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“Wonderful Stay!”

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Bonamanzi Game Reserve
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 20 October 2011

I spent a 3 wonderful days at Bonamanzi, in one of the Tree Houses in the forest with my fiancé! It was magical! The food was excellent and very tasty and we were serviced by very friendly and helpful staff! Thank you Bonamanzi, we will definitely return very soon!

  • Stayed: September 2011
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Thank mishmash1985
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (175)
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151 - 157 of 176 reviews

Reviewed 30 May 2011

I stayed at bonamanzi for two nights, on my arival i could hear a manager screaming at staff and then later saw a young girl exiting crying. None of the staff seemed game to breath and I felt extremely unwelcomed. When I checked into my room, my room hadn't been made up and I had to wait until this was done and even once done was very poorly done with the room still seeming to be dirty and dusty. That evening we had dinner in the restaurant which was average and then sat out by the fire which was relaxing and enjoyable until some of the younger staff that were managing the restaurant decided to get drunk with some of the younger male guests and when I asked nicely if they would keep it down a little was rudely insulted back.

The next morning I went on a game drive which was ok, the young french girl seemed to try but didn't know much and only stuck to the main roads so we didn't get to see really anything besides a coupld of antelope which you can see walking around the lodge. I had a lot of questions about different things that we did see and really couldn't get any answers, what is a french girl doing guiding in SA, why not have sombody who knew what they were doing. Are they just trying to save money instead of giving their guests an enjoyable stay?

The only really enjoyable askpect was that we could walk around by ourselves which is what we decided to do that afternoon, the location is nice and the were a variety of different birds taht we saw.

After the terrible dinner the night before, we decided to stay in and cook our own dinner, this was lovely, except to be able to have a bbq or as they call it a braii, we had to collect our own firewood.

We would have had an enjoyable stay if we didn't deal with any staff, had a clean room that we didn't have to wait for and had a guide that knew what they were doing.

From all the places that I stayed in while in South Africa which was over 20, this was by far the worst place by far that we encounted and next time I wouldn't even stay there if I were being paid as the entire time we just felt so uncomfortale and unwelcome.

  • Stayed: October 2010, travelled with friends
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8  Thank explorer60763
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 January 2011

Lovely spot and great small game viewing (animals are very tame). Dinizulu Camp was great but finding 'lost' costumes in the pool is not a great feeling! Tree Lodge was a good setting but looking very tired and need of a decor refresh. Also ridiculous white curtains meant any sleep in was impossible due to the early and strong light. Game Lodge also in dire need of a refresh. Tree Houses OK. Infrastructure needs upgrading - we had 2 days of no power and water! Whole place could also be made more eco-friendly. Management and dealing to issues just not up to scratch, sorry. Hopefully a turn around can be made and some sprucing up. Then it will be a great place for a family holiday.

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled with family
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1  Thank Paul B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 January 2011

The location is attractive though very heavily wooded. The various lodges (which we occupied) were of varying standards. Game Lodge and Tree Lodge were of a lower standard (and price) than Dinizulu. For 2 days, we had no power or water due to a major electrical failure. Surprisingly, for a game reserve, the lodge is relies wholly on electricity (lighting, hot water and cooking). Previous guest comments also highlighted power failures (in the rainy season). The reserve needs significant investment and upgrading (new gas cookers, solar power and emergency lighting) to make it of a more acceptable standard. The lodges too need repair and maintenance. There are other lodges in the area with a better standard of facilities at a similar price.

  • Stayed: December 2010
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1  Thank liquidgiraffe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 January 2011

As above, the tree house we stayed in is in the middle of nowhere, at least a 10 minute drive to the main lodge house (which itself is in the middle of nowhere!) which has a pool and restaurant. The pool was a strange brownish colour and i certainly didnt go in it. Didn't eat in the restaurant so can't comment but poeple who did said it was OK but i did have a toasted sandwich for lunch there and it was very average.
Our lodge is itself was quite nice from the outside but very very basic inside. Never encoutered so many insects at night and they were very huge (not for the squemish). Our twin room smelt terrible and the smell didnt go for the 3 days we were there. Even had a tarantula in our room the first night! I wouldnt go back. Too remote, and far too basic.

