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“A great first safari”

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Zulu Nyala Game Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Maplewood, New Jersey, United States
Level Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“A great first safari”
Reviewed November 11, 2013

When I attended a gala dinner celebrating the hundredth anniversary of the girl scouts the furthest thing from my mind was ending up on safari in South Africa. But there on the silent auction table sat an opportunity for adventure and somehow my daughter talked me into placing a bid. The result was serendipitous. We had a fantastic time.

We started our journey in May, just after my daughter's spring semester ended. We first spent three days in Cape Town where the weather fully cooperated and we enjoyed some breathtaking views of the Cape from the top of Table Mountain, and enjoyed a guided tour of the cape. More on that part of the trip in a different review.

When we arrived at Zulu Nyala it took a few minutes to clear up a mix-up regarding our reservations. Make sure you get confirmation of any changes you make to your original reservations. Soon we were enjoying a stunning sunset from the restaurant.

Ronnie was our guide for the week. We learned a lot about how he was tracking the animals and enjoyed each of the drives with him, but a big part of the overall experience are the side trips:

Bayete Zulu Elephant Interaction - Definite yes on the attraction. We went in the ZN van, Other than meeting some new people, it provided no advantage over going in our own car.

Phinda - Don't miss this one. It can only be arranged by ZN. The lions are worth it.

St. Lucia Boat Cruise and Horse Riding. My daughter is president of her college equestrian team. We couldn't miss out on the riding and we enjoyed that part of the trip. The boat ride had some great views of the crocs and fish eagles, but it was mostly just eyes for the hippos. We got better hippo viewing on site at ZN.

Emdoneni Cat Rehabilitation Centre - We went on our own for the morning tour. It's only a short drive away. The tour was just us and another couple. Getting in the enclosures with these wonderful cats was a thrill and a highlight of the week.

Scuba Diving in Sodwana Bay - We did this as our own side trip. The reef is healthy and the diving was fantastic. If my daughter had more interest in diving I would have booked into Sodwana Bay Lodge for a few days between leaving Cape Town and arriving at ZN.

Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park - Nearby and easy to drive through on your own, which we did. We got some good pictures, especially of birds, but I think we missed a lot as well since we didn't have a guide.

For the ZN part of the trip we flew in and out of Durban and used a rental car. I was initially apprehensive about the drive, but the main highway is a good road and it was not difficult at all. In short, this trip wasn't on my bucket list - but it should have been!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
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3 Thank Mark G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (216)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
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  • Norwegian first
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English first
Bethel, Connecticut
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed November 7, 2013

We stayed at the Zulu Nyala Lodge the end of Oct. We had a wonderful time, in no small part due to our terrific guide Riann and the 6 other amazing people that shared our twice daily game drives. Riann is incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about his animals. The Lodge sits at the top of the hills in the game reserve so you are in the middle of the animals. We found warthogs outside our patio one day, nyala another and elephants about 200 yards away on our final day! It isn't truly luxurious but remember you are on a safari so keep your perspective. We enjoyed every bit of it from the buffet meals to the side trips. We chose the Cheetah Rehab, the Mbonise school visit and an afternoon-into-night game drive to Phinda to see lions, which we did. All were interesting and very worthwhile.

We upgraded into room 51, spacious with lots of windows, high ceilings and a king bed. We had expansive views from our patio which is also near the pool. If your accommodations matter to you, ask about an upgrade. We were initially booked into the Lodge then the tents but elected to stay in the Lodge our entire stay. We did not regret this choice even though the tents looked fine and completely safe.

We rented a car with GPS and drove from the Durban airport but if it's convenient, fly in and out of Richards Bay and arrange for a driver. Richards Bay is about an hour closer than Durban. My husband found driving a little more stressful than he imagined. They drive on the opposite side of the road and pass at interesting times. Although the roads are good, be forewarned you need to pay attention!

As with most, we bought this 6 night safari at an auction. It turned into a 15 day trip to S. Africa starting at Durban and the Fairmont Zimbali Resort and ending at the Steenberg Hotel and Winery outside Cape Town. It will be one of the more memorable experiences of my lifetime!

