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“The Lodge in the park.”
Review of Emdoneni Lodge

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Emdoneni Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
51 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“The Lodge in the park.”
Reviewed 16 February 2014 via mobile

This beautiful lodge,the Emdoneni Lodge ,in Kwazulu Natal region ,on the Hluhluwe reserve,was like going to a camping village, but upgraded to nice cabins,nice bathrooms, beautiful grounds,but all just a bit rustic to blend into the surroundings of the game reserve.
The lodge is protected, but there are some animals roaming around, and it is adjacent the cheetah conservation area which is accessible to visitors and is part of the experience of being there.

Dinner was a nice buffet, not huge, but nothing was huge in this little place.
A very more than adequate breakfast, and a nice pool, but it sort of felt out of season for use.
Only small drawback, is that the tour did not include the 2nd night meal, and given that we were not mobile, and not in a region of choices, there should have been more of an option for their dinner plan,or the tour package should just include the dinners, and build it into the price.
But, just the same , the food was good, and not expensive.

Stayed February 2014, travelled on business
Helpful?
1 Thank Elliott S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lodge-Owners, Owner at Emdoneni Lodge, responded to this review, 18 March 2014
Dear Guest

Thank you for the time to write the review. Unfortunately the tour package is not done by us but by the tour agent in the USA. Your feedback is highly appreciated and this will be forwarded to the tour planners. 2nd dinner is unfortunately not paid for by the agent.

Our buffet dinners are of high standard and offers a huge variety for a little place like Emdoneni. To keep above the appetite of our guests seems to be a compliment for us!

Take care & warm regards
Owners
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256 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
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  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (51)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
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English first
Westbrook Ct
Level Contributor
14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 February 2014

Our stay here was arranged by the Smartour people whose 17 day tour of South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland, Zululand , Zimbabwe and Victoria Falls. It is not a luxury accommodation, but was very adequate in all aspects and quite charming. The accommodation comprised of small buildings that housed two parties in separate rooms. They were quite large and nicely decorated. The tiled shower stall could have fit 5 people. The buffets served for meals was quite good however one night they ran out of the main entree. The safari we went on had probably the best guide we had over the 17 days we were there.
If you stay here be SURE to take the Cat encounter tour given by Jimmy. As an animal lover it was one of the 2 highlights of my trip. Jimmy has enclosures with various kinds of wild cats he had rescued and brought up. He showed us how he fed them. But the big thrill of this tour was him bringing us inside the large fenced in area where 3 full grown cheetahs were kept. You had to suspend the thought that anything could go wrong and just do it. With each cat, he got them to come over to him, lay down on the ground and then let us pose with them. We were so close we were able to pet their heads (boy did they purr loudly) and pose with our chins inches from the top of their heads! It was a thrill of a lifetime for me! And it was very reasonable , like $16 for several hours. Can't recommend it enough.

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank MissCocoWestbrookCt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lodge-Owners, Owner at Emdoneni Lodge, responded to this review, 18 March 2014
Dear Guest

Thank you for your lovely review.

As said to another guest on the same series, the American guests seems to love our food and unfortunately did not cater for 4 servings per person on the main entree. Feather in our ha!! Our entree's are delicious and our chefs are very proud in what they do. Next time we will make sure you will get your fair share on the entrees.

Warm regards
Owners
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Bangkok, Thailand
Level Contributor
96 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 January 2014

We stayed in this resort for three days in early Januay. The rooms and the grounds were very clean and the staff courteous. We very much enjoyed the morning private tour of the cats (which is available to hotel guests only). We had gone on the normal afternoon tour two days before and it was much less enjoyable with 50 people. Another highlight, just out the front gate, is the Zulu village. We expected it to be kitchy but it was very well done and informative.

The food at the hotel was excellent, very tasty and served buffet-style. Wifi is available at an extra cost.

We also took a day trip to Hluhluwe National Park. It was an enjoyable afternoon and we saw rhinos and cape buffalo and several types of antelope. Our guide was excellent.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Banuwati
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lodge-Owners, Manager at Emdoneni Lodge, responded to this review, 24 January 2014
Dear Guest

Many thanks for your lovely review. Emdoneni strives to be the best ever experience to all our guests!

Looking forward to meet with you again.

Kind regards
Cecillie
owner
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Pretoria, South Africa
Level Contributor
3 reviews
Reviewed 6 January 2014

Emdoneni Lodge is such a lovely destination if you are in the mood for Sea and Bush.
They not only have wonderful facilities at the lodge but offer game drives and Fishing charters that is exactly what i need.

The friendly and helpful staff make you feel at home and relaxed. The owners make it special with personal attention to visitors and will go the extra mile to help and accommodate the patrons needs.

An added bonus is the the "cat" project that is not only educational but very informative to all visitors and at the end of this show you can sit down and have a wonderful lite meal and drinks or take more pictures of the animals or just ask more questions to the well trained guides.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank ivanw26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lodge-Owners, Owner at Emdoneni Lodge, responded to this review, 13 January 2014
Dear Ivan

Many thanks for your lovely review, it is always a honor to be your host!

Looking forward to another great visit, hopefully soon.

Warm regards
Louis & Cecillie and family
Owners
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
La Jolla
Level Contributor
132 reviews
51 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 December 2013

Had an opportunity last month to visit Emdoneni for one night. As part of our stay we did the tour of the big cat enclosures and really enjoyed the opportunity to get into the enclosures with the cheetahs, Servals and Caracals. We were able to get some great photos and pet the babies. Another rare thing is they are trying to breed for reintroduction the wild cat which is hard to ever see in the wild. The accommodations were nice and the food was very good. Overall a good value and quite close to the highway so a convenient stopover if you are in the area.