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank joey30
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 August 2010

Bonamanzi is in a wonderful location - very peaceful. Rooms are located in individual chalets. The chalets fit in with the surroundings perfectly but the rooms are very basic and the bathrooms are very dated. The setting is amazing with widlife grazing around the grounds. Food is good, nothing amazing, but hearty amd filling. Dinner is served around the fire pit in the evenings which is lovely.

  • Stayed: October 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank Claire-Clinton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 March 2010

We stayed in a detached Lapanzi chalet (number 7) - my knees would not have got me into a tree house!
It was lovely - and had 2 bathrooms!
There were lots of towels, air conditioning and very comfortable beds and we slept as well there as anywhere else on our holiday.

Animals roamed freely around the lodges and beyond the wire fence (thankfully) lazed some uncomfortably large crocodiles!

The pool was close to our little lodge and I had a really excellent refreshing swim in it and there were also a few sun loungers.

Meals were taken in a large thatched central point and were fair enough, nothing to write home about really.

And our shock?

Well we set off to leave our little chalet to go for dinner and I opened the door, stepped out and then reversed quickly into my husband......and shut the door. My husband asked what was wrong (irritably!) and I told him to take a look. So he opened the door, peered out and closed it quickly again. There on our porch step was Mummy Warthog and her 3 babies all settled down nicely for the night (photo attached to prove it of course)

We rang reception and a ranger was sent over and I was a bit dischuffed when he really WHACKED Mummy W with a stout stick and she cried out but then ran off followed by her babies. I would have preferred him to ring a bell or bang the stick about and shout but whacking her so hard upset me.

He said we could have stepped over her - oh yes, sure.....she has large tusks and had her babies with her so I don't think so!

Anyway we were the laugh of our party and it's a good job I took a photo or no-one would ever have believed us!

It was a nice place to stay for a night and the game drive the next morning on the Hluhluwe (pronounced Shloo shlooey!) was superb and we saw many elephants, giraffes, zebras etc.

Quite an experience all round but would recommend it to anyone with the prioviso - take a torch, the lighting is not great and I was a bit nervous!

Oh and you wouldn't want to take your pet there..... !!

  • Stayed: March 2010
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2  Thank EPD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Bonamanzi Game Reserve

Address: Bonamanzi Game Park | c/o Bonamanzi Game Park, Hluhluwe 3960, South Africa
Region: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Zululand > Hluhluwe
Amenities:
Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 32 Speciality Lodging in Hluhluwe
Price Range: £132 - £149 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Bonamanzi Game Reserve 3*
Number of rooms: 38
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Bonamanzi Game Reserve, a Big 4 Reserve, is a Natural Heritage Site bordered by the spectacular Lake St. Lucia Isimangaliso Wetlands - a World Heritage Site - and the magnificent Hluhluwe River.This privately owned game reserve and safari lodge is widely recognised as one of the best birding destinations in Southern Africa. Lake St Lucia and the Hluhluwe River give Bonamanzi its Zulu name, meaning "Look, Water!". Its almost 4000 ha teams with game, and one of Bonamanzi's special features is that it provides a safe and interactive bush experience in which you can do walks or drive, with or without the company of a trained field guide. To see the Big Five animals, the famous Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve is a short 20 minute drive away or join us on one of our Game Drives.A wonderful climate prevails all year long with splendid summers and warm winter days. Set your own pace as you absorb the peaceful sounds and spectacles of three adjoining eco-systems: coastal grassland, tropical forest, and woodland. Comfortable Accommodation and every facility is available to ensure that your stay is a pleasant one, be it a peaceful getaway for couples or families, or Conference and Events or Weddings parties. And there are plenty of Activities from Boat Cruises, Bird Safari and Game Drives to relaxing at the pool at Lalapanzi Camp to ensure that your every whim is catered for.Bonamanzi Game Reserve is easily accessible, being just a few hours drive from the Durban airport as well as the Golela border post with Swaziland, and perfectly situated to explore the splendour of this heavenly part of the world. Come, and experience Zululand's warm and friendly hospitality at its finest - we'd love to share it with you ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Bonamanzi Game Park Tree House Hotel Hluhluwe
Bonamanzi Game Reserve Hluhluwe, South Africa - Zululand

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