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Zulu Nyala Game Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed May 31, 2011

We have offered this trip in our fundraisers for the past few years and thought it was time that we checked it out for ourselves. Having read some older less enthusiastic reviews a year or so ago, I can say we were very pleasantly surprised. Zulu Nyala offers several different accomodations, but I would strongly recommend picking the Game Lodge. Our room happened to be directly across from the pool, with a view over the valley. The room was quite large, clean and comfortable (though bring your own pillow if you like them soft)...and only steps away from the dining areas. All meals are included and are mainly served buffet style. Food was good and service very pleasant.
Daily game drives were never a disappointment and drivers are very knowledgeable (we had James as ours). Zulu Nyala offers side trips and we did two - Pinda reserve, which is adjacent to Zulu Nyala and has lions and leopards (which Zulu does not - the only cats they have are cheetahs). The excursion is pretty expensive (i think $175 per person), and not worth it for my money - but then I'd already seen lions in Kenya on Safari. The excursion I would recommend is the Cheetah Rehabilitation Center at Emdonemi - which is about an hour away from Zulu. Do this one, you won't be disappointed!
Overall I would definitely recommend Zulu Nyala Game Lodge - it's a great introduction to Africa, at a reasonable price. If you're coming from the States the 6 nites gives you time to readjust your time clock and relax. I would also recommend following up your stay with a trip to a smaller game lodge (i.e. 6 to 10 units) for an entirely different experience.

Room Tip: Pick the Game Lodge which is in the reserve
  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled with friends
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7  Thank victoriaatCWC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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438 - 444 of 584 reviews

Reviewed May 4, 2011

Stayed in April 2011 for a family wedding. The lodge is well located with fantastic views. It even has 2 hippo in a pool below the restraurant! The staff were friendly and the buffet food was varied and of good quality. As a small lodge, there are 4 of the big 5 (no lion), but all of the big 5 are at the next property. The game rangers were good and knew teir stuff! The wedding was a blast, and the staff all played their part in making a wonderful day for all,.

Room Tip: Best rooms overlook the pool.
  • Stayed: April 2011, traveled solo
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6  Thank Willseeker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 26, 2011

We purchased our stay at Zulu Nyala through a charity auction, so we kept our expectations pretty tempered heading into the trip. I'm very happy to say that we were pleasantly surprised and had a fantastic experience.

Upon arrival, we were greeted with fresh Guava juice and check in was very prompt. Our original room was dingy and had an ant problem, but the staff moved us into a new room with no issue. Definitely try to get one of the rooms that border the swimming pool--they have a great view and are larger than many of the others.

We took our first game drive with our ranger, Schalk, that afternoon and had a great time. The property is relatively small and very dense with animals, so you're guaranteed to have great viewings each time. Schalk was also a huge fan of his Land Rover, so we had ample opportunity for off-roading and adventures off the beaten path. Schalk was extremely knowledgeable regarding both the plant and animal life, and he really went out of his way to educate us on everything we were seeing. By the end of the trip, we had seen everything we expected: Elephants, rhinos, leopards, cheetahs, buffalo, impala, nyala, kudu, snakes, large spiders, zebras, ostriches, and a host of other animals. The only animals missing from the preserve are lions, but we had a great viewing one afternoon at Phinda, which borders Zulu Nyala.

The food was very good overall and the service attentive. No bad meals, and the wine selection was fine. The all-day coffee station was a very welcome feature. We enjoyed downtime in the afternoon in the pool, and took an outing to St. Lucia. We spent 6 nights and really weren't ready to leave on the last day, so that's a testament to how much fun we had.

Stayed: April 2011, traveled as a couple
7  Thank dwcolt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 16, 2011

Driving into the private game reserve and seeing giraffe and antelope was an unforgettable experience. Then the experience just got better and better. Being a relatively small private game reserve, you dont have to drive far to see giraffe, white rhino, cheetah, wilderbeast, impala, zebra and nyala. Our guide Alan was tops, went out of his way to find the best spots to see the animals and even introduced us to a friendly giraffe which I got to hand feed apple to!
The rooms, bar, restaurant couldnt be faulted - seeing hippo's wallowing from the veranda cant be beaten for an african adventure.
Great value for money all round.
My friends wedding was the perfect day...sun shining, stunning views, perfect venue.
Highly recommend this to fellow travellers.

