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“Hidden gem of Zululand ... but improvement needed”

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Jozini Tiger Lodge and Spa
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed August 21, 2012

We booked a 2 night stay in a loft room at Jozini Tiger lodge over the Womens Day 'long weekend'.

After a 4 hour drive we found the lodge without difficulty as dusk was approaching. At check-in, the lady at reception (Sne) was quite unhelpful. She offered no explanation regarding the facilities, spa, meal-times, location of the dining room or anything else for that matter. Getting information from her was like pulling teeth from a hippopotamus. When we enquired about supper, she remarked that it was being served in the boma. When asked where the boma was she simply said "around the corner". I didn't bother enquiring which corner!! A person of this caliber, with poor people and communication skills should not be welcoming guests. "Welcome" drinks were however provided. At no time were we informed that we could also have supper in the formal dining room. One of the other ladies at reception were quite helpful and assisted me in booking a fishing trip for the next morning.

Having put the icy cold reception behind us we set off to find our room to freshen up before supper. The room was exactly as pictured on the website, tastefully furnished, clean and quite comfortable. However, no information booklet regarding the activities or facilities on offer was provided in the room either.

To find the supper venue we simply followed the sound of the drums! The Zulu dancers and drummers gave a spirited performance. Supper was a buffet providing an adequate variety and was well prepared. We had a restful sleep and were awaken early the next morning by the crowing of roosters. After enjoying the sun rise over the dam from the balcony we headed down for breakfast. Despite specifying that 3 of our group would not consume beef or pork, no other meat option was provided at breakfast. After a long delay and upon finishing our breakfast, we were brought rather large portions of chicken strips, grilled hake and chips which were packed for us to take on our boat trip. The breakfast was adequate and once again prepared to a satisfactory standard.

While we attempted to land a Jozini Tiger, the ladies had a relaxing time at the spa and lounged at the poolside. The boat pilot and guide was an amiable fellow who had the best luck of the day! At least we were able to watch the fight the fish gave him!

Tip - don't waste your time on spinners or lures: the Jozini Tiger appears to have a preference for sardines, which your guide will provide. The chicken liver we tried attracted no interest. Don't bother packing rods either as a rod and tackle are available for hire at reasonable cost.

We had also booked a sunset cruise which turned out to be quite a disaster as a result of poor management. There was a large group of ladies who had apparently booked a package including a cruise but were not booked for that day's cruise. They refused to get off the boat and management refused to allow the boat to leave. The cruise was delayed a long while and eventually left with the group on board after a whole lot of people that were booked got off!!!
People should only be allowed onto the boat after their bookings were confirmed anyway!

Supper was a buffet as well. Where were the gourmet meals the website promises??? To their credit the Kitchen staff prepared a delicious rack of lamb for those of our party that did not eat beef or pork. Also on offer were grilled prawns and the usual buffet items.

In summary we had a great stay at Jozini Tiger Lodge (primarily due to its location), the food was better than expected and the kitchen staff were quite accommodating to our dietary restrictions, however there is plenty of room for improvement especially with regards to the check-in staff/reception.

Room Tip: Choose a room in block 2 or 3. Block 1 is too far away!
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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4  Thank JessicaAudrey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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203 - 209 of 233 reviews

Reviewed August 13, 2012

We stayed at Jozini lodge for the long weekend, after driving 500km to get there my first impression as we checked in at reception was wow!We had dinner at the boma and the food was tasteful and the atmosphere was great.

We got to our room and the fridge was not working, we asked for a fridge 3 times on a space of 4hours and we finally got one later that evening. We tried to take a bath and there were no towels in the room had to ask for towels, which were delivered as promised. We thought that was the end of our bad experiences but the best was yet to come.
The following day, we sat by the pool with breathtaking views and asked menu and placed an order for drinks, after an hour of no one assiting we went to ask for menu's again and finally placed orders from the menu and the waiter would go to the kitchen and come back to tell us that that item on the menu is not available, chose something else and this went on 3times. finally we were told that the only thing available to order was a burger or fish. We requested for a grilled fish dishes and all came back fried and we were then told they do not offer any grilled fish. We were told tomato sause got finished in the morning and there's none available. The baby chairs they have are so dirty you cannot use them.

