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“Good location but in need of a revamp”

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Bonamanzi Game Reserve
Certificate of Excellence
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
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174 - 180 of 197 reviews

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
Reviewed 23 February 2010

Bonamanzi Game Park is a beautiful place to stay. It was very quiet when we were there, and you have to drive trough a dirty road a few miles, but all worth the trouble. The park is full of harmless wild life. A lot of different deers will bee seen on the way to your home. You can do a self-drive in the park and therefor i wouldn't recommend to book a game-drive from the park. Instead you can ask at the reception if they will book you a game-drive in Hluhluwe park. Much more to see and worth while.

After dinner we had a little problem in our room, because off the rainfall we had an leakage. No problem for the staff, they arranged us in a (much bigger) tree house.
The food was good, only the bush braai couldn't occurre because off the heavy rainfall. That was just a little disappointment, but they can't stop the rain of course.

We had a very pleasant stay and can recommend it to every one.

  • Stayed: October 2008, travelled as a couple
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Thank WKBHolland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 October 2009

We first went to Bonamanzi in 1974 when there was just 1 very basic tree house! Our last visit was in 1999 and although this time we were unable to stay in the now vastly superior, but really nice, trees houses, our stay at Lalapanzi "Lodge" was more than we could ever have dreamt of!! We were 5 adults and our 2 grandchildren and we all had rooms in one of the "combo" units which was wonderful! The rooms were really MOST comfortable and linen of extremely high quality, shower, WC and basin adequate, kettle, crockery and beverages in each room and a covered, furnished patio outside each one too!
A paved, lit walkway links the rooms to the central core consisting of Reception (with a deck overlooking a dam which is the home for a fair sized crocodile or 2), Dining "room" (where the meals were superb with a very good selection of food and full of atmosphere - even a "teddy" miniture couch provided for young weary heads after a busy day exploring!) and a comfortable lounge combined with a viewing deck right on the edge of the "home" dam. The pleasantly maintained grounds are shared with a variety of buck and warthog and the bird life is prolific. The walks of various lengths are well signposted, but the self-drive ones not so!! The ONLY area that needs improvement!!

The boat cruise offered on the Hluhluwe River is extremely good value as you are given an interesting game drive just to get there, and returning after dark gives you opportunity to see some of the night-;ife - even chameleons!!

A most relaxing haven and one to which we would all return! We did a recce of the camp sites and the tree-houses too - and then there are still the 2 self-catering lodges available!!

Our Grandchildren aged 10 and 6 years had the freedom to wander safely down to the communal area and had a great time!!

Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park within easy reach!

  • Stayed: September 2009, travelled with family
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Thank Heather C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 January 2009

We stayed at Bonamonzi four days in October - and I keep thinking about those four wonderful days.
We stayed in chalet 14 that opened onto the bush - nothing else in sight. It was such a delight to sit on the porch with coffee in hand early each morning and watch the antelopes in the bush. Coffee and tea maker was provided in room along with two bottles of water each day.
After this peaceful awakening we walked to the dining area for a huge breakfast. We purchased a package which included our breakfast and dinner - a very reasonable package. The staff arranged a tour of Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve for us-could not have been better. Another day the staff arranged a trip to St. Lucia for us( we had a rental car). Another day the staff arranged a trip to the Dumazulu Traditional Village. The staff was always most accomodating.
After our daily trip , we took a glass of wine to sit by the watering hole to watch the numerous birds and animals as the sun was setting. Soon we would see the nightly boma fire burning by the dining area where we would sit until time for dinner.The food at dinner was 5 star. A great variety was offered each night - we would stay at Bonamonzi just for the food.
One night we took the night safari in Bonamonzi - saw bushbabies, giraffes, elephants, and various antelopes.
Oh we want to return to Bonamonzi - and to think this was my 3rd choice when I was making plans - now it would be my first!

  • Stayed: October 2008, travelled as a couple
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Thank MarylanddJak
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 #5 of 33 Speciality Lodging in Hluhluwe
Price Range: £116 - £116 (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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