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Thanda Safari Lodge
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Reviews (398)
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Reviewed 20 April 2014

Villa Izulu is absolutely beautiful. It's extremely spacious, equipped with a library stocked with books for all tastes, musical instruments for those so inclined (I had a baby grand piano to play on - albeit in want of some maintenance, and guitars), lounge areas indoors and out, wifi (a weak signal) and spacious and beautifully kept gardens and pool with a covered ping-pong table and treadmill. The en suite bedrooms are large and luxurious, each one overlooking the grounds with patio areas to lounge in.
The staff, led by Lucas, was a step ahead of us guests at all times. Every time we disembarked at the villa from our safari landrover, Sma was waiting with a smile and a warm facecloth for each of us to wipe our dusty faces. A short while after our children got into the pool, out came Lucas with a basket of a variety of sun screens. Towards the evening, there appeared in the parents' rooms 2 little liqueur bottles. At bedtime, mosquito nets were let down around the 4 poster beds, etc etc.
The food we were served was delicious, varied and plentiful, almost always at the gourmet level. One of us had just celebrated a big birthday, and was surprised with a birthday cake and 4 people singing happy birthday with it! Whenever asked, the chef produced extras - if it be some more of the delicious bread from last night, the mouth watering chocolate biscuits from yesterday, etc.
Lucas was ever so gracious, attending to our every whim. Sma always had a smile for each of us and the other staff were also friendly.
Our game rides, skillfully driven by our ranger Sbu and accompanied by Lucky our tracker, were an experience. Sbu was great with our kids, seating them firmly but gently right behind him so that he can make sure they do what they are supposed to in order to stay safe, and explaining things particularly interesting for them. He is extremely knowledgeable and taught us not only about the animals, but also about the bush in general. We were not always lucky with game viewing and Sbu tried to keep it fun with interesting facts about the flora we encountered.
One small spoke in the wheel was the fact that in spite of having arranged a late departure on the day we left (14:00), at 10:30 we were told that unexpectedly, some of the following day's guests were arriving a day early and could we please be gone by 11:30. The cleaning began before we had quite finished packing and leaving the rooms. This happened to suit us, as our plans too had changed at the last minute. But had they not, either we or the following guests would have been very inconvenienced.
Another small but slightly strange issue was that although cold drinks were "on the house" at all times, there were 2 or 3 specific cold drinks which weren't. So Appeltizer and a couple of others had to be paid for. Considering the price we had paid for our 48 hours at the villa, this seemed a little petty.
Drinks, by the way, although available for free, were not out there for the having but rather had to be asked for specifically. Also here, we felt that a little drinks corner with accessible drinks to be taken independently would have been nicer.
My last remark is about the "high teas", which were very tasty and varied. The food was set out in advance as a cold meal so that when we were ready, off came the glad wrap and we could tuck in. Some of the food is normally served warm, and indeed would have been much nicer warmed (eg little individual quiches),
Bottom line - beautiful villa and surroundings, wonderful hospitality and service, an exceptional experience well worth the money spent.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with family
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Thank Tammy0364
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 April 2014

We rented the Villa iZulu in March 2014. It was one of the most incredible experiences I've had. The staff was lovely, the property breathtaking, the safaris mind-blowing and the food exceptional. We truly have not even a drip of negative feedback, we loved every minute and didn't want it to end. I want to go back!

Some of the people who truly touched our experience: Richard & Wynneth (game rangers), Lucas (villa manager), Sphiwe, Sma, our chef (forgetting her name), and many many more!

Room Tip: Stay at the Villa iZulu. It is mind-blowing.
  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Meghan H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 April 2014 via mobile

Thanda is very conveniently located only a Short drive off the N2. Excellent tented camp which is more luxury than Any tent you ve ever seen. , skilled and friendly staff, but most important; the best game driver!
Really made an effort to find what is there to see and always found it! Accompanied with a friendly Smile! Really recommend it!

  • Stayed: April 2014
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1  Thank Cala084
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 April 2014

We arrived to a very warm welcome by staff at the main gate and stayed for three nights at Thanda Lodge. The staff were incredible as was the food and our room was stunning with total privacy. We had Elephants drinking from our private pool which was an unforgettable experience as we were less than four metres from them. We went on six games drives with Grace our ranger and Mr X our tracker, they were both very knowledgeable and did us proud, out of the big 5 Leopard was the only animal missing. We highly recommend Thanda to anyone who enjoys a few days in the bush, we will be returning this year.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank wheelchairtravel58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 March 2014

Stayed 2 nights in the tented camp... Accommodation is comfortable, and food was fine.... Excellent guides..... There had been a lot of rain in previous weeks, so animals quite dispersed..... Nevertheless, we did finally manage to find one of the elephant breeding herds, which was a great experience....

We also visited Hluhluwe-imfolozi national park, which is quite close to Thanda.... Saw many rhino, buffalo, zebra etc by the waterholes close to the Hluhluwe entrance.... So would definitely recommend that too!

Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
1  Thank 717RobertT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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