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Zulu Nyala Heritage Safari Lodge
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All reviewsheritage safari lodgezulu nyalacharity auctiongame drivesthe reserveelephant interactionrented a carindian oceansouth africafront porchwear layersbuffet stylethree nightsday triprichard's bayincredible tripside trips
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Reviewed July 1, 2009

Taking my cue from the comments here, my husband and I initially booked three nights at the Tented Camp and three nights at the Game Lodge. We were so apprehensive about the place considering the mixed reviews. But I am happy to report that it exceeded all our expectations!!! We enjoyed the tent so much we decided to stay all 6 nights instead of transferring to the Game Lodge:-) True, it can get noisy at night but the size of the "tent," the luxurious bath/toilet area, as well as the opportunity to see zebras and impalas and nyalas right at our doorstep more than made up for it. The food was great, they served buffet style or a la carte (depending on the number of guests). Our ranger was Mark and he knew everything about the place and the animals in it. The reserve is small compared to others but it made everything more cozy and intimate. All the members of the staff were so pleasant and accomodating. We also met the owner himself, Trevor Shaw.

We rented a car and drove from the Richards Bay airport. This car we kept for a week, the whole time we were at Zulu Nyala. We went for game drives during our first three days (there are two everyday, morning and afternoon) and one drive the day before we left. We saw giraffes, zebras, wildebeest, elephants, hippos, warthogs, impalas, nyalas white rhinos, and a cheetah through the fence of a neighboring reserve. The rest of the week, we drove to St. Lucia for the hippo and croc boat tours, Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park (where we saw a herd of about 15-20 elephants), the Cheetah Rehabilitation Center, Ilala Weavers for some souvenir shopping, and around town for supplies. Having your own vehicle is great as it gives you more options and is a lot cheaper than going on the tours arranged by the hotel.

We had a wonderful, wonderful time and I soon realized that we had worried needlessly!

Stayed: June 2009, traveled as a couple
3  Thank jcsaguisag
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 15, 2009

We were very disappointed at the accommodations, most meals and the general level of security and housekeeping...
WOULD NOT RECOMMEND!!
Two resort locations were open.. we tried both sites.. Neither recommendable!
long term maintaince seems to have come to a halt!
It must have been a lovely place when first built.

Guest services very minimal... but friendly! Clothing was "missing" from my room
Water was brown.... Toilets did not work.... etc etc..

However we were MOST fortunate to be assigned to the most congenial group of fellow USA tourists and despite mosquito bites, scorpions, and leaking thatched roofs, we had a great time with each other making it an "adventure" vs. a "disaster".. Had it not been for our new friends we would have checked OUT!

Resort makes money selling you Extra GROuP excursions.. hard sell.!
Everyone had bought their package at an auction at varying prices from $800 - $2600 couple/week.

SMALL game reserve so number of animals is more limited than other reserves..
Much also seems to depend on Ranger assigned to your group. We were lucky!

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Betty65SeattleWA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 27, 2009

Most people we met at the Zulu-Nyala Game Lodge were there because of winning the safari trip at an auction. When we arrived we were very surprised and very disappointed at the quality of the lodge. We had to look at several rooms before we found one that was semi-acceptable. The rooms smelled of must and the beds were old and worn. The rooms were the worst part of our stay and we would keep busy to do anything to stay out of the room. Our room had a thatched roof in which some kind of bug or animal lived so that every day there were some sort of droppings which could be found anywhere in the room. There were bugs everywhere. I was almost afraid to sleep for fear of being bitten by some weird African bug or Malaria riddled mosquitoes. One of the people we met had a scorpion in their room and others had infestations of mosquitoes. Some people had to change rooms because the AC didn't work or because of mosquitoes. Luckily we thought ahead and brought room defogger which we used on a regular basis whenever we left the room for and extended period of time. Who knows what kind of toxins we breathed. It goes without saying that we have never, ever have had to spray a room for bugs in any hotel before. Granted, it is Africa, but if you do research you will find many hotels/lodges which live up to the five star luxury rating one would expect. Maintenance is done on a need-be basis. Our room did not have a working lock on the door (a sliding door installed backwards so you could not put a security bar in the track) and they fixed it after a couple of calls to the front desk. However, even after maintenance the lock was barely functional. We had to cross our fingers. Because of the flimsy lock we kept our money and official documents with us at all times which was somewhat inconvenient. The staff was friendly,very polite and responsive especially after giving them a few dollars. The maids were there every day without fail -waiting for you to vacate the room- but somehow even after cleaning the room they still seemed dank and suspect. They tried to presented the food in a nice manner but the food was really mediocre at best. No international chef as advertised. We didn't live to come back to the lodge to eat. The game drives were organized and exciting at first but after seeing the same animals over and over again (No cats on the reserve) it got kind of boring so we and others opted for the somewhat expensive extra activities offered by the reserve. These activities were off reserve and mostly in an attempt to get a glimpse of other animals such as leopard and lions. (Which we did not see despite paying to go to a neighboring reserve which was far more deluxe.) At dinner they directed us to eat at the same table as those we shared safari with and so it was fun to get to know other people on a regular basis and share our African experiences. One important note: The reserve offers to send a car to to the Richard's Bay airport to pick you up and even though it is much more expensive than renting a car, it is WELL WORTH IT. It is about an hour and one half drive and the highway is treacherous! Driving on the left side of the road is the least of your worries. There are LOTS of people walking on either side of the highway and passing sometimes is right down the middle with oncoming traffic having to pull to the side. Carjackings are common. All-in-all I would say the Game Lodge accommodations really put a huge damper on our trip. If the rooms had been luxury rooms as they bill them I would have had a totally different outlook on our trip to Africa. As it was, we could not wait to get out of there for Paris where we could get a bugless sleep. I felt like I was at summer camp and couldn't wait to leave!

