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“Great Tented Accommodation” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Mpila Camp

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Mpila Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Cape Town
Level Contributor
23 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Great Tented Accommodation”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 17, 2014

This was our first visit to Mpila, and we were very impressed with the Safari Tented Camp. We were two couples, and shared a 4-bed Safari Camp. This consisted of two separate sleeping tents (each tent had an en-suite bathroom) and a kitchen. All three tents were connected via an elevated wooden walkway, with railings and gates to prevent wild animals from entering the space (except the monkeys). We were visited each night by spotted hyenas, but they were timid and not aggressive in any way. There were also warthogs, impala and nyala in the camp.

The tents are well appointed and very clean, and the Safari Camps are well spaced so offer some privacy from neighbouring tents. The units are serviced daily.

We have visited more upmarket tented camps in Southern Africa, and the Safari Camp compares favourably with its more expensive counterparts. Highly recommended.

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
Helpful?
2 Thank JoekJill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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237 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (52)
Date | Rating
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English first
Durban, South Africa
Level Contributor
59 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 7, 2014

This is the second time we have stayed at Mpila and it didn't disappoint. We stayed in the tented camp (it's a permanent tent with beds and a full en-suit), which gives you the impression that you are deep within the bush, when you are actually only a few meters in. You can't see or hear your neighbors and it is very tranquil. If you do not want to feel so 'in the bush' stay in one of the chalets, which are positioned closer together and in a row - while you don't see your neighbors, they are relatively close. All accommodation is fairly rustic, but very clean and well equipped. The only downside of the tented camp is the position of the kitchen...it isn't attached to your tent, which means that if it's raining, you have to walk through the rain (about 5m, so not far) to get to your kitchen. Also, if the weather is terrible, you cannot eat outside, and there is no provision to eat inside. There is a generous veranda, which is partially covered, but it wouldn't be pleasant to eat outside if the weather wasn't great. Please PLEASE take note of the warnings with regards to monkeys and hyena's. Both times we have stayed there, a hyena came up to the fire where we were having a braai (bbq) they were quite timid and easy to chase away as for the monkeys, they were a little more aggressive and didn't want to be chased - Please don't feed any animals. Aside from those few possible negatives, Mpila is a fantastic accommodation choice - it's good value for money as the rooms are clean, spacious and tidy and you are right in the middle of the bush. The camp is only fenced to keep elephants out and while we were there we saw a nyala male, impala, baboons, hyena, monkeys and warthog...all really close walking around the camp. It's a fantastic experience and you shouldn't hesitate to go!!

Room Tip: If you want to have the whole 'bush' experience, stay in the tented camp (quite unlike campi...
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Tanja S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
United Kingdom
Level Contributor
187 reviews
45 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 23, 2014 via mobile

We stayed in a three bedroomed chalet. This is basic accommodation but perfectly adequate. Spotlessly clean with friendly staff to do all the chores. We were visited by a hyena or two in the evenings which resulted in a scramble to get indoors.....the most exercise we took in 3 days! Game viewing was amazing. Early morning and dusk is best time. Tip: take torches as the generators go off at 10 pm. Well worth a visit.

Stayed March 2014, traveled with friends
Helpful?
Thank veekayhay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paris, France
Level Contributor
53 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 13, 2014

We really enjoy staying there! The chalets are rustic but confortable and convenient. No A/C to prevent malaria mosquitos.
The location allons Nice drive.
But bring all what you need the shop is rather small but they are very helpfull. At the reception, welcome Could have been warmer.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Gby147
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Evanston, Illinois
Level Contributor
18 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 30, 2014

This is not a luxury accommodation. For state run, the accommodations are clean and sparse. We stayed in five 2-bed tents. We learned the hard way that the bathrooms are without roofs, when two monkeys made their way into our tent because we left the bathroom door open. The kids LOVED that. The camp is only fenced for elephants and giraffes so you can get ANY other animal. We had hyena, warthog, serval, baboon, monkey, zebra, bok, kudu in camp (up close and personal) over the two day period we were there. The kids dropped food under the deck (by accident) and we had animals all night. It was exciting. This is not a relaxing location with kids (3, 7,10,13) but they LOVE it. We went on private game drive, but our driver had an attitude and we didn't learn a lot. There were issues with electricity and some staff was unhelpful. But you can't beat the experience of the animals grazing outside your door.

