We stayed three nights here, and then three nights at the Heritage Safari Lodge with the Hemingway-esque tents (separate review).
Most guests here have purchased their week-long package via a charity auction, as we did. This means that your fellow guests may have paid different amounts for the week, but that's the nature of an auction. Didn't bother us in the least.
The package consists of two game drives per day, with options for side trips.
A major factor in our experience was our guide, James. He made it a point to find all the animals in the Reserve, even when they were quite timid. Through his stealth and knowledge, we saw a cheetah guarding and devouring his recent prey, hippos out of the water (we drove through the dark of night, and relied on his floodlight to get our pictures), a rhino with baby (notoriously shy), a leopard on the prowl, and enough zebra, cape buffalo, wildebeest, giraffe, baboon, impala, and elephant to exhaust our cameras.
James took his time to fulfill guest requests, was very professional and pleasant throughout, and just had great depth of knowledge (the gestation period for a rhino? Ask James).
Our room (17) was very nice, with front door overlooking the pool and the Reserve. Spacious and comfortable. We discovered a small leak in the thatched roof, and found out that upon our exit, the whole roof was being replaced. Yes, there is air conditioning here.
The food was of very high quality each meal. ZN must have engaged a new chef since other reviewers registered their complaints.
The staff was always ready with a smile, and always ready to accommodate you. They also seemed to work well as a team.
The only proviso I might have is that the optional side trips seemed a bit pricey, and some trips were apparently better that others. Yes to the Cheetah Rehab center, but you could take a pass on the trip to Saint Lucia, because you have already seen numerous hippos and crocs at ZN.
A big yes to the Pindha experience as well, to see lions if you're lucky (the lions don't work by appointment). Get Wayne as your guide there.
I will treasure our African experience, and ZN is part of the reason why.
- 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