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“You won't get closer to the Drakensberg than this!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Thendele Hutted camp

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Thendele Hutted camp
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Royal Natal National Park, uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Top Contributor
74 reviews 74 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
“You won't get closer to the Drakensberg than this!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 1, 2012

We keep returning to Royal Natal National Park. Previously we have camped at the delightful Mahai campsite but chose Thendele chalets as we had an older family member with us.
Here you have a perfect view of the Amphitheater and are right next to the start of the best walks.
As South Africans, the prices seem rather high, but for foreign visitors who are, after all the target market, this would not be a problem. Chalets are very comfortable and well equipped for self catering. As far as baboons are concerned, this is where they come from and they have only become bolder since visitors started feeding them.

Room Tip: The views are best from the upper camp.
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
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117 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 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 (28)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
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English first
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 6, 2012

We first starting coming here way back in the early 80s before the top chalets were built and have loved it ever since, especially the views of the 'Berg. This is my favourite mountain view and it still surprises me. However whilst the camp is still clean and comfortable the proliferation of baboons has made the experience somewhat unpleasant. We came back here in March after living in New Zealand for 10 years and were shocked and surprised by the sheer number of baboons and we even had a home invasion as one bull camped on our kitchen counter and settled our fruit until a warden came and chased it out. We then had to keep the front sliding door closed all the time to stop it coming in again as he did regular recces.
However the hikes and views are still world class but I'm not sure I'd rush back in a hurry as it is quire disconcerting approaching troops of baboons on the hiking trails and hoping they don't decide to check your food supplies.

Room Tip: Stay in the new chalets they are more comfortable
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lanseria, South Africa
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
80 helpful votes 80 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 3, 2012

Thendele Hutted Camp in the Northern Drakensberg offers the most breathtaking view of the Amphitheater, which is in my opinion is the most beautiful view of the mountains of all the places I have visited in the Drakensberg, these include Alpine Heath, Didima, Cathedral Peak, Giants Castle, Mont-Aux-Sources, The Nest, Champagne Sports Resort, Drakensberg Sun and Little Switzerland to name but a few.

The reason for such a magnificent view is the fact that you cannot get any closer to the actual mountains as the Thendele Hutted Camp is part of the Royal Natal National Park and aptly graded a World Heritage Site. The accommodation is humble and well run by the Kwa-Zulu Natal Parks Board. Braai facilities and fire places in each chalet make it ideal as a great hiking base both during winter and summer months. You are provided with a Map of a vast number of hikes ranging from day trips to overnight proper hikes but be sure to remember to sign the hike register when setting off on longer trips.

We did the Cascades Walk with my wife, my nine month old and four year old sons which is a leisurely but very picturesque walk to the clear rock pools and cascading waterfalls. I highly recommend it as an easy hike with small children. Tougher hikes that are worthwhile, if you are fit, include Policeman's Helmet, The Gorge, The Chain Ladder, The Sunday Falls and The Tiger Falls.

The staff are all very friendly and helpful and a well stocked shop is available at the reception. Thendele Hutted Camp is a family favorite that we will return to again and again. If you are looking for luxury try the Cathedral Peak which has a restaurant, swimming pool etc.

Note: The R74 road from Harrismith to Thendele is awful and or should I say non-existent with car devouring potholes and never-ending roadworks for +-20KM. Unless you travel in a 4x4, rather carry on the N3 past Harrismith and take the Winterton off ramp. You have about 6km of smooth sand road and then a fantastic section of tarred road from Winterton to the Northern Drakensberg turn-off.

P.S. There is also a fantastic butcher in Winterton

Room Tip: If you are a small family get a honeymoon chalet with an extra bed in the living room. The honeymoon...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
40 hotel reviews
Reviews in 42 cities Reviews in 42 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 28, 2012

This camp has the best location with great views of the amphitheatre from your cottage. We could enjoy this view directly from our bed! The cottage we stayed in the Upper camp was well equipped and was really a little house. There was also an outside patio complete with braai stand and chairs and table. There is a little shop in the lower camp but no restaurant. We enjoyed the surroundings and could take many different walks right from the camp. Staff were friendly and overall we had an enjoyable stay.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
London
Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
58 hotel reviews
Reviews in 58 cities Reviews in 58 cities
57 helpful votes 57 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 20, 2012

We spent two nights at the Upper Camp during our recent trip to South Africa. The camp is about 6 kms into the park, and really is about as far as you can drive, situated right up on the hillside looking directly onto the Ampitheatre. The views are breathtaking, and all the chalets take advantage of this with big glass doors and outdoor seating areas. As well as just looking at the mountains, the camp is a great base for hikes in the area, with the popular Tugela Gorge walk starting right from the camp, as well as a few others. A short drive to the Visitor Centre leads to an even greater variety of hikes, all of which we tried led to stunning scenery.

The chalets themselves are well equipped, with lots of facilities in the kitchen including a proper oven and all of the utensils you'd need for self catering - very important when the nearest restaurant is quite a drive away! There is also a tv with satellite, and a fire if it gets really cold. The bedroom is also separate, so it felt very homely.

The only two downsides I would mention are: the chalets are quite expensive by South African standards, and are starting to show their age a little. Secondly, the Baboons were the most aggressive I saw in SA, and would actively try to get into people's chalets to get food, which could be quite intimidating if you're not used to wild animals!

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Durham, NC
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 18, 2012

We spent two nights in the camp enjoying a peaceful getaway into the mountains. The views are spectacular and you could spend all day just sitting at the camp. The hiking trails are all very good, although the ones into the Tugela gorge were closed when we were there due to burning in that direction. The rondavels are clean and comfortable, but certainly not five star. Our shower door was broken so water went everywhere in the bathroom. The kitchen was adequate. You only need to bring food with you as all utensils are provided to cook, make coffee or braai outside. There is no firewood or charcoal so bring what you need. There is a fridge to store perishables. You will definitely encounter baboons, but they will stay away from you. However, they will investigate/eat anything left unattended.

Room Tip: Some people say the rooms at the upper camp have better views, but you can just walk up there. You...
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  • Stayed August 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Vancouver
Top Contributor
81 reviews 81 reviews
40 hotel reviews
Reviews in 53 cities Reviews in 53 cities
72 helpful votes 72 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2012

Thendele is dramatically situated and the chalets have beautiful views. It's a very peaceful place and you really feel like you are in the middle of nature. We were in the upper camp and while the views and layout may be somewhat superior to the lower camp, don't fret if the upper camp is fully booked, all the chalets face toward the magnificent amphitheater. Our 2 bedroom chalet was comfortable and spacious - definitely a notch above the rest camps we stayed at in Kruger, Imfolozi and Mlilwane. However, while there appears to have been a few updates (nice new window coverings) the chalet looks quite old, particularly the bathrooms. The windows are also old and drafty, and rattle during strong wind. With only a small space heater and a fireplace that didn't generate much warmth, the chalet got quite cold. Thankfully, there are plenty of thick blankets. Bring warm clothing if traveling in winter. We were surprised at how cold it gets at night (and we're from Canada). We didn't have any problems with baboons while using the braai -perhaps it was too cold for them!
The hiking is wonderful and we enjoyed our gorge hike (despite poor weather). There are lots of great hikes you can do right from the camp - a book with descriptions of the different hikes is supplied in the chalet.
If you like to hike and enjoy the peace and quiet, this is the place for you.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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 Thendele Hutted camp

Address: Royal Natal National Park, uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park, South Africa
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park
Amenities:
Free Parking
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park
Number of rooms: 132
Also Known As:
Thendele Hutted Camp Hotel Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park

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