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“Great Time”

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Zulu Nyala Heritage Safari Lodge
Ranked #1 of 7 Hotels in Hluhluwe
Certificate of Excellence
Lafayette, California
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Great Time”
Reviewed 21 July 2013

I think the negative comments for the Heritage Lodge are from people who have not compared this to more expensive 5 Star Lodges - either private reserves or those in Kruger Park. Note that this reserve is next to Phinda which is probably twice as expensive.

We spent a week at two other lodges - one in Kruger and one private lodge outside of Kruger - both were more upscale than this - both considerably more expensive. We saw as much game in any day at Zulu Nyala as we did in any day at other venues. If you need to be pampered, go somewhere else. If you want a great wildlife viewing experience it's fantastic - after all, did you come to South Africa for a massage or to see animals? We also enjoyed the people we met - the other places we stayed seemed to have more overly demanding people and one lodge was to large - taking entire bus tours making seem much less intimate. We met fun and down-to-earth people and had a blast.

We were booked for 3 days at the Lodge and 3 days in the tents, but we liked our tent (it's actually a spacious bungalow with a heavy canvas roof) so much we asked to stay and were accommodated; however we arranged to have dinner at the lodge with the people we had been on our game rides - the grounds at Heritage are more spacious because it is just outside of the reserve. The people we joined on game rides were staying at the Lodge and had no complaints.

Our guide Bernie is delightful and was a wealth of information on both wildlife and local culture. We saw as much wildlife in our first 3 game rides than we expected to see the entire 6 days (even spotted the elusive Honey Badger)

The food was decent (breakfast was about the same as other places we stayed) but not gourmet. Someone on this site said the drinks were expensive? The wine was about what you pay in grocery stores or bottle shops so I'm not sure what they were drinking. The dining rooms are both nice and no less well appointed than the other lodges we stayed in.

Couple of suggestions:
1. Do not miss the full day excursion to the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi National Park. It is a 1000 square mile park not far from the Lodge and we saw a number of animals we did not see in Zulu Nyala - hyena, lion, baboons - plus some massive elephants. It really adds to your viewing experience. If you choose only one of the optional excursions, this is a must.
2. If you fly to Durban, you might find it less expensive and more convenient to rent a car and drive - it's only 120 miles on a good road, and it is cheaper to rent a car than pay to picked up and returned to the airport. It allowed us to visit the Cheetah rescue facility in Hluhluwe on our own one morning.
3. We also took the excursion to a nearby village. Many people fly to Africa, take a van to a game lodge, and return to the airport. If you want an unvarnished view of life in rural South Africa this is worth the couple of hours. Our group stopped in a general store in Hluhluwe and bought a few bags of children's shoes, visited the local school, and a family home. If you are traveling with kids, by all means take them - they won't gain this sort of insight into the rest of the world in a Geography class. The lodge provides a local guide.



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Stayed June 2013, travelled with family
Helpful?
4 Thank 61GaryL843
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (93)
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English first
Hillcrest, South Africa
Level 4 Contributor
27 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 July 2013 via mobile

What I was disappointed by was the attention to detail - no plugs provided in the tented rooms for the bath or sink, no handles on the bedside cabinet or the dressing table, cracked window glass... BUT I enjoyed the facilities, the service, the walks around the plot, the game on site, the zulu village and the food.

  • Stayed July 2013
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Helpful?
Thank LMAdkin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
USA
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 June 2013

Ask for James. Amazing guide! Tents are a little noisy, but worth the experience. Game Lodge is neat because it is inside the reserve, but the tents and safari lodge are cleaner, service is better, and food is a little better (especially breakfast). Loved every minute of this trip. James made the trip even better. Would go back in a heartbeat!

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Mdmoore2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Durban, South Africa
Level 6 Contributor
243 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 91 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 June 2013

We stayed at the Zulu Nyala Safari Resort and we had a mixed bag in terms of the quality of the experience. While the tents are quite nice, the rest of the resort is a bit like a boarding school - including the food. The first night the food was just short of 'horrible' while the second night it improved somewhat and came close to being a good meal. (Breakfasts are good - good variety and choice but avoid anything fried if you don't like LOTS of oil.) If we had not bought the deal at a very discounted price we would have been very disappointed in terms of the value for money. Basically we paid a hugely discounted rate and the whole experience was worth only what we paid. While the staff were generally friendly, they became increasingly overwhelming during the two day stay and insisted on teaching everyone Zulu while serving them breakfast, and dinner. It was fun in the beginning but really got a bit much by the end of the stay. The service definitely slipped in direct proportion to the amount of Zulu they wanted to teach us. The dining room staff were definitely too 'in your face'. The fatal flaw in the whole weekend was the fact that the front of office staff and the Manager who was eventually called to sort out the problem, did not understand the deal that we had bought and were not willing to give us the discount due to us. After a lengthy argument and a phone call to 'headoffice' they grudgingly apologised and gave us the bonus discount that we were due. the game drive (although very clearly orchestrated so that you are guaranteed to see all the Big Three that they have on the reserve - Elephant (3), Rhino (3) and cheetah (2)) was a most pleasant experience the ranger was well prepared for the questions that we had to ask. All in all - there needs to be more attention to detail - like the person who shows you to your tent should not have to drive in your car to show you where you are staying .... there are vehicles available at the camp that the porter could use to take you and your bags to the tent. The chairs in the tents need a sponge cleaning, and the plastic orchids could be done away with. And the dining room staff need to back off a bit - its about your guests; it's not about you!

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
4 Thank LeeKZN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Newcastle WA USA
Level 2 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 May 2013

We so enjoyed our stay at the Zulu Nyala Game Lodge in 2009, that we bid on it again; but this time we purchased two trips so we could bring our friends, too. This experience surpassed the previous one. Sipho, our safari guide for the week, was terrific! He attended to all our needs and answered all our questions, we learned so much about the Zulu culture from him. Our safari group bonded so well that we are making plans for a reunion visit to Zulu Nayala with Sipho as our guide!

