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“Bit pricy for what you get”
Review of Mpila Camp

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Mpila Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed December 13, 2011

Stayed here a few times now, the latest was in Novermber 2011.

I normally stay in the self-catering guest chalets. The accommodations are ok, nothing special.

The location is great though, nearly always get visited by warthog, buck, vervet monkeys on the lawn.

The camp shop has very little stock and there is no camp restuarant so best to bring all your own supplies.

I understand that places in great locations carry a price premuim but in this case, the national park charges this in the park entrance (park fees). I therefore feel that the accommodation price has gone past its upper limit in terms of value for money.

If one compares it to a normal chalet elsewhere in the country then the price (upwards of USD 100 per night) would seem excessive for what one gets in return (and no breakfast included).

Also note, that the chalets have no keys so its impossible to lock and possessions inside - a bit of an inconvenience to pack all your stuff into your car every time you wanna leave the chalet!

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Zambezikid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 17, 2011

We booking into the 2 sleeper self-catering chalet which comprises of 1 open-plan room which serves as a sleeping, dininging and kitchenette area. There was a shower-en-suite leading off this room. The chalet was basic and clean with a small deck off the front. We enjoyed the daily visits from the wart-hogs and bucks whilst having breakfast. One thing we did not like was that guests were not given keys to the chalets so anyone could enter your chalet if they wanted to (at night we would bolt the chalet from the inside). There were a lot of noisy cleaning staff who use to congregate around the chalets and speak very loudly to one another. So much for enjoying the tranquility of bush life away from the noisy city. We also found the shop staff to be very unfriendly and not helpful at all even though they had nothing to do. However what made up for all of this was the viewing of elephants and lots of rhinos plus other animals such as wild dogs, giraffe etc.. Just a pity that the staff spoilt it for us and we will not return to Mpila camp again nor will our friends who stayed in the tented camp.

Room Tip: No safe and keys to the chalets so if you have valuables leave them locked in your car boot.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank DurbanKingfisher
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 9, 2011

We spend three nights in a two bed safari tent at Mpila. I think all tents have en suite facilities as well as a private kitchen which is attached to the raised platform. The game viewing here was almost equivalent in terms of quality to Kruger, and the relatively small size of the park made it easy to get around the park - you could see all the each side of the joint park (Hluhluwe-Umfolozi). Indeed, you had to retrace your driving routes each day due to the small number of roads in the game reserve (again, this is compared to the huge Kruger park). Far fewer people here too, compared to southern Kruger, which was nice.

As other people have noted, there are monkeys, hyenas and wart hogs which visit each night, but we never really had any problems with these visits. All the cupboards and the fridge had locks you could use to make sure the monkeys couldn't steal your food. The kitchen was very well stocked, and had a great fridge and gas stove (with oven!). The units were serviced daily. We had the very last safari tent (#36), which meant we had an amazing view of the landscape from our deck and bathroom. The best sunsets from any shower I've ever had! Plus, while you were showering, you could look for wildlife on the adjeacent hill! The Mpila camp didn't have very much food for sale, so make sure you load up before you enter the park - we did so in St Lucia, which is only an hour or so away from the camp.

This was a great self-catering option, much smaller and more scenic/rustic than the Hilltops Camp. Very relaxing and good value for the self-catering wildlife lover. There are lots of rhino in particular in the park, but we also saw elephants, buffalo, wild dogs, lions, giraffes, hyenas and, of course, lots of impalas.

  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank ajb6335
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 10, 2011

We visited Mpila Camp in the Imfolozi Game Park for two nights. First night was in the 4 bed tented camp, second night in a 5 bed Chalet. We thoroughly enjoyed the stay and would recommend it. We are already planning to return. The tent is more exciting but rustic. The biggest problem is that the kitchen cant keep the monkeys out. They have worked out how to unlock the bolted food cupboard, and managed to steal some of our food. Also there are hyeanas that regularly visit the braai area to look for meat. I got a huge fright when I met it in the dark on the first night. It came again the next morning to our tent. Kids were very frightened by it. We felt safer in the Chalets, which are in a more open area and have lovely views. We will definately book 2 nights in the Chalets next time. Chalets have been refurbished and are very neat and clean. Went on the night drive with the rangers 18h00 to 20h30 which was fun, but I thought they should have been more informative. Drove ourselves around the park in the day. Saw elephants only a few metres from our car, also rhinos, giraffes, zebra's, huge herd of buffalo, lots of buck, baboons, monkeys, wildebeest all very close. Didnt manage to see lions or leapords but thats to be expected. Saw 6 hyeanas in total. Was a fun break for the kids and we felt we had been away for far longer. We live in Durban so was only a 2 1/2 hour drive away. Great family weekend and very well priced. I have been to Phinda on 5 occasions and that is amazing but very expensive for South Africans. Mpila is a good inexpensive alternative for families.

