I’ve been on a couple of safaris but my husband has not. He purchased this at auction and frankly I was not over excited, given some of the comments I saw here. I was worried we would not see many animals. I could not have been more wrong. It was pretty much non stop animals and with a trip to Phinda to see lions we caught the entire Big 5. It was the first time I saw a leopard so I was thrilled. We saw two of the resident cheetahs jump into a tree and also saw some baby cheetahs, 12 days old. There was a rhino with a week old baby, it just went on and on. Giraffe, zebra, wildebeest everywhere. There are only 3 elephants, if you go to the other parks you will see how destructive they can be so it was understandable.
We originally planned to stay at the tented camp 3 nights and the lodge 3 nights. The tented camp “tent” was nice but they are not air conditioned and a little close to each other. The lights can bother you at night if you have the flaps open to get some air. There were larger groups of Germans here so not much socializing at dinner. After our first game drive the next morning we asked to switch since our “jeep group” were all staying at the lodge. We were lucky and had a great group of people and just had a fantastic time. They assign you before you get there and don’t make changes so this part is just luck unless you have your own jeep load. The staff was great about accommodating our request to move to the lodge and we did that night. Everyone we dealt with was friendly and efficient. We had been emailing Reshmi and Thandi who always responded quickly so we were not surprised that the rest of the staff was just as good.
The room was smaller than the one at the tented camp but the socialization was well worth it. The rooms were clean, yes you get some bugs and geckos. If you worry about such things this might not be the trip for you. They upgraded us to one of the nicer rooms when it became available which we appreciated.
Our ranger, Jason was great. He is both fun and informative and really works at getting the sightings. He even offered to lend us his dive equipment when we discussed diving in Sodwana Bay! Wow!
The food was good and there is plenty of it but it’s not a five star place so don’t expect five star food. The emphasis here is on the animals and adventure. All meals were buffet and they were fine. They had some great deserts. We got to try impala and warthog which was fun.
If you can, rent a car. It’s much cheaper and you can then drive yourself to the other nearby parks, Hluhluwe-Umfolozi, which were just as great. They have a lot of elephants and some lions which we did not see but saw everything else. We saw several elephants mock fighting with a rhino in front of them, talk about photo ops! They gave us a packed lunch to take with us which I thought was very good and more food than we needed. There were 2 sandwiches, one cheese and one meat and cheese, fruit, candy bars, cheese and crackers. Stop at the Hilltop Lodge for the view. If you go out the south gate you have a long drive back on the highway it might be better to drive through the park and out the north gate. Take the Phinda excursion through the lodge however, it’s the only way to do it. We flew into Durban (more flights and cheaper I think) and drove (about 3 hours). From the airport its right onto the highway and straight there to the exit. Be careful when driving, slower cars will drive on the shoulder to allow others to pass and keep an eye out for passing cars from the other way, they will expect you to give a little room if it’s needed. Really not a place to text and drive! Once you go for a little way you will get the rhythm of it and it’s not a problem. Just pay attention and use common sense. Make sure you are back before dark, it’s a bit more daunting at night. All gas stations are full service and take only cash. The town of HluHluwe has a couple of liquor stores, we stopped at one but the wine was reasonable at the lodge so we really didn’t need to. They are working on the highway and have it down to one lane towards the end of the drive so keep an eye out for stopped cars.
The only thing I did not like was the fact that they were charging per minute to use the internet. We would go back here in a minute. My husband absolutely loved his first safari and was talking about where to go next year by the 2nd day. It really was that good!
- 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