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Zulu Nyala Game Lodge
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Reviewed 25 November 2013

We spent nearly a month exploring South Africa from October 2013 to November 2013. Stayed at several game lodges and B&B's and had a great experience in general. Honestly our two worst stays were at Zulu Nyala Game lodge (this review) and Zulu Nyala Country Manor (another one of my reviews). We won a silent fund-raising auction to Game Lodge for $1350.00 which is a great deal. And it proved to be so except for the massive amounts of mosquitos everywhere at the lodge. They were in our rooms (paid extra $$ to updgade to a better room), in the lounge area, at the pool, everywhere except while on the safari vehicle. We started to suspect that the problem begins at the stagnant green pond below the eating area balcony. There are no mosquito nets in the rooms and our first room had about a 1.5" gap under the door. Our only relief from the bugs were to have the ceiling fan on high . Our second room overlooking the pool did not have a fan but the room was sealed a bit tighter and we went into town to purchase mosquito repellent and a Raid plug-in whole room mosquito repellent which helped a bit. The showers in both rooms could use some massive elbow grease to get them clean.
The food....Average but kept us fed.
Drinks...a bit on the pricey side.
Gift shop.....about 80% higher than road-side stands selling the same items.
Wi-fi.....Barely a signal in the rooms.
Air-con...Great!
Views...Amazing!
Game drives....Good (the reserve is small)
Game Ranger Howard...Exceptional! And I mean it as I have been to 5 star game lodges in SA and some of the rangers are actually boring. Howard's spirit and eagerness to share his knowledge was awesome!

Room Tip: If you won an auction at a good price you really can't go wrong. We spoke to some people who were there the same time as us who paid around $4000.00.
  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank ferret50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 November 2013

Like most we bid on a safari at the Zulu Nyala Game Lodge. The folks here are fantastic. We had two game drives per day. There are several optional tours that are most affordable when you put a party of folks together. Recommend renting your own car if you are comfortable driving on the "funny side" and shifting with your left hand. Not really as difficult as it sounds.

The concentration of wildlife is really great. This is a fenced preserve as are all of the game parks in South Africa. The animals like the elephant, rhino, giraffe do not "run free", but are in reserves. After Zulu Nyala we ventured onto Botswana for a safari experience in the "wild", however we are really glad we did Zulu Nyala as it was a great place to see a wide variety of animals close up, including Rhino and Giraffe. There are no lions here, a separate trip to Phinda is required.

The food is very good. The accommodations vary from excellent to very good. Clean, well maintained and safe. Highly recommend the Zulu village and school tour.

Meals are served in central dining hall, usually buffet style. There are other options with tenting, etc. at sister sites we did not explore.

Room Tip: Rent your own car if you can. Do the Zulu village tourn. For souvenirs, head to Ilala Weavers
  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Jim-and-Donna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 November 2013

If you have come to Africa to see big game....this is as good a place as any! We bought our trip at a charity auction and found that everyone we met there had also. Our room was #29 and was perched above the cliff that expanded out among the Sahara ... Room 29 had 1 king sized bed and 2 twins, a sitting room and a bathroom with oversized shower, soaking tub and two sinks. It was massive and luxurious.

One morning as I was leaving my room to go on a game ride....I heard the splitting of lumber...I walked to edge of cliff and there were the three resident elephants ....big as life! These prehistoric beings lumbering by the lodge in search of nourishment.

The food is good, the people are terrific. The Zulu people are so gracious and kind. So excited to share their world.

We left some of our clothes behind (had to make room for the treasures) and our chamber maid was very excited to have some new stuff!
,
Well worth the trip.... We met people from all over the world

Room Tip: I'm told the rooms by the pool are great but I liked room 29
  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Annie C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 November 2013

When I attended a gala dinner celebrating the hundredth anniversary of the girl scouts the furthest thing from my mind was ending up on safari in South Africa. But there on the silent auction table sat an opportunity for adventure and somehow my daughter talked me into placing a bid. The result was serendipitous. We had a fantastic time.

