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“Very Nice”

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Zulu Nyala Game Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Seattle Washington
Level Contributor
33 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
“Very Nice”
Reviewed November 15, 2007

If you are reading these reviews, you have probably already purchased the safari at a non-profit auction in the states, and are already committed to going.

To be honest, Zulu Nyala is not the most luxurious safari lodge experience you can find in South Africa...far from it. However, if luxury is not particularly important to you, you will have a wonderful time there. The guides love what they do and are extremely knowledgable. The game drives are just great, and, despite what some have said, the game viewing is excellent and varied (other than no cats). The food is plentiful, but not excellent. But again, the meals are a pleasure, particularly at the smaller lodges where you eat as a group and the guides join you.

The rooms are OK...nothing great, but serve you well. The small lodges are quite a relaxing place to come back to after the game drives.

So, if you don't expect 5-star luxury, you will love this experience. Do, however, plan at least a week additional time in SA...its a long way to go for 6 nights.

Stayed October 2007
10 Thank ASeattleTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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West Richland
Level Contributor
49 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
Reviewed July 25, 2007

We stayed at Zulu Nyala Game Lodge in June for 6-days. We chose to stay and Nudovo Lodge as it was smaller and felt more "bush like". Just FYI, at the time we stayed there were no phones or internet connections at the lodge but they are comming. They were also working on a new kitchen for the new chief. Things will be different in a few months. The other nice thing about this lodge is that you are right in the middle of the bush. You have a clear view of a watering hole that has 5-6 hippos. Very cool to watch the watering hole while sitting by the pool relaxing. *sigh* wish I was there now!

Our Host Shawn and his staff went above and beyond to make our trip special. We had bonfires in the evening and an outside BBQ on one of our nights.

You share a TV room and dining room with the other families that stay in the lodge which made meals feel very home like. We didn't have any of our "room mates" share our game drives so it was fun to compare experiences over a glass of wine in the eveinings. We had great room mates so that really made the trip special. The food was good. We got to try lots of game meat so if you're not up for that you might want to let them know prior to your arrival.

Our guide, Norman was very informative and really tried to get us "up close and personal" to all the animals that Zulu Nyala had. We only missed the leopard. We had a great experience with the Elephants. Got very close, almost too close. Exciting! I would recommend Norman to anyone who really likes the outdoors and hikes and 4-wheel dirves. Take a day hike and a night drive if you can, they're very interesting too. Norman is great and will take you anywhere you want to go. He also has a great spot for Sundowners!

We went on a couple of outside trips. If you have a car, it's much cheaper but you don't get the "local's" view of the region. Your guide goes with you on your outside trips. Actually, he sets up all of your excursions.

Al in all, we had a wonderful time. We will go back!

  • Liked — The Game Dirves
  • Disliked — The water pressure in the bathroom
  • Stayed June 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Check in / front desk
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11 Thank dnelson_13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Woodsfield, Oh
Level Contributor
41 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed June 19, 2007

Zulu Nyala was GREAT. We stayed at the Ndlovu Lodge and would highly recommend it if you really want to experience African wildlife. You have them right in your front yard all hours of the day and night. It is unbelievable. Shaun your host is fantastic. He does his best to make sure your stay with him is the best experience you can have. Your meals are fixed for you there or you can go to any of the other Lodges to eat if you want. We enjoyed the quaintness of being alone or with just a very few other guests.
The game drives are great. Our Ranger was Pen. He is the BEST !!! Request him if you can. He will take you to places other Rangers won't. He does his very best to make sure you find animals to see. Just driving around can be a challange and very fun. His Bush Walks are very fun and interesting also. Make sure you do at least one.
Make sure you understand the tipping policy before you go so you are prepared for it and have plenty of Rand.

9 Thank tomnsusie2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
washington, d.c.
Level Contributor
14 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
Reviewed January 8, 2007

We spent 3 nights there: OUTSTANDING. Food was superb. Very traditional South African meals, which was great.

Zulu dancing at night a special treat. Guides are extremely knowledgeable and go out of their way to get you as close to the game as you want!

BIG TIP: Go in Dec. if you can. It's their slowest month. One disadvantage, though, is that because it's summer, brush is thicker, making it more difficult to see animals. We had no trouble, though, and thought being there during summer was a big bonus coming from U.S.A.

We did two game drives on their property. For the other day, we drove to Hluhluwe game park (30 min, public game reserve) and saw animals there.

From what we heard, getting a reservation at Phinda game reserve (nearby, private reserve) in advance is a good idea if you want to see the lion and have a shot at seeing the hard to find leopard.

  • Stayed December 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
16 Thank usatraveler100
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed January 1, 2007

We stayed at Zulu Nyala Safari Lodge for 2 days with our 2 young children ( aged 5 and 4) and thoroughly enjoyed our stay. Staff were very helpful although a little slow at times - but hey this is Africa!
We had a family room which was huge - bathrooms a little outdated though!

Went on a couple of game drives which were very informative. Would suggest taking a bottle of wine/some beers for the sunset stop!
It was very quiet when we were there - week before Christmas - which made our stay feel very exclusive. We spent time by the pool which is very relaxing. Kids had a great time bug spotting - Rhino beeltes, lots of coloured locusts and hundreds of different sorts of lizards. We were even lucky enough to catch a good look at a Mamba Snake!
It is very easy to get around from here if you have a car - Hlhlhluwe and Imfolozi game reserve a short drive away - for big 5 game viewing and Sodwana is approx 1 hr for great snorkeling - check the tides before you go as you can only do this at low tide.
For free game viewing in Phinda take the back road to Sodwana ( which is at the N2 turnoff to Zulu Nyala) - we spotted some amazing animals! - Phinda has opened its fences and the old national road goes right through to the new tar road to Sodwana - well worth a drive!
Dinner and Breakfast is buffet style - good quality - Lunch is menu and limited to burgers, toasted sandwiches and salads - which you can also have served at the pool!
No gym - but why would you want one - you are in a game reserve - relax and enjoy!!!
The views from here are truly amazing - especially from the resturant and pool area - you really do feel like you are in the middle of no-where - Fantastic!!

