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“Fine for a few days”

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Zulu Nyala Game Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Fairfield, Connecticut
Level Contributor
12 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Fine for a few days”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 23, 2014

Like everyone else, we purchased this trip at a silent auction. I read some of the reviews before and didn't have high expectations. I was pleasantly surprised when we got there with the rooms and grounds. The major problems were the service wasn't great, the food wasn't good, and the reserve itself isn't that large. After a few days you've already seen almost all the animals. I think we would have had a much better experience if we only stayed for a few nights. We ended leaving a day early to stay in Durban and were happy with our decision to do so.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank melissa26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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550 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (212)
Date | Rating
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English first
Boulder, CO
Level Contributor
10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 15, 2014

We, like most folks, purchased this during a fundraiser. We happened to pay much more than most - but it was for charity!
My only complaint about this would be that our first room was a bit tired and had a strong odor - perhaps they had just sprayed the thatched roof with an insecticide or sealant. I requested another room without thatch thinking I was allergic (later in the trip stayed in another lodge with thatched roof with no problem). They put us in a very dated room far from the rest of the folks staying in the lodge - near where the laundry is done and employees store cleaning supplies. When I requested one of the many rooms we saw vacant that looked more updated, they said they were not available and asked if I wanted to upgrade our room. Since I knew from talking with other guests that we had paid more than anyone there at the time, I declined. We were told by our travel agent prior to arrival that the room we would be assigned was based on the price we paid?
Finally they decided to move us to the newer rooms - very small but much nicer. This changed our stay a great deal. We slept well and the bathroom was very clean. Though I do wish they would install screens.
If you purchase this from a charity, you may want to ask about your room before you arrive and upgrade if needed.
The food was quite good and plentiful. The wait staff was always cheerful and welcoming. Drinks were very affordable and the location of the dining hall is gorgeous. Sit on the patio and enjoy the sunset one night. The lodge sits high on a mountain with stunning views. The grounds are very well kept and lush.
We picked up a rental car in Richard's Bay - a short flight from Johannesburg and drove to the lodge from there. The roads are very well maintained -though driving on the left side takes some getting used to.
We were very glad to have a car as we drove to Saint Lucia one day by ourselves - a very fun side trip to a beautiful beach and funky little beach town.
We took the side trip offered by the lodge to Hluhluwe with our ranger Bernie - it was amazing! Bernie was the best ranger - she taught us so much about the animals and South Africa in general.
We traveled on to Kruger for a "self-drive" of the park for a few days later in our trip and felt well equipped for it due to what we had learned from Bernie.
South Africa is a truly amazing country with so much to see - allow as much time as you can! And drive some if you feel comfortable.
Enjoy!

Room Tip: ask questions before you arrive
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
9 Thank BeachgirlBoulder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Durban, South Africa
Level Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 4, 2014

My husband and I celebrated our 1st anniversary at this Lodge and we were AMAZED!!! We were given room 18 (opposite the pool) and we loved every experience. Thank you so much for all your efforts and the food was great. Thank you DADDYSDEAlL for such opportunities.

Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
2 Thank Nombuso K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Durban, South Africa
Level Contributor
106 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 4, 2014

We had a fantastic 3 nights at this private game park. Food was great, buffet style and varied daily. staff were wonderful and game plentiful!

Zulu Nyala is in between the wilderness reserves of Mkuze, Hluhluwe and St Lucia, and is home to a wide variety of game. The majestic elephant, rhino, buffalo, hippo, giraffe, the shy and beautiful Nyala buck that is endemic to the region and the "secretive leopard".

Getting up close with some of the bigger game, and the smaller bush creatures, such as warthogs, mongoose, genets, porcupines and the ever-mischievous monkeys. This 1500 hectare reserve is home to over 40 different species of animals and a loads of birdlife.

