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“Should have stayed longer”
Review of Rhino River Lodge

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Rhino River Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
31 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Should have stayed longer”
Reviewed November 4, 2012

Had to write review this evening with regrets could have stayed longer. Booking made by friend resident in SA. Sadly just one night. While on route to lodge received a call from Shona with respect to what sundowner drinks we wanted on our evening drive. This pretty set up idea of how staff prepare/ care for guests. Isaac our ranger on evening and morning drives was professional, great knowledge and respectful of wildlife. Scenery in this area beautiful. Our lodge room was large and spacious. Not having a Television set allows to be absorbed in the bush. The cricket sounds the rhythm to go to sleep to. The standard of food is basic but wholesome. Some portion and presentation management would help lead to finer touch. Overall this lodge is very fairly priced and excellent value for money. In comparison to accommodation of higher end of the market it is up there and working to achieve a good product. Trip Advisors in comparison think three nights Rhino Lodge is possibly equal to one night in high end lodge product. Rhino Lodge well done.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Vincent C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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362 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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English first
Waukesha, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
95 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed November 4, 2012

In October, my son and I visited Rhino River for a second time (see my previous review from 2011) and it was even better than the first!

There have been fantastic upgrades since our last visit. There's a new lounge area that is beautiful and relaxing complete with fireplace, books, and comfortable seating... and the occasional vervet monkey! The dining area is now larger and less cluttered now that the lounge has its own (attached) building. The folks there are reassessing how they were doing meals and so now offer breakfast options you order the night before and two choices at dinner and delicious choices they are!! (So please note that Shona and the entire staff are paying attention to your reviews and feedback!) The reception area also received an upgrade and includes a nice gift shop.

The staff at RRL bend over backwards to provide superior personal service. For example, the day we arrived (a little later than 2pm as we had originally planned), we were met by Shona and Jason at our car, shown to our room, helped with our bags, and were immediately served our lunch when we walked to the dining area (including the special meal for my son). As Lodge Manager, Shona is very diligent at returning emails promptly, continually ensuring guests are comfortable, and is so pleasant and kind. I can't speak highly enough of how the staff accomodated my son's pickier dining preferences! They made him pizza, burgers, etc. since he is not very adventurous and the portions were huge! In additon, our first night we found a fairly large spider in our room and Jeanine came immediately to catch and release it. It was a harmless rain spider but she went above and beyond to check over the other corners of our room to help appease me and my son. :)

You receive two game drives a day at RRL, and Jeanine, Jason, and Isaac are all very good at teaching guests things about the flora and fauna, spotting wildlife big and small, and making each guest feel attended to (we spent most of our time with Isaac last year but he was on off days when we visited this year; Jeanine and Jason are also amazing!). We were able to see rhino, hippo, jackal, buffalo, giraffe, warthog, wildebeest, and more. I have been to the Kruger and other game parks and while I appreciate them all and they all have their own pros and cons, I feel the quiet, private, unspoilt grounds and amazing guides at RRL offer guests a much more personal experience.

Other basics: Rooms are very comfortable and clean. They include a small fridge, plenty of wardrobe space, and no tv, wifi (which for a workaholic like me makes for a great excuse to shut off for a few days!). Bathrooms are clean and they and the rooms are decorated with local flavor. Mosquito nets and turn down service are nice touches. Large decks provide a private place to wind down. Guests are not given keys (although you can ask for one) and they are not necessary there for it is such a small, safe place, we never worry about a thing. Two game drives complete with snacks and sundowners are included. When not on a drive, you have plenty of time to get some R&R here, take walks, birdwatch, read, meditate.

Overall, it was another excellent stay. The personal service and attention you receive at RRL is second to none. The value is amazing. I can't say enough about Rhino River Lodge and the staff and we will be back without a doubt! Thank you Shona, Jason, and Jeanine (and ALL of the staff!) for making another stay so unforgettable. We'll be seeing you soon! Karla and Logan

Room Tip: If you get a chance, visit Zamimpilo outdoor craft market. It's on the N2, about 20 min away fro...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank logansrun98
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Breda, The Netherlands
2 reviews
Reviewed October 25, 2012

We stayed for two nights in this unforgetable place and had a great time. The lodge, the people, the service, the food and the game drives were all fantastic and very well organised. As we were on honeymoon, a very romantic private dinner was organised for us, matching the intimacy of this place! During the game drives our ranger Isaac really made an effort to show us the very best of the bush.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Mirjam V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed October 23, 2012

