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“Lovely place with fab staff”

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Ezulwini Game Lodges
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed August 6, 2009

Simple but clean rondavel. Pool and relaxation area was super. food a little under par, but Ive just come back from Mohlabetsi!!! Massi is doing a great job out there.

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank Krzys
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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252 - 258 of 280 reviews

Reviewed July 26, 2009

I would highly recommend Billy's Lodge (and nearby River Lodge, though we didn't sleep there) to travelers to South Africa. The manager Lauren was great, the rangers Patrick (and Craig and other rangers who pitch in to educate) were great, food and accomodation was wonderful. There was a wonderful atmosphere and just the right amount of attention. Our travel guide Barney Smith of FunTimeTours who introduced us to the place was also wonderful and took us there and back from Joburg. We're tempted to visit again!

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled with family
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Thank HeatherGrady
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 21, 2009

The Ezulwini Game Lodge was drop dead fabulous! The review of April 2009 entitled "Magic Place" is spot on. We, too, stayed in Billy's for 3 nights and at River Lodge for 2 nights. Both places were special, with a slightly different vibe to them. Billy's was my favorite - the viewing platform and private oasis was a wonderful way to spend a morning after the game drive, watching warthogs, giraffes, impala and kudu each take a turn coming for a drink. My kids liked the casual feel to River Lodge and the extreme kindness and graciousness of Eliot, the cook, who went out of his way to deal with our difficult family eating needs (one of us is a vegetarian and another has a severe nut allergy).

I would disagree with some of the reviewers who thought that 2 nights were sufficient - we found that 5 nights (10 game drives) optimized our chances to see the animals in all kinds of different circumstances. Patrick and Conrad, the trackers at Billy's, were the lion specialists and they managed to find the entire pride (2 males, 4 females, a dozen cubs) on our 3rd drive. For 45 minutes we feasted our eyes on the group as they lolled about on a flat rock not 30 feet from the Land Rover! Massi and Richard, the trackers at River Lodge, seemed to have more of an affinity for the elephants - we saw them at least a half dozen times during 4 game drives. Our favorite sighting was of 5 bull elephants crossing the road - 4 behind our vehicle and one in front - we could have (almost) reached out and touched them.

Richard also very kindly took us out on a walk outside the compound, helping alleviate our desire for a little exercise, and showed us all kinds of tracks and shared bush lore with us. We found every tracker extremely knowledgeable and willing to answer questions.

In addition to the Big Five (elephant, lion, Cape buffalo, rhinoceros, and leopard) of which the only one we didn't see was the leopard, we also saw warthogs, impala, kudu, crocodiles, jackals, vultures, birds of all descriptions, gray duikers, wildebeests, mongeese, baboons, vervets, cheetah, genet cats, giraffes, zebras, and probably some others that I've forgotten to list. Every evening we saw another amazing sunset while sipping wine during the "sundowners" ritual. Our hosts (Lauren at Billy's, the granddaughter of the original owner and Massi at River Lodge) supervised the preparation of delicious and traditional South African fare. The rooms were large, clean, comfortable, and private. We were welcomed like family. What more could anyone ask for? We would go back in a heartbeat!

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled with family
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1  Thank Caryanna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 6, 2009

My wife and I visited River Lodge and Billy's Lodge at Ezulwini for 2 days each during late March/early April. Our first 2 nights were spent at the River Lodge camp which consists of some nicely appointed chalets set in a beautiful location next to the Olifants River. The camp boasts a wooden platform stretching into the bush at the back of the camp near the river. During our first half an hour - whilst having lunch on the platform - we saw our first elephant of the trip, coming to within a few metres of where we were eating and obvoulsy this was a fantastic experience.
We were reluctant to leave River Lodge, but, if anything Billy's Lodge is even better in that the location and setting of the camp - with an even bigger viewing platform built in the style of a pier - is really something very special.
The chalets at both camps are nicely appointed being decorated in a rustic African style and are a very generous size for 2 people. What we really liked was the relaxed and friendly nature of the people involved in running and servicing both camps. Whilst there is a luxury feel to the surroundings, there was no inherent feeling of 'stuffiness' which one can sometimes experience in such places. The food is freshly cooked and the wine choice is excellent, but beware as the glut makes it extremely difficult to maintain any dietary disciplines. The 'game drives' are well organised and operated by experienced and knowledgeable 'guides'. (Our thanks to Massi and Richard (River Lodge) and to Patrick and Konrad (Billy's Lodge) for showing us some marvelous game sightings and providing us with some wonderful experiences and insights of the bush.
In short the 2 camps were magic venues to view game and afterwards provide a perfect place to simply relax and enjoy the peace and quiet of the bush.
Two points that other prospective visitors should take note of however.:
1) The trip to River Lodge from the entrance gate is quite long (ca. 1 hour) and for much of this the road/track is strewn with small rocks/stones making it difficult to access with a normal road vehicle.
2) Whilst there is obviously a lot of animal/bird life in the Balule game reserve, it is for the most part genuine bush country - as opposed to open savanna - and so game viewing can be hindered by the surrounding vegetation, especially during the summer season. On saying this, we did manage to see a lot during our stay - partcularly of the lions, which are large and extremely impressive.
Once again our thanks to everyone at Ezulwini for making our stay such an enjoyable one and to Lauren who manages both sites with a quiet and friendly efficiency.

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank SwissCandN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 11, 2009

Had a weekend at Billy's camp during a business trip. Found the camp interesting and comfortable and the staff friendly and helpful. Best part was the game drives. Had been on 5 previous drives in southern Africa but had not yet seen a lion. Patrick and Conrad tracked a young male and some females down the first morning and almost (fresh tracks) of two big males the next day. Also saw 3 more of the big 5 and lots of birds and great scenery. Recommend the camp for a relaxing fun time

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled on business
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Thank KenKiama
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 31, 2008

Thanks for the stay the game drives and food were excellent.

Stayed: October 2008
Thank balls123456
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 31, 2008

We stayed at the Lodge for a week and had a excellent time. The game drives were brilliant we manage to see the big 5. The treatment at the Lodge were realy grate. I would suggest the Lodge to all my friends and family and will be making my next brake to Billy's Lodge.

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled with family
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Thank Kasteel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ezulwini Game Lodges

Address: Ezulwini Billy's & River Lodge | Olifants West Nature Reserve, Kruger National Park 1380, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Balule Nature Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 21 Specialty Lodging in Balule Nature Reserve
Price Range: $838 - $1,604 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Ezulwini Game Lodges 3*
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Ezulwini, the Zulu word for 'Place of Paradise', is situated in the centre of the Greater Kruger National Park, Balule Nature Reserve section, where Africa remains unspoiled. Ezulwini prides itself on being able to offer an exceptional African setting, indigenous fauna and flora as well as unique character and charm, to provide you with an authentic experience. Ezulwini Billy's Lodge nestles deep in the heart of lion country and offers three standard chalets as well as three new luxury suites with their own lounge area, private deck and plunge pool, indoor and outdoor shower and super King-Size beds. Ezulwini River Lodge is on the famous Olifants River, with large riverine trees and wonderful sightings of elephant, hippo and crocodile. River Lodge offers 4 standard rooms and 4 Ultra Luxury Suites. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ezulwini Game Hotel Balule Private Game Reserve
Ezulwini Game Lodges South Africa/Balule Nature Reserve

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