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“Bonamanzi, what a wonderful destination.”

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Bonamanzi Game Reserve
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 2 May 2014

The Bonamanzi Game reserve is firstly, a lovely destination in itself and secondly, an ideal location to use as a base while visiting three, or four perhaps, of the nearby KZN Wildlife parks. They offer accommodation to suit all standards (and pockets) - this includes camping with two or three privacy alternatives; chalet's and stilted tree-cabins. The reserve offers lovely walks, bird watching and game drives within their own reserve. There is a lovely deck as well as a bar overlooking the lake and a large restaurant. There are swimming pools which are ideal for the summer months.
The quality of food on offer at the restaurant was the only disappointment in what was a lovely stay.
They run a slick operation and the combined view of our touring party of 7 (adults and children) was that Bonamanzi is certainly a place that deserves more than one visit - this trip being our third!
The booking process (email) was extremely efficient, the staff were all friendly and are to be commended - from the gate guards all the way up the ladder, well done!

Room Tip: If you're camping sites 7-11 are large and well separated. There is however nothing wrong with t...
  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with family
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Thank omegacon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BonamanziGR, General Manager at Bonamanzi Game Reserve, responded to this reviewResponded 16 May 2014

Wow, Thank you, can I offer you a job in our Marketing Department. So good to have comments like this, and after I see you have travelled extensively.

Yours in Hospitality
The Bonamanzi Team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (176)
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135 - 141 of 176 reviews

Reviewed 11 February 2014

We had a two-day conference at Bonamanzi.

Firstly the conference room was all-glass walls, thatched roof, and on stilts over the edge of a dam (pond). Spectacular location to spend a few days strategising on the future of our organisation.

The only problem with the food was we couldn't stop eating. The variety, quantity and frequency were incredible and thoroughly enjoyed by all.

The first evening we had a boat cruise and the second evening a boma braai (barbecue). Both were fantastic, memorable experiences.

Accommodation ranged in price and quality. I was in one of the cheaper options which was very good with the exception of a very small bath and no shower. Not a major concern as we spent very little time in the rooms. The more luxury rooms were great with satellite TV large bathrooms.

Overall one of the best conference venues I have experienced.

Room Tip: Ask for a room with a shower if you can as the bath in the bath-only rooms is very small.
  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled on business
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Thank RichardHowes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BonamanziGR, General Manager at Bonamanzi Game Reserve, responded to this reviewResponded 16 May 2014

Dear RichardHowes

Thank you for the feedback, your conference was the first to use our new facility so we are excited that our vision has come to fruition and has had the desired effect.

You will be happy to know we are converting the bathrooms with tubs, into showers and therefore creating more space for our guests.

We would love to see you again, maybe next time having one of our famous Bush Breakfast?

Yours in Hospitality
The Bonamanzi Team

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Reviewed 17 January 2014

We stayed in the self catering Game Lodge, which is a great option if you are travelling with family or a group of friends and are happy to self cater. The Game Lodge has a small double bedroom and 2 single bedrooms in the main lodge area, as well as one bathroom. Next door, just outside there are two much larger twin bedrooms, each en suite. The kitchen is large and very well equipped, although the fridge was in serious need of defrosting and really didn't work well at all. If we had stayed for longer than a weekend I would have asked them to replace it as I would have been scared of the food going off as it was seriously hot. We did report the fridge to management on leaving. The main area has an air conditioner, as do the two outside rooms, however the one outside room's air con was not working.

The Game Lodge has its own private pool, which was really welcome at the end of a hot day's game viewing.

Bonamanzi Game Reserve itself is a big 4 reserve, however there are unguided walks and short drives that are allowed on a certain area, where dangerous game does not come through. The walks are great for birding, but the drives are a bit pointless if you are visiting Hluhluwe. Rather book a night drive into the private section of Bonamanzi if you want to see some game on the reserve.

Hluhluwe's north east Memorial Gate is very close, and the area provides some good game viewing.
Bonamanzi is also very close to Hluhluwe town if you want to stock up on provisions, and there is a Spar and a Shoprite, as well as some fuel stations.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
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Thank mmre
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BonamanziGR, General Manager at Bonamanzi Game Reserve, responded to this reviewResponded 16 May 2014

Dear mmre

Thank you for your comments on our Reserve and accommodation, Since you mentioned our night drives, I must tell you we have been spotting a lot of Leopard lately.

We do hope you get to come back soon for your next holiday.

Yours in hospitality
The Bonamanzi Team

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Reviewed 16 January 2014

This place is beautiful and has great potential. Unfortunately it is not managed well and the staff in some areas are quite poorly trained, nor is some of the lodging up to code. We stayed in the Tree Lodge, where the flooring was coming apart, the doors had 1inch gaps in it, and a ramp to each area that was not maintained very well. When someone walked on the ramp every building shook. The most disappointing part of the trip was the General Manager of the lodge. Instead of dealing with issues with customers privately, she handled them in front of the public in a loud manner and was quite abrupt and rude. Definitely will not be staying at this place again. We are not the only ones who have had bad experiences at Bonamanzi, numerous people have told us there experiences as well. While eating lunch at the Bonamanzi restaurant other patrons too where discussing there dissatisfaction with the place. Endomeni just down the road is where we will be staying, the staff is great and the lodge is beautiful! It is a bit more pricey but definitely worth it!

