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“A New Experience”
Review of Emdoneni Lodge

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Emdoneni Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Durban, South Africa
1 review
“A New Experience”
Reviewed October 28, 2013

To our surprise my wife and I were delighted by the original and creative camp structure and facilities. We have been to many lodges over the years, all of them of high standard and service. Emdoneni had a special ambience in a class of its own. The blazing log fires in several locations provided opportunity for gazing into the glowing embers and absorbing the bush atmosphere. The guided tour of the cats was professional and up close and personal. A first for us. The catering, accommodation and administration were top class. We appreciated the extra large space for the shower in the chalet.

Room Tip: Choose one close to the animal enclosures
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Jonathan L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lodge-Owners, Owner at Emdoneni Lodge, responded to this review, October 30, 2013
Dear Jonathan

Our sincere thanks for the honest and special review - we were honored to be your host! We have great passion for the industry and are blessed with special guests!

Looking forward to your return visit.

Zululand greetings
Cecillie
Owner
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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261 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (51)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
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English first
Miami, Florida
Level 5 Contributor
61 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
Reviewed October 26, 2013

This place is great...if you really want to experience a "real lodge" this is it. We spent three days here, and we also had a great game drive with wonderful guides. The wake up call was a knock on the door since there's no phone or TV in the rooms; our room was a circular hut, or beehive-shaped and it was impeccable. The food was delicious, the grounds/place is clean and well taken care of with beautiful plants; all the staff was amazing, especially the office staff. The young ladies at the office were the nicest and most helpful, the cooks, cleaning staff, etc. The place itself was very relaxing with a nice pool, lots of places to sit and have a nice glass of wine with an occasional zebra, impala, and guinea fowls walking around. But what really blew my mind away was the Cheetah/Cat Sanctuary on the grounds. This was amazing...they really are doing a great job with these animals. Again, the whole place is an experience, not just a place to stay, eat and sleep. Incidentally, I read a review which stated that they could hear the "highway"...sorry, but we really don't recall hearing the traffic. I recommend this place wholeheartedly and give it 100%.

Note: By mistake I wrote "excellent" for fitness center but they do not have a fitness center. I really believe it's not needed. You can walk the grounds outside of the lodge and get plenty of exercise.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank gilda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lodge-Owners, Owner at Emdoneni Lodge, responded to this review, October 28, 2013
Dear Gilda

For guests like you I will carry on working in the hospitality industry!

THANK you so much for your honest and very kind review. It is great to have read that we could manage to be the best and excellent place you wanted us to be. Sometimes it gets hard to please everyone but we will surely carry on what we do best, serving our guests.

Thank you for taking the time to do this review - much appreciated.

Kind regards
Cecillie
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Halifax, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed October 23, 2013 via mobile

We stayed here because of the cat sanctuary and the amazing opportunity to get close to the big cats. You can question how much this is a sanctuary and how much it is a glorified zoo, but it was an amazing opportunity to see close up serval caracel and cheetahs, and they were clearly well loved and looked after.
The lodge itself was superb, relaxed, informal and professional, great staff, lovely relaxing location and good food, with a great pool and gardens. Rooms were comfy rondavels in the grounds. Very child friendly. My only criticism is that it is a shame that you can hear the N2 a few 100 ,metres away , which does slightly ruin the feeling of being in the bush. Still - a lovely place, well run and highly recommended.

Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
Helpful?
Thank Andy W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lodge-Owners, Owner at Emdoneni Lodge, responded to this review, October 28, 2013
Dear Andy

Thank you for your review, much appreciated.

Our project is indeed a sanctuary and we are currently rehabilitate 3 species to go back to the wild, where they belong. 2 caracals were kept wild and in training to be released in 4 months. 2 serval females to be released back into the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and 1 female cheetah going back to the wild. If you called this a glorified zoo, also OK with us. The project is the only in KZN and very popular. Our tame cats are used for educational purposes. We received so many cats that were used as pets, when they get older and wilder the owners sent them to us. We will never abandon any of these cats.... We use them to breed and release all offspring back into the wild.

Happy to read that you enjoyed your stay at the lodge, we always strive to offer the best possible to our guests.

Kind regards
Louis
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Durban, South Africa
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed October 20, 2013

Could not have asked for anything better in such an ideal location. Being just 2 and a half hours away from Durban it makes a weekend away so much easier! The staff were all great, very friendly and helpful. Rooms were exceptional ( we never expected them to be anywhere near this great!) and the outside showers are really awesome. To wrap it up, the cat experience is a once in a life time, incredile experience. Something that i will never forget! Thank you Emdoneni!

