My husband and I recently returned from Zulu Nyala and we had an outstanding trip. Like many others, we won this trip at an auction and visited December 23 to December 29.
Accommodations: We spent the first three nights in the tents and I really enjoyed this experience. While rustic, staying in the tent was delightful and I really felt like I was on safari in the African bush. The animals were right in front of us and we enjoyed hanging out with them.
The tent had a concrete floor and a very nice tiled bathroom and was very clean.
Initially was concerned about the heat since the tent only had a fan and while it was too hot to stay in the tent during the day, at night it cooled off and it we never felt too hot. One day a huge rainstorm hit and the tent got a bit wet inside, but housekeeping came and mopped up the water. It wasn't really a big deal and it added a great adventure to our stay.
After three nights in the tent, we moved to the game lodge and we had a room by the pool- #14. The room was just OK but the view was A-1! It was a bit small, and the bedding was stained which I found annoying, but the bathroom was lovely and the fan and air-conditioning worked well. For some reason, the game lodge had a lot of mosquitoes, both in the room and in the dining room. The fan and air-conditioning kept them from biting me in the room, but at dinner I had to wear spray. I do recommend trying to get a room by the pool because of the spectacular view. I highly suggest staying three nights in both places to get a varying experience. I'm glad we did.
Game drives- Jacques was our ranger and I can’t say enough great things about him. He was a true professional and he had a great understanding of the animals and of plants and flowers. He also knew a ton about birds and about spiders. Our group had a lot of spider fans so Jacques went out of his way to teach us about African spiders. It was a delight to spend time with him and learn from him. I suspect all rangers at Zulu Nyala are great guides.
While some people complain about seeing the same animals day-after-day, I never tired of this. Each day we saw different and new things and being on a small game reserve allowed us to get really close to the animals, especially the cheetahs which we saw almost daily. I was really surprised by just how close to the animals we were able to get. It was so cool!
Food: I thought that the food was really great. It was a bit repetitive, but the selection was very diverse and the lodge tried hard to please everyone. Breakfast was great! On several occasions the chef made me Kingklip because I don’t eat meat and I wanted to try some local fish. It was awesome! The lodge excels at making puddings and desserts, too. I cannot complain about the food. The wine list was reasonably priced and soft drinks were not expensive.
Internet: Previous reviewers have complained about internet prices but I think many individuals got their conversations wrong. Internet is 50. RAND per minute, (not USD) which is very cheap. The internet connection was fast and computers were always available.
Other tips: I read that you can purchase a lot of top-quality safari clothes at Goodwill and at your local thrift store. My husband and I spent a few months scouring thrift stores for safari type clothing and we found a lot of great deals. I highly recommend doing this. It was a lot of fun and kept us engaged for many, many weekends.
Excursions: We went to Hluhluwe Game Reserve one day to see lions. We saw two and loads of elephants.We could not go to Phinda because they were sold-out. We had a car and at first we were going to drive ourselves to Hluhluwe, but I'm glad we didn't. Going with Jacques and our group allowed us to see far more of the park they we would have seen on our own. Our guide was able to anticipate were the animals might be because he knows the park intimately. It was worth the expense to go with the group.
Summary: We loved Zulu Nyala. The safari was just fantastic. The staff was always helpful and caring and I would love to go back. What a fantastic experience!
- 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