Room Tip: We upgraded into room 51. It had a king bed, high ceilings and lots of windows. Room 53 is similar...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Patti S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Guilford, Connecticut
Level Contributor
68 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed October 30, 2013

We stayed in the "TENT". It was so great that we did not want to move up to the lodge. We felt safe, we had wonderful safari trips daily and the food was good. We are already planning our next trip. The food was okay- with breakfast being the best of the three meals. There were wonderful side trips offered.

Room Tip: The tents are amazing. All of the South African flavor but American luxury.
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank ckbucks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
16 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed October 30, 2013

Beautiful views and a nice pool area.
Just watch out - we were there with a wedding party and drinks were overcharged for and most of the guests had additional and incorrect charges on their room bill.

Room Tip: Choose a pool-side room
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
3 Thank Ashley S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
17 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed October 26, 2013

We learned about this lodge through a local charity auction. On our visit we met several other guests who also were happy winners of local auctions. If you get a chance to bid on a visit to this place: "Don't miss the opportunity!"
Accommodations were first rate. We were lucky enough to have #17 overlooking the pool with a great view morning and evening. The occasional Nyala browsing near the pool makes a great photo op. The Safari guides were skilled at providing all of us a great safari experience. We

Room Tip: Rooms 17 & 18 have great south facing views.
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Qdromann
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
110 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
Reviewed October 20, 2013

Like everyone else we went there because we were the high bidder at a charity auction. It was GREAT in that it got us to go to South Africa which overall was phenomenal but Zulu Nyala is just mediocre. The rooms were basically clean. There was some mildew on the floor in the corner of the shower. Our room refrigerator was initially missing. The "clean" sheets one day had oily stains on them. The staff was very friendly and helpful. The animals were few and a bit on the thin side especially when you go on to compare them to the wildlife at Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park or Kruger which were both PHENOMENIAL!! Rent your own car and drive there…really not that difficult especially with a GPS. Use your car to do side trips A LOT less expensive then going through Zulu Nayla. We went to Hluhluwe-Imfolozi (which we had stayed there at the Hilltop camp) and to St Lucia estuary area where we took the Shoreline Hippo and croc tour and the Benganzi horse back safari. The food at Zulu Nayla was just so so…nothing to write home about…it was however plentiful though you did find yourself waiting for the best food..the grilled meat to come off as there was never quite enough ready for everyone who wanted some. Breakfast is served late in my opinion (starts at 7am) especially if you want to go out on a side trip and start your day early. Hlhuluwe-imfolozi opens at 6am and the best time to see animals in early morning or dusk. So if you are thinking of buying this at an auction …DON'T there are better places to stay…if you want to support the charity and don't care about cost or you are getting a fabulous deal then do….if you are buying this outright at the prices they are going to charge you you are CRAZY. You also don't need 6 nights here. You can see everything in the first day at this game lodge. If you are like me and probably only be in South Africa once in your life, see it ALL! Don't waste 6 days here.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
9 Thank purebliss1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Andover, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed October 10, 2013

This was our second trip to Zulu Nyala. We had visited 3 years ago and it was nice to return. My husband was a little concerned that it may feel as though we had done it all before. His fears were completely unfounded. The wildlife was different, the reserve looked different (it was a month later in the year) and each game drive was a new adventure. Having also been to the big parks, a huge plus to Zulu Nyala is that the animals are right there at every turn of the road from the moment you leave the lodge. Some remodeling of the rooms and grounds is under way. We had a nice room overlooking the pool. It was quiet and the sunrise was magnificent. The staff is excellent and the food very good although not gourmet. There were some problems with the WiFi but you don't come to Africa to be constantly linked to outside world. This trip, we rented a car in Richards Bay and drove up ourselves. We were going up to Kruger afterwards. We had absolutely no problems and would recommend it as a way of seeing the magnificent African countryside

Room Tip: Rooms newly decorated and those overlooking the pool
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank alan b
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
Amenities:
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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