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“Amazing African Experience - If you get the chance to go...TAKE IT!”

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Zulu Nyala Game Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Sherwood, Oregon
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Amazing African Experience - If you get the chance to go...TAKE IT!”
Reviewed 3 February 2010

My best friend and I spent a week at the Zulu Nyala Game Lodge at the end of April 2009. Her husband purchased it for us at the annual Safari Club International Convention in Reno. What an incredible trip! The grounds of the property were immaculate, the staff was so attentive and catered to our every need and the food was awesome! Our safari guide, Sipho ("sippo") was so knowledgeable of the history of the Zulu people, the land and the animals - he was a delight!
The entertainment from the Cultural Center was delightful and did I mention the wine?!
We'd go back in a minute! Thank you for such warm and wonderful memories!

  • Stayed April 2009, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank FlyGirlGail
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Oregon
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 January 2010

As with most of the other guests we got this trip as the result of a charity auction and knew it would be a once in a lifetime trip so wanted to make the best of it and we did. The Game Lodge has thatched roofs, which were fun and we woke each morning to the sounds of the monkeys running over them. Much better than an alarm clock. Rooms were nice enough but not as clean as most American hotels, but then, we weren't in America and didn't expect 5 star quality. Meals were adequate but a repeat of the same buffet morning and night gets little tiresome after the 4th or 5th day.

Do take the day trips offered to Phinda and the Zulu village and school. Phinda is a neighboring game reserve where you will see animals not available at Zulu Nyala and get another insight into the South African experience. Going to the village and school was on eye opening experience. We discussed renting a car and driving ourselves around rather than take guided trips but I am glad we didn't. We learned so much more about the Zulu culture and daily life by talking with our Ranger. And let me tell you, our Ranger, Sifiso, was the best. He was very knowledgeable about the animals and his sense of humor made every day more fun. His recommendations were always right on.
He found out what interested our group and made an effort to be sure everyone got to do what they wanted, even if he had to enlist another Ranger to help if we wanted to go our separate ways.

Overall, we had a great stay, saw amazing animals, and made great friends. The only bad part of the trip came after we returned home. We had collected quite a few souvenirs and rather than hassle with them at the airport had the lodge ship them for us. Unfortunately we did nor received everything we purchased and three emails to the lodge asking about our missing belonging were never responded to. I highly recommend you do not have them ship for you.

  • Stayed November 2009, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
7 Thank Itraveltolearn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 January 2010

Like most of the Americans we met during this trip, we won our safari during a charitable auction. I think that we got a great deal, but I had done a little research in advance & knew to expect to spend some time & additional money on some of the excursions that are offered.

The staff at ZN has a pretty good idea of some local attraction s & excursions that will make the most of your stay in the area. You should be prepared to invest in these additional excursions to ensure that you get maximum exposure to all the wonderful animals that Africa has to offer. We were assigned our own Safari Ranger (Ranger Chris) on the first day and paired up with 2 other couples. Fortunately, we got along with the other couples & found that having others made for interesting travel, conversation, and reduced prices on the excursions. Our Ranger, Chris, is from South Africa. Chris is extremely knowledgeable on the animals & how to best find them. The best part of the trip was all the animals that we found on the game drives. When we compared the animals we found with some of the other groups, we found that along with the easier spotted animals (giraffe, elephant, rhino, zebra) we were exposed to some “harder to find” animals (Wild Dog packs, Leopard & Lions). I attribute this to Chris’ energy & passion for the work that he does. He truly made this an African Adventure that we’d recommend to all our friends & family. Of the excursions, I’d recommend the Hluwe/Umfolzi Park (HUP), Phinda Game Reserve, and St Lucia – all a MUST DO! There are game drives on ZN but there are limited animals on site & you can cover the entire land in 3-4 drives.

The breakfast buffets were delicious – no complaints whatsoever. The lunches were menu driven a la carte. We found out later in the week that we could have had more than one entrée - so feel free to try more than 1 thing. For some excursions, we had prepackaged breakfast or lunch – which I didn’t really like at all. The dinner buffets were pretty good but I did get tired of it after a couple of days. There were some game meats that we were able to try (impala, wart hog etc) which were neat to say you did it but after one bite, I mainly stuck to the vegetable sides. You are permitted to invite your Ranger to join the group for dinner – I think they enjoy this so feel free to invite them.

