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“Beautiful setting, great food and very helpful people” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Bushwillow Collection

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Bushwillow Collection
Certificate of Excellence
N Ireland
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Beautiful setting, great food and very helpful people”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 28, 2009

Stay at Bushwillow-Hluhluwe

We recently returned home to N Irealnd from a stay in S Africa which included a visit to relatives in Pretoria, a four night stay in Bushwillow-Hluhluwe, and a 4 day horseback safari with Bhangazi Horse Safaris in Isimongaliso wetland park.

Our time at Bushwillow was excellent. The Kuleni Game reserve was first class for birding. From a wildlife point of view, it contains no large predators and so we were able to walk freely on well marked trials and found some wonderful birds including the elusive Narina Trogon. As a tourist, I also felt that my valuables,including quite a lot of camera gear was very secure.

The accommodation was very clean, and comfortable and the staff most helpful. Food was very good and as I was prospecting for a potential group visit in a year or two, I took the liberty of checking out other rooms and lodges at Bushwillow. All were of the same high standard.

An all day game drive was booked for us and an excellent birding guide was recommended and organised for a 5.30am start. The picnic breakfast would have fed an army and kept us going all day. All in all, we found the four nights very comfortable and will have no hesitation in recommending it to our group as a future destination.

Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank TullyNIreland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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288 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (36)
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South Pole
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 31, 2009

We chose Bushwillow by reading all these positive reviews on Tripadvisor...wish we didn't ..

The first impression was very, very isolated place. Ok, no problem.
The room looked fine...until the night came. That was when we discovered that we weren't alone in that room.Between the roof and room's ceiling (made with bamboo) there is enough space to host numerous cockroaches that left their excrements on our bed, in the bathroom and everywhere. In the morning we found a big cockroach near to our bed.
Since the room didn't have a mosquito net, we bought it the next day in Hluhluwe. That saved the rest of our nights there.
While we were there we didn't do any trekking in the bush etc.but we moved always with our car and were always covered with jackets, long trousers,socks and boots. That's why we found very strange when my husband found a tick on his leg.
Ok, we thought, can happen when you are near to the nature. But the real surprise we got a week later when both of us started to feel ill with a fever, headache and multiple eschars in our bodies. That means that more than one tick bite us in different places. Diagnosis? African tick bite fever.
Where did we get all those ticks? Not from the bush that's for sure. We made safaris in our car and like I said before we never made bushwalks.

We travel a lot in all over the world, frequently also in very poor countries but nothing like this never happened to us before.

I think that the rooms need a good disinfection. And mosquito nets.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank leilaTO
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bushwillow, Owner at Bushwillow Collection, responded to this review, September 23, 2009
Firstly, we are extremely sorry to hear that these guests contracted tick bite fever sometime during their travels in South Africa. We trust that they have received good treatment and are recovering well.

It is however surprising that these guests have rated our lodge so poorly, especially since they made no complaints whilst they were at Bushwillow. Their complaint infers that they got bitten by ticks in their room. This is simply not possible. The ticks found on The Elephant Coast are only found on domestic animals, game or on long grass. There are no domestic animals that could go in the rooms. It is most unfortunate that the guests should have got bitten by an infected tick, especially since they were making every effort to avoid them. Just brushing against grass can be enough for a pepper tick (nymph stage) to attach to socks and move up the leg. Pepper ticks are so small that one can hardly see.

Bushwillow is only 1km from a major tarmac road and can easily be reached in a small car. It is therefore very surprising that the guests should state that Bushwillow was a ‘very, very isolated place’. Our service, value, location, rooms and cleanliness have all been rated poor in this review. We pride ourselves in providing a 4-star experience and have never before been rated so poorly before.

Regards the ceilings, it is true that we have reed’s on the ceiling, which is very popular in this area. We are aware of gecko’s being in the rooms. This is to be expected in any bush lodge; we actually consider them as our ‘friends’ since they prey on spiders, mosquitoes and other small insects. The bedrooms have mosquito netting on the windows and mosquito spray is provided. Also, there are few mosquitoes found in the area. The guests advice about disinfection is noted. Every year, Bushwillow is closed for a week and is fumigated; we hope that guests realise that The Elephant Coast and its bush lodges are not sterile environments, and for most this is one of its attractions.

The guests experience with the tick bite fever does seem to have tainted their judgement of their whole experience at Bushwillow, which is unfortunate. We unfortunately have no control over tick bite fever. In light of this, we have taken the matter up with TripAdvisor since we do feel that this review is rather an unfair assessment and sincerely hope that it does not put guests off visiting the area, or indeed, Bushwillow.

