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“We will definitely be back!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of African Spirit Game Lodge

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African Spirit Game Lodge
3.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Portion 5 of the farm Mkuze Wes | No. 14403, Mkuze 3965, South Africa   |  
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Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Johannesburg, South Africa
1 review
“We will definitely be back!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2013

We stayed at African Spirit Game lodge (self-catering unit) as a three day stop over, over Christmas 2012. We received the most wonderful welcome from the staff, especially Madelaine and Jesse. The unit is spacious and clean and the rooms are beautifully decorated. The grounds were well maintained and the swimming pool was a hit, especially due to the heat!

Jesse took us on a game drive and he found him to be very knowledgeable and entertaining! AND he had patience with a little toddler who became bored after half an hour! Thank you!
We loved our visitors the two doggies who kept an eye on us at night and played with our son during the day!
Thank you again for a lovely holiday.

  • Stayed December 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Madelaine O, Manager at African Spirit Game Lodge, responded to this review, January 17, 2013
Dear Elmarie,
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on African Spirit. We appreciate it.
We are very happy to know that you and your family enjoyed your time here with us and that you will be back!
We look forward to it.
Kind Regards
African Spirit Game Lodge
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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64 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    47
    14
    2
    0
    1
See reviews for
17
28
Solo
0
7
Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (5)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
London, United Kingdom
1 review
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 12, 2013

I booked this get away as a surpirse for my wife, as she loves the bush. However it soon became apparent that this was not the experience that I believe is advertised.
The welcome was unfriendly, and our cottage was in a fenced in compound which didn't give one that special bush feeling. The furniture was uncomfortable, and there were fleas on the sofas and beds (Only Twin rooms???) The fleas were probably from the dog that begged for food constantly (I think one of the owners pets). The coffee table was covered in magazines which portrayed dead buffaloes and big rifles, and my wife who loves wildlife was quite shocked. We found out that a lot of hunting takes place on the reserve which was the probably the reason why we saw so little game (The animals were extremely skittish). We were staying in the self catering section, and when we wanted to use the pool or go to the bar we were told that this was only for guests staying in the non self catering section. This I found odd, and should have been stated when we booked. Our firewood wasn't replaced as promised. The car parking was far from the cottage with no offer of assistance to help with the luggage and supplies. Our unit was not cleaned the one day, when we enquired, we were told that it was a public holiday. Our game drive was interrupted so that friends could be fetched. I could go on, but really, do yourself a favour, stay away, there are so many great lodges in the area, many cheaper, that it would be a huge mistake to stay at African spirit. We left early even though we had payed for another two nights. Very dissapointing. I also find it extremely strange that there are so many good reviews on this site. This was the reason I chose African Spirit, and the difference between my experience and other apparent experinces is vast. I will only rely on personal recomendations in future, where at all possible, and be very meticulous in research otherwise. My wife and I are avid explorers, and tour often, from overlanding trips on our roof top tent to great hotels, and everything inbetween, and we especially love the bush in Northern KZN where we have gone many times before, to a variety of places that have all been great in their own way. African Spirit is awful though, I'm afraid to say, and I write this review so that you can make an informed decision, and not be disapointed.