Our room was probably one of the best at the lodge. It was an end unit with an awesome panoramic view of the valley. The rooms near the pool are def the best. The lodge has a thatched roof – we found quite a few geckos in our room. The worst part of our stay was the occasional gecko droppings in our room.

There is an optional no obligation precious gems/diamond viewing you can schedule. My husband requested this & we ended up buying a piece of jewelry at wholesale prices. When we returned home, we had a GIA jeweler appraise it & it was valued at twice as much as we paid so it was def worth the investment. You will need the reciept for the VAT tax refund – so make sure you request 2 copies of the reciept because you will have to leave the original with the VAT office.

One of the areas, I wish I would have had more guidance on was the Tipping process. The staff that supports the visitors does a great job of making your stay comfortable & worry-free. Be sure to include costs for Tipping in your budget. For “general wait staff” tips plan for at least 10% but since the meals are included you may consider a “final” Tip to be shared among the staff. We also tipped our housekeeper. The Ranger is your guy to coordinate the excursions & ensure that the trip is memorable. Your Ranger will bust their humps to make sure you have a great time. Make sure you tip generously – the recommended amount is 100 Rand (about $13) a day per couple.

Zulu Nyala is not the Ritz Carlton, but I think most people head over there for the great outdoors. ZN will not disappoint. Now that we know what Africa is all about, we’ll definitely return with a higher level of confidence & would feel comfortable in planning our own trip & excursions directly. We cannot wait to return for another African adventure.

  • Stayed January 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank olearymary
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NickG-GM, General Manager at Zulu Nyala Game Lodge, responded to this review, 27 January 2010
Dear Mary

Thank you very much for taking the time to write your comments regarding your trip to our lodge.
Chris is reknowned amongst the guys to be very passionate at what he does, and certainly makes a great ambassador for Zulu Nyala.
Your comments regarding the packed lunches is definitely taken seriously and we have discussed the matter in the past to upgrade the packed Breakfast and Lunch Meals. There is definitely room for improvement.
Its a pity to hear you were not to fond of the venison but it does take a certain aquired taste to enjoy it, I am glad you tried it anyway. Not everyone gets the opportunity to eat impala and warthog
Once again thank you for the comments and the constructive points, we will improve.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
fjstewartjr
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 7 January 2010

If you are even thinking about this as a trip, I would not even think twice about this place! The Rooms and grounds around the hotel are very nice. We had a room by the pool and it was over looking a vast valley and thge view was breathtaking. Our tour guide (Kyle) was awsome he was very knowlegeable about everything in and around the park. He also was very accomodating with our wants. I will definately retun to this place. The safari rides are one in the morning and one in the afternoon, if you want to do more than all you have to do is ask your guide. The side trips they offer were great also, We did St. Lucia/cape vidal and Hluhluwe/umfalozi game park, and the Cheetah Rehab center. Kyle was awsome on these trips we got to see lions 30yds from the vehicle.
I would highly reccomend this to anyone and everyone!!

  • Stayed December 2009, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank fjstewartjr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago, IL
1 review
Reviewed 6 January 2010

My family and I just returned from a visit to the Zulu Nyala Game Lodge. The visit exceeded our expectations. The lodge, staff, and food were wonderful. However, what really made the trip such a fantastic experience was our ranger, Kyle. He was very professional, fun, and funny. He was very knowledgeable about both the region and the animals and was very patient with our numerous questions. He tailored our trip and excursions to make sure we saw everything we wanted. If heading here, please request Kyle and I'm sure he'll make your stay unforgettable!

  • Stayed December 2009, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank lbusiek
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 December 2009

My husband and I are well traveled but this was our first adventure in Africa. I was nervous about it as I am afraid of snakes, bats, and most bugs. We planned our trip for the end of winter and early spring and thus went the first week of October 2009. It was a tremendous experience and we saw no snakes or bats at the Lodge and the only bugs that we encountrered were a few mosquitos in the bedroom. I happily co-existed with them but you may want to take some bug spray. The Lodge is not 5 star but it attractive and very clean and safe.