Room Tip: Try and get a tent at the end of the road. You'll be farther away from others.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank 2kidsBackpack
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
62 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 17, 2014

After staying in the 2-bed Self Catering Chalet's 8 and 9 with my boyfriend and his parents, I would highly recommend Mpila! The accommodation is very well situated with stunning views over the hills and countryside, with the added bonus of being immersed in wildlife, due to the game fence only really being there to keep elephants out.... Anything under about 6ft (Impala, warthogs, bush pigs, nyala, monkey etc) are a common site in the camp landscape. I found that a very special experience.

However, as others have mentioned at night hyena's do come to visit - generally AFTER sundown, although we did see one at dusk too. The come to see what morsels are left to scavange and feed upon. They are very cheeky - and wouldn't be afraid to take the meat off the braai while its still cooking if you don't keep a close eye on it!
We also saw a very large group of Bush Pigs, who have a reputation of being quite unpredictable and can be quite vicious, so do watch out for these too!
What you must remember is that these are still wild animals - with protective and wild instincts, who if they felt threatened wouldn’t think twice about causing some injury or damage to you - especially if they are mothering with small babies! Which it appears some people seem to forget.
Take a torch with you and you can shine it into the bush and see them coming out towards you.

The chalet itself was very well equipped for you to eat - lots of cooking utensils, pots, pans, cutlery/crockery, wine glasses, tumblers, a giant fridge/freezer, gas oven and hob/burner rings. Outside you have your own picnic table and braai (BBQ).
The bed I found very comfy, with a choice of two pillows - soft and firm.
The bathroom I found very clean (and I'm quite fussy!), and the shower was very roomy! Water temperature was great and easily controlled. House keeping visits in the morning.
As others have mentioned, there is a sign saying the tap water shouldn’t be drunk, although we made tea/coffee with it and were fine. Although if you want water to drink cold, then bring some bottles with you to keep in the fridge.
The doors to the chalets do not have keys, but any sensible person would either keep their valuables with them, or lock them hidden away in the car.

The electricity is turned off over night (10pm while we were there) and switched back on at 7am. I didn't feel this caused us any inconvenience, as you are up early to see the animals so come 10pm you are ready for bed anyway! Although my only point I would say is that due to the electric being turned off, the ceiling fan is of course not usable during the night while you sleep, so if you get hot quickly/easily this might possibly be something to consider.

Moving on to the park, this has been my first time in a game reserve so I can't compare it to others, but I felt that it was well organised - we participated in a night game drive, and I felt that our driver was friendly, knowledgeable and it was possible for her to answer our questions.
You can purchase a map to go on a self guided game drive. To begin with it seems a little confusing, until you realise that the numbers on the map are not road numbers but junction numbers, then things make a little more sense - as I pointed out to my better half! ;O)
We spotted all of the 'Big 5' except for Leopard, who are known for being very shy anyway. We even had a close up view during our night drive of a Lioness with her two cubs!

The curio shop was well stocked with basic food items, drinks (soft and alcoholic), gifts, clothes and supplies.

Overall, I would absolutely recommend Mpila camp, and have suggested to my parents to visit on their trip to South Africa. Having a 4X4 vehicle is beneficial, however if you don’t have access to one, my advice would be to drive very slowly and carefully to navigate around dips and holes in the game reserve on the dirt roads.

Room Tip: We stayed in two 2-bed Self Catering Chalets (#8 & #9) however spoke to a number of people aroun...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
Helpful?
7 Thank LauraRose
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kent, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 14, 2014 via mobile

My family and I stayed at Mpila Camp for 3 nights. Great value for money and all that you actually need in the bush.

We stayed in one of the lovely tents and bathroom attached, made for a comfortable stay. The kitchen was a mere 3 meters away with a seperate gate/lock for the animals.

Although the camp is not fenced, we felt secure and didnt come across any "scary" animals.

A game drive is highly recommended as the lush bush of the Hluhluwe iMfolozi park makes game viewing a bit difficult in a normal vehicle.

Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
Helpful?
Thank MizSashaDean
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mpila Camp

Property: 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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