Room Tip: Any other lodge
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Madelaine O, Owner at African Spirit Game Lodge, responded to this review, January 17, 2013
Dear Deep-Blue Adventurer
In response to the review that has been posted, we would like to give our side of the story, although we think our reviews on Trip Advisor, as well as SafariNow.com and Booking.com speaks for it-self.
We had guests staying in the exact same unit before and after you during December, and we had no complaints, in fact, the reviews after and before your review just prove that. We just want to state that you did not depart earlier because you were unhappy, but for urgent work related commitments. You were originally very enthusiastic to recommend us to people, until you found out you had to pay for your full stay. Our policy clearly states that when you book accommodation, especially during peak season, you are expected to pay for your full pre-booked stay. I know most people working in this industry will tell you exactly the same, and being such an avid and experienced traveller, you must be aware of that too. We do send information to all our guests regarding our cancellation policies and it is also posted on the websites, but we cannot be held responsible for people not reading the information. Our terms & conditions and the information files in each unit and chalet also clearly state the following: A limited amount of fire-wood is for free, there after it is for sale. There are no cleaning services for self-catering units on Sundays & public holidays. Self-catering guests are also advised to bring their own swimming towels, only bath towels are provided; therefore the pool is for everybody’s use! As for the bar, some of our self-catering guests did come for a beer in the bar. We have no problem with that, although most self-catering guests bring their own beverages, hence the term “self-catering”. The only difference between catered and self-catering accommodation is the fact that self-catering guests don’t eat at the lodge. The rest of the facilities are there for everyone.
The unit you booked is actually only 20 metres away from the parking area and guests are welcome to drive their vehicles right up to the units to off load.
As for the game drive, it was not cut short, but redirected for an elephant sighting, which was explained to the guest. Game viewing in summer months is generally not the best time, due to heavy rains causing grass to grow tall and thick. We cannot be held responsible for what you may or may not see during game drives as it is a “wild-life” game reserve.
Our reserve believes in sustainable utilization and hunting forms part of that. Our game drives are done in non-hunting areas. Research will show that hunting is a main contributor to conservation, if it is done in a professional manner.
As for the “compound structure” around the unit, it is commonly known as a “boma”, made out of “lats” and is widely used at most lodges for bon-fires. It is exactly what you would expect in the bush. It also gives a sense of privacy, which most people appreciate. The unit you occupied was newly renovated at the end of April of 2012 and the beds, mattresses and couches are all new. Please remember we are a 3-star rated lodge and not a 5-star. As for the twin rooms, we advertise it as twin rooms, we do not advertise a luxury apartment.
There is one thing we totally agree with you, guests should do their research a little bit better in terms of reading through the information they receive. We do it for a reason. We have nothing to hide and all our information is out there for anyone to read. As for our rates, please do some research and you will realise our rates are VERY reasonable compared to most 3 Star Big 5 game reserves, especially in our area!
The fact that you find so many outstanding reviews on our lodge is not surprising at all! We have guests from all over the world, “avid travellers” like yourselves, coming to stay here and we have 9 years’ worth of visitors books with raging reviews to show for that. They did their research and got exactly what they paid for and more! We have numerous guests that arrived here strangers and left as friends!
We strive and aim at making our guests feel welcome and at home and we are proud to say we accomplish just that.
We wish you all the best in your extensive travels!
African Spirit Game Lodge
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Galena, Illinois
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 5, 2012

My husband and I just returned from a combination photo and hunting safari at African Spirit Game Lodge that was truly "over the top" in all ways. First and Foremost - the people that we met were fantastic - Liezle and Henk and Madelaine and Jesse made us feel so welcome and comfortable, attending to our all of our "needs and wants" in such an endearing manner. We loved the time we were able to spend with Liezle and Henk's sweet little ones there, too. Kristen, Alex and Clayton were such courteous and darling children- reminding us of our own grandchildren back here in the States. And then, of course, not enough can be said for our Safari experiences. Jesse's personality and attention to his job made our first week an incredible one. First day, first five minutes, we witnessed three giraffes in the distance high on a hill-from that point on until the end of our Photo Safari, we were constantly entertained by the animals we observed and also by Jesse. We laughed so much and had so much fun that it is difficult to put into words how sad we were to leave at the end of our visit.

Week two for my husband was his Hunting Safari and it was so successful for him. He was successful with each of the animals he wanted and even was able to hunt a Cape Buffalo, a dream of his for many of the past several years. While he was hunting, Jesse and Madelaine were kind enough to take me to a Zulu Cultural Village and to the Ghost Mountain Spa for a special Spa Treatment.

And I haven't even mentioned the delicious meals including barbeques, exceptionally clean rooms, beautiful weather, great hospitality and fun times at the bar with the interesting people we met.

The people at African Spirit Game Lodge made memories for us to hang on to for the rest of our lives.

