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“A trip of a life time, amazing!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Zulu Nyala Heritage Safari Lodge

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Zulu Nyala Heritage Safari Lodge
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45 Bree Street Cradock 1969 | PO Box 247, Hluhluwe 3960, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #3 of 7 Hotels in Hluhluwe
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
“A trip of a life time, amazing!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2010

Zulu Nyala Photo Safari

We won our trip, like most others, at a charity auction. Didn't know what to expect but can tell you it was truly a trip of a lifetime! Airfare was costly and took a number of long hours from Seattle to the safari camp. We rented a car in Richards Bay (got the best deal through Costco's travel site) and saved us a lot of money in transfer fees from the safari camp. The major roads were good, the camp exit was easy to find, but the final few miles to the camp was dirt and rough, took about 1 1/2 hour total drive. You'll need an international driver's license which I acquired through AAA before I left. It takes a while to adjust to driving on the left side of the road and having the car's controls on the opposite side.

Here's some things to think about before you go:

- Get your money converted to Rand before you go. Once you get away from the major airports and major cities, its difficult to find places to convert your money. A few of the ATM's were empty.
- Avoid giving US dollars as tips, its worthless because its difficult for them to convert back to Rand and it costs them.
- The Tent Camp and Heritage Hotel are together, about 3 miles from the Lodge which is located on the game reserve. The guides pick you up at the Heritage and drive up to the Lodge game reserve. We stayed in the Tent Camp for the experience. It could be loud when the wind blows but its well protected from the elements. The meals are buffet style at both the Heritage Hotel and Lodge and food was excellent.

Everyone's reviews claim their guide was the best. We felt the same way about our guide William. If you want to have fun, excitement, amazing photos, and see more animals, you need to request William. Make sure you ask William to take you on a walking safari, we were able to see rhinos up close and personal.

I would pass on the Hluhluwe Umfolozi National Park trip, it had really nice scenery but William was restricted on where he could go. Try to take the Phinda excursion, pricey but worth the money. The School and Village excursion was also very interesting and enlightening. We took lots of candy, school supplies, a few frisbees and a soccer ball, which was insignificant to us but the motherlode to them. The St Lucia-Indian Ocean excursion was also nice, 45 minute boat tour of crocs, hippos, birds, etc. A nice lunch and then to a beautiful white sandy beach on the Indian Ocean. Make sure you stop at the Ilala Weavers on your way back to camp, it's about 5 miles down the road from the Heritage. They serve lunch, have a bar, and higher end souvenirs and merchandise.

If you plan to stay additional time in South Africa, we went to Cape Town, do the safari first then to your next destination.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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199 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (62)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
  • French first
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English first
San Jose
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2010

We stayed in the Safari Tent cabins and had a great time. The room was lovely, large with a front porch where we watched Nyalas (antelope) and monkeys wander by the first afternoon. The meals were served buffet style and were quite good. We even had Kudu and Impala, as well as the usual beef, fish and pork.

The Lodge is located in a private game reserve, which meant we were guaranteed to see a lot of animals every time we went out. We were assigned to a very knowledgeable guide, named Peace, and were part of a group of 10. Luckily we all got along well and usually ate together after the first day. We only went on one of the extra trips offered by the Lodge--to Phinda Reserve to see the lions. It was well worth it. The rest of the time we drove on our own, usually with someone from the group, to the other reserves.

The St. Lucia Wetlands Park was spectacular. We went on a boat trip to see the hippos and crocs, then drove around the upper loop and saw even more animals out in the open. Even saw a tribe of baboons.

The only somewhat disappointing thing had to do with the season. In the spring, just before the rains come, South Africa burns off the dead vegetation left over from the dry winter so that the new seeds can get sun and sprout. So green, wooded areas alternated with burned areas. This caused our trip to Hluhlue-Omfosoli park to be kind of depressing. They'd done a lot of burning there. I'm sure that after the rainy season, particularly in early winter, everything would be green and beautiful.

I'd definitely recommend the Heritage Lodge. Of course, it is in Africa, not the US, so some things are a little different. All in all a wonderful experience.