Regards, Julian and Liz Simon
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Town
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 1, 2009

Bushwillow was a great place to stay for a family with 3 young children. Nice upmarket accomodation at a reasonable price. Very clean, and great if you like self-catering (although they also have a fully catered option). Children love being in a game park with "safe" animals where they can walk around. Good location for daytrips to Hhuhluwe Game Reserve, St Lucia, Sodwana bay, etc. Even better for 2 small families as can each use the separate accomodation, and use central facility for eating and joint entertainment. Road access very good. Only point we didn't like is that young children accomodation is separated from central area, which makes use of the central area problematic after children go to sleep if you want to also keep an eye on them. Definitely worth a visit - highly recommended. Hosts very friendly and go the extra mile, but not intrusive at all. Have done similar family self-catering trips near Kruger Park, but KZN and Bushwillow is better value for money.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Capetown84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amsterdam
1 review
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 30, 2009

We stayed in Bushwillow for three days. Allthough the booking was on a self-catering basis and the first (!) paragraph of the guest information book states that their is a BBQ which is free to use for guests, we were told we couldn't use the BBQ unless we payed 250 ZAR (25 EUR) to pay for "expenses". It is also far away from any activity, so don't stay too long if you want to explore. Service otherwise is good, as the housekeeper, Yabu, is lovely.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank mtuin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bushwillow, Owner at Bushwillow Collection, responded to this review, July 31, 2009
It is extremely unfortunate and disappointing to receive such a negative review. All other reviews have been 100% and we strive to do everything possible to make our guests stay a happy and memorable one.
Mr Tuin and Mrs Herbert were booked to stay at Bushwillow through a travel agent. Their booking was for Bed & Breakfast with the option to have evening meals prepared by our chef. It was already pre-arranged through their travel agent that they have dinner prepared on the first night, which they did. The booking was not for exclusive use of the lodge, which is our self-catering option whereby no other guests can be checked in. Our kitchen is open plan in the central lodge. There is no self-catering in the rooms. The B&B rate that Mr Tuin paid was R725 pppn. Therefore, our return on this booking (2 persons) was R1,450 per night. If guests choose to self-cater, then they need to pay R2,100 per night for entire use of the lodge, for the reasons given above. Therefore, because Mr Tuin wanted to self-cater for the other 3-nights, this meant that we could not offer our other rooms to other guests. Our offer that they pay a further R250 per night for this exclusivity was not accepted. I feel that perhaps the travel agent did not make it clear at time of booking with regard to the catering arrangements and perhaps they had been of the wrong impression that they had been booked self-catering when in actual fact they had not.
On the matter of location, this is very surprising. Hluhluwe is on the Elephant Coast and is a very popular tourist destination with many activities in the area to explore. We have guests staying for 1-week or longer and they comment on how well located Bushwillow is. Sodwana Bay, Mkuze Game Reserve, False Bay Park, Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve, Cape Vidal, St Lucia/Isimangaliso Wetland Park, Crocodile & Snake Park, Elephant Interaction, Horse riding, canoeing are all within a 1-hour drive from Bushwillow.
We take note that the Guest Information pack mentions that guests are free to use the BBQ. We will amend this page to explain that this is for 'self-catering' guests only.
All guest comments are welcomed and I hope that this explanation makes it clearer. I suggest that Mr Tuin takes the matter up further with the Travel Agent, if he feels that his complaint has not been well dealt with.
Regards, Julian & Liz Simon
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 29, 2009

My girlfriend and I stayed at Bushwillow for 5 days and found the place to be great! The lodge we stayed in was so comfy and relaxing. The staff at bushwillow were very accomodating and saw to our every need. On leaving bushwillow on the friday I had dropped my camera and left it behind. I only realised when I was back in Durban (4hrs away). Julian however, saw that my camera was returned to durban via a collegue of his.
So thank you very much Julian! Its much appreciated!

I recommend Bushwillow to anyone, be it a romantic getaway or a family holiday!

JP

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank JPIzaaks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UK
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 11, 2009

We spent 11 days at Bushwillow over Easter on a self catering basis with teenage children. Fabulous luxury accommodation and total privacy. If you want to get away from it all in total comfort- this is the place. Waking up to find giraff, zebra, antelope and warthog grazing in front of your deck was magical. Despite being in the middle of no-where we were always only a phone call away from Liz who always reacted to our every request and Jabu our maid would appear magically in the morning and tend to our every need in such a discreet manner that we hardly knew she was there but we certainly appreciated everything she did for us. Yes there were plenty of insects and the occasional power cut but it all added to the feeling of being away from civilisation.
My only note of caution would be that the pool and deck area is virtually shaded by trees which, if you are sunlover can be a bit frustrating as we were constantly having to move to catch the sun. The trees also harbour numerous caterpillars which shed fine hairs over all the furniture/people on the deck and caused a severe itchy rash on some of us. Brilliant place - we will certainly return. UK

