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“Great experience but a bit disappointed” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Thanda Private Game Reserve

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Thanda Private Game Reserve
5.0 of 5 Lodge   |   D242 off the N2, Hluhluwe 3960, South Africa   |  
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Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Great experience but a bit disappointed”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 6, 2012

Thanda was mostly a great experience. Unfortunately, one the top management staff was getting married shortly after our time there. The staff were mainly focused on wedding preparations and wedding guests. We were not able to do some of the activities (hands on with elephants and lions) because the staff were being utilized for wedding activities. Our "tent" was comfortable with the exception of our shower which filled up with enough water to cover your ankles. We asked for a second chair for the deck of the tent and were brought a straight dining room chair-not very comfortable for lounging. We wanted to see the lodge and were told we couldn't. Food was excellent and plentiful. We had two bonfire dinners. The second one had all the wedding guests. It felt a bit strange but I guess they didn't know what else to do with those of us who were not part of wedding. Etienne and Nowady (?sp) were our driver and tracker. They were very good and knowledgable. Etienne is a photographer which was an advantage and disadvantage. He was eager to get photos so we would get to places quickly to see lion cubs, etc. The problem was that he would position the jeep for his best shot, often leaving you with bushes in front of your lens. He would eventually reposition the jeep but often the opportunity for a great shot was gone. We went on a Groupon deal as did another couple. We bought the same deal but they were told by Thanda that they were entititled to extras-a massage for two for free-a romantic dinner (which they couldn't have because we had to go to the second bonfire dinner). There were a lot of inconsistencies relative to service and rooms. I think it may have been a fluke due to the wedding so I would not tell people not to go.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
    • 3 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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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (49)
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Maidstone, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2012

My wife and I would not recomend Thanda. We stayed 3 nights in the Tented Camp in early November, we had an awful start when we got forgotten and abandoned in the car park for 40 minutes, eventually 2 irate phone calls got someone to collect us, and we didn't get an apology (staff made it sound like it was our fault!!). The service generally was very ordinary, we were given the wrong time for lunch so that when we got there on the first 2 days it was all gone, and only on our last day did we find out it was available at 2.00pm not 3.00pm. Our first 2 game drives were excellent, but on our last 4 game drives we saw little. And while it was not Thanda's fault that the weather was awful, our stay became something to endure and not enjoy!!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ThandaD, Manager at Thanda Private Game Reserve, responded to this review, December 14, 2012
Dear Philip

Thank you for the phone call and emails that we have shared. I respect your feedback regarding the tented camp and as mentioned I will be spending time with the team on the ground to focus on the issues that you have raised and your suggestions on how we can improve.

As mentioned Thanda Main lodge I feel would have been better suited to your requirements and I would love to have yourself and Mrs Higgins to visit.

Have a wonderful evening.

Kind regards
Dulcie Oliver | Assistant General Manager
Cell: +27 78 2612485
Fax: 086 6016535
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lidingo
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 19, 2012

Imagine waking up by a personal wake up knock (A person from the staff knocks on your tent door - No loud beeps from the alarmclock), your are in a comfy and luxurios bed the middle of the forest with all the sounds of nature surrounding you.
You put on your clothes and start a day with all new experiences, wonderful nature, fantastic friendly staff, tasty food and make memories for life. When you´re done for the day, they follow you back to your tent. The trail is lit by lanterns and the tent by candels, both in the bedroom and in the bathroom.
Romantic tips: Take a candlelight bubblebath with their excellent products.

I can really recommend staying in the tented camp insted of the main lodge - It adds to the experience and I really believe that it´s good for you to get away from Tv:s and phones and everyting else to be able to just give in to the atmosphere.
There are electricity some parts of the day in some parts of the tent, but we choosed not to use it. To charge cameras and phones, you leave your stuff at the reception and they take care of it for you - No problem.
Leave your highheels, flowing skirts and hairdoes at home.
Bring your jeans, trainers and a hat/cap - No fuss!!

I can add that we were so lucky and were able to see all the big five during our three days - Some up so close that we hade to back off to get a clear picture (Elephant) and some with cubs/babies (Lion, Leopard and Elephant).

I can also add that we´re definitely going back!!

  • Stayed November 2012, 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Miami, Florida
Top Contributor
79 reviews 79 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
62 helpful votes 62 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 8, 2012

This was truly an experience of a lifetime. We were so happy to have stayed at the tent camp vs. the villas; it added to the experience. The tents are beautifully decorated, very spacious and ours had and exterior shower with a wooden deck. The bathrooms have copper fixtures, his and hers sinks, stand up rain shower that was very helpful for the early safari rides. The staff is endearing,helpful and go out of their way for you. The Spa was a definite out of body experience!! You must do the chakra treatment. The safari rides were just phenomenal. The exhilarating experience of being just feet away from a pride of lions eating a fresh kill or a herd of 19 elephants walking through, up close is just indescribable, The Cheetahs would literally rub up against our vehicle as they would pass through. To our driver and guide Theo and Zachs, thank you for everything. Leona, Bule and Dulcie thanks for recommending the Spa treatments. Niry and Naomi thanks for the great experience.

