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“Amphitheater at its best” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Thendele Hutted camp

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Thendele Hutted camp
Certificate of Excellence
Level Contributor
10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Amphitheater at its best”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 August 2014

We stayed at the lodge which slept six very comfortably and the view was amazing. Cannot fault nature at its best. Lodge was showing signs of tiredness and hopefully authority will take it in hand. Please take enough provisions as shop is very sparse

Room Tip: Take a torch as they have problems with power
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
Helpful?
2 Thank Jenny M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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181 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (35)
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English first
London, UK
Level Contributor
38 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 August 2014

We recently stayed for 5 nights in Thendele Lodge as the finale to a three week trip in SA. As everyone knows, the setting is just the most beautiful place - so serene and majestic - but the Lodge itself was a real disappointment. Billed as a luxury lodge, sadly, that is a misnomer. For luxury, I don't expect to find badly stained carpets, soiled and torn bed linen, dirty and rundown bathrooms and an ill-equipped kitchen that can't even muster up a wine glass each. Sorry, but all of this really took the edge of our ability to relax in this glorious spot. If the Parks Authority really want to market this as a luxury lodge they need to do quite a bit of work to it to bring it up to scratch. For a start, all the bathrooms need re-doing. In the central room we had, the expel air fan in the window was missing, leaving just a hole in the glass which made the room freezing. The pink bathroom suite had seen better days and the loo didn't flush properly. I'm amazed that the bathroom didn't have a shower - so much more eco-friendly - all it had was a broken hose head attached to the bath tap (with no wall fixing) so was completely useless. The grouting was also filthy and the various dinks and chips out of the wall made it very uninviting. It also needed a good clean and to lose the unhygienic loo seat cover in blue nylon. In the bedroom itself, the curtains were all falling off the runners. When I tried to repair it, I found the curtain rail to have been held in place with a piece of wire so it was easy to see why all the curtain hooks had broken as the curtain wouldn't run. The bedding too was shabby and somewhat worn - but the biggest shock was to find that the bedside light was missing the cover to the plug so the bare wires were exposed and this touched the bed as the plug was right behind the bedhead. Had I tried to use it, I would either have electrocuted myself or possibly set fire to the bed. When I reported it to the guy who looked after us - Wilson - he wasn't that bothered and it was only replaced on the last day of our stay. Not really what i expect, especially as this is a major hazard.

Equally, the kitchen is also a let down. In their guest book there is a substantial inventory of what the kitchen should contain, but half of the items are not there. Again, the kitchen needs updating as it is tired and basic. The saucepans and cooking pots particularly need replacing. In the braai area, here too work is needed as the outside furniture and surrounding area is caked in bird poo and it all needs a good wash out. When we opened the large braai (I appreciate it is outside so creatures are to expected) I didn't really want to find cockroaches.

I do need to say, however, all this must be counterbalanced with the setting. As everyone knows and says, the place is magical and it is a privilege to spend a few days in such a stunning setting. It really would have been perfect, therefore, had the lodge matched up to its majestical surroundings as its billing of 'luxury lodge' seems to suggest, but sadly this was not the case. I definitely want to return to Thendele, but I wouldn't want to go to Thendele Lodge again if things do not change.

A really minor point - but why not have wifi - especially if you have cable tv? Yes, I appreciate you want to soak up the atmosphere of the park and not be focused on all things electronic, but it would be good to keep in touch with family / upload photos etc in the evenings via this technology


Sent from my iPad

  • Stayed August 2014, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank termon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
79 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 August 2014

We are recently back from a South African trip that included five nights at Thendele, staying in the Lodge, a private three bedroom property at the base of the camp, and sold as the camp's luxury option.

You can't buy the view. The Royal Natal National Park is a stupendously beautiful place - I've been going since I was a child and hope always to return. Spectacular in every direction, and filled with bird and animal life, it's beyond special, and none of my review reflect the location itself, just the lodge and the camp.

The guest lodge is enormous and could be magnificent, but it is so desperately in need of a makeover now. Grubby carpets, pots and pans that don't match, peeling paint and paper in the kitchen etc etc. On arrival we had to rehang our bedroom curtains that had half detached from the curtain rail (which itself came down when we tried to put the curtain back as it was so poorly attached). A lamp in our bedroom had a plug on it with no back - the wires actually touching the tired bedding. The list is fairly endless, and include seriously poor bathrooms (neither clean nor well appointed).

We had a wonderful time here regardless and enjoyed the space and privacy - but it is such a shame that the Lodge is not being maintained properly. We were looked after by Wilson, who did little in the way of cleaning or maintenance beyond the daily essentials and seemed disillusioned by it all himself. Let's hope the parks board closes the Lodge for six months and does a complete refurb: if they do, they will justify the price they are asking for it.

Around the rest of the camp all seemed nicely maintained. Our reception was unenthusiastic and the shop pretty poor beyond absolute basics, but that's not why one goes so I don't mind that too much.

Don't be put off going. It's still a wonderful experience, but do set your expectations a little lower as regards the accommodation.

Room Tip: I expect the chalets are all in a similar condition, i.e. in need of refurbishment, but they all enj...
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  • Stayed August 2014, travelled with friends
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank RobJP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Netherlands
Level Contributor
13 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 August 2014

Stayed for just 1 night. Spacious, but very basic hut. Camp does not have restaurant, but just a small shop to buy some food to prepare yourself (shop closes at 16.30h - before we returned from our hike, unfortunately - it requires quite a drive to the nearest restaurant). Location in Royal Natal is great though, with lots of hiking trails starting around the camp. The views on the Amphitheatre are really nice. Overall, not luxurious at all, but for location a great place to stay when spending time in Royal Natal.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Jordy J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
86 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 July 2014

Nice and clean. The location is just right but we found the chalet too much for only 2 of us. The website reservation showed Chalet has capacity for 2 but we found that there're two bedrooms in the chalet. We found it interesting that the S African need to have a TV when spending time in the wilderness. We don't need one but WIFI would be great. Don't miss the amazing sunrise.

Room Tip: Upper camp: #15 and #16 have the best view. We were put at #24. Some of the lower camp chalets have...
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  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank ND i
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New Plymouth, New Zealand
Level Contributor
44 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 July 2014

We absolutely loved our stay at the Lower Camp. The accommodation was way beyond our expectations as it was actually a small house - very well set up with everything we needed. We bought some firewood on site (at a very reasonable cost) and it added to the atmosphere after dark. The views were stunning and we spent plenty of time out of doors enjoying them. A few baboons were nearby in the morning but never came too close. They certainly weren't a problem as I had expected they might be. If anyone has ever thought of going to this camp my recommendation is to do it!!

  • Stayed July 2014, 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?
3 Thank Sue63_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Olympia, Washington
Level Contributor
9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 June 2014

Our 2-bed chalet at Thendele had the most incredible view of the Amphitheater. If there hadn't been baboons wandering around, the patio would have been a spectacular setting for cocktails and dinner. It was wonderful to have so much space - a full kitchen, living room, bedroom, and bathroom - and you can't beat the proximity to the trailheads.

That said, the units desperately need renovating. There were cigarette burns in the upholstered chairs, the linens had yellow stains on them, the bathroom was a little grungy, and the counter stools were too high to be able to sit at the counter. I would stay here again, but would recommend that KZN Wildlife invest in some updates.

Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank OlySilver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Thendele Hutted camp

Property: Thendele Hutted camp
Address: Royal Natal National Park, uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park, South Africa
Region: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park
Number of rooms: 132
Also Known As:
Thendele Hutted Camp Hotel Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park

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