We started our journey in May, just after my daughter's spring semester ended. We first spent three days in Cape Town where the weather fully cooperated and we enjoyed some breathtaking views of the Cape from the top of Table Mountain, and enjoyed a guided tour of the cape. More on that part of the trip in a different review.

When we arrived at Zulu Nyala it took a few minutes to clear up a mix-up regarding our reservations. Make sure you get confirmation of any changes you make to your original reservations. Soon we were enjoying a stunning sunset from the restaurant.

Ronnie was our guide for the week. We learned a lot about how he was tracking the animals and enjoyed each of the drives with him, but a big part of the overall experience are the side trips:

Bayete Zulu Elephant Interaction - Definite yes on the attraction. We went in the ZN van, Other than meeting some new people, it provided no advantage over going in our own car.

Phinda - Don't miss this one. It can only be arranged by ZN. The lions are worth it.

St. Lucia Boat Cruise and Horse Riding. My daughter is president of her college equestrian team. We couldn't miss out on the riding and we enjoyed that part of the trip. The boat ride had some great views of the crocs and fish eagles, but it was mostly just eyes for the hippos. We got better hippo viewing on site at ZN.

Emdoneni Cat Rehabilitation Centre - We went on our own for the morning tour. It's only a short drive away. The tour was just us and another couple. Getting in the enclosures with these wonderful cats was a thrill and a highlight of the week.

Scuba Diving in Sodwana Bay - We did this as our own side trip. The reef is healthy and the diving was fantastic. If my daughter had more interest in diving I would have booked into Sodwana Bay Lodge for a few days between leaving Cape Town and arriving at ZN.

Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park - Nearby and easy to drive through on your own, which we did. We got some good pictures, especially of birds, but I think we missed a lot as well since we didn't have a guide.

For the ZN part of the trip we flew in and out of Durban and used a rental car. I was initially apprehensive about the drive, but the main highway is a good road and it was not difficult at all. In short, this trip wasn't on my bucket list - but it should have been!

  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled with family
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4  Thank Mark G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 November 2013

We stayed at the Zulu Nyala Lodge the end of Oct. We had a wonderful time, in no small part due to our terrific guide Riann and the 6 other amazing people that shared our twice daily game drives. Riann is incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about his animals. The Lodge sits at the top of the hills in the game reserve so you are in the middle of the animals. We found warthogs outside our patio one day, nyala another and elephants about 200 yards away on our final day! It isn't truly luxurious but remember you are on a safari so keep your perspective. We enjoyed every bit of it from the buffet meals to the side trips. We chose the Cheetah Rehab, the Mbonise school visit and an afternoon-into-night game drive to Phinda to see lions, which we did. All were interesting and very worthwhile.

We upgraded into room 51, spacious with lots of windows, high ceilings and a king bed. We had expansive views from our patio which is also near the pool. If your accommodations matter to you, ask about an upgrade. We were initially booked into the Lodge then the tents but elected to stay in the Lodge our entire stay. We did not regret this choice even though the tents looked fine and completely safe.

We rented a car with GPS and drove from the Durban airport but if it's convenient, fly in and out of Richards Bay and arrange for a driver. Richards Bay is about an hour closer than Durban. My husband found driving a little more stressful than he imagined. They drive on the opposite side of the road and pass at interesting times. Although the roads are good, be forewarned you need to pay attention!

As with most, we bought this 6 night safari at an auction. It turned into a 15 day trip to S. Africa starting at Durban and the Fairmont Zimbali Resort and ending at the Steenberg Hotel and Winery outside Cape Town. It will be one of the more memorable experiences of my lifetime!

Room Tip: We upgraded into room 51. It had a king bed, high ceilings and lots of windows. Room 53 is similar, closer to the pool. Room 52 has the same layout but has no side windows. There are also suites available. If your accommodations matter to you, pay for an upgrade.
  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Patti S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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