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Nicholas07
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lodge-Owners, Owner at Emdoneni Lodge, responded to this review, October 28, 2013
Dear Nicolas

What more can I say as THANK YOU for your kind and honest review. We were thrilled to read that you have enjoyed your stay with us. With guests like yourselves it is easy to go the extra mile and give even more. Your feedback is highly appreciated!

Zululand greetings
Cecillie
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
1 review
Reviewed October 18, 2013

We were fortunate enough to be given a weekend away by our daughter and son-in-law to Emdoneni Lodge. From the time we arrived and until the day of our departure we received nothing but excellent service. I am usually a big moaner if I find anything that was unsatisfactory but I could not fault their service...not to say I was looking for something to moan about. I believe in customer service after all that is what you are paying for. The chalets were absolutely divine and so clean. The food served was delicious and the staff so accommodating. The friendliness and helpfulness of the staff, from the gardener to the chef was something to be admired. This is a place not to be missed.

Room Tip: Don't think there is a particular room/chalet you have to choose. The surroundings are so tranq...
See more room tips
  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Jenny Garth L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lodge-Owners, Owner at Emdoneni Lodge, responded to this review, October 20, 2013
Dear Jenny & Garth

We are delighted to have read your review - thank you for taking the time in doing so!

To satisfy a 'normally difficult' guest is what we want to achieve at Emdoneni Lodge. Our guests are all special and we are here to serve them all.

Looking forward to meet with you in the near future.

Warm regards
Cecillie
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Durban, South Africa
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed October 16, 2013

What a wonderful lodge!The family cottage was comfortable and beautifully decorated, the staff were friendly and the food both at breakfast and dinner was lovely. We had a wonderful weekend stay. The Cat rehabilitation centre is fascinating with a fantastic guide. Emdoneni is in the perfect postion to visit Hluhluwe Game Reserve and St Lucia to see the hippos on the estuary.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank LouP581
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lodge-Owners, Owner at Emdoneni Lodge, responded to this review, October 18, 2013
Dear Guests

Many thanks for your review - much appreciated.

Zululand greetings
Louis & Cecillie Nel
Owners
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Level 6 Contributor
93 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed October 15, 2013

Emdoneni is conveniently located for visits to Hluhluwe/Umfolozi Game Reserves, the rooms are clean and comfortable, the service fair and the food excellent with game wandering the compound and grazing between the buildings, the location is great.
The onsite cat rehabilitation center is also well worth the visit with some of the lesser known and seen indigenous African cats as well as very tame cheetah.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Jonathan M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lodge-Owners, Owner at Emdoneni Lodge, responded to this review, October 18, 2013
Dear guests
Thank you for your review.
Regards
Owners
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Emdoneni Lodge

Property: Emdoneni Lodge
Address: District Road 123 | Bushlands, Hluhluwe, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Zululand > Hluhluwe
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 31 Specialty Lodging in Hluhluwe
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Emdoneni Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 44
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Following the 2015 voting period, Emdoneni Lodge has won: Global Winner in the Luxury Game Lodge category of the World Luxury Hotel Awards. If you ever dreamt of getting close to nature, interacting with tame cats like Cheetah, Emdoneni Lodge is the place to visit! Located in the heart of Zululand lies Emdoneni Lodge. The lodge offers unique opportunities for the visitor, as you get up close and personal with local wildlife. From sitting by the pool watching Zebra, Nyala, duiker and impala in their natural Sand Forest habitat, to coming face to face with Cheetah, Serval, Caracal and African Wild Cats at the Cat Sanctuary! Air-conditioned, en-suite rooms allow you to escape the heat of the day, and in the evenings you have a variety of meals to choose from at the buffet restaurant. Dinner in the Boma adds a different atmosphere as you eat under the African night sky, and get a glimpse into one of South Africa's great cultures with our Zulu dancers. End off your evening with a night-cap in our cosy bar or a chat in front of the fireplace. Your Zululand experience would not be complete without visiting nearby Hluhluwe/Imfolozi Game Park in one of the Lodges' game vehicles, or taking a trip to St Lucia to view some Hippo's and crocodiles on a lazy afternoon boat ride. Other activities on offer include Fishing charters, visiting the nearby Zulu cultural village, quad biking, horse riding or spending the day on the infamous Cape Vidal and Sodwana Bay beaches. Emdoneni Lodge offers the visitor a chance to experience Zululand at its' best. Centrally located and close to the main attractions that Zululand has to offer! Not long dirt roads to travel on.... A Home away from home!Your hosts Louis and Cecillie Nel look forward to meeting you, and from all the staff at Emdoneni - Salani Kahle. ... more   less 
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