I would recommend any international traveler to hire a car as Hluhluwe - IMfolozi Park are close and have much to offer. Driving in private vehicles is prohibited at Zulu Nyala, restricting you to the Hotel's guided drives. We packed a few drinks (use something you can close i.e bottle) for game drives.
The rangers were most helpful when I came across a black spotted green snake. Every green snake to me is a Mamba and I am terrified of snakes! This one however was a harmless bush snake!
The rooms are air conditioned which is a real win, keeping the creepy crawlies out, it gets very hot in Zululand!
Pack some mosquito repellent, and a hat. T
There was no bar fridge however, you can get buckets of ice from the bar anytime.
T.V. is available at the hotel where there is also a curio shop.

Between game drives we headed up to Jozini to see a real "African town" and see the dam. One can hire fishing equipment or go on a boat trip and catch Tiger fish on this vast expanse of water. Across the bridge and about 4 km further there is a dirt road to the right where you will find a house full of Gemstones and agates really cheap!

Driving in Zululand is a bit "hairy" as large trucks and slow vehicles use the yellow line as an extra lane which can prove interesting!

Room Tip: Not near the swimming pool - can be noisy!
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank micim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Detroit, Michigan
Level Contributor
43 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 2, 2014

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.

Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
9 Thank Aude48214
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Durban
Level Contributor
97 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 13, 2014

The facilities are very well appointed with luxurious suites and rooms en suite. We were lucky to get a room overlooking the sparkling pool and the view over the valley is stunning.
Our rather expensive game drive was a bit disappointing as our guide was not very talkative and not much game to see. We did however see a cheetah and came very close to giraffe, some who were actually lying down. The hippos and abundand bird life made for some good photographs. The reserve is privately owned, so although not as well populated as the national parks, the game are not often disturbed by humans and one can be assured of a few close ups. We also had nyala (buck) graze around the pool area while we were there.
Service was disappointing and with one or two exceptions, staff seemed to be lazy or disinterested. The dining room and bar was under staffed on our first night, which caused much frustration. In their defence, we arrived on a Sunday before a public holiday and it appeared as if things picked up from Monday.
The buffet (breakfast and dinner) was well presented and the stunning dining room has a great ambiance with a lounge area as well as a bar for pre-dinner drinks. Watching the sun set from the big balcony, while sipping sundowners makes for a memorable occasion. Spirits and wine prices are reasonable and the bar is well stocked with a good variety, including cocktails.

Room Tip: Rooms facing the pool still gives enough privacy. All rooms have a private sitting area outside with...
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Juanv v
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ZuluNyala, Guest Relations Manager at Zulu Nyala Game Lodge, responded to this review, January 14, 2014
Dear Juanv,

Thank you very much for taking the time to share your Zulu Nyala experience with us. We are so pleased that you had a memorable visit at our property.

We wish to however sincerely apologise for some disappointing bits during your stay. This is most definitely not the level of service one can expect when visiting Zulu Nyala Game Lodge and we thank you for bringing this to our attention.

Despite this we are truly happy that you enjoyed your stay with us.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UK
Level Contributor
102 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 9, 2014

We stayed here for a few nights and loved our time in this area. We went on a morning game reserve which was very interesting and we saw lots of animals. Room was comfortable and very quiet with tea making facilities. Lovely having a roll top, claw feet bath in the ensuite which was lovely and comfortable.

Restaurant food was to a good quality, very good service and staff were friendly. We had a problem with our safe being locked which we reported on two occasions which didn't get fixed which was disappointing and we struggled with wifi access.

Grounds were kept in good order and it was lovely to see Warthogs and Nyala's wondering in the grounds. All in all a very enjoyable stay.

Room Tip: If you can get a room by the pool the views are amazing looking out in an elevated position of the r...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank samoruk65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ZuluNyala, Guest Relations Manager at Zulu Nyala Game Lodge, responded to this review, January 12, 2014
Dear Samoruk65,

Thank you very much for sharing your Zulu Nyala Game Lodge experience. We are delighted to hear that you loved your stay with us and that you had the opportunity to go on a Game Drive and witnessed the magnificent beauty and wildlife that South Africa has to offer.

I wish to sincerely apologise for the safe that was never fixed despite your requests as well as the problems with the WiFi access. Thank you, however, for bringing this to our attention.

We truly look forward to the opportunity to hopefully welcome you back in the near future.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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 #5 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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