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“Was it just a bad day?”
Review of Spionkop Lodge

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Spionkop Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
England
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Was it just a bad day?”
Reviewed November 20, 2011

We had become used to a very high standard of lodge while staying in South Africa so this was a great disappointment. The first evening we were the only people in the hotel, the steak was good, however pudding was a dry piece of cake and a strawberry cut in half, we got the impression that if we were not there the staff could have gone home. The next day, I stayed at the hotel, I had to ask for cushions to be put on the chairs on the decking, they put out one.
I had to ask for a lounger by the pool. The pool was filthy as was the surround, when they did clean it there was so much chemical added that it was opaque and unusable for the rest of the day. The tap water in the rooms is not drinkable so you have a flask, this was not replenished until I asked.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank PenelopeEngland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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284 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (31)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Chester, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed September 30, 2011

My Wife and I have just returned from a 17day tour of Kwa Zulu Natal and stayed at Spionkop Lodge for one night - our biggest regret is that we did not stay for longer!! Raymond and his family made us so welcome and the tour of Spionkop was just marvellous. Raymond is a true expert on the Boer war and we both learnt so much from him. His presentation skill is really first class and he puts his story across in a very clear and easy to follow style. Can honestly say that we left here feeling almost like family friends and would definitely go back. Just wonderful!!
Pauline and Philip Chester UK

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank philby101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level 5 Contributor
62 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed July 5, 2011

With the intention of touring the Natal Anglo Boer War battlefields, being budget concious we stayed at a guest house in the area, and not at Spiokop Lodge. What a mistake, the guest house was dreadful. Feeling very dejected and disappointed, we arrived at Spionkop Lodge the next morning for a cup of tea and a view from the property onto the Spionkop hill. Alistar Heron, was extraordinarily welcoming and made us feel right a home with tea and hot chocolate and the best fruitcake I have ever eaten, a lovely spot in the winter sunshine on the terrace looking onto the famous hill. With this delightful hospitality, Alistar and team saved the day. Next time I will not think twice to pay more!

Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
Helpful?
2 Thank Kimbostoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Town
Level 4 Contributor
20 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed June 25, 2011

We spend an incredible 5 days at the renown Spionkop Lodge. Being hosted by a truly hospitable family led by Raymond and Lynette Herron. Raymond an acknowledged leading authority and battlefields historian has recently be awarded his fellowship with the Royal Geographic Society (FRGS), an exceedingly rare honour for his contribution to the knowlegde and awareness of this seminal war in South Africa's history. The lodge is sited in the original George Spearmans farm-house, which was comandeered by the British forces for this part of the infamous Tugela river crossings and campaign to cross the river and relieve the siege of Ladysmith. The lodge sites in a green and embracing garden atmosphere surrounded by beautiful jacaranda trees and thick savanna bush, bustling with common duiker, kudu antelope and teeming with birds.

The lodge offers a hugely diverse range of experiences from the aforementioned sheer historical magnitude of the world-famous Spionkop battle fought between the British and the Boers during the early portion of the Second Anglo-Boer (Great South African war) through to brilliant and accessible bird-watching with over 200 species of birds on the official bird-list. These include grassland, savanna and Drakensberg specials and we had fantastic sightings of Southern Bald Ibis, Cape Vulture, Grey-crowned Cranes, Buff-streaked Chat, Sentinel Rock-thrush, Redwing Francolin and many more. The birds around the lodge itself were easily seen and are actively encouraged by the judicious use of bird-feeders and well cut trails to walk and bird watch. A special mention must also be made of the neighbouring Spionkop Provincial Nature Reserve in which Raymond and Alistair Herron (his son) take open-vehicle safari's searching for the highly endangered white rhinoceros and vast hers of plains game. Although not a full Big 5 game reserve, it certainly complements the battlefields experience, along with the sheer splendour of the Drakensberg mountains, which as a mere 20 minutes drive away from the lodge.

