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.
- 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