Stayed December 2006
13 Thank mandz6865
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Quincy, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed December 17, 2006

There are several resorts available through Zulu Nyala, we stayed at the Game Lodge, which is viewed as the best by both guests and resort staff. We went on the 6 day excursion package which we purchased via charity auction. Beautiful landscape, knowledgeable guide, friendly staff, relaxing environment made it a great trip. Here are some helpful details:

Game Viewing: You are put into a group of 6-10 and assigned a ranger who takes you on two game drives a day, helps to plan your excursions, and can take you on "bush walks" and "night drives," both of which are highly recommended. Our ranger was Pen and he was FANTASTIC- knowledgeable about all wildlife, personable w/a sense of humor, and a great all around person and guide. As a group you will schedule your excursions and drive schedules. Luckily we had a great group with similar interests and agreed on our excursions and drives. Zulu Nyala does not have all of the BIG 5 (do not have Lions, only 1 Leopard, and their cheetahs died), but the proximity you'll get to the others is incredible (think arms distance). BIG 5 can be viewed at nearby Phinda resort, but bookings are hard to come by, I would recommend having your guide/resort try to schedule your drive their prior to your arrival (we never did get to go because they were fully booked).

Accommodations: Our room was incredible, poolside with an impressive view- however rooms vary greatly. Recommend requesting poolside rooms 12 - 20 when booking (18-20 seem to be the nicest). All Amenities are provided, including two complimentary bottles of water daily. When not on game drives or by the pool- there is minimal recreation/entertainment activities (except for the excursions), especially at night. They have tennis courts, a snooker table, chess board, and television in the lodge bar area. There is nothing within walking distance, and no exercise room, walking trails, etc.- be prepared to relax.

Food: The food is served buffet style and is average. Buffet selections tended to be repetitive and lack diversity. Soft drinks, additional bottled water, and drinks are not included, but are reasonably priced. There are scheduled dining hours (7-9:30, 12-2, 7-9:30) and food is not available outside those hours (no snack bar or restaurant). During dinner hours, you are seated at a group table with your "drive group." Coffee and tea is always available. The bar is open until 10pm.

Excursions: Many available, expense based on # participating. We went Horseback riding in St. Lucia. Side trips tend to be on the expensive side but include transportation, guide, lunch, and cost of your selected activity. If you have the opportunity to rent a vehicle and are handy with a map and guide book - you can save on side trips and have more flexibility.

What to bring - Insect Repellant, binoculars, things to do (i.e. books, games, etc.)
General - Tipping- heard range between 300R - 1000R for your guide. Heard better to tip directly to staff vs. providing envelopes to front desk or on tabs because tips did not consistently reach intended recipients.

  • Stayed December 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
31 Thank Jennifer A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Loreto, Mexico
Level Contributor
22 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed December 7, 2006

We were there the through November 24th. We had a fabulous guide and a great and varied group of people. For those who get this trip through auction, take into consideration that side trips and transportation to and from the lodge are extra cost. The resort is about an hour and a half from the nearest airport (Richards Bay). We would recommend flying there and paying for the transportation provide by Zulu Nyala ($225 for me and my wife). Other transportation options could be difficult and more expensive.

There are also 4 choices of lodging - Heritage Lodge (normal hotel) and Tent Lodges (these 2 are co-located); Safari Lodge (more resort feel hotel) and a separate small private lodge (4 bedroom units with common kitchen and living room and pool). These are all about a mile from each other. We stayed at the Safari Lodge which we thought was the best choice.

The Zulu Nyala Reserve does not have all of the animals, so be prepared to pay for excursions to other Reserves that have lions and jaguars. Seeing the animals up close and personal was a thrill. Your guide will make every effort to bag the big 5 of South Africa (Lion, Jaguar, Elephant, Rhino, and Cape Buffalo).

Staff was friendly and helpful. Food was above average for group/buffet style. Drink wine or your bar tab could get expensive. (Wine and beer are about $2/glass, hard stuff about 3 time that and fancy mixed drinks about 4 time that). Rooms come in various sizes,so if yours doesn't meet you expectations you might request a change. Be prepared for bugs. They were more of an issue away from our room, but are attacted to the light at night.

Ultimately, you and your jeep mates (6 to 10 people total per jeep) will decide what you will do every day and at what time. Unlike we had anticipated, we had very full days. With the excursions and the local animal viewings we found that we only had maybe a 2 to 3 hours breaks before going again.

We highly recommend this softer form of safari and this resort.

Stayed November 2006
25 Thank willco3rd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Zulu Nyala Game Lodge

Property: Zulu Nyala Game Lodge
Address: Msinene Rd, Hluhluwe 3960, South Africa
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Zululand > Hluhluwe
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 33 Specialty Lodging in Hluhluwe
Hotel Class:4 star — Zulu Nyala Game Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 52
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
An entrancing experience in a unique wilderness area. Zulu Nyala Private Game Reserve provides a unique bush experience in the heart of one of South Africa’s most diverse conservation regions. Nestled between the wilderness reserves of Mkuze, Hluhluwe and St Lucia, this lush stretch of paradise is home to a wide variety of game, from the majestic elephant to rhino, buffalo, hippo, giraffe, the shy and beautiful Nyala buck that is endemic to the region and the secretive leopard. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Zulu Nyala Game Hotel Hluhluwe

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