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“Simply outstanding!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Zulu Nyala Heritage Safari Lodge

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Zulu Nyala Heritage Safari Lodge
Ranked #1 of 7 Hotels in Hluhluwe
Certificate of Excellence
Arlington, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Simply outstanding!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 February 2012

Zulu Nyala was everything we had hoped it would be and more. We were there in early February. We saw many animals, cheetah, elephant, hippos, rhinos, impala, buffalo, giraffe, zebra, monkeys, nyala, warthogs, crocodile, eagles, vultures, and many beautiful birds, bugs, and chameleons. This particular private reserve is 5,000 acres and so it it too small for lion - there are plenty of options though to see lion including the adjacent 60,000 Phinda game reserve. One bonus of going in early February is that they weren't very busy - many of our outings were private with our ranger going at our pace. Our ranger Rohan was fantastic. My wife and I truly believe that we had such an amazing experience because of his knowledge of the bush - he knew where the cheetah would be hanging out or where the elephants would be. Another bonus of early February is that all of the animals had just had babies. We saw mini-me's of all of the animals described above. The cheetah had 4 cubs, we saw baby rhino and baby hippos. The zebra and giraffe had babies - it was amazing. I know that this is not the busy time of year to go but we would highly recommend this time of year because seeing the animals with their new born offspring was very special. We are from the Boston, MA USA area and we did not think the weather was too hot. It was generally around 27c - 32c with the nights becoming quite comfortable. In fact, since the game runs are early am or late afternoon the temperatures were always a bit cooler than at the hottest point of the day. We had no rain at all.

The accommodations were very very good. We ended up staying at the Heritage Hotel section in the tent for all 6 nights. As others have said here, animals are right outside your doorstep and we rather liked this. The rooms were very comfortable and clean - bathrooms were very nice. Even though they call these tents, they are actually concrete structured buildings with tarp roofs and screen/mesh windows (no glass). Another reason for staying in the tents is that the game lodge is about 20 minutes away by car through the reserve and up unpaved hilly roads. Lots of rental cars make this trip all the time so it can be done, I just though you should know about this. One other thing, mosquitos weren't bad at all. We did apply some bug spray and had some wipes with us just in case - they just weren't an issue for us.

The food and service was wonderful. Again, because of when we were there many of our meals were prepared just for the two of us. For these meals we would be given a couple of food choices however they told us they would prepare whatever we wanted if those two options weren't acceptable. The staff at Zulu Nyala never made us feel like we were inconveniencing them as the only two guests. There were other people there on a couple of days and a couple of tour groups that passed through for dinners - on these nights buffet food would be put out which is more typical of what Zulu Nyala does. The food was always terrific and always local. We enjoyed this about South Africa - all of the food is locally grown. The fish is locally caught, we had lots of pineapple which you see growing across the land here, and other meats and vegetables are prepared locally. I ate a ton of food on this trip yet was able to maintain my weight! You will love the food at Zulu Nyala. The Manager Robert loves his job and this shows through his generous spirit and his hospitality.

We did a few daily excursions. Zulu Nyala can coordinate these for you and offer these as an added cost. Most all of these trips can be done for considerably less money on your own if you rent a car. We rented a car at Richard's Bay airport and drove to Zulu Nyala. We visited St. Lucia on two days (about an hour away), on the first we went to a beach there and went into the Indian Ocean for the first time - this water was very warm compared to the Atlantic Ocean that we later experienced in Cape Town. On our second trip to St. Lucia we did a boat tour at the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. We saw 100's of hippos along both sides of the estuary, again with their babies. We also saw eagles and crocodiles and many other birds in this area. This park is on the UNESCO world heritage list because of the diversity of ecosystems contained in one area. I wish we had more time to explore this area - you shouldn't miss it.

Much closer (about 20 - 30 minutes) to Zulu Nyala is the Emdomeni Lodge Animal Care and Rehab Centre. This is there "the cat project" is and where you are very likely to pet a cheetah (yes you read that right). The visit starts at 4:30 because that is the feeding time for the animals. We saw caracal, serval, cheetah, and african wild cat during our unforgettable visit.

Our last daily excursion was the Hluhluwe Park which was about a 40 minute drive from ZN. You basically drive your car through the park at your own pace. This park is stunning, especially if you drive all the way up to the hilltop camp for lunch and breathtaking views. Hluhluwe has the big five and so this is another option for lions (we didn't see them here).

We are already talking about going back to Zulu Nyala. The warmth of the staff and the knowledge of the rangers is so good that we just know that we will have an equally great time. This is one of the best vacations we have ever had.

Room Tip: We stayed in Tent T5 and loved the location.
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
18 Thank DavidJack02474
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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337 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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    7
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (87)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Osprey, Florida
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 January 2012

We had a great time at Zulu Nyala. We also won the trip in a charity auction, and used it to celebrate our 20 wedding anniversary. We arrived just before the New Year and spent two nights at the Heritage Lodge Tented Camp which is not on the Reserve, but is about 15 mintes away. Tents are a great experience, We had Zebra greet us at our front door in the morning.

When we moved to the Game Lodge we had a poolside room that was great! The view is remarkable. We planned our trip on our own and had our own car for our use. Need to get used to driving on the Left, but I did not find it difficult. We did three trips while we were there, visiting the Cheetah Rehabilitation Center, the Elephant Experience and went to Hluhluwe/Umfolzi National Park, all three trips are worth the experience.

Our Safari rides were great including a trip to watch the sunset one night on the reserve. Staff is there to help and is very knowledgeable. We truly enjoyed our stay. We saw lots of animals, if you are looking for elephants, they only have three females. We added two nights at Tembe Elephant Park as part of our trip after Zulu Nyala and got to see plenty of them there.

