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Zulu Nyala Heritage Safari Lodge
Ranked #1 of 7 Hotels in Hluhluwe
Certificate of Excellence
Coral Springs, Florida
Level Contributor
25 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Great Staff, Great trip!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 29, 2010

I had read mixed reviews on trip advisor about this place so was a little nervous. Don't believe the negative reviews! This place is great! The staff is friendly and went out of their way to ensure that we enjoyed ourselves. The guides are very knowledgeable and worked together to ensure we saw everything we wanted to.
Food was great too. We weren't sure what to expect, but they had a great variety all was delicious! Dinner seating pairs you with your safari group so you will get to know them very well (for better or worse)...that part was sort of like a cruise. There is no fitness room and because of the wild animals roaming around, you can't just go for a jog. After all the good food I did need some exercise!
Overall it was an awesome experience!

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank KimEC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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345 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (88)
Date | Rating
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English first
Seattle, WA
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 18, 2009

Like others we found this place due to an auction and glad I bought the trip for 2 because the package included everything except airfare and transportation. I would advise renting a car in Durban or Richard's Bay because this saves you $ and you have more freedom to visit other parks and nearby towns and swim at leisure in the Indian Ocean. We had Sandila as our Game Ranger, he made the trip memorable and becomes your local expert not only regarding the animals and the environment which we share but the local sights and recommendations. He is not only a local but well traveled so he gives an educated and reality base answer to your question. The other reason he was our favorite is because he has confidence in his drive of the safari truck and he drives fast and at times you feel you are on a roller coaster through valleys and over pot holes. He knows where to drive over the almost 700 acre expanse of game reserve. We don't recommend any of the packages because they are super pricey for much less you can drive to the nearby locations in your "bush pig" the locals called our small 2 door hatchback and pay between 50 to 150 Rand to enter various parks. We advise wearing long sleeve shirts and pants, and we had our boots on and wore a hat because we were adventurous and whether you are in the safari truck or walking about you go under brush that is lined with insects and "special visitors" so be careful to check your surroundings. It is definitely different to be mindful of wild animals. You cannot go on a run because a leopard could chase you, you need to watch for the monkeys because they beg for food and signs say "don't feed me, I bite", and of course the snakes and bugs... The basics, you are on their turf and in your room you have insect repellent for your room, body, and even insect repellent lotion. Many took the malaria pills but we opted instead for preventive care. We started taking B complex tablets 2 week before our trip and continued it daily (natural mosquitos repellent), plus after the shower spray yourself and your clothes with insect repellent and again at night and spray around your bed so you don't wake up with bites. You are in the jungle so bats, monkeys, snakes, bugs of all sizes, and of course the wondering wildlife is around to "check you out". The staff does a very good job detering them from the lodge. Bring a light rain jacket because it does rain hence the beautiful green everywhere. Bring a good camera zoom, because even though it is easy to get close up shots of wildlife, there are other shots in the distance that sometimes we can't get the truck too and the zoom lens will help you get the perfect shot. The buffet style breakfast and dinner, top quality food and you can order "ala cart" off the menu if you so desire. Lunch is sandwich/burger or salad, and you can order lunch to go and even breakfast if you choose to leave early to drive to nearby parks for all day game drives. The sunrise and sunsets are gorgeous and definitely go to St Lucia and make time for the beach and town. We recommend eating at Ocean Basket - Sandila recommendation, very good and visit the St Lucia estuary and have beer at The Ski Boat Lodge where you can see hippos and crocs. Stay on the N2, DO NOT get off on the smaller roads unless you are getting off an exit to a main site like St Lucia or Richard's Bay. You meet other travelers and during your stay they become like family, so you stay up late drinking poolside or sharing game drives. We should note, if you are a business traveller, since the lodge is away from main city, often there is power outtage (they supply you flashlight in your room) so internet can be sketchy or slow but fairly reliable and you can call for IT support. Often they switched to the generator so power would not be off for long until the main power was back on. Always back-up your work and set an additional alarm like your cell phone because we woke many mornings with a flashing alarm clock by our bed. They have a spa and other friends use it and said great things, but we were too busy seeing and driving the local sights. We slept like babies in the quite of the jungle and had a true vacation unplugged.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank CODACrockett
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oregon
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 20, 2009

My husband and I traveled with another couple to South Africa in April for two weeks, spending the first week at the Zula Nyala Heritage Tent Cottages and the second in Capetown. We couldn't have been happier with our experience. We were very glad that we had chosen the tents, as they were large, very clean and comfortable, and had a lovely view. How fun to see a large family of zebras walking on the sidewalk right outside our porch!
We were immediately made to feel welcome when we arrived, and were impressed with the effort made by staff to locate and drive quite a long distance to pick up our luggage, which had been delayed in Johannesburg. After we arrived, we had the very good fortune to be assigned Norman as our guide. He was wonderful and we looked forward to our outings with him each day. He was so friendly and knowledgeable and made sure that we got the most out of each experience. The reserve at Zula Nyala isn't as large as many others, but we were able to see most of the animals we were hoping to. Norman also took us to Hluhluwe, which is a vast reserve, and to Phinda where we were able to observe cheetas and lions. We also went to a school and a Zulu home . . . very interesting. The South African presidential election ocurred while we were there and we insisted that Norman take time out to vote. It was meaningful for us, too.

We were happy with the food at the reserve and liked the variety of eating out in the boma, the dining room, and also on the veranda. We enjoyed all the staff who took care of us, and were impressed with their friendliness and dedication to their jobs. It was warm while we were there and we enjoyed late afternoons, ordering a drink on the veranda and playing cards. It was a very relaxing vacation with something to look forward to every day. Another bonus is the price, which is quite reasonable. The four of us are unanimous in our praise for the people we met and the level of service we received at Zulu Nyala. We have recommended it to friends without hesitation.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank EllieDawn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
philippines
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles 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
Helpful?
3 Thank jcsaguisag
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle WA
Level Contributor
66 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles 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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Betty65SeattleWA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, TX
Level Contributor
9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles 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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Gacstar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
seattle wa
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles 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.

  • Liked — Checking out
  • Disliked — $$ Stolen, infested by bugs, staff not helpful, tap water was disgusting
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
7 Thank BoomBoomB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Zulu Nyala Heritage Safari Lodge

Property: Zulu Nyala Heritage Safari Lodge
Address: 45 Bree Street Cradock 1969 | PO Box 247, Hluhluwe 3960, South Africa
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Zululand > Hluhluwe
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 7 Hotels in Hluhluwe
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Zulu Nyala Heritage Safari Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 57
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Heritage Safari Lodge was originally built in the 1940’s as a hotel and was a landmark pit-stop for weary travelers between Maputo and Durban. Acquired in 1996, the gracious building was lovingly restored to its original colonial grandeur, enhanced with new accommodation, and tastefully themed to highlight Zululand’s unique cultural heritage.With buffet-style meals in our restaurant, the wide, welcoming veranda and our ‘human watering hole’ - the pub or thatched boma, warm and relaxing atmosphere is conducive to shared good times and conviviality. The sparkling pool is always inviting, and you’re sure to enjoy browsing our beautifully stocked curio shop for a few authentic African mementos. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Zulu Nyala Heritage Safari Hotel Hluhluwe

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