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Gacstar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 13, 2008

We purchased this holiday at auction, as it seems most others have. We were originally booked in a tent, but were attacked by mosquitos *inside* the tent the moment we walked in, so we moved to a regular room. Regular rooms are modestly decorated with tile floors, glass slider doors, simple dark wood tables and headboard. We saw the cleaning crew doing some very thorough cleaning (including the inside of our safe... more on that later) so the rooms are practically meticulious though tired looking.

The safari viewing is limited... lots and lots of giraffe, zebra, nyala, warthogs. Only saw the elephants one day (thanks to our sub guide James), and a cheetah through the fence of the reserve next door; but overall this reserve has more animals sightings than we experienced at the Hluhluwe Umfolozi park has (I don't recommend the day trip there- it is basically like taking a 15 hour road trip in an extremely windy and uncomfortable vehicle, and the entry fee is R150 per car to drive yourself rather than the R1000 per person the lodge charges to drive you). Good luck with your safari mates- you are stuck with whoever you are assigned to for the full week, even if you change to the other property. Our misfortune on this trip trapped us with a group of morons who acted like they were at a Disney attraction rather than in nature. The most annoying one of the bunch ruined every animal sighting and video we have with her constant yammering. We asked if we could switch to a different vehicle, even if they didn't speak english and were told no.

The food is unremarkable buffet style, but it sits out uncovered with birds and flies helping themselves.

After 2 nights, the staff asked us to move to the sister property- the Game Lodge- as we were the only guests left on the grounds.

Security at this place is a joke. Rooms all have old fashioned skeleton keys for the locks, including the safe. The maids have all the master keys, so let themselves in while you are out on the drive as they know how long you will be gone. We had $500 US stolen from out of our safe, and another couple staying at this property had the same amount taken from them (though they had not locked their money up). If you do stay here, be sure to keep all your valuables with you at all times.

The pool was disgusting- murky water with dead beetles floating. The tap water in this area is very smelly and you almost feel worse after taking a shower than you did before.

I recommend renting a car at the airport and driving yourself to the hotel. Renting a car for the week is less than having them transport you- one way- and allows you the opportunity to go on your own side trips (and to the grocery store in the nearby town to get drinking water).


Overall, I'd recommend not staying at any of these related properties if at all possible.

  • Stayed: December 2008, traveled with friends
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7  Thank BoomBoomB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 7, 2008

We were supposed to stay here 3 nights of a 6 night Zulu Nyala safari that we purchased at an auction. We were in the Tented Cabins, which were great, nicely furnished and decorated, and away from the main buildings of the Heritage. The problem was that the place was deserted! We were the only ones staying here except for a busload of German tourists there only the one night. The afternoon of our arrival we asked to be moved to the nearby Zulu Nyala Game Lodge the next day, and we are glad we moved.

Food was okay. Lunch the day of arrival was actually awful now that I think about it. Dinner buffet was nothing memorable, so that left the breakfast buffet the next morning which was okay.

Also, the tents are just that - tents. Actually they have 4 walls, but the entire roof is canvas, so if there is any wind it is very noisy. Thank goodness they are so cute!

The Zulu Dancers came that night, and it was a great show except for that the dancers seemed very bored with dancing for another group of tourists. They seem to go back and forth between the Heritage and the game lodge, so by the end of the week we saw them twice.

The game drives are done at the game lodge, so for every game drive your guide will have to come pick you up and take you back afterward - just stay at the game lodge instead!

  • Stayed: September 2008, traveled with friends
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5  Thank Bettyvon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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