  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled with family
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6  Thank jwassenaar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 9, 2011

Stayed in a newly converted 2 bed self catering chalet, which have recently been upgraded from 4 bed non catering ‘rest huts’. The conversion is very good and for the price represents excellent value.
Our chalet was located on the edge of the site with lovely views looking out into the bush. This is a very peaceful and quiet location. The chalet offers a good size balcony with two chairs and low table plus outside braai.
Inside space is adequate with small dining table and chairs behind patio doors. Majority of the bed room furniture and bedding looked new. There is a ceiling fan although this is only of limited use as the electricity goes off after 10 pm only coming back on a 7.00 in the morning. Oil lamp is in the room as a lighting option after 10pm.
Bathroom also newly converted with enclosed shower. Constant hot water available through a gas boiler. The kitchen wasn’t particularly well fitted out. There was a four ring gas hob and oven but unusually, no microwave supplied but there was the usual full range of utensils.
Overall, it offers very good value accommodation in very attractive location.

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank T-SGlobetrotters
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 9, 2011

We stayed at Mpila camp in April 2011 for 3 nights. We were there with 2 friends and our 1 year old daughter. The tent itself is very comfortable and the kitchen was fully stocked with cutlery, gas stove/oven, fridge, plates, cups, knives, forks etc. We did have issues with monkeys opening up the latched cupboards and would suggest anyone staying there take a large trunk with lock to lock your food and any other items away as the monkeys get into everything and anything and will take food from the table while you eating so you have been warned. Hyenas were around every night and tried to take our meat off the fire while we were still braaiing so keep a close eye on your meat. You will see hyena around the camp at night and you may also see the large spotted genet around the camp as well as warthog, impala, nyala etc. We had lion in camp one evening and our friends had to stay the night in our tent as we dared not leave the "safety" of the balcony. The next morning we were up early and saw lions at the entrance to the camp, we saw leopard on the sontuli loop on consecutive mornings (leave when the gates open and drive straight to the sontuli loop and drive about 20km/hour) around the loop and you'll have every chance of seeing a leopard. During the trip we saw wild dog on a kill, elephant, large herds of buffalo, heaps of white rhino, lion outside camp, impala, blue wildebeest etc. The only animal we wanted to see but didn't was cheetah. I would only stay at Mpila again as it's still wild with lots of wildlife about the camp, during the day and night. You have been warned about the monkeys and hyenas though...........One last tip, take a cooler box with you and spare ice trays, you can make ice overnight and have ice cold drinks all day in your own vehicle.

  • Stayed: April 2011, traveled with family
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7  Thank PMBDazza
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 28, 2011

It was awesome :) Booked 1 night at Mpila and 1 night at Hilltop Camp. After spending the night at Mpila, I just wanted to go back!
We entered through Nylazi gate and just driving to Mpila camp, we saw 4 of the big 5 (excluding leopard) at quite a distance. The rest of the trip we saw everything alot closer and I spotted a leopard the next morning at Sontuli Loop :) This trip was amazing because although we spotted the leopard, lion, buffalo, rhino, elephant, giraffe, warthog, monkey, zebra, lots of buck, etc, we also saw smaller, "less exciting" animals like vulture, red duiker, a snake and even videoed a dung beetle rolling his ball and his lady across the road.
I was worried about my Mazda 2 on the dirt roads (only 1,3 engine!) but it was fine.
I thought the safari tents were spatious and comfortable, lots of hot water, very personal as other tents are nearby but far enough away not to bother you and there is enough bush so that you don't see them. Had to keep everything locked away because of the monkeys but you're in africa - that's what monkeys do. I had expected nothing there but there was a fridge, stove, kettle, some cutlery, plates, glasses, dishwashing liquid and sponge. We had a braai and watched the sunset. Had guinea fowl come right by us. Lights out at 10pm but thats ok because we went to relax & we got to listen to everything outside when the lights went off plus early morning game drive! I had read a review that said at night animals come around your tent because the camp is not fenced and i had thought maybe a buck or warthog but I think we had a hyhena walk around ours a few times during the night! I was terrified but it was actually an amazing experience and I would go back anytime if I could. The next day we drove to Hilltop Camp which was good because we got to drive through just about the whole park. It was also more than I expected but it didn't feel rural enough after a night at Mpila. Slept much better though! :)
I have thought about this weekend away so much and there is no way that I can't go back there.

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank DowPmb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mpila Camp

Address: Hluhluwe Game Reserve, South Africa
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Hluhluwe Game Reserve
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 8 Specialty Lodging in Hluhluwe Game Reserve
Number of rooms: 17
Also Known As:
Mpila Camp Hotel Hluhluwe Game Reserve

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