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“Arrogant staff who clearly hate their job”

Heritage Tours & Safaris
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Hluhluwe Game Reserve Safari
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 3, 2014

Although we went on to enjoy a wonderful three day experience in this reserve, unfortunately our first impression will never leave us. We arrived at the Memorial Gate after 2pm and eventually worked out exactly which building houses the reception as there are no signs from the parking area to tell you.

We waited for over 10 minutes for two of the most arrogant women I have ever encountered in Africa to even acknowledge our presence while they had a chat and slowly and laboriously counted some money. I couldn't believe they totally ignored us for so long.

Finally surly woman no. 1 looked up at me with an abrupt "yes?" indicating that we had thoroughly inconvenienced her. As I gave my reply she turned away to talk to misery no. 2 and then back to me "what?". I said much louder that we had an accommodation booking. She proceeded in monosyllables in the most unpleasant tone: "Form?" "Car?" "Make?" "Colour?" "Cell phone?" before typing endlessly all the while talking to no. 2. Finally prints off a form and hands it over counter saying absolutely nothing to us. We continued to wait while she carried on her private and absorbing conversation with no. 2. After a few minutes we interrupted to ask what we should do next and she says without looking up, "finished". We had to ask where to go. "You just go through, 15 kms. Straight ahead."

We were utterly seething, never having been treated so poorly in Africa or anywhere else. Ushered through a boom gate by a friendlier guy just as one of her colleagues jokes with her "I know how much you love mzungus". For the unfamiliar this means white person.

It turns out we had entered at the wrong gate and we still had about 2 more hours of driving before reaching our accommodation. A person who cared about their job could have told us to continue on the main road for a short distance and avoid all that driving. On entering the park, we encountered a large herd of white rhino but honestly could not appreciate the scene as were so angry.

This probably won't get published but, if it does, could someone please tell me where I can report these women so they can get some much-needed PR training. Or better still, get them out of public view. They are a disgrace to your tourism industry.

5  Thank bilasukari
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"game reserve"
in 28 reviews
"self drive"
in 15 reviews
"st lucia"
in 15 reviews
"hluhluwe imfolozi"
in 12 reviews
"game park"
in 11 reviews
"day safari"
in 11 reviews
"beautiful park"
in 10 reviews
"herd of elephants"
in 8 reviews
"guide david"
in 7 reviews
"bird life"
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"game drives"
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"next morning"
in 6 reviews
"great safari"
in 5 reviews
"heritage tour"
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"breakfast and lunch"
in 4 reviews
"great guide"
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214 - 218 of 433 reviews

Reviewed January 30, 2014

This is one of the oldest game reserves in Africa. The scenery is stunning. Wildlife is not abundant, but you will manage to see most. Its a bit more challenging to find game since the vegetation is lush and dense.

Thank Marki663
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 17, 2014

We took a family day trip to this Game Reserve in two vehicles. Although I live within a couple of hours of this park and have long known of its existence I had never visited. It took an Australian visitor to galvanize us into action! We took a day trip so missed the bad experiences of an overnight stay that other reviewers have mentioned. Unfortunately there is a don't care attitude from staff and even the toilet used during our day trip was not up to standard. We gave the restaurant a miss as we had heard from other members of our family that it was not good value.

However, the aim was to spot the big five, and in that respect we were not disappointed! Within a few minutes of driving in we saw a group of zebra and giraffe and were so busy watching them we didn't see the elephant until he was quite close. Later it was time to see lots of rhino and even a mother with a calf. There was a herd of buffalo on both sides of the road, a couple of lions lying in the long grass, lots of bird life and large numbers of antelope.

We went on a cloudy overcast day which was perfect for viewing as the animals were out and about. On hot days they hide in the shade and one can drive for ages without seeing anything.
You can get around in a normal vehicle with great care but a SUV or 4x4 is better as the roads need a vehicle with a higher clearance as they are not in the best condition - but it all adds to the safari style experience!

All in all it was a very worthwhile day visit. We will be back...

Thank Jeanie B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 13, 2014

We stayed at Hilltops for 3 nights,it really saddens me as a loyal South African to have to hear tourists making negative comments about the poor standards of a beautiful national game reserve.
The rooms are dirty as well as the restaurant,the general service is shocking and the staff are not trained,therefore the incorrect information is passed on all the time.

The service and food in the restaurant is shocking,expensive and not fresh.

The one hide we visited had nails hammered into the bathrooms.
The one entrance gate's bathrooms were all broken so could not be used.
The state of the bathrooms in general were filthy,with staff who really do not care.

The guide who took us on a night drive was very good.

1  Thank shashy2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 6, 2014

We have visited many National Parks of Southern Africa and this one is definitely the worst when it comes to service. The staff at both gates and at reception were extremely unfriendly, with an attitude that says you are an inconvenience to them. We went to Hilltop restaurant for lunch on the 26/12/13 and found a table outside. After waiting for about 15 minutes, we eventually went inside to call a waiter. The service was slow, our drinks were brought out without a glass of ice (was 34 degrees) and the food was very average. When the food arrived, we had to ask for cutlery and sauces, this took 10 minutes to arrive. We went back to Hilltop for a breakfast on the 28/12/13, we just wanted a simple toasted sandwich and the waiter and manager informed us that they only serve buffet breakfast until 11am for R110 per person. We asked if we could just order a cup of coffee, but the manager said no, we have to have breakfast to get a cup of coffee. They really don't seem to think out of the box and will be loosing a lot of clients if they keep up the bad attitude.

2  Thank JARESH14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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