OK. The waiters and cooks were very nice,and tried to be helpful, but they could have had more options for vegans. I found some of the vegetables were so smothered in oil that they were inedible.
We only did one game drive, as the second one we booked was cancelled due to rain, so we did not see much game which was a disappointment.
My only real complaint was the young man at reception at the hotel when we checked in was not helpful at all. We were never assigned a game ranger, and when I tried to find out about tours I had read about on line (such as going to see the lions at Phinda, or the elephants, or the cheetahs), I just got a shrug from the young man at reception who said there were no such things! Luckily I was able to find out about some of the tours available by speaking to fellow guests, but my advice for new arrivals is to speak to a ranger as soon as possible after arriving. Do not rely on reception to give you any useful information at all; it was like getting blood from a stone.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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 Zulu Nyala Game Lodge

Address: Msinene Rd, Hluhluwe 3960, South Africa
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Zululand > Hluhluwe
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #10 of 27 Specialty Lodging in Hluhluwe
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Zulu Nyala Game Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 52
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
An entrancing experience in a unique wilderness area. Zulu Nyala Private Game Reserve provides a unique bush experience in the heart of one of South Africa’s most diverse conservation regions. Nestled between the wilderness reserves of Mkuze, Hluhluwe and St Lucia, this lush stretch of paradise is home to a wide variety of game, from the majestic elephant to rhino, buffalo, hippo, giraffe, the shy and beautiful Nyala buck that is endemic to the region and the secretive leopard. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Zulu Nyala Game Hotel Hluhluwe

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