I highly reccomend this trip, we had a great time and could not believe how quickly two weeks went by.

Room Tip: Try and get a room by the pool. Room #9 - #11 have great views
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  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank lucymik90
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
13 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 January 2012

When purchasing 6 nights at the game lodge at a charity auction, we didn't know what to expect. We couldn't have been more surprised/ pleased with the outcome. The staff couldn't have been more helpful. The game drives were well done, viewing lots of animals up close and personal, but at the same time being respectful to the wildlife. The food was great and plenty of it. Rooms were adequate, but nothing special. I would recomend taking some of the optional side trips to nearby venues. Without any reservations, I would suggest this as a "must do" adventure. Our fantastic 3 week Africa trip was perfect with the wonderful assistance of Mills Africa travel in Lynnwood, WA. (mamaafrica27@gmail.com)

Room Tip: If walking is a problem, you might get a room closer to the dining area.
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  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Bob W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Durban
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 January 2012

We stayed for 3 nights: Pro's - great cheetah viewing, great food, friendly staff. Cons - the room was very standard, would have liked a mini bar or something, they need to practice mosquito control since if it wernt for the Doom we fetched from reception we would have been carried away. Seriously, I've never had so many mozzies in a room in my life! Not so bad outside, but terrible in the room. Once we Doomed the room and went to dinner it was ok - we found 15 dead mozzies in the bath alone! I would have expected housekeeping to do this every night for us. Another con is that they charge R16.50 to wash one pair of underwear! Now in SA you can buy a pair of underwear for that proce, so I cannot understand how they can even think of charging that much. We came from iThala Game reserve and there we paid R1.50 per item for laundering....so I think Zulu Nyala need to review these charges.

Overall we had a pleasant stay, ate way too much and got some amazing pics of the cheetah.

Room Tip: We were in the very standard rooms away from the main building. I'd book a better room next time...
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  • Stayed December 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank xoxDurban
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Center Harbor, NH
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 December 2011

John S.This was a dream come true for me and my wife. I especially, had always wanted to go on a photo safari to Africa. When this opportunity came available, we jumped at it! We stayed at three different locations available at Zulu Nyala (The Country Manor in Johannesburg on arrival, and our last night in country; the Heritage Tented Safari Camp and the Game Lodge). All of the properties were superb in every way. Food, service and accomodations were excellant. The Tent Camp was especially enjoyable. These are tents in name only. Actually block buildings with canvas roofs and mesh windows to give you the feel of being in the bush, but with great amenities. They are individual cabins with very large bedroom/bathroom, full sitting room and covered front porch. The most appealling thing to us was that the animals roamed the huge field right outside our door! There was a Zebra family (with a colt) that would walk by our tent frequently within ten feet of us. Amazing! Also many varieties of antelope right outside our door. All of this before we ever went on any game drives!
The game drives were fantastic. Terrific, knowledgeable guides who were really commited to the animals and the whole conservastion ethos. This was a calling for these folks. The close encounters in the field with the animals was indescribable (our guide was Schalk, who was awesome). Go around a corner on the road, and there would be a family of elephants grazing on trees as they stood in the road. Cheetahs that were resting on the grass in the open and had no problem when our vehicle pulled up right beside them. Hippos, rhinos, wildebeast, warthogs, impalas and every imaginable other varieties of antelope, giraffes, cape buffalo and on and on. Also a choice of MANY side trips to other preserves for a variety of animal encounters. My wife and I have traveled to six of the seven continents and this was absolutely the most unique and exciting trip of All! Don't miss this!

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank tightlines1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Charlottesville, Virginia
Level Contributor
41 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 December 2011

Didn't know what to expect when we won a stay here through a charity auction, but were pleasantly surprised. Amenities were clean and nice (some people complained of bugs, but we're in Africa!), staff and guides were amazingly nice and the safari rides were really enjoyable. The package tours were ridiculously over-priced, but you can drive around quite easily and would recommend renting a car-get to the Indian Ocean, little towns around it are quaint and beautiful, the drive through the countryside is breath-taking and the view is incredible. The food in the buffet is really awesome, since it's a different kind of local game each evening. Only complaint is that it was kind of empty.

  • Stayed January 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank mightyelh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
54 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 December 2011

This property and the adjacent Phinda property are both amazing in their protean biodiversity. The staff at this hotel is very warm. The rangers for the hotel are friendly and knowledgeable. Our ranger was Rohan, but we also had good experiences with the other rangers. The food at the hotel was delicious and the rooms were comfortable.

Room Tip: The food was better at the Game Lodge, but the rooms were just as good at the Heritage Safari Lodge...
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  • Stayed September 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Oliver S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Zulu Nyala Heritage Safari Lodge

Property: Zulu Nyala Heritage Safari Lodge
Address: 45 Bree Street Cradock 1969 | PO Box 247, Hluhluwe 3960, South Africa
Region: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Zululand > Hluhluwe
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 7 Hotels in Hluhluwe
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — Zulu Nyala Heritage Safari Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 57
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Heritage Safari Lodge was originally built in the 1940’s as a hotel and was a landmark pit-stop for weary travelers between Maputo and Durban. Acquired in 1996, the gracious building was lovingly restored to its original colonial grandeur, enhanced with new accommodation, and tastefully themed to highlight Zululand’s unique cultural heritage.With buffet-style meals in our restaurant, the wide, welcoming veranda and our ‘human watering hole’ - the pub or thatched boma, warm and relaxing atmosphere is conducive to shared good times and conviviality. The sparkling pool is always inviting, and you’re sure to enjoy browsing our beautifully stocked curio shop for a few authentic African mementos. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Zulu Nyala Heritage Safari Hotel Hluhluwe
Zulu Nyala Heritage Safari Lodge Hluhluwe, South Africa - Zululand

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