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“Fantastic place to stay brimming with history”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Spionkop Lodge

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Spionkop Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Level Contributor
30 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Fantastic place to stay brimming with history”
Reviewed March 22, 2013

What a fabulous place! This January (2013) we stayed for 5 wonderful days at Spion Kop and could have stayed much longer! The owners, the Heron Family (Raymond, Lynette, Hester and Alastair) are fabulous hosts and just couldnt do enough for us. We really felt 'at home'. The lodge rooms are fairly basic, very clean, spacious and have decent bathrooms. There is no specific menu for evening meals, but all the food we had during our stay was really good (including Raymond's barbeque - at special request from my father in law!!) and Lynette always checked that what food was planned was OK with us. Dont miss a drink in the Churchill Bar, and spend some time looking at the photos and other historical memorabilia. If you are interested in history, then this is the place for you, and even if you are not, dont miss Raymond's battlefield tours. Not only does he (and Alastair) have an encyclopaedic knowledge of events surrounding the Boer and Zulu wars, he is a great story-teller with a genuine enthusiasm for his vocation. He must have told the stories many times, but it really is just like he is telling you for the first time! Also, not to be missed is the sundowner game cruise. I say 'cruise', but without giving too much away, it did involve gin, tonic and 200 horsepower! Oh, and we did see some game aswell!!

Lynette and Hester kindly organised anything we wanted, including tours, packed lunches etc. The recommended Canopy Tour (across the treetops by multiple zip-wires) was fantastic - dont miss it! You dont need to be a super-fit action freak to do it - the hardest bit was the hilside climb back to the truck at the end, but you do need a reasonable head for heights, as some of the wires are several hundred feet above the ground! The horseback game ride in the adjacent game park was much better than we expected, although, as Michael the Guide rode up to the sleeping rhino, armed only with a small tree branch, we were all more than a bit nervous!

Spion Kop lodge is a great place to stay and exceptionally good value. The lodge itself is set in beautiful grounds and was the actual headquaters of General Buller at the time of the Battle of Spion Kop. The "Kop" at Liverpool Football Club (and other football grounds) gets its name from Spion Kop, and is regularly visited by many associated with the club. There are also some touching mementos to those tragically lost in the Hillsborough disaster in 1989.

Finally, to get a feel for the place, if you can get it, watch part two of Charlie Boorman's South African adventure (Demand 5), where he visits Spionkop. He and Raymond visit the hill-top battle site (on motorbikes of course!). Oh, and did I mention that as we returned from each trip we were greeted on the lawn with refreshing "welcome back" drinks? What more could you ask for!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
Thank YorksMagicflyer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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270 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (29)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Portland, Oregon
1 review
Reviewed March 20, 2013

The Spionkop battlefield tour was a highlight of our trip to South Africa. Raymond reviews the history of South Africa with sensitivity and expertise and imparts a much better understanding of the complexity that is South Africa today. The lodge and grounds are beautiful and infused with history. Truly a worthwhile experience.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Lorencee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Norwich, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
21 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed March 18, 2013

This was more of a stop over for us but the hospitality was good and we were able to book last night for bed and dinner. Food was very good value and tasty. Room was fine, it was a little basic but the coffee delivered to the room in the morning was a nice touch. Tours run from here around the battlefield looked thorough but we chose to do it ourselves which was enough for us. The history of the site is worth a visit alone.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank EMC200
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pitlochry, United Kingdom
1 review
Reviewed March 7, 2013

The Heron family were most welcoming and the view from the lodge was spectacular. We recommend that guests take the Boer War battlefield tour with Raymond who is a truly excellent guide and so knowledgeable and really brings the history of the Boer Wars to life.The rooms are comfortable and the meals were very good. We recommend a visit to the Drakensberg Boys Choir, a truly uplifting experience. A trip of a lifetime.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank jimimags
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ascot, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
58 reviews
45 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed February 28, 2013

The Heron family made us very welcome at their lodge which has great views overlooking Spion Kop and the Drakensberg mountains. The rooms are simple but very comfortable. The meals and service were excellent.
Spion Kop Lodge is an easy four hour drive from Johannesburg and an ideal stopping point on the way to Durban. We stayed three nights and thoroughly enjoyed our tour of the Spion Kop battlefield with Raymond who provided a great insight into the history of South Africa and the Boer War.
We also enjoyed a round of golf at Champagne Resort – about 30 minutes drive away.
Wi-fi is available in the main house.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank jpd4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kent, UK
Level Contributor
5 reviews
Reviewed February 3, 2013

The outstanding feature of our very happy family stay at Spion Kop Lodge was the time and attention that owner Ray Heron took to explain the history of South Africa and how the Boer War fitted in to that. Our sceptical teenage children were captivated by his story, which he delivered with great care and impartiality throughout our extensive tours of the battlefields in the area. Make sure you go up to Spion Kop itself and here the moving story.
To put our visit in to perspective, we went on to the Zulu battle fields which may be better known but Ray and his enthusiasm makes it a close call as to which is better.
The lodge is very comfortable and if you find time for an evening game drive in the next door SK Dam reserve, do take it. Lots of Rhinos to be seen and the dam is very impressive close up

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank EdwardBarham
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Guildford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
39 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed January 23, 2013

Made to feel really welcome. I fully endorse the 5 star reviews by other guests.I recommend their guided tour of the battlefield and the talk on local history. The location is perfect for visiting he local area. We stayed for 3 days and wished we had booked longer. We plan to return.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank FMF1886390
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 #9 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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