We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Perfect Score From A Tough Critic...high heels and all!”

Best prices for -
Check In dd/mm/yyyy Check Out dd/mm/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 7 more sites!
Ezulwini Game Lodges
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 28 May 2014

A stylish girl's guide to a South African safari with a perfect score for Ezulwini:

The Animals (because that's what you're there for, right!):
Saw the BIG FIVE in less than 48 hours! Couldn't believe it...Elephants everywhere, several leopard and lion sightings including 9 adorable and playful lion cubs, herds of of Cape buffalo and one elusive, rare black rhino that we stumbled upon. But that was just the beginning. We also spotted monkeys, jackals, wildebeest, hyenas (and pups), zebras, kudu, buzzards, waterbuck, warthogs and impala (of course!). And as if that wasn't enough, we witnessed a hippo fight, broke up a giraffe fight and almost had a front row seat for a leopard kill! These are not far off visuals. In many cases, you are mere feet away from the wildlife! A huge thank you to Lorence and Richard (River Lodge) and Conrad and France (Billy's Lodge) for their amazing tracking abilities. I seriously believe these guys want to find animals MORE than you want to find animals. And they don't give up until they exceed expectations! Another big thanks to the owner of Ezulwini who keeps the roof on all Ezulwini vehicles. We pitied guests at other lodges with roof-less vehicles who were left to bake in the sweltering mid-day sun and soaking wet with sad little ponchos on the rainy game drives. We were cool in the heat and dry in the rain! Style Tip: While I was forced to abandon my slim fitting dresses and skirts, there's no need to leave your heels at home. As long as you can climb in and out of the vehicle, feel free to look fabulous! Closed toed heels, dresses and skirts with full hemlines and plenty of animal print is a MUST! I admit that I had one uncomfortably long gaze from a leopard, where I took a split second to pray that he knew the difference between my zebra print jacket and a real zebra, but other than that, I enjoyed every minute of my stylish safari.

River Lodge vs. Billy's Lodge:
First and foremost, regardless of the lodge you prefer, spring for the room upgrade. Showering outside and watching elephants from the comfort of your private pool can't be beat! I actually witnessed an impala fight while shampooing...dead serious! Billy's Lodge is arguably the "nicer lodge", but I preferred the coziness of River Lodge. River Lodge: Josh, Abby and Glory are AMAZING! Probably some of the best people on earth. They MADE our trip. Abby and Glory provided 5 star service ALL THE TIME. Josh joined us for several meals and entertained us with some awesome stories. They went above and beyond 24 hours a day including surprising us with a private, champagne brunch on our anniversary. I don't even remember telling them we were celebrating our anniversary! Pools were perfectly clean (don't believe past reviews that say differently). River view was stunning. Animals were spotted under the sky walk almost every day. Meals were not only beautifully presented, but also delicious. And I even teared up during the BBQ song and dance...what was the matter with me?!?! It's just so rare in life for something to live up to high expectations you set and in this case, I was overcome with the beauty, romance, kindness and spirit by both the Ezulwini lodge and staff. I cannot thank them enough and I WILL see them soon. On to Billy's Lodge: Everything is larger, newer and nicer, but somehow I still preferred the charm of River Lodge. The staff is incredible (as expected) and experiencing the wine cave with Ezulwini's owner was a wonderful treat. We booked 3 nights at River and 4 nights at Billy's. Most wouldn't agree, but next time I'll do the opposite. Bonus points for the maids who kept our room spotless. I know what you're thinking...isn't that what all maids do, but NO! This team organized every item you brought every day to make sure you were completely comfortable. My lipsticks were literally lined up by color!

The Schedule:
Wake up knock came at 5:30 a.m with coffee and biscuits served before the 6 a.m. morning game drive. Animal sightings will begin almost immediately. It's shocking how fast you stumble upon something awesome! It was a welcome break to stretch your legs and enjoy another cup of coffee or hot chocolate in the bush before the second half of your drive. "Cold breakfast" is ready upon your return...yogurt, cereal, an array of fresh fruit (some I didn't even recognize) and the most delicious muffins I've ever put in my mouth! But you're not done yet. Oh no! You'll still have the chance to order "hot breakfast" which includes eggs any way you want, sausage, bacon and toast with locally made jams. After breakfast (typically 10:30 a.m), it's your free time until 2:30 when lunch is served. Lay out at your pool, read a book, take a nap, admire animals from the sky walk, shower, get a massage...whatever you want. Lunch is on the lighter side, but after that big breakfast, you'll be grateful--wonderful salads, veggie pizzas, unusual cheeses, sandwiches, quiche, etc. The evening game drive starts at 4:30 p.m. Finding the perfect spot to exit the vehicle and watch the sunset with a glass of wine or cocktail in the bush was one of my favorite experiences. You'll return around 7:30 and freshen up for dinner at 8:00. Prepare yourself for a few choices in appetizers, entrees and desserts. We loved the 2 BBQ nights and the chance to try impala chops!

