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“Idyllic”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Spionkop Lodge

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Spionkop Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Level Contributor
13 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Idyllic”
Reviewed April 8, 2013

Wonderful in every way - fab views, friendly family, excellent location, brilliant tours both historic and game. Only thing to add to what others have said is the proximity of the Drakensberg mountains, an easy drive from the Lodge rewarded by stunning views, excellent walking and an interesting cave painting interpretation centre. Spionkop Lodge is a must if you are touring the Battlefields.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank David G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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270 reviews from our community

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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
Stourbridge, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviewed April 7, 2013

We visited Spionkop Lodge for the 3rd time in March 2013. This time we were with friends. The accommodation and food were excellent as were the beautiful surroundings. What makes a stay here so special is the welcome given by the whole Heron family who run the lodge. We immediately felt that we were part of the family. There is plenty to do here from a most enthralling guided tour of the Spionkop battlefield led by Raymond Heron, to a sunset safari by speedboat on a huge lake surrounded by a game reserve within a short distance of the lodge or just sitting by the pool reading or looking across to the Drakensburg Mountains. You need at least 3 nights here. The website does not do it justice!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank cliff86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Belfast, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
30 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed March 23, 2013

This was not my first visit to Spion Kop but more like my tenth. Therefore the Herons must be doing something right! I have never failed to be made feel any less than a friend of the family. And what a family they are. Perfect hosts from the start to the finish. I have an interest in history and Raymond never fails to captivate his "audience" with tales of South African history in general and the Boer War in particular. Lynette and Hester ensure your stay is made very special and Alastair keeps the wheels oiled and looks after the game drive. All in all a wonderful team! I look forward to my return trip next year.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank gbf2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canterbury, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
42 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed March 23, 2013

Spion Kop Lodge is a great find. The welcome is warm from the beginning and you feel right at home. I arrived at midday and immediately was ushered on to the terrace by Lynette where I had coffee, taking in the magnificent views over the Tugela Valley looking towards Spion Kop. After lunch I met Raymond who was to be my guide around the battlefields. If you really want to get your head around the battles in 1899 when General Buller was seeking to break through the Boer defences on the Tugela, Raymond is your man. He can go into as much or as little detail as you want, but I can certainly say that for the enthusiast, a day and a half will give you good coverage of Colenso, the Tugela Heights, the museum at Ladysmith, and of course Spion Kop itself. Raymond's farm includes Mount Alice from where Buller watched the battle of Spion Kop, and you get what must be one of the best views to understand the whole geography of this much fought-over landscape. I finished my second day with a game drive in the neighbouring reserve.

The accommodation is comfortable, well-appointed and clean. The food is well-prepared, nicely presented and spot on. Raymond said they aim for "homely". That's exactly right. I felt like a friend by the end of my stay, rather than just a guest. I am so glad I found the Lodge. I had an absolutely superb long weekend here (a nice break during a long business trip) and would recommend it unreservedly for a quiet get-away and the option of a good dose of history, if you want it. The Heron family are perfect hosts.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank Rob B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
30 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
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
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Helpful?
Thank YorksMagicflyer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
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Helpful?
Thank EMC200
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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