We stayed at Hlosi for three nights shortly after Christmas, with our two children aged 7 and 4.
Hlosi is located in the Amakhala private game reserve, so a few comments about that first. It is exactly what it says, a large game reserve, not a large national park like Kruger, Masai Mara, Tsavo etc. As a first safari experience, particularly for children, it's great - you are guaranteed to see most of the things you want to and it's non-malarial. If, however, you've been on safari elsewhere there may be an underlying feeling that you're in a very large safari park. This is particularly the case for the lions - they only have two (one male + one sterilised female) and these are in a separate fenced area to the main park. This isn't meant to be critical, just a statement of the facts - our children really enjoyed the game drives and our ranger from the Hlosi lodge was good.
Unfortunately, it's difficult not to be critical of a number of aspects of the Hlosi Lodge itself. We stayed in a family room (room 5), which was spacious, and well appointed. The main lodge building itself is very nice too. However, quite a number of aspects did not come up to the supposedly "5 star" standard that they portray on their website.
1)The water pressure in the room was very low. Therefore the beautifully photographed outside jacuzzi bath and outdoor shower didn't work. It was obvious that the manager knew this when showing us round and that it is a long-term state of affairs (I now note reviews from Sept and July 2012 which mention this point too).
2) On one day we had no water at all in the room, to the extent that the toilet wouldn't flush. It was fixed in the afternoon, but we'd proactively had to ask to use another room's shower etc - it wasn't offered.
3) The swimming pool was disgusting. It was covered in debris, had scum on top, and "slimy" sides. Apparently the pump failed in November due to a flood - they're waiting for an insurance payout and are "throwing some chlorine in every few days". Some half hearted "we'll try to do something tomorrow" comments were made, but of course that didn't happen.
4) The website proudly highlights their kids activity programme ( "cooking pizza", "walking safari" etc). All conspicuous by it's absence. The default was a DVD. It picked up a bit when we said we expected more, but it was miles away from the advertised programme.
5) The food was very, very, average. Nowhere near 5 star.
We raised some of the above points with the "manager" - who said he'd "heard it all before numerous times", and just about mumbled a "sorry". He actually walked away from us mid-discussion and from his point of view the matter was clearly closed. When he realised the next day that we would quote him on having "heard it all before" he had the cheek to lie and say that "he would never use those words".
All of the above feedback has been given directly to the lodge management, so this review should come as no surprise to them.
This lodge isn't cheap and we found it to be poor value for money. We cannot recommend it and suggest you look elsewhere........
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hlosi Game Lodge Offers 4-Star Family-Friendly Safari Trips In The 7 500 ha Malaria-Free Amakhala Game Reserve, Eastern Cape South Africa. Hlosi Game Lodge is a small 6-room game lodge in Addo, near the city of Port Elizabeth offering rich wild life game-viewing and luxurious game lodge accommodation for the whole family. Our six suites lie along a gentle curve of hill above a river plain, and offer wide-open views from your private deck. The main lodge includes elegant lounge and dining areas, and a hard-to-leave bar overlooking the swimming pool and waterhole. With only six suites, Hlosi offers a unique, intimate safari trip with personal game viewing experiences. We're privileged to be able to share our love for conservation, food and life with you. Our four double suites and two 2-roomed family suites may also be booked exclusively as an intimate venue for small team-building events, conferences and weddings. ... more less
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