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“Perfect Retreat in the wild”
Review of Hilltop Camp

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Hilltop Camp
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Perfect Retreat in the wild”
Reviewed 9 April 2013

Hilltop Camp was a perfect end to a long day's drive and game viewing.. with well stocked self catering we were able to quickly set up for a braai and enjoy the evening on the balcony, telling stories of the events of the day. The cottages was clean, well equipped and hence allowed me to relax and not worry at all the the family was comfortable. The staff were polite and attentive... Well Done KZN Parks!!!

  • Stayed April 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Michael Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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298 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (44)
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English first
Cape Town
Level 4 Contributor
42 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 April 2013

We, four adults and four kids, stayed for two nights. The first night was in the private lodge at the Hilltop camp. This was the original game warden's lodge and it feels like you have been propelled 50 years back in Africa. It has it's own large garden and a friendly chap who looks after it.

The second night was at Munyawaneni lodge, also a private and secluded lodge sleeping 8. The lodge needs maintenance work. There are handrails missing and two out of four showers did not have hot water. There was also supposed to be a field guide available at the lodge but the chap who was there said he was not available. This is not acceptable for a lodge that costs almost R5000 a night.

The actual park is stunning with rolling hills giving you a great aspect to look for game. We did one game drive which was OK. We could barely understand the guide. In the two days we were there we saw Rhino, Buffalo, Elephant and various others. The kids loved it.

What let the experience down was the Hilltop Camp. The chap that served us drinks was possibly the worst waiter I have seen since arriving in SA in 1992. You could wait anything between 20 and 30 minutes to get your drinks, and much longer for the lunch food. We had dinner one night and had the same unfriendly and inefficient service. The food was very average with the roast pork being hacked into small pieces (2 max?) by a miserable server. When the pork ran out (at +/- 7:30pm) they replaced it with beef that looked like it's only cooking was when the chef walked past the oven.

This is a wonderful reserve is let down by poor management. The head of Kwa Zulu wildlife and our minister of tourism should take a trip here to see how humans are making a mess of things. Only the animals and the scenery saved the experience.

Room Tip: If you want seclusion, the private lodges are the way to go, but pricey.
See more room tips
  • Stayed April 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank jimiti
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fleet, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
50 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 April 2013

I will start my review with a word of advice - keep your clothes in your bags and keep your bags zipped up. My sister in law came home with a cockroach in her bag- we all ended up spraying our bags , just in case. If possible get premises on the right hand side as you go in, as they have the better views. The left side is very over grown .

Cleaning is average- the picture in the lounge had something sprayed over it which had dried.
Expect insects, both evenings I stayed, I was brushing them off my bed- It is normal you are in the bush and under a thatched roof .

We saw a lot of elephant and water buffalo. No cats. In the reception they have a sightings board which is very interesting. The shop is very fairly priced but if self catering do not rely on it for everything. There is a restaurant and bar . The bar has lovely views and there is a lovely outside space you can have bar food and drinks. We self catered so cannot comment on the food.

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Mrs-TravellerAS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 January 2013

As always I consulted Trip Advisor before booking Hilltop Camp. A few negatives were the service and the food. Besides the woman at the park entrance everyone else was lovely and very helpful. Travelling on the Australian dollar I thought the accommodation and facilities were great. We stayed in a Rondaval which was not only a unique experience but very cool inside, quiet and very dark for sleeping with the curtains drawn. The cost was equivalent to a shared hostel room back home. The grounds were impeccably maintained and the standard around the entire grounds was very high. The restaurant was a little expensive by comparison to eating in S.A but once again such good value for Aus$. Good variety too at the buffet as I am quite a fussy eater.
We went on one sunrise and one sunset guided safari which was excellent value and we saw almost everything up close except the elusive leopard! We are so impressed with hilltop we are booking my partners parents in for next month!

  • Stayed January 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank R0aminggypsy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Los Angeles
Level 5 Contributor
95 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 January 2013

The Hilltop Camp is a good value. We stayed in a comfortable cottage with nice bedroom and bath. We had a very good flatscreen TV with good cable service. Our stay included meals which were good and there was plenty of food offered buffet style.
Our game drives were sucessful in that we saw 4 of the big 5 and we were only there for one night. The evening drive on our first night we saw many elephant and cape buffalo. The morning drive we saw lions, giraffe , zebras. and many many Rhinos. The rhinos and elephant were on the road and we got great photos.
The game is mostly located lower than the lodge, but it is a short drive down to where they are. You can see animals from the deck off the dining room and they have a large telescope there. The views from the deck are really awsome.
The only downside is that it is a large resort and our cabin was 4 or 5 minutes walk from the main lodge. The pool is even further away. All in all we think it is a great place for the price which is reasonable and we would go back again if we were in the area.

Room Tip: Get a cottage near the lodge
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  • Stayed January 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank love2skiLosAngeles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vancouver, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
127 reviews
59 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 310 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 January 2013

Our party of 4 couples stayed in chalets on new years day, 2013 for 1 night. We did not choose or book the accommodations but I booked an overnight safari tour with Malule Safaris in Richards Bay.  Lovely Lyn Govender of Malule arranged the drives, transfers and accomodations for a very reasonable price.  As a result, we do not know what was paid for our stay at Hilltop Camp and did not have to deal with the staff or checkin procedures (Malule did all that) except in the dining room where we ate dinner one night after our game drive, and breakfast the next morning.  

I had no expectations whatsoever so was rather pleased with the chalet, although it was a 10 minute walk from the reception and dining room.  It was large, had gorgeous clear views out to the hills, clean sheets on twin beds that we pushed together, 2 pillows each, sitting area, large TV, hair dryer, fridge, lovely patio, generous storage space, and a ceiling fan.  However, the fan was noisy, there was a pervasive slightly musty smell, and there was no clock - which is surprising given the on-site morning game drives start at 5 am.  

My expectation about the food was that it would be basic.  Here again, I was pleasantly surprised.  While it would not win any awards, there was decent variety and it was perfectly fine.  

The reception, dining room, and patio are lovely with breathtaking vista views, and I would have liked to have stayed another day to enjoy the clean air and quiet serenity of the place.  

The park rangers were good. They use walkie talkies to communicate game sitings, and on our morning drive, our guide raced along roads, over hill and dale Indiana Jones-style, after being informed of a lion siting to ensure we got to the spot before the lions departed.  We did.  We saw a lot of game.  

Hilltop is not at all luxurious, but we found it perfectly adequate in some respects, a bit off-putting in others, with location, surroundings, and vistas that were absolutely breathtaking.

  • Stayed January 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank Ingle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia
Level 4 Contributor
44 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 January 2013

We loved the reserve and the accomadation. Avoid the restaurant food disappointing. We found the people lovely and did two game drives and saw soooo much. Wonderfaul patio to sit back and watch they approaching thunder storm. Good kitchen in our room. Very happy.

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Trot65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hilltop Camp

Property: Hilltop Camp
Address: Hluhluwe Game Reserve, South Africa
Region: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Hluhluwe Game Reserve
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 8 Speciality Lodging in Hluhluwe Game Reserve
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hilltop Camp 3.5*
Number of rooms: 19
Also Known As:
Hilltop Camp Hotel Hluhluwe Game Reserve

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