Later in the day we had a boat cruise scheduled for 3:30pm, the boat was overloaded and drama started to unfold as some people were asked to get off the boat and arguments started with the manager and the guests and this went on for over 30minutes, the situation was poorly handled. We got offered complimentary drinks and another boat cruise scheduled for the following morning.

We went for dinner that evening and once again to get the waiters to attend to you while at the table is a luxury. The buffer dinner menu as well as breakfast menu is very limited.

The kids though had lots of fun in the games room and went fishing. The hotel really needs to train their waiters and manage the place better, what we went through was just unacceptable.

Room Tip: We stayed in a family room which was nice and spacious.
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank MoniccaM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 28, 2012

Just stayed there again in a family loft room, with my kids. what a lovely experience. room was clean spacious and very well decorated. once again views are breathtaking, hotel is gorgeous and staff are very friendly and helpful. Sunset cruise is a must with Siphiwe who is very friendly and knowlegable about the area. He answered all my kids questions and was friendly towards them. kids were entertained in the kids room which has playstation, wii, soccer table snooker table and table tennis. had a relaxing stay

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank fs30
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 25, 2012

I took my hubby away for a long weekend over his birthday and was pleasantly surprised and taken by the beauty that is Jozini Tiger Lodge. With well appointed rooms, dining and pool areas that can take your breath away and a view that makes for spectacular sunsets - you would think this is your ideal destination!

Think again. Dinners are buffet only and at a very steep price! We were sorely disappointed with dry meat that had been barbequed with no seasoning, a puthu pap (traditional food) and some pasta. The starters were a sad display of salad items and a butternut soup. The only thing that counted for the meal was the desserts -they were awesome.
The next night we tried to order something off an a la Carte menu but were told that we had to take the buffet again.

Again, a very poor show of what is essentially, a very expensive meal. Simple salad for starters and a tomato soup that was guaranteed made of last nights tomato relish, a fatty lamb curry and veggies that just tasted awful.

The area is fanatastic. The view spectacular, but the food really does leave much to be desired.!

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank deebean
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 7, 2012

We spent Christmas day at the hotel while on our way to another part of the country. The rooms are very spacious and well appointed with pleasant decor. The hotel itself has a stunning layout and view over the surrounding mountains and part of the dam - the reception rooms and dining room makes the most of this! However, the food left much to be desired.
Our intention was to stop over for Christmas lunch and night while in transit to another part of our country.
The Buffet lunch was very dissapointing, especially taking into account that it was supposed to be a Christmas lunch. We took it in our stride and thought that it could also have been one of those days when everything was not as good as it should be. But, now after our children having been there recently - I have to review my previous take on the food. Once again the buffet dinners were of such poor quality that even our children have now vowed - that although they had a stunning week-end with Tiger fishing and upmarket accommodation - they will never return to the Jozini Tiger Lodge due to the poor selection and poor standard of the buffet Dinner.

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled with family
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1  Thank Inkie4u
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 29, 2012