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank Margo S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BonamanziGR, General Manager at Bonamanzi Game Reserve, responded to this reviewResponded 18 February 2014

Many thanks for taking the time to write this review. I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the Directors and staff of Bonamanzi to express our sincere apologies for the unacceptable treatment you received during your visit. Without going into too much detail I would like to assure you that I, Tracey, have replaced the GM that was here during your stay. This is my second tenure at Bonamanzi, after a short break – hence I completely agree with your comment “could be brilliant”….I have a huge passion for Bonamanzi and can assure you Bonamanzi will, and has already since my return hit the heights of brilliance. Please contact me directly, as I would love to offer you the opportunity to visit again and see the real Bonamanzi and experience the warmth and hospitality that should have been afforded to you during your last stay. Once again, please accept our apologies, and my assurance that the Bonamanzi that you experienced is no longer!

Tracey

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Reviewed 5 January 2014

We stayed in the self catering tree house for 3 days from the 27th to the 30th December 2013. We did some research before booking on tripadvisor and had some idea of what to expect, but unfortunately were disappointed by the stay when we got there ourselves. A couple other reviews mentioned the long drive to and from the tree houses to main reception and while the tree houses are some distance away, the roads were in a good condition so were easily navigated.
Upon arrival at our tree house, we came in for a bit of a surprise. While from the outside the house looked presentable, stepping inside revealed quite a dated and not very clean. The kitchen and main bathroom and dining area are on the ground floor and the two bedrooms, lounge area and second bathroom (basin and loo) were located up a rather steep and awkward flight of stairs. The bathrooms especially looked old and did not smell very good. The upstairs bathroom had a number of insects - mosquitos, moths, flies and a few of spiders and a couple of rather large geckos. The kitchen was home to a couple frogs during our stay and the door let water under when it rained on the second day. The second bedroom fitted with two single beds was also cramped and hard to move around in. Not rustic in any sense, the units could do with a major renovation to make them more modern.
Game we saw driving around the game reserve was limited to a few species of antelope including Nyala, Impala, Red Duiker and Zebra. The roads that are open to visitors to drive on is not extensive, in and around the lodging and reception areas. We were told by the rangers that they had spotted elephant on one afternoon we were there, at the far end of the reserve while on the way to the boat ride. We did not see or hear of any of the other big 4 on the reserve. There is a fenced off area near the reception/spa that has a few crocodiles that one can get rather close to. We tried to arrange some activities at the reception when we arrived on friday, however the reserve was busy and had been fully booked for Friday afternoon and Saturday by the time we had arrived. Advice would therefore be to book activities in advance if one does stay at the reserve. We did manage to book a game drive for Sunday morning at Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve where we did seem rhino, buffalo, numerous antelope and birds, hippos and crocodiles. Our rangers gave us good background information and kept us well entertained and informed throughout. Due to rain and the size of the park, we did not see as many species and numbers expected.
St Lucia makes for a good day trip from the reserve, where you can take a boat ride on the estuary, visit the beach and perhaps have something to eat at the restaurants in town.
Staff were friendly and tried to help with booking activities.
Overall, accommodation could be improved to make for a better experience. Not the best value for what one pays.

Room Tip: Tree houses for the brave. Take lots of insect repellent and something for insect bites. No TV in...
  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
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Thank PraneshLuckan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BonamanziGR, General Manager at Bonamanzi Game Reserve, responded to this reviewResponded 16 May 2014

Dear PraneshLucken

Thank you for your honest review on our tree houses. I am happy to provide with the updates on the renovations of those Tree houses. -
We have upgraded our Bathrooms, including the counters, commodes and showers. The upstairs including the bedrooms have been painted and spruced up. Additionally the outside has had all the decking redone and painted. Our next project starts next month with the upgrade of the appliances. I do hope you will give us another opportunity so we may show you all the upgrades.

Yours in Hospitality
Your Bonamanzi Team

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Reviewed 2 January 2014

It is a dirt road to and from the highway and it had been raining cats and dogs! The dirt road was hectic. On arrival at our tree house, about 4 Nyala were taking shelter under it! The tree houses are basic with self catering facilities, an indoor shower and loo. It is very clean. You felt like you are on your own in the bush. There is aircon for the blistering hot days and a ceiling fan.

We opted for breakfast and dinner at the restaurant. The food was ok. For the price I expected a bit more. The deserts and pastries for breakfast need improvement.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Linmic16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 December 2013

I went there several times but it was 20 years ago , when the tree houses were very basic, when we used to find d snake skins on tree branches, when the cold water showers were screened with bamboo and u shared it with thirsty frogs and crickets, no stoves or electricity charcoal fires were great made WO derful potjes, and BBQ . I googled it recently seem to have been renovated to high standard don't know it now but loved it then, I liked the bush life as it should be same as ruffing it in man's pools but that is another adventure. Sorry the selected dates do not let me report the exact dates

Stayed: October 2013, travelled with family
Thank dominiqueStAlbansUK
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: £131 - £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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