Room Tip: Rooms near the pool and restaurant seem to be good and avoid long walks
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank AnthonyPM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lodge-Owners, Owner at Emdoneni Lodge, responded to this review, 18 December 2013
Dear Guest

Many thanks for taking the time to do a lovely review for us.

We are happy to read that you enjoyed Emdoneni as much as all our guests do.

Take care and enjoy the Festive season.
Kind regards
Owners
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hermosa Beach, California, United States
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviewed 5 December 2013

We were with a large tour group and did not expect this exceptional Lodge and experience. We loved the grounds sharing with the impala and other animals. The check in was easy even for our large group and the rooms were very nice and updated. The food at the restaurant was also very good and we enjoyed our game drives at Hluhluwe Game Reserve. I had the experience of a lifetime on the cat rehabilitation tour. The trainer was very informative experiencing the feeding of the African Cats and Corval and I was able to pet and lay down with Moya the Cheetah as well as pet the Serval. My friends could not believe my pictures. I was also able to enjoy the pool in the afternoon which was very nice and peaceful. My only regret is that we were only here 2 nights and I would have liked to stay longer.

Room Tip: Our room was pretty far from the restaurant but we did not mind as very quiet.
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  • Stayed October 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank Lisa M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lodge-Owners, Owner at Emdoneni Lodge, responded to this review, 6 December 2013
Dear Guests

Thank you for your honest review - it is good to read that you had a great experience with us!

Please do try and come and visit again, would love to meet you in person.

Blessings,
Owners
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New York City, New York
Level Contributor
60 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 99 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 December 2013

Pros:
• Cute and intimate lodge where guests can have their own private huts or you share 2 rooms per hut. Interior is clean and homey, felt like a more upscale cabin in the African jungle. The main lodge with the restaurant and open space is also nice and comfortable.
• Good food- we had a special dinner buffet for our tour group and regular daily breakfast buffet. We thoroughly enjoyed dinner- roasted chicken, pasta, spinach and cabbage. For breakfast - loved the beans and fresh scrambled eggs from the egg station. I wish they served muffins at daily and not just at Continental Breakfast. I do have to note that the cocoa puffs cereal was stale and corn bread was not very good.
• So glad we visited the Cat Rehabilitation Center that operates with Emdoneni Lodge (160 RAND). We got to see African Wildcats, servals, cheetahs, and caracals. The highlight was petting cheetahs and baby servals. You can tell the rangers are passionate about animals and take really good care of the cats.

Cons:
• The shower head could be replaced- while the hot water did come pretty quickly...the water pressure wasn't strong and came out too sparsely.
• Wish we had more complimentary WiFi than just 50MB for the first night then having to pay after that.

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank AnnL148
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lodge-Owners, General Manager at Emdoneni Lodge, responded to this review, 6 December 2013
Dear Guest

Thank you for your review, happy to read that you had a lovely time at the lodge.

WiFi in SA is extremely expensive and for a small operation like ourselves it is financially not viable to hand out more MB free of charge. To actually have this facility was taken many months of planning and many hours of hard work and it all came with a high financially implications as well. We are surrounded by trees and bush, the antenna to cover your WiFi access is 15 m high! Our guests are just so happy to have access to WiFi and appreciate the effort rather than to complain.

It is not that the shower head has to be replaced, we are making use of a pressure pump system and using bore hole water, a very scarce commodity.

Warm regards
Owners
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Additional Information about Emdoneni Lodge

Property: Emdoneni Lodge
Address: District Road 123 | Bushlands, Hluhluwe, South Africa
Phone Number:
Region: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Zululand > Hluhluwe
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 32 Speciality Lodging in Hluhluwe
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3 star — Emdoneni Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 44
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Following the 2015 voting period, Emdoneni Lodge has won: Global Winner in the Luxury Game Lodge category of the World Luxury Hotel Awards. If you ever dreamt of getting close to nature, interacting with tame cats like Cheetah, Emdoneni Lodge is the place to visit! Located in the heart of Zululand lies Emdoneni Lodge. The lodge offers unique opportunities for the visitor, as you get up close and personal with local wildlife. From sitting by the pool watching Zebra, Nyala, duiker and impala in their natural Sand Forest habitat, to coming face to face with Cheetah, Serval, Caracal and African Wild Cats at the Cat Sanctuary! Air-conditioned, en-suite rooms allow you to escape the heat of the day, and in the evenings you have a variety of meals to choose from at the buffet restaurant. Dinner in the Boma adds a different atmosphere as you eat under the African night sky, and get a glimpse into one of South Africa's great cultures with our Zulu dancers. End off your evening with a night-cap in our cosy bar or a chat in front of the fireplace. Your Zululand experience would not be complete without visiting nearby Hluhluwe/Imfolozi Game Park in one of the Lodges' game vehicles, or taking a trip to St Lucia to view some Hippo's and crocodiles on a lazy afternoon boat ride. Other activities on offer include Fishing charters, visiting the nearby Zulu cultural village, quad biking, horse riding or spending the day on the infamous Cape Vidal and Sodwana Bay beaches. Emdoneni Lodge offers the visitor a chance to experience Zululand at its' best. Centrally located and close to the main attractions that Zululand has to offer! Not long dirt roads to travel on.... A Home away from home!Your hosts Louis and Cecillie Nel look forward to meeting you, and from all the staff at Emdoneni - Salani Kahle. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Emdoneni Lodge Hluhluwe, South Africa - Zululand

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