This fantastic lodge was recommended by friends and they did not disappoint. From the moment we arrived our every need was cared for by their great staff. The mangement and staff of RRL have a solid understanding of the word "hospitality" which I fear is being lost at many of the high end hotels and lodges around the globe. When they say it's hard to find good help these days the RRL folks have it somehow figured out. Examples:
1. Not once did I see a maid in our two story chalet the entire 3 nights we stayed yet the room was always spotless, things put away, lights on and bed turned down after the evening meal. Not sure how they pulled this off, perhaps while out on game drives rooms are serviced but it was really amazing and gave us much privacy during the day - hey, that's what a getaway vacation is all about, right?
2. The kitchen staff prepared the best tasting and varied menu items that I have ever experienced in an all inclusive plan. The food was local, fresh, prepared that day and presented to the guests with class and style. There was always more than enough and man was it delicious!
3. The maintenance staff did a great job of maintaining the immaculate grounds - again, like the maid service I never saw these folks but knew they had been there doing their job.
4. The mangement provided all the little extras like bringing umbrellas to our room when it started to drizzle right before dinner one evening; bringing wine and beers over to our chalet when the supply got low; arranging side trips like the croc/hippo tour at St. Lucia and even making hotel arrangements for our further travels to St Lucia and Durban.
5. And finally, the reason all of us want to experience a game lodge is for the game viewing and it was awesome! Over a 3 night stay and 6 game drives we saw rhinos, lion, cheetah, rock python, cape buffalo, nyala, giraffe, hippos and a million other interesting things. Our guide Isaac is a true bushman yet we called him the renaissance man because he could speak on any subject - animals, history, plants, politics, language (he speaks 5) and anything else you'd care to discuss. I would ask the dumbest questions yet I always received a thorough response that taught me more about the bush than I ever thought possible.
Hats off to the owners Shannon and Dale Airton for running a top notch facility. Both Shannon and Dale are wildlife conservationists and will provide you with lots of expert information and discussion concerning their property and the wildlife therein. We had great discussions with them and the other guests during drinks around the evening campfire - what a memorable time we had!
My wife and I had dreamed of this trip for many years and thanks RRL for making our dreams come true.
In summary, if you want a high end foo-foo kind of lodge then by all means feel free to spend the big bucks and go for it somewhere else. If you want to spend relaxing, laid back kind of time with friendly folks who know what hospitality means and are dedicated wildlife conservation practitioners that know their s**t then I strongly recommend you check out RRL.
Oh, one more thing - don't forget to ask lots of stupid questions - you'll be amazed at the answers!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Howard A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Aarau, Switzerland
Level Contributor
158 reviews
50 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 92 helpful votes
Reviewed October 12, 2012

The people at RRL are what makes the stay there perfect. You get greeted by handshake upon arrival and everyone addresses you by name. The fact that a maximum of 16 people can stay there is great. You get a lot of interesting information from the rangers and all the rest of the staff. And the food! The food is just excellent. My friend is a vegetarian and she had throughout our stay there always something fancy to eat. We just loved it.
One night we were the only guests for dinner and we had an absolutly delightful evening with very interesting conversations thanks to Shona the manager. Thanks a lot you guys!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank JohannaHaller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Durban, South Africa
1 review
Reviewed October 3, 2012

We spent two days at Rhino River Lodge, the service was great, the setting was great, the rooms were lovely, but then came the meals. Insufficient food for all the people that were there, very amateurish meals, and certainly not cooked properly. And there is nowhere close to nip out and go get a decent meal.
Sorry guys but my even I cook better than that. Put a real damper on our trip and spoilt the treat for our overseas guests.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled on business
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Helpful?
Thank Denise T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
duze, Owner at Rhino River Lodge, responded to this review, October 5, 2012
As we very seldom get negative food reviews, a review like this is incredibly disappointing and embarrassing for us, and something we take very seriously. As a result of this review we are busy re-evaluating all of our menu choices and have hired a professional hotelier to spend a week in our kitchen to help us revamp our menus.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brighton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
25 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed October 1, 2012

An accidental find after searching for hours online for Safaris near to where we were staying in Durban. Rhino River Lodge sounded too good to be true simply because it was so much cheaper than all the others we looked at.
On arrival- we couldnt believe our luck. It was exactly what we had wanted and much more than we could have asked for.
The game park is totally natural- the animals are not tagged so it is all luck of the draw as to what you get to see and experience. Driving up to the guest area we manged to see Zebra and Impala amongst others.
There was a traditional South african meal waiting for us on arrival. Then time for a quick dip in the pool before getting picked up for our first of 2 game drives. This was magnificent- we managed to see a variety of animals- the best sighting was a White Rhino and her baby. There was a rest stop and a glass of wine at a natural watering hole and then we continued on in the dark. Unfortunatley we didnt get to see any nocturnal creatures.
The lodge we stayed in was absolutley stunning and we couldnt have asked for more.
The intimate open air restaurant served up a delicious 3 course meal ( we were even at the next table to a top rugby player much to my boyfriend and friends delight) and we relaxed next to a fire in the open air lounge for the rest of the evening watching a family of Warthogs.
The 6am game drive the following morning was where we saw most of the animals including Hippo, Giraffe, Zebra and so much more, unfortunatley no cats.
This place was incredible from start to finish and the price for all of the above was the equivelant of £100 sterling per person.
Would recommend this place to anyone wanting to go on safari and is not close enough to kruger park on their trip.
Cant wait to return. Magical.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Micksterooney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Rhino River Lodge

Property: Rhino River Lodge
Address: | P.O BOX 2950, Hluhluwe 3960, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Zululand > Hluhluwe
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 33 Specialty Lodging in Hluhluwe
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Rhino River Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 4
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