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“Beautiful in every way!”
Review of Bulungula Lodge

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Bulungula Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed November 27, 2012

After a long journey down the coast on some pretty terrible roads, waking up to the unspoilt coastline the next day made it all worthwhile. Stunning beach and rolling hills in every direction, you really are in the wilderness! The place has an amazing laid-back atmosphere as well - it's run by the local village who add to the whole experience, and everyone is happy to see you! The activities are a bit hit and miss but you'll be happy just relaxing and exploring the area because it's so beautiful.

My one complaint: it's all very well them saying 'don't use Google Maps, you'll get lost' , but they need to provide a far better map than the one on the website. The directions are not good enough ("drive past the blue house, look out for the school with the blue roof, turn right at the peach huts") and it means a lot of people will arrive very stressed! All they actually need to do is move the Google Maps location to the other side of the estuary and it'll solve the problem.

Apart from that, the whole stay was perfect.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank Aaron K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dave M, Manager at Bulungula Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded December 6, 2012

Hi Aaron

Thanks for your comments.

As far as your complaint about the directions goes: if only it was as easy as to "move the Google Maps location" to the correct side of the river!

In fact, our Google Maps location is correctly positioned, the problem is that Google don't recognise that there is a road directly to Bulungula so by default they bring you to the nearest point that has a road. That happens to be on the other side of the river! I have written numerous complaint to Google to tell them that there is this error with their system but no response. It seems to be some sort of program/algorithm that automatically identifies roads from some mapping service and that mapping service hasn't recorded our "new" (2 years old) road. There's nothing we can do on our side to change it...

As far as landmarks for our map goes, there aren't many besides schools really, but you're welcome to suggest some others if you think they're easier. If you use our map which has precise kilometer markings on it exactly where all the turns are, then you will get here. The trick is to do exactly what the map says - some people just use the map as a vague guide, instead of following the km markings exactly.
We hope to see you again.
cheers
Dave

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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83 - 89 of 130 reviews

Reviewed September 24, 2012

This was one of the coolest places to stay. This area was a bit off the beaten path but I think that is was made my heart so happy when we finally made it over one of the many, many, many large hills only to see pristine coastline that was basically untouched. Bulungula Lodge was a wonderful spot to rest your bones and recharge your spirit. We took the community tour, a beach walk, and we did a sunrise breakfast with a local lady that made us crepes which were simply devine. Although I was not able to communicate with the local I was able to take part in making beer with one of the local women. Brew masters beware - this is very different than the micro brews you have tried but that is all part of this amazing experience.

The huts are very basic but how many mornings can you say you woke up with a cow poking its head into your hut to wake you up? The entire experience from the local food to the compost able toilets, to the solar powered computer charging stations brought travel and consciousnesses full circle for me. By far this is one of the places that I hope to visit again.

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank MissGreen_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 25, 2012

Bulungula was the first place we stayed on our 5 week trip of SA. We stayed a week but could've stayed much longer. Absolutely amazing place, getting there was a bit of a bumpy ride but it all just added to the experience.
You can decide to relax or do some of the activities they offer which were all brilliant. The beach is stunning and you are free to roam over the hills and meet the villagers who are all very friendly.
Food was delicious, shooting star shows every evening and loads of comfortable places to read and take a nap.
One of the best places I have ever been too!

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank annalouiseg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 2, 2012

I was only there for one day but the unique way in which it was set up is really special, even taking a shower is a cool experience. The place is very community orientated and it shows in the good attitude of the towns folk which is really great to see. It has a really chilled vibe and the location is amazing. The food is good and worth the wait. The only thing I could notice that was not so great was that the staff didn't quite now what to do and communication wasn't great so if management wasn't around it made things a little difficult.

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with family
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Thank Ricky-T-Daytrippers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 5, 2012

I was backpacking through south africa and some friend told me about this place, i made use of the pick up service... a bit of an adventure, but hey - it was fun! The lodge is very well organised, in the middle of nothing, by the ocean - lovely! The perfect place to relax and just do nothing - or go walking, canooing, and absolutely spend a day with the women of the village... it' incredibly interesting to see how hard their live is compared to ours! The toilets and showers are spotless and the dorm are absolutely comfy. The food is very well chosen, a bit of traditional and a bit of western :-) Try the sandwich with Xhosa bread, it tasts awesome! I had the chance to listen to Dave's story for a while and it is smashing how hard he and his wife are working on the success of the lodge and the ngo! Keep on going, I'll surely be back one day...

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled solo
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4  Thank Chb1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 4, 2012

This lodge delivered exactly what it promised. It was unique, fascinating and incredibly relaxing. Far away from everything commercial, it really puts you in the Transkei as it was meant to be experienced. Be open minded, and appreciate the lodge for what it is, and what it has created around itself. We had a special time and will definitely be back.

  • Stayed: December 2011
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1  Thank Jonathan V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 28, 2012

This one has it all ! An eco-friendly backpackers lodge 40% owned by the locals. Here you find some of the best views of the East-Coast. It's fully solar-powered. Compost-toilets, rocketshowers, daily solar-cooked food/bread. Different and interesting workshops. Traditional herbwalks. Sangoma-meetings. A wood-fired bath on top of the dunes. Horse-riding over the rolling green hills. Amazing hiking. Camping, dorms and doubles. Shuttle-service. Dolphin and whale-watching. And a lot more ! Order your shuttle because you can only reach it with a 4X4 ! Take at least 2-3 nights here, which will easily become a whole week ... this one is special !!

  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Safari-gids
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Bulungula Lodge

Address: Bulungula River Mouth | Elliotdale District, Nqileni Village 5070, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Eastern Cape > Nqileni Village
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Nqileni Village
Price Range: $10 - $22 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A community-based eco-lodge on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world in the heart of a traditional Bomvana (Xhosa) community. Fair Trade accredited. Many fun, informative and authentic cultural and adventure tours/activities every day. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Bulungula Hotel Nqileni Village
Bulungula Lodge South Africa/Eastern Cape - Nqileni Village

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