  • Stayed September 2010, 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.
Durban, South Africa
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2010

I took a group of 20 people to Zulu Nyala and had the worst night ever. The food was so poor with no service. Staff wore jeans and t shirts and had no clue as to what was required of a hotel.

The game drive was [---] that the drive planned and paid for in the morning was missed and then breakfast well all I can say we missed that as well.

Tried to talk to a manger but no were to be found, please don't waste your money

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled on business
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
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Herndon, Virginia
15 reviews 15 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 5, 2010

We stayed at the Heritage Safari lodge in early August 2010, in room 34. The room was generous in size, so that the extra twin bed ( a real bed, not a fold-out) for our 10 year-old didn't cramp the room much. We would probably have been more thrilled with the facility if we hadn't also stayed in the far more luxurious Game Lodge, but the room was a bit plain when considered in conjunction with the per-night price we'd paid for the trip. If you have a choice, go for the Game Lodge, unless you absolutely want the tented rooms. Other guests who were in the tented rooms seemed very happy with them.

The group dining facility at the Heritage Safari Lodge is fairly plain, with buffet-style meals. In contrast, the dining facility in the Game Lodge is what you'd expect from a high priced resort.

Game drives are the same as at the Game Lodge, but you need to make a 10-20 minute drive over to the main part of the game reserve, while the Game Lodge is located within the main reserve. You'll see some animals during the drive over, so it isn't a complete loss, but it does mean that if you have a mixed group in your game vehicle, you will be getting to the vehicle earlier and leaving it later than your counterparts who are staying at the game lodge.

Our guide, James Tembe, was excellent and certainly made the trip for us. Our fellow guests who were in other groups were equally enthusiastic about their own guides (as has been every other reviewer for either facility), so you can be fairly confident that you will have excellent guide service on your trip.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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Coral Springs, Florida
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2010

I had read mixed reviews on trip advisor about this place so was a little nervous. Don't believe the negative reviews! This place is great! The staff is friendly and went out of their way to ensure that we enjoyed ourselves. The guides are very knowledgeable and worked together to ensure we saw everything we wanted to.
Food was great too. We weren't sure what to expect, but they had a great variety all was delicious! Dinner seating pairs you with your safari group so you will get to know them very well (for better or worse)...that part was sort of like a cruise. There is no fitness room and because of the wild animals roaming around, you can't just go for a jog. After all the good food I did need some exercise!
Overall it was an awesome experience!

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
Seattle, WA
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 18, 2009

Like others we found this place due to an auction and glad I bought the trip for 2 because the package included everything except airfare and transportation. I would advise renting a car in Durban or Richard's Bay because this saves you $ and you have more freedom to visit other parks and nearby towns and swim at leisure in the Indian Ocean. We had Sandila as our Game Ranger, he made the trip memorable and becomes your local expert not only regarding the animals and the environment which we share but the local sights and recommendations. He is not only a local but well traveled so he gives an educated and reality base answer to your question. The other reason he was our favorite is because he has confidence in his drive of the safari truck and he drives fast and at times you feel you are on a roller coaster through valleys and over pot holes. He knows where to drive over the almost 700 acre expanse of game reserve. We don't recommend any of the packages because they are super pricey for much less you can drive to the nearby locations in your "bush pig" the locals called our small 2 door hatchback and pay between 50 to 150 Rand to enter various parks. We advise wearing long sleeve shirts and pants, and we had our boots on and wore a hat because we were adventurous and whether you are in the safari truck or walking about you go under brush that is lined with insects and "special visitors" so be careful to check your surroundings. It is definitely different to be mindful of wild animals. You cannot go on a run because a leopard could chase you, you need to watch for the monkeys because they beg for food and signs say "don't feed me, I bite", and of course the snakes and bugs... The basics, you are on their turf and in your room you have insect repellent for your room, body, and even insect repellent lotion. Many took the malaria pills but we opted instead for preventive care. We started taking B complex tablets 2 week before our trip and continued it daily (natural mosquitos repellent), plus after the shower spray yourself and your clothes with insect repellent and again at night and spray around your bed so you don't wake up with bites. You are in the jungle so bats, monkeys, snakes, bugs of all sizes, and of course the wondering wildlife is around to "check you out". The staff does a very good job detering them from the lodge. Bring a light rain jacket because it does rain hence the beautiful green everywhere. Bring a good camera zoom, because even though it is easy to get close up shots of wildlife, there are other shots in the distance that sometimes we can't get the truck too and the zoom lens will help you get the perfect shot. The buffet style breakfast and dinner, top quality food and you can order "ala cart" off the menu if you so desire. Lunch is sandwich/burger or salad, and you can order lunch to go and even breakfast if you choose to leave early to drive to nearby parks for all day game drives. The sunrise and sunsets are gorgeous and definitely go to St Lucia and make time for the beach and town. We recommend eating at Ocean Basket - Sandila recommendation, very good and visit the St Lucia estuary and have beer at The Ski Boat Lodge where you can see hippos and crocs. Stay on the N2, DO NOT get off on the smaller roads unless you are getting off an exit to a main site like St Lucia or Richard's Bay. You meet other travelers and during your stay they become like family, so you stay up late drinking poolside or sharing game drives. We should note, if you are a business traveller, since the lodge is away from main city, often there is power outtage (they supply you flashlight in your room) so internet can be sketchy or slow but fairly reliable and you can call for IT support. Often they switched to the generator so power would not be off for long until the main power was back on. Always back-up your work and set an additional alarm like your cell phone because we woke many mornings with a flashing alarm clock by our bed. They have a spa and other friends use it and said great things, but we were too busy seeing and driving the local sights. We slept like babies in the quite of the jungle and had a true vacation unplugged.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2009