Let me start with the positives. The hotel was easy to get to, well maintained, makes most of its stunning surrounds with wrap around glass doors and windows, so one can drink in the dreamlike scenery no matter which part of the hotel one is in. Our check in was easy, the staff was pleasant, some were very friendly. Our room was exactly as shown on the website - spacious and neat with simple, but tastefully decor. Very comfy bed and bedding, lovely views from the balcony. There was a tea and coffee making facility with a variety of teas and caffeinated and decaf coffee. The bathroom was spacious and clean, the bath was enormous! And, yes, we could see the beautiful scenery outside from the bathroom as well!
Breakfast buffet was ample. The lunch menu did not have plenty of choices, the dinner buffet made up for it. The quality of food varied from average to good. The night we arrived, there was a selection of scrumptious grilled prawns, and on the second night there was delicious roast beef.
Our rates included the sunset cruise, which was just beyond beautiful! The boat was surprisingly quiet (I was prepared for the whir of the engine to spoile the peace) and we were even lucky enough to see a large herd of elephants along the banks! The staff on board were friendly too.
The service was mixed. Some of the staff was were efficient while some others seemed clueless. But they all had genuine friendly smiles on their faces
Now for the downside..The staff at reservation made a big blunder and charged us R11,000 instead of R1,100. When we brought it to their attention, they were ofcourse apologetic and agreed to reverse the charge immediately, but we heard nothing from them until the next morning, when I phoned to enquire why an additional R1,100 had been debited from our account the previous night! i was told the reversal would reflect "immediately", which I knew wasn't possible, but it was only appropriate that they communicate honestly and efficiently in such a situation. Later, we did receive messages from the staff assuring us the refund had been processed. Funny how no time was lost in debiting the correct amount even before we received our refund.
Another annoyance was that hotel was hosting a wedding that weekend and we had not been informed about this at the time of the booking. So there was no "peace and quiet", which we had actually come for, but just constant loud music and festivities that go with a wedding throughout the day we stayed! We had not bargained for that! The manager did apologise, which was nice, but that doesn't bring back the quiet!
Minor peeves (that may not matter to some people)- Our bath towels were not replaced by room service. When we asked for fresh towels, we had ONE towel delivered, because "all other towels are wet"! Star graded service? I don't think so!
There were no teaspoons to stir our tea/coffee in the room. We did inform housekeeping, but we still did not have spoons in our room for the duration of out stay.
The waitron mixed up my lunch order.
We were meant to get an extra mattress for our toddler, but we only got it for one night and they delivered the bedding quite late.
At the time of booking, I had mentioned that it was my husband's birthday and asked for a mini cake muffin or something to be arranged, but it seemed they had forgotten on the day. As we were heading back to our room after dinner on our last night, One of the staff rushed to tell me they were going to "do the birthday thingy", but since our toddler exhausted, I asked that it be done the next morning. It was completely forgotten.
But barring these small things, it is a wonderful place to unwind (if they are not hosting weddings). It is great value for money too. I grade it 3 because of our overall experience.

Room Tip: It looked like rooms on the top and middle floors had better views.
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  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with family
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Thank r0v1ngf33t
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 23, 2011

Spent a couple of days at this new hotel on a weekend special which included spa vouchers and a sunset lake cruise. We were pleasantly surprised at the spaciousness and comfort of the room, including a huge bath and shower - and of course the stunning view from the room.
Whilst there are not too many activities at the lodge besides fishing/boating, there was enough to do for a 2 night stay.
Couple of observations - don't be fooled by the words "Light meals" on the lunch menu - it was not possible to finish the meal and one meal was more than enough for 2.
Buffet dinners were a little disappointing - we were expecting an a la carte option, and both nights were buffet. However, on the second night, the staff were accomodating with providing an a la carte choice from the lunch menu, as we preferred just a salad.
The spa treatments were very good and are recommended.
Excellent stopover or weekend hotel.

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Sssib
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Jozini Tiger Lodge and Spa

Address: 1 Main Road, Jozini 3969, South Africa
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Zululand > Jozini
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 Specialty Lodging in Jozini
Price Range: $168 - $199 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Jozini Tiger Lodge and Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 70
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Jozini Tiger Lodge & Spa is situated along the banks of the picturesque Jozini dam & overlooking the Lebombo Mountains of KwaZulu Natal. Situated in the heart of the Kingdom of the Zulu with its rich heritage and untamed natural beauty, this Lodge & Spa is an exciting holiday destination which offers a perfect luxury getaway in the heart of nature. The hotel offers a variety of outdoor activities such as tiger-fishing, game viewing, hiking and kayaking. Jozini Tiger Lodge & Spa is easily accessible from both Durban and Gauteng. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Jozini Tiger Hotel Jozini

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