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.
- 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