For those wondering about room assignment, the size and type of room depends on how much you bid for the experience. The first time we paid the lowest accepted price, so we were assigned the budget accommodations, which suited us just fine. For us we were on an adventure to Africa, so we were completely satisfied with having a comfortable bed, quiet room and a private bathroom which included a nice soaking tub and a separate shower. We did not expect to have a TV. We did have an overhead ceiling fan which I recommend using to discourage mosquitos.

For this trip since we purchased two experiences, we were upgraded to the view rooms overlooking the valley and the pool. Our room layout was identical to the room on our previous stay, however our friends' room had additional space for a seating area. I noticed that there are also much larger 2-3 room suites, too. So auction bidders need to understand this when they check in to the Game lodge. If you want a more luxurious room than a basic hotel room, I recommend that you request to pay extra for the upgraded room. Also this time, our room had internet access which was a nice addition from our previous experience.

Since the outdoor temperature was mild during the day (Africa's late autumn); it was not warm enough for me to take a dip in the pool , although a couple guests did. I would have loved to have done this. Our safari mates, who stayed a couple days in the Heritage Lodge Safari tents said the Heritage Pool seemed ten degrees warmer than the Game Lodge Pool.

Other than swimming in the cold pool or playing tennis; there were no opportunities for exercising off our meals as guests are not allowed to jog or walk off the lodge grounds ( the elephants do come up to the lodge on occasion). If I could make a recommendation, it would be nice to have an exercise space equipped with treadmills, bikes; TV, mats and exercise DVDs so we can minimize the weight gain.

The buffet type breakfast lunch and dinners suited us just fine. At breakfast, they do have made to order eggs, too..

The front office staff, were warm and welcoming; the dining room staff was attentive. In particular, I'd like a shout out to "Peaceable" who remembered us from our previous stay.

We are looking forward to our next visit in a couple years!

  • Stayed April 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
4 Thank MJDnewcastleWAUSA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Leesburg, Virginia
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 May 2013

Where do I begin? The driver who picked us up from the Richard's Bay airport was very nice and friendly, as was everyone here. But when we arrived the paperwork he had was incorrect and he took us to the wrong lodge. it was late at night and we were tired from a two-hour drive so we were in no mood for this error. We then had to travel 10 minutes to the other lodge, the Heritage Safari Lodge. There was no porter to help us with our 5 suitcases (we were on a month-long tour of Africa.) So we had to drag them to our room.

The door jamb to our room stuck as the door was either swollen or off the hinges. Upon entering the room we were first impressed with how dark it was. I then noticed the room had only three sources of light and the bulbs were about 40 watts each. The room was void of any decor save some cheaply framed prints of wild animals, and looked a lot like a college dorm room. The floor was hard terra cotta tiles and had no carpets or rugs. There was no chest of drawers for our 5 suitcases of clothing so we had to spread suitcases on the floor. The TV was vintage 1980 and had 3 channels which did not come in clearly. There was no WiFi. There was only one drawer in the room, a tiny one under the TV, and the handle was broken off of it. To be fair, the mattress was comfortable and the linens were nice although the pillows were hard, cheap foam and not very comfortable.

The bathroom had mold growing in the shower and above the tub. The shower head sprayed one solid stream of water. On the toilet, 3 of 4 seat supports on the seat were broken. On the positive side, there were reasonably nice bathroom amenities and the towels were newer and nice, although not plentiful. There were no pool towels provided. We were told they could be obtained at the front desk, about 100 yards from the pool.

The hotel layout was in the style of a 50's highway motel in the US with a porch that ran the full length in front of the rooms. There were cheap green plastic chairs on the front porch for enjoyment.

The restaurant was similar to a college dining hall and the food quality was about the same. We did have dinner one night on the "Nyala Boma" and the atmosphere there was nice and the food was even better when cooked on the grill.

The one highlight was that the grounds were nicely kept and there were Zebras wandering the property. There was a nice large front porch with lots of comfortable outdoor furniture and it provided WiFi and piped in music.

The best part of our visit was the people. They were very nice. Not well-trained but nice nonetheless.

We purchased this visit through a charity auction as did many of the other guests we met. I am going to return home to tell our charity to delete this offering from future auctions. I would not recommend this to anyone. So sad. The area is beautiful and the actual safari was quite nice. But no one should have to stay in such a run-down hotel.

Room Tip: My best tip is to STAY AWAY!
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  • Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank Richard N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cape Town
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 May 2013

Our stay in the tents were very disappointing to say the least. Where do I start......the trains practically runs through this establishment.......right through the night! It is seriously noisy!
They are currently building and there are serious construction going on.
The gravel road (to Hluhluwe town) runs past this "Lodge" - most farmers, game rangers use it as a race track. They speed past it and the dust settles on the "Lodge"
We had two kids with us that were scared of the noise and we did not have one good night's sleep while we were there. The tents are fine, but a little run down. (Example: tent flaps torn and the velcro tie backs missing. In the tent most of the globes were fused and the bar fridge were not working)
Our neighbours (to the right of us) were the restaurants kitchen staff and the tent in front of us was occupied by the security staff. There were CONSTANT movement, voices and lights.
Trees were not pruned so the fever tree branches scraped the tents with the slightest wind movement.
Staff was rude and projected a sense of superiority. They were not customer orientated. I never had a sense of privacy. It never felt like a bush experience.
This was NOT a safari experience. I cringe to think that this is for some foreign travelers a "Welcome to South Africa" experience.

  • Stayed April 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Nico B
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
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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