I would strongly recommend renting a car as (1) the St. Lucia river cruise (dozens of hippos) with a quick peak at the Indian Ocean and an afternoon stop at the Cheetah Reserve and (2) the Hluhluwe-Imfolozie Park are great day trips that you can drive yourself to so long as you don't mind driving on the opposite side of the road. The Lodge offers these trips but it is much less expensive to go yourself. We did take the Pinda Tour (lions) and the Tembe Elephant trip though the Lodge as Pinda is hard to get into and Tembe requires a 4-wheel vehicle. Also, Tembe is a long drive from the Lodge but well worth it if you like elephants. My husband thought Tembe was too far to go to but after the day was done it was one of his favorite days. The elephants there are truly majestic. The Lodge has a game reserve and it is nice but I would recommend spending 1.5 or 2 days at the Lodge's reserve and then using the Lodge as a home base and doing other day trips. Friends who went to other lodges in Africa and paid significantly more for their trips could not believe how much we saw and how little we paid.

Jason was our guide and we were very pleased with him. Even when we went outside the Reserve, he would offer advice and make sure that we knew where to go. If you like to take presents home or shop for yourself, stop at the Weavers. If you want to buy direct from the craftspeople go the open air market just south of the petromart near Hluhluwe-Imfolozie. The people are poor so please don't do what I saw some Americans do and try to bargain the prices down. Be generous and make sure you have tip money for help at the airport in big cities like Capetown and Jo'burg

The food at the Lodge was more than adequate. Buffets offered a choice and no one should go hungry. The soups each evening were more than adequate. I would even say they were great. The wine choices were very good.

Africa and the animals were a magical experience and both my husband and I feel changed since being there and seeing what we saw. Not many vacations change you but I think this one did. It is hard to explain but my soul feels different. I feel a peace and a wonder at life. Thank you Africa.

If you go to Capetown, take the District tour and see how millions of Africans live. Consider giving a gift to one of the many fine African charities such as the Ubuntu Education Fund.

We had a fantastic experience and I would recommend the Lodge to anyone considering Africa.

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
8 Thank SeattleCatFolk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
boston, massachusetts
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 28 December 2009

The experience at Zulu Nyala was beyond belief ... we have been fortunate to travel a lot to different parts of the world, but Zulu Nyala is in a "class by itself". The Lodge exudes a truly cultural and beautifully isolated setting, and the animals while on safari are definitely the "stars of the show"! ... (need we mention the incredible pictures?). Also of interest is the movie set and airstrip, which are still in place, which was the location for the shooting of the movie "I Dreamed Of Africa". The guides ... the Lodge personnel ... and Nick Gogakis, the General Manager ... all contributed to a truly quality experience. The offerings of "off site excursions" to other parts of South Africa and a myriad of amazingly different experiences, was also appreciated. The food was wonderful ... the pool was enjoyable ... but I mostly enjoyed the genuine cultural feeling that I was definitely in Africa! ... while there. I sum it all up with friends by saying ... "You Gotta' Go!"

  • Stayed October 2008, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank annmalz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Zulu Nyala Game Lodge

Property: Zulu Nyala Game Lodge
Address: Msinene Rd, Hluhluwe 3960, South Africa
Region: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Zululand > Hluhluwe
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 32 Speciality Lodging in Hluhluwe
Hotel Class:4 star — Zulu Nyala Game Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 52
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
An entrancing experience in a unique wilderness area. Zulu Nyala Private Game Reserve provides a unique bush experience in the heart of one of South Africa’s most diverse conservation regions. Nestled between the wilderness reserves of Mkuze, Hluhluwe and St Lucia, this lush stretch of paradise is home to a wide variety of game, from the majestic elephant to rhino, buffalo, hippo, giraffe, the shy and beautiful Nyala buck that is endemic to the region and the secretive leopard. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Zulu Nyala Game Hotel Hluhluwe
Zulu Nyala Game Lodge Hluhluwe, South Africa - Zululand

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