As a destination that has both significant natural and cultural heritage aspects, we were able to enjoy fantastic morning and afternoon hikes through several hundred hectares of reserve and farmland. We did short drives to other attractions in the region, including Winterton, the Champagne Valley and Bergville, which reinforced Spionkop Lodges obvious strength in being a destination as well as a great point to explore the rest of what the region has to offer.

The Lodge provides wholesome, tasty and excellent traditional home-cooked food, which was a refreshing change from the usual over-reduced or corporate hotel-type food that is so prevalent these days. Lynette's ease of managing the wonderfully friendly and service driven staff was a pleasure to experience. The quality of the rooms and the amenities was wonderful and the early morning room service, especially the big pots of tea were a great wake up call. Lynette and Hester (her assistant) could pretty much arrange anything dependent on the nature of the request and provided excellent advice on activities to try in the region and would assist in phoning ahead and sorting out bookings.

In short our recommendation is that Spionkop should be a good two to five day stay dependent on what you would like to do. As it offers so much locally and even more in the region heading into the central Drakensberg. For couples, families and even small specialist tour groups, it provides an intimate experience with real attention to detail, incredibly knowledgeable guides and Raymond's unbelievable of history, the natural environment and the countries peoples is an absolute pleasure to go on tour with and share evening meals. We will definitely be returning soon, there is no doubt about that.

Room Tip: Book the half day battlefield tour with Raymond!
See more room tips
  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
2 Thank AshwellGlasson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Worcester, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
20 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed September 3, 2010

I highly recommend a visit to the Spoin Kop Lodge. The welcome, the attention to detail, the tranquility, wonderful trips, great people. Thank you to the Heron family for making our stay magical. I can't praise it enough.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Mahan88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winsford
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
Reviewed July 19, 2009

Spion Kop lodge is isolated and you would cerainly need a car to get to it.
We stayed in one of the self catering cottages which was nice and spacious.
The main reception and dinning room had a feel of a scottish hunting lodge.
The food was a set menu - with no choice BUT was fantastic in terms of quality and quantity.
The staff were all very helpful

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank WinsfordPete
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Finland
Level 3 Contributor
21 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed January 6, 2009

We stayed here for 6 nights at the end of December 2008. From the first moment we arrived we got a feeling of great personal service - the owners of this place really care about their guests. They'll come and ask you how things are going several times a day and will help as much as they can with all your requests.

We stayed both in one of the family rooms and one of the self catering cottages. Both were of good quality and the surroundings are fairly safe for kids (ours were 4y + 10m) and there is a lot of room for the kids to play (no children pool, though).

The dinners and breakfasts they provide are very good - lunches are also good but maybe not quite on the same level as the dinners.

Since we were traveling with small children we could not enjoy the battlefield tours organized by Raymond Heron. There is a game reserve just 5 mins from the lodge and other activities are also available.

Small note about the otherwise excellent service was the cleaning, which was not always on the same level as in similar establishments in South Africa. However, the overall cleanliness of the place is good.

I can recommend this place especially for brief 2-4 night stays!

  • Stayed December 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank mjm03
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Spionkop Lodge

Property: Spionkop Lodge
Address: R600 | between Ladysmith and Winterton, Ladysmith 3370, South Africa
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Ladysmith
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 17 Specialty Lodging in Ladysmith
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Spionkop Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Surrounded by low hills that slope up to the towering peaks of the Drakensberg and Free State Mountains. Spion Kop Lodge is the ideal place from where to explore the battlefields, set on an echo farm in Kwazulu-Natal. General Buller’s headquarters during the relief of the Ladysmith campaign, Mount Alice, is located on the farm. The beautifully restored, 8 bedroomed colonial-style farmhouse, is set in tranquil, secure grounds with superb views. Added to this there are two cottages, offering self-catering accommodation in an out-of-Africa setting. There is a library with an excellent collection of historical books, a dining room, cozy pub and a swimming pool. The owner and registered guide, Raymond Heron (F.R.G.S), guides guests to the many historic Battlefield sites, as does his son Alastair. We have 250 different bird species, hiking on the property and Sunset Boat Cruises and horse riding amongst the rhino, giraffe and various other animals. "Arrive as guests, leave as friends." ... more   less 
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