Room Tip: Ask for a room overlooking the pool :-)
  • Stayed: April 2011, traveled solo
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7  Thank sallyfromsandy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 22, 2011

This was a wonderful experience. Although the reserve is smaller than some, it made the experience more intimate and exciting to see the animals up close. The staff was great especially our guide, James Tembe. We really enjoyed our time with him. He was very knowledgeable and he really went all out to find the elusive leopold for us. We had room 11 which we really loved for it's large size and beautiful views. The food was good,and we loved the views from our table on the outside terrace. The staff were all very friendly and we actually cried when we had to leave. In addition to our daily drives at Zulu Nyala we took a trip to St Lucia with our guide and some others, had a nice lunch, did some shopping and went swimming at the beach in the Indian Ocean. The beach was breathtaking and nearly deserted.
Zulu Nyala was the setting for the movie I Dream of Africa that was filmed there in 1999 with Kim Bassinger...a fitting title as we continue to dream of returning one day.

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Sha-Sha51
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 22, 2011

My husband and I bid on this at an auction and won. We were so excited to go on a safari as part of our honeymoon. The safari portion of the trip sucked. The game reserve is tiny and doesn't even feel like a real safari. We left early because we were so bored. You can see all the animals on the reserve in 2 days, you definitely don't need to stay for more than 3. There are much, much better places to safari in South Africa and surrounding countries, like Namibia and Botswana.

We had planned to stay 3 nights at the game lodge and 3 nights in a tented camp, and had confirmed our reservations several times prior to arriving, however when we got there we found that they were doing construction on the tented camp sites. They said that we could still stay there, but with all the dust and noise we chose to just stay at the game lodge.

We had a huge mosquito problem in our room, though our neighbors said they didn't have a problem. My husband and I each had over 20 bites by the time we left. We sprayed our room 3 times a day and sprayed ourselves every night. The rooms don't have mosquito nets, which to me seems crazy not to have in any part of Africa.

Though their website says they specialize in weddings and honeymoons, we were disappointed that they didn't acknowledge our honeymoon at all.

The food was fine, but not much variety from day to day. The pool was nice and was probably the best part of the lodge. The staff were just okay.

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank ejseattle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 22, 2011

My husband and I bid on this trip via action and could not be happier with our experience. Everything at Zulu Nyala far exceeded our expectations.

The rooms were beautifully decorated. We had a regular room, and it was perfect. We did get a peek into the "honeymoon suite" and if you have the opportunity to request it definitely do so. It is amazing!

The pool was clean and while sitting out there one afternoon a family of warthogs were chomping on the grass for lunch.

The food was good. Buffet style at breakfast and dinner which choices at luch. It was kinda of cool to be able to sample some of the local meats: kudu, warthog, etc. They also offer bottled water that you can get take away or delivered to your room to bring on the safaris as they do not recommend drinking the water from the tap.

We went on 2 safari's most days and they were amazing. Even though the park is not as big as some of the others we still had an amazing time and didn't get bored. Each day even if we saw the same animals they were always doing different things. And because it was such a small park, if the other ranger radioed that they saw something interesting it didn't take long for us to get there. The only animal we didn't see were lions. And we got such amazing pictures of the animals we saw. We did a bush walk one day with Alan (our amazing guide). It was scary and exciting all at the same time.

For side trips we went to Phinda - awesome to see the lions. and Also took a trip to the Estuary and saw St. Lucia estuary via boat and saw great hippos and birds and a few crocs. Other guests raved about the school visit as well which we skipped because we had done something similar the week before.

I would definitely recommend stopping at "The Gallery at Ilala Weavers" which is within 15 minutes or so from the Safari Lodge. They have authentic handmade treasures which were actually cheaper than the markets we saw in town. Best place to get souveniers!!!!!

Another great thing we loved about the trip were the people. The guides were great and very knowledgeable. Reshmi in their tourist office was amazing. She can help set up side trips and any travel accomodations and transportation. She set up a full two weeks around our safari all over South Africa and Zimbabwe with guides, transportation and the works. It was all flawless! We can't thank her enough!! And all the people at the safari lodge as guests were all wonderful. Since everyone purchased the safari from a fundraiser you know they are all good people. Wonderful for when you are stuck in a car with people for a week looking for animals!

On our trip we also visited Cape Town, The Drakensburg Mountain region, The Kingdowm of Lesotho, Victoria Falls Zimbabwe and Johannesburg for the World Cup. It was a 3 week honeymoon which we were thrilled to have had the opportunity to take.

If you have other questions please don't hesitate to email me. I could talk about it all day!!

  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank buddy032606
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

Address: Msinene Rd, Hluhluwe 3960, South Africa
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Zululand > Hluhluwe
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 32 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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