Like everyone else, my husband & I purchased the safari through a non-profit live auction. We read all of the sometimes terrible & mostly negative reviews online & went with low expectations. It turned out we were pleasantly surprised & thought the trip to South Africa was awesome. Our guide was Chris & he made the trip -- his passion for his job made the safaris so exciting. We saw all of the animals on the property, including the leopard who was just visiting. It also helps if you like your group because you spend every dinner, every on-property safari & every side trip with them. We had a fun & adventurous group and I think everyone liked everyone else in the group.
The Game Lodge is about 3 hours from Durban. Our ride was waiting for us when our flight landed and the ride was smooth. I recommend flying into RIchard's Bay because it's a long trip already -- adding a 3-hour drive to it is painful. We stayed in room 12 which was poolside. We requested poolside & I highly recommend doing the same. The room isn't exactly spacious but it works. The bed is 2 full sized beds pushed together which was annoying but I understand why they do it that way. We DID have mosquitoes ALL over our room & bathroom. It had a thatched roof so that is how they got in. Definitely apply bug spray to your skin before bed! I came home with 10-15 mosquito bites & my husband had 30+ the first night because he didn't apply bugspray. Water is brown-ish -- don't drink it. Food at the buffet is mediocre but we didn't travel to Zulu Nyala for the cuisine. Neither of us got sick from the water (didn't drink it though), ice or food. Beer & wine are cheap & pretty good. They cost the same as a soda or a bottle of water (about $2 each).
The service staff was OK. Some were friendly & helpful, others were slow & nonresponsive. We called the front desk for a wake up call probably 4 or 5 times and 2 times we never received it. So, don't rely on them. & our alarm clock didn't work either. Neither did the second one they gave us....
As for side trips, our group went to the HUP national park. It is a 45 minute ride away & it makes for a long day. They have lions there but we never saw them. It was nice but go for the half day. We also went to St. Lucia for the whale watching excursion but due to high winds & chop, it was cancelled. So instead the group did the St. Lucia Boat Cruise to see hippos & crocs. IT WAS TERRIBLE! Skip it & save your $$. We saw some hippos but none out of the water & 4 crocs & a handful of birds (which don't interest me). Very boring. We tried to get into Phinda (safari lodge next to Zulu Nyala) but they were apparently full so they weren't allowing outside visitors. Phinda has lions & I heard it is awesome. We were very bummed that we didn't see any lions our whole trip.
If your headed to Zulu Nyala, go in with low expections & I think you will have a great time.
- 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