Room Tip: Tent #9 and beyond would be great if you want to expand your privacy and limit the diesel generator...
See more room tips
  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2012

We really had a wonderful time at Thanda. A special mention must go to the staff (Dulcie and the rest of her team) for their helpfulness and friendliness. Nothing was too much for them. We had our two 87 year old mothers with us and the team went out of their way to make them (and us) safe and comfortable. It is also worth trying the spa and relaxation treatment. The rooms in the lodge were really luxurious and the beds very comfortable. Michael K

  • Stayed September 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reading
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2012

We travelled to Thanda in August 2012 for the first part of our honeymoon. We stayed in the tented camp and were given the honeymoon tent. To call it a tent is a little misleading as it really was very comfortable and included a set of sofas and a really comfortable proper bed. All the staff were amazingly friendly and helpful, and were always on hand to make our stay as comfortable as possible.

In summary Thanda was awesome. We went on two game drives each day and were treated so well by the driver and tracker. The reserve is absolutely huge, but we experienced some amazing animal encounters - especially seeing some 8 week old lion cubs.

We had a lovely honeymoon, and can thoroughly recommend Thanda. You won't be disappointed!

  • Stayed August 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.
Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2012

What an awesome experience we had a Thanda, We arrived there on the afternoon of 27th August and stayed 3 nights in the main lodge, We were greeted with huge smiles welcoming handshakes , Once they introduced themselves to you they remember your name perfectly every time, our Game range Muzi was humorous and very knowledgeable , He was not alone as he was with his trusty tracker Zakes ,Both Gentlemen were impeccably polite at all times, You meet the other trackers/ game rangers and all greet you by name. The Staff are only just happy to help at anytime, You are well look after at all times,

The villa that we stayed in are totally magnificent , with a private pool that is heated, also there is a sala for every villa that really makes great time for couples to relax during the day and evenings,

The Food is always a great treat! and they keep you on your toes, as one night its a Boma dinner with the guests with tribal dancing, the next night could be a dinner in the dinning room or they could surprise you with a bush dinner which we had the last evening, The bush dinner is out in the reserve with both the tented camp and villas all together, Its amazing to walk into the area which was set up for the bush dinner for all of us, The food at all times was enough and was cooked perfectly and presented fantastically ,

the Game drives are kept to the same Ranger and Tracker with place for 9 guests on each vehicle, Staying with the ranger and tracker does help as it keeps the personal touch, all our guests on the vehicle were so cool to get along with, was really great fun as we met stunning people on honeymoon and another couple on their 25th wedding anniversary, The Game was great to go looking for, Unfortunately We did not see the leopards, Which was a pity but in reality that happens, But we were lucky enough to see 4 of the big 5 , up close! we were very lucky to see one of the lioness with 4 of her new cubs of about 1 - 2 months old,

I could carry on , but no need, Go book and have a great time, If you have any problems during your stay you speak to the friendly staff and they will help where they can, If that does not help we found the very bubbly awesome Dulcie at hand at all times mixing with the guests and been able to sort out anything that needed attention,

Well Done Thanda on an awesome time away, I am sure If Guests feel as sad as I was when I was checking out, Then I know they are leaving to come back soon!

  • Stayed August 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Thanda Private Game Reserve

Address: D242 off the N2, Hluhluwe 3960, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Zululand > Hluhluwe
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 27 Specialty lodging in Hluhluwe
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Thanda Private Game Reserve 5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Thanda Private Game Reserve is situated 23km north of Hluhluwe in northern Zululand, South Africa, and is set on a 14 000-hectare Big Five private game reserve. Thanda, meaning 'love' in Zulu, unites romance and exclusivity with Zulu culture and wildlife. The nine luxury bush suites at Thanda Safari Lodge have private infinity pools, viewing decks, private salas, lounges, fireplaces and full bathrooms with both indoor and outdoor showers. The individual bomas at each suite offer guests dining privacy. The public facilities at Thanda Safari Lodge include a lounge, library, dining room, boma, dining deck, wine cellar, cigar bar, fully equipped business centre and viewing decks. Villa iZulu can accommodate 10 people, offering accommodation as a unit of five separate suites. Each suite is individually decorated and very private, with own viewing deck. Public facilities at Villa iZulu include a boma, library, cellar, business area, heated pool and a magnificent deck overlooking a waterhole. Thanda Tented Camp is built in colonial safari style, offering an authentic bush experience in 15 tents. The tents have viewing decks and en-suite canvass bathrooms. Public facilities at Thanda Tented Camp include a dining tent, a boma area, and a sala consisting of an 'open-air' lounge and a 10x5m rim-flow pool. The Jabula Tent, located within Thanda Tented Camp, offers a sophisticated mix of romance, privacy and refined comfort in the heart of the African bush. It features a king-sized bed in a spacious bedroom, and a comfortable separate lounge area for relaxation. A highlight of Jabula Tent is the outdoor shower and splash pool which has spectacular panoramic views of the 14000-hectare reserve. Thanda's award-winning spa offers treatments such as aromatherapy and massages using African essential oils in a base of shea butter and the 'Instinctive by Nature' and 'Dermalogica' ranges. Safaris in open game viewing vehicles are conducted exclusively for Thanda guests on the low-risk malaria reserve. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Thanda Private Game Reserve Hotel Hluhluwe

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