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“Great place to stay for game park”
Review of Emdoneni Lodge

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Emdoneni Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 13 April 2014

We stayed for five nights at Emdoneni Lodge as a convenient place for the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi game park and the St Lucia wetlands area. The latter is a 45 minute easy drive.

We were upgraded to the honeymoon suite Windfall Cottage, which had a large bedroom, lounge and big bathroom. The bedroom and bathroom were only partially separated by a wall, which might be a bit disconcerting for some. The shower was outside in the private garden. There was a safe in the room, air conditioning in the bedroom and a TV in the lounge (no satellite). There were wine and spirits and water in a fridge in the lounge area but no beer. Outside there was a patio with chairs and a table and a view of the extensive gardens including zebra and impala wandering at leisure!

Emdoneni Lodge houses several big cats in its Cheetah Project, which they hope to breed from and return to the wild. Our package included a tour of the enclosures which are available to the public as well. We could also see the cats occasionally from our patio!

You can book various trips with the hotel including game drives in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi game park – we did a three-hour one but it was quite disappointing as we saw almost nothing. We made up for it by driving ourselves the next day and had some good sightings of elephants. Obviously we don’t blame the hotel for the lack of animals but it’s worth bearing in mind when paying for a trip that you might not see much.

All the staff were very pleasant and helpful. Everywhere was very clean and the gardens were pleasant, with a small pool. At night you can have your drinks on the terrace in front of a lovely open fire.

Breakfasts were generally very good but dinners were an issue. Many guests are in coach parties and only staying one night so it’s easier to provide a buffet and this was all we were offered the first two nights. Dinner is supposed to be 7-9 pm but when we went to eat at just after 8.00 the burners under the food had been turned off and the food was cold. We chose what we wanted and it was reheated for us in the microwave which was not ideal. A group of people came in at 8.45 and were turned away. So it’s probably best to eat early.

The last two nights we were offered a la carte which was better quality although there was limited choice – just one starter and only two choices for dessert. There was no explanation of why there was only a buffet the first two nights and a la carte the last two. All a bit confusing but probably none of this is an issue if you’re only staying one or two nights.

There is nowhere else to eat in the area. The nearest place is Hluhlwe, about 8 miles away and the only options we saw there were a Wimpy or the Protea hotel.

Despite this, we had a good time at Emdoneni and would definitely recommend it as a base for Hluhluwe-Imfolozi game park.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank JaneandIan7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lodge-Owners, Owner at Emdoneni Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 30 April 2014

Dear Guests

Thank your for your lovely review after your 5 day stay at Emdoneni!

We normally upgrade our long stay guests to our best room at NO extra cost. We always strive to offer our guests the best.

Satellite TV is for sure available in the room. Guests seems to battle to understand remote controls ie tv remotes and aircon remotes. You should have mentioned it as it could be sorted out for your asap.

Kind regards
Owners

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134 - 140 of 274 reviews

Reviewed 5 March 2014

We entered into a lovely neat room with a neat and tidy bathroom. I looked through the window and saw leopards! Yes, we had a view of leopards from our room and that was just brilliant and pretty unbelievable. The game drive was exciting and we saw many rhinos and other animals. The cat rehab centre was an informative experience and amazing to be so close to such beautiful creatures. Definitely a great investment :)

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Nastassja G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lodge-Owners, Owner at Emdoneni Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 18 March 2014

Dear awesome guests

Though we have not met, thank you for the lovely review. Indeed we are very proud of our lodge, working hard and appreciate our cat family!

Looking forward to meet you in the future.

Kind regards
Louis & Cecillie
Owners

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Reviewed 2 March 2014

Nice large room with private porch. Nice bathroom and little room with refrigerator. No t.v. but we didn't need it. Food was quite good. Downside was that pool was very slippery and I fell going into it and landed on my butt which, 2 weeks later, is still sore and black and blue. Pool was delicious though, perfect on a very hot day.

Room Tip: No bad rooms but ask for one closer to pool and restaurant as the paths aren't paved.
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  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank chlovis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lodge-Owners, Owner at Emdoneni Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 18 March 2014

Dear Guest

Thank you for the time to write your review. Wishing you all the best!

Kind regards
Owners

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Reviewed 28 February 2014

We absolutely loved our stay at Emdoneni in Hluhluwe. We had a double/ family room which was clean and comfortable. The Lodge facilities - pool, kids play area and general surrounds were well maintained. The boma and bush dinner experiences were fun and the food was well prepared. Very close to the Hluhluwe game reserve and other attractions. Game drives leave every day to take tourists into the reserve, however we did self drive. Staff were friendly and helpful. As a family, we enjoyed the Lodge experience. The Big cat sanctuary was wonderful to see and we were given a tour of the facility - cheetah, caracal, serval and African wild cat.

Room Tip: As a family, we stayed in the rondavel double rooms which were well suited to our needs.
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  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with family
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Thank CatloverDurban
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lodge-Owners, Owner at Emdoneni Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 18 March 2014

Dear Cat lover

It was great to note that you have enjoyed your stay with us. It is always good to read that our guests had a good time at Emdoneni.

Warm regards
Cecillie

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Reviewed 16 February 2014

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
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 reviewResponded 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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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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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 reviewResponded 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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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
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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 reviewResponded 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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Additional Information about 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 #3 of 32 Speciality Lodging in Hluhluwe
Price Range: £103 - £175 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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