My husband and I traveled with another couple to South Africa in April for two weeks, spending the first week at the Zula Nyala Heritage Tent Cottages and the second in Capetown. We couldn't have been happier with our experience. We were very glad that we had chosen the tents, as they were large, very clean and comfortable, and had a lovely view. How fun to see a large family of zebras walking on the sidewalk right outside our porch!
We were immediately made to feel welcome when we arrived, and were impressed with the effort made by staff to locate and drive quite a long distance to pick up our luggage, which had been delayed in Johannesburg. After we arrived, we had the very good fortune to be assigned Norman as our guide. He was wonderful and we looked forward to our outings with him each day. He was so friendly and knowledgeable and made sure that we got the most out of each experience. The reserve at Zula Nyala isn't as large as many others, but we were able to see most of the animals we were hoping to. Norman also took us to Hluhluwe, which is a vast reserve, and to Phinda where we were able to observe cheetas and lions. We also went to a school and a Zulu home . . . very interesting. The South African presidential election ocurred while we were there and we insisted that Norman take time out to vote. It was meaningful for us, too.

We were happy with the food at the reserve and liked the variety of eating out in the boma, the dining room, and also on the veranda. We enjoyed all the staff who took care of us, and were impressed with their friendliness and dedication to their jobs. It was warm while we were there and we enjoyed late afternoons, ordering a drink on the veranda and playing cards. It was a very relaxing vacation with something to look forward to every day. Another bonus is the price, which is quite reasonable. The four of us are unanimous in our praise for the people we met and the level of service we received at Zulu Nyala. We have recommended it to friends without hesitation.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Zulu Nyala Heritage Safari Lodge

Address: 45 Bree Street Cradock 1969 | PO Box 247, Hluhluwe 3960, South Africa
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Zululand > Hluhluwe
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 7 Hotels in Hluhluwe
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 57
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Heritage Safari Lodge was originally built in the 1940’s as a hotel and was a landmark pit-stop for weary travelers between Maputo and Durban. Acquired in 1996, the gracious building was lovingly restored to its original colonial grandeur, enhanced with new accommodation, and tastefully themed to highlight Zululand’s unique cultural heritage.With buffet-style meals in our restaurant, the wide, welcoming veranda and our ‘human watering hole’ - the pub or thatched boma, warm and relaxing atmosphere is conducive to shared good times and conviviality. The sparkling pool is always inviting, and you’re sure to enjoy browsing our beautifully stocked curio shop for a few authentic African mementos. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Zulu Nyala Heritage Safari Hotel Hluhluwe

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