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank basil069
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 8, 2009

My husband and I spent 3 amazing nights at Bushwillow for our honeymoon last month and I can truely say that our experience was magical. I grew up in South Africa and have been to a number of game parks in the past, whilst my husband is English and this was his first trip to South Africa and to a game lodge. My brothe and sister-in-law actually got engaged at Bushwillow a few years back and highly recommended us to stay there. We searched around on the internet a lot and to be quite honest Bushwillow is great value for money. It is a convenient drive from Durban so we hired a car and there is not off road vehicle required to get there. Access into Kuleni is secure and safe. We were warmly welcomed by our hosts on arrival and were delighted to be told that we were the only ones there over our 3 nights stay as towards the end of March is going into out of season so definitly a good time of year to go.

I was really blown away to see just how beautiful the lodge was, all wooden furnishing in the dinning/relaxation area, onto a open wooden deck with splash pool with lounger chairs overlooking the wilderness. Our room was just a long a little deck, and completely surrounded by bush. The windows are full length and the mosquito mesh see through which meant you could see the bush around you at all time making it fee; as if you are litterally living in the bush and no one ever comes past your room which makes it so conveniently private so there is no need to close the blinds or curtains!

The bed was possibly the biggest we'd ever seen, although I would recommend asking or bringing an extra pillow each. Lovely air con kept us cool at all times and the room is cleaned daily by Jabu who hosted us throughout our stay. The bathroom shower is huge and again like you're taking a shower in the bush. Beautiful african features throughout the lodge give it a special touch. They also gave us a bottle of champagne as it was our honeymoon which we really enjoyed!

Lizelle who managed the lodge was excellent and booked all our game drives and helped us with anything we needed as well as gave us great advice on what to see and do.

It was so peaceful there at all times and it really allowed us to relax and enjoy ourselves. We ate all our meals just the two of us on the deck for breakfast and dinner. The food was really lovely. We would suggest bringing your own snacks for lunch, there is a fridge that you can use there, or just drive into the local town 10 min away as one can get peckish in between breakfast and dinner.

Our game drives were so amazing, we had a guide and land rover all to ourselves which was such a blessing, this was booked by Lizelle with an outside company. The hluhluwe game reserve is a 20minute drive away, you could do a game drive or as many as you like in your own vehicle but we decided to treat ourselves to two - one early morning and one late afternnon when weather is a little cooler and game viewing is the best.. Some of the other game lodges have there own game drives but they were packed with people in them whilst we enjoyed a more personal experience.

We had so many close encounters were the Big 5, the park is just so beautiful and we were really humbled to experience game that close in their natural environment. We sadly didn't see any lion, but its just depends as they are normally spotted at least 3 times a week, but we were really blessed to see wild dog of which there are only 40 in the park as they are an endangered species so that was something really special!

Overall I would definitly recommend staying at Bushwillow to anyone, we most certainly hope to return. The service and hospitality was excellent, the cost was very reasonable, the game viewing was fantastic and the accomodation was beautiful!

Thanks to bushwillow for such a memorable honeymoon stay!

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Taz044
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Bushwillow Collection

Property: Bushwillow Collection
Address: PO Box 693 | Kuleni Game Park, Hluhluwe 3960, South Africa (Formerly Bushwillow Lodge)
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Zululand > Hluhluwe
Amenities:
Free Parking Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 34 Specialty Lodging in Hluhluwe
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Bushwillow Collection 4*
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Traditional, Quirky or Cosy! Choose between self-catering, dinner bed & breakfast or all inclusive packages. Bushwillow Collection offers 3 totally different accommodation style options to suit your mood and we strive to provide a very personalised service, and we pride ourselves on this. Stay at our LODGE with warm wooden floors, reed ceilings and muted colours for a feeling of serenity and oneness with nature, together with good, honest home cooking. Meet fellow travellers at the central lodge area with pool deck and share adventures. Choose one of our BOUTIQUE self-catering chalets with private pool and quirky design and let the bright and cheerful colour schemes lift your spirit whilst still allowing nature to bring balance. Ask nicely, and we can bring you breakfast... or try an evening meal at our lodge one evening, subject to availability. Retreat to our self-catering COTTAGE with thatched roof set under tall and rare Lebombo Wattles for a cosy and relaxing escape. Relax in the spa bath on the outside deck and listen to the sounds of the African night. ... more   less 
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