  • Stayed September 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MadelaineO249, Manager at African Spirit Game Lodge, responded to this review, October 10, 2012
Thank you so much for this heart warming review. We so appreciate it! We feel honored that we could make this trip a memorable one for both of you in so many ways! It was fantastic getting to know both of you and it was truly a pleasure to have you here. We do hope that you will return one day, with your grandchildren. All the best and God bless!!
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Anaconda, Montana
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2012

From the time Mike picked us up at the Richards Bay Airport and delivered us to the African
Spirit Lodge we learned an incredible amount of South African History . Upon our arrival at
the lodge we received the warmest of welcomes from Madeline and Henk and then were shown
to our very comfortable, spotlessly clean, and beautifully decorated rooms. Throughout the week we enjoyed a friendly cocktail hour in the second floor gathering room where all of our fellow guests recounted the day's events. Dinners were delicious! Kudo meat pie, roasted cape buffalo, and kudo lasagna are just a few of the entrees we enjoyed, and each repast was ended with a savory dessert. The warm and genuine hospitality of Henk and Leizle, Mike, Madeline and Jesse and the great kitchen crew was the absolute best. We felt so at home so far away from home.
The outings we embarked on each day were enhanced greatly by our extremely knowledgeable and gregarious guide, MIke. We thoroughly enjoyed and are so thankful for
our trip of a lifetime.

  • Stayed July 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chepstow, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2012

Great place and superb hospitality. Friendly and personal welcome and service. Excellent food cooked in the boma and served in the spacious and atmospheric dining room. A lovely upstairs bar with open views of the bush! Comfortable and clean chalets - lovely night's sleep and plenty of hot water to wash off the trail dust!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pasco, WA
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2012

My husband and I and another couple stayed at African Spirit this January for a weeklong photographic safari. I cannot say enough about this place. The staff were some of the friendliest people I've ever met, so welcoming and hospitable. The rooms were lovely, very clean, and comfortable. The food... Oh my goodness the food! Let's just say I still miss it, it was THAT good. Wildebeest, pork chops, passionfruit pie--we ate like kings! Mike, Jesse, Madeline, Henk, and Liezle, thank you for the trip of a lifetime. I can't imagine anyone not having an exceptional stay.

  • Stayed January 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Madelaine O, Manager at African Spirit Game Lodge, responded to this review, April 2, 2012
Thank you so much for the kind review. We appreciate your support and kind words. We hope to see you again in the near future.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about African Spirit Game Lodge

Address: Portion 5 of the farm Mkuze Wes | No. 14403, Mkuze 3965, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Mkuze
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 7 Specialty Lodging in Mkuze
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — African Spirit Game Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
African Spirit is a privately owned Big 5 game lodge situated 12 km's west of Mkuze. We invite guests to come and experience true luxury and warm African hospitality. The lodge is magnificently set in the heart of Zululand, and situated within the Zululand Rhino Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal, against the backdrop of the Lebombo Mountains.Zululand Rhino Reserve is an endangered species reserve of 24 000 hectares. It was recently proclaimed as a nature reserve and received international recognition for the introduction of 28 black rhino in 2005. The reserve hosts the BIG 5, over 70 mammal species and a diverse bird life of over 450 species.African Spirit Game Lodge accommodation is intimate and consists of 4 quaint, fully serviced chalets. Each comfortable and stylish chalet accommodates 2 people with an en-suit bathroom, air-conditioner, mini bar, ceiling fan, tea/ coffee facilities and a private veranda. The paths are well-lit and connect the chalets to the main lodge. We also offer accommodation in the form of two self-catering units - one 6 sleeper unit and one 4 sleeper unit. These units are fully furnished and fully equipped for self-catering purposes. No meals are provided for these units. Guests supply their own food. Our main lodge features a comfortable and relaxed dining room, cozy lounge, bar with viewing deck, open fire place attached to the lodge and a swimming pool with a thatched gazebo, offering our guest a welcome retreat after a day in the African bush. Our meals are your typical South African cuisine which ensures that you will never go hungry and will enjoy every bite that is carefully prepared by our cooks.Guests can spend time relaxing in their own privacy or indulge in any of the activities offered in our area including game drives, deep sea fishing, scuba diving, animal interaction, Zulu Culture Educational Tours, Horse Riding, Boat Cruises, Scenic Flights, Tiger fishing and so much more. We are in driving distance of internationally renown game parks like Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve and Thembe Elephant Park. ... more   less 
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