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“Great stay”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Ntshondwe Lodge

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Ntshondwe Lodge
The Netherlands
Level Contributor
48 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“Great stay”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 12, 2013

Ntshondwe Camp is located in the beautiful Ithala Game Reserve. The Camp has beautiful chalets, hidden in the green. Functionally furnished with dining and seating area and kitchenette. Excellent beds. Infront of the cottage had a nice covered patio. At the reception people are very, very friendly and you can make many game drives, even by own car. We had a great ranger who guided us through the park. Joseph: Thanks! In the restaurant you eat well, without fuss. From the campsite you can walk two short trails to a beautiful view point. There is a swimming pool. The little shop sells souvenirs and soda. If you want to cook by your self, you better buy some proviant in Louwsburg, before you enter the park. The park is still relatively quiet, the scenery is beautiful!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Bartho0
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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79 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (12)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Belfast, NI
Level Contributor
41 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 6, 2013 via mobile

This park has some fantastic staff including the guy on the front gate, reception staff and Russell, a Wildlife Ranger. We stayed for two nights and were glad that we did. We took one game drive and wished we had taken one sooner. However some things disappointed us but yet could be easily rectified:
1) The swimming pool was disgusting. We complained so a pool closed sign went up. It was a health hazard. The water was green with a layer of scum (compare with the blue water in the brochure!). This was a big disappointment for our kids.
2) The restaurant was hit and miss. Sometimes service was quick, other times it was slow. One morning the breakfast was a buffet. We basically ate the same breakfast as the previous morning but it cost us 2.5 times more!
From a wildlife point of view it was excellent but you need to work for it. Cheetahs are no longer on the reserve and the loop road was closed following heavy rain.

One other thing of note - plan your directions well in advance. We got lost coming from Hilltop and wasted 1.5 hours. The KZN map on their reserves brochure is wrong!!

Overall highly enjoyable. Probably a 3.5 but we met some nice staff and with a little bit of effort, this reserve could easily be 5 star!

  • Stayed January 2013
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Helpful?
1 Thank BelfastBirder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Level Contributor
43 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 31, 2012

I attended a 4-day conference at Ntshondwe Lodge. Food and service were excellent and staff were extremely friendly. The lodge itself is pretty large, with chalets spread out under the trees and amongst the huge boulders of the hillside slope - very attractive setting. The area is very attractive, with rolling hills and bushveld. We were focussed on business matters, so only did a few game drives. We did see quite a few rhino and plenty of general game, but overall the wildlife experience does not match up to the larger game reserves of the Kwazulu Natal region.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled on business
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank SimonEspley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
13 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 13, 2012

Even though I live just down the road from Ithala Game Reserve I have not visited it before and I knew that there would be a limited amount of game to view as this park has no real predators to speak of. The camp is very attractively located tucked into the bush and the recently renovated bungalows are well kitted out even with fireplaces for the winter so are an excellent getaway destination. The restaurant was however very disappointing. So much so that we decided to self cater on our second night but this proved even worse as the food in the curio shop was probably as ancient as the fossils and cave paintings on the property. However, if you take along your own food the facilities for self catering are excellent.
Saw some great animal interaction but I must emphasize that two nights here cost me a mere R900 and therefore my expectations were actually exceeded. I went to see the dassies (hyrax) in the camp and got some great shots of these so it was well worth while.
However, I have also seen on the internet some rather unscrupulous tour operators advertising that this is a great game destination and therefore some tourists may be misled.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
5 Thank christine l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tartu, Estonia
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 29, 2012

We stayed there only for one night and that was mistake - we should have stayed longer than 1 night. It was so beautiful place. All Ithala Game Reserve is underrated. It was not so crowded as Hluhluwe-iMfolozi. The camp is camouflaged at the foot of soaring cliffs. There was enough room for our family (5 persons) in the self-catering chalet. Breakfast on the terrace of Kraal Restaurant was tasty - omlette made from your request, sausages, fresh salad, fruits etc.
We saw white and black rhino family on Dakaneni Loop in our self-drive early morning trip. And of course we saw elefants, buffalos, zebras, dassies, wildebeasts, impalas. All trails and roads are well maintained and marked. Obviously there was not so much animal as in the Kruger NP.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank Maiq9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
England
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 11, 2012

We had 3 nights in Ntshondwe Camp after Christmas 2011. Saw all the game we expected to see, except elephant. Accommodation is comfortable and clean, if a little tired. Food was good.
A morning guided game drive was excellent and then self-guided game drives in morning and at dusk were the norm, each drive lasting 2 or 3 hours. The park is not crowded and we often spend all morning without seeing anyone. My son enjoyed a guided game hike and got up close with rhino, giraffe, zebra, impala, etc. My wife and I enjoyed the pool; much more relaxing.
Anyone wanting a relaxing and interesting break in northern KZN, this is the place for you!

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank Tim F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
56 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 4, 2011

Two nights here, one of the highlights of our trip to South Africa. This despite the long drive from Nelspuit - we were held up by police blockades, missed turns and interminable roadworks between Warburton and Amsterdam, making the main gate with less than an hour to spare. But the welcome, location and accommodation are superb: the bungalows, though dimly lit, are well separated (we were in #2, up against the hill at the top of the camp, near the Lodge). The kitchen facilities were more than adequate, the bathroom acceptable and the bedroom equipped with a huge bed and cool linen sheets. More or less insect-free, the camp is overrun by rock dassies, and beware of the speed and shamelessness of the gangsterish vervet monkeys. We had more luck than others with wildlife: although terrifying for my wife, our (reasonably) early morning drive towards the Bergvliet Loop was cut off by a white rhino family of three, including calf. Seeing no-one else, I diverted onto the Dakaneni Loop, and went down and down until we drove straight into a black rhino family (again including calf). We backed up carefully, but the parents were in a good mood and gradually wandered off into the forest. But you don't need to have close encounters with wildlife to appreciate Ithala, which is a joyous place.

Room Tip: I thought our bungalow (#2) at the upper end of the camp was in a very secluded area, and less likel...
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank jimmcateer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ntshondwe Lodge

Property: Ntshondwe Lodge
Address: Ithala Game Reserve, South Africa
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Ithala Game Reserve
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Specialty Lodging in Ithala Game Reserve
Hotel Class:2 star — Ntshondwe Lodge 2*
Number of rooms: 67

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