Overview:
This was the trip of a lifetime and we WILL be back. Sure we could try other lodges, but why would we when Ezulwini was exceptional. Luxury for a bargain! I'm still in awe and will forever be thankful to the Ezulwini team for creating the PERFECT South African safari experience for us. Thanks again to Josh, Abbie, Aubrey, Lorence and the rest of the team. Be sure to check out my pictures!

Room Tip: Upgrade to ensure you have a private pool and outside shower...you'll thank me later!
See more room tips
  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank dch31723
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review
Reviews (277)
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
Language

114 - 120 of 277 reviews

Reviewed 2 May 2014

Most people we know visiting South Africa tend to opt for staying in the Kruger on the first leg of their journey and then go on to Cape Town/Garden Route for the second part. Each to their own, but, we think this is the wrong way around. That's because if you're really looking to chill at the end of your holiday, you can't beat the mixture of adrenalin and then the simple peace and quiet which is served up in the bush.

And, there's no better place to experience the bush than to visit the Ezulwini Game Lodge in the Balule reserve. This last visit was our 4th since 2007 and in a nutshell, tells you everything you need to know about this place.

The 2 lodges - Billy's and River - are beautifully situated, offering visitors an extremely sensual experience for those who like to be in tune with wild nature. Both locations - including River Lodge now too - have pier type constructions which take you out over the bush and offer glorious views of the wildlife just 8-10 metres below. And for those liking a splash of comfort, you'll really appreciate the luxury suites now available at both camps. Each suite is spacious, well equipped and has a lovely outdoor plunge pool for when you get back from the game drive. Despite this, they blend in beautifully with the surrounding nature and don't look out of place.

As ever, we are grateful to Laurence and Lauren who again were splendid hosts - and are great fun to be with too! :) Our thanks to Josh, who despite joining Ezulwini just 4 days before we arrived, did a sterling job - along with Richard - in guiding us for 2 days at River Lodge. Also to Rex and Franz who navigated us into a herd of 80+ elephants, all totally relaxed with our presence.

The best part of all though is in experiencing the rich wildlife and the surprising quiet of the bush, which after just a couple of days, has a wonderfully cathartic effect on your state of mind and being.

Despite wishing to keep it a secret, you can't help but recommend Ezulwini to others and so you can be sure we'll be back

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank SwissCandN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 April 2014

We bought our stay at Ezulwini at a charity auction, having no idea that it had such high ratings, and knowing almost nothing about visiting Kruger. We could not have been more thrilled-- everything was as we would have wanted it to be. Ezulwini is elegant and lovely. Our suite at Billy's Lodge was beautiful (great design, spacious, with a private pool overlooking the watering hole, a gigantic bathtub and an indoor-outdoor shower); the food was delicious and beautifully prepared (including sinful iced coffee, homemade muffins, a wonderful barbecue dinner); the hospitality, especially from Aubrey and Abby at meals, and from the owner Lawrence Saad throughout but especially when he invited us to see and sample his special wine cellar, and the sensibility and atmosphere were welcoming and relaxed. But of course we were there for the animals, and that is where Ezulwini really shines. When you stay in "Greater Kruger" your tracker and driver can stay in the bush later in the evening (and we saw incredible stars at night out in the bush), and you can leave the road to follow the animals, unlike within the park itself. Our drivers and trackers-- Rex and Hector, and Franz and Conrad-- were plainly the best. Generally we found animals before the other lodges, and via radio the other Land Rovers caught up to us to see what we had found. And we saw absolutely amazing things-- a cheetah, who relaxed enough to lie down near our truck; a leopard, tracked in the dark and watched for a long time, that walked around our truck; groups of elephants, up to twenty or so, including many juveniles that played and frolicked right in front of us, and on another occasion, two that played in the watering hole and chased the hippos to a far corner; giraffe, many at a time, including one that walked over a tree repeatedly to scratch its belly and another that chewed thoughtfully on a bone to get some calcium; herds of Cape buffalo and impala and zebra; groups of baboons including babies sliding down a hillside to play; hyenas; jackals; two black rhino that we tracked for hours til we found them and observed for many minutes; warthogs and wildebeest and waterbuck and grey heron. I thought this was a once-in-a-lifetime trip, but after six drives I felt I could have stayed in the bush forever and we will have to go back. Ezulwini was the best spur-of-the-moment decision we have ever made.

Room Tip: We stayed in Romepole (sp?), the last cottage at the end of the lane. Quiet and lovely.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Leslie M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 March 2014 via mobile

As a South African, and having been to many game lodges in my life! I have never had such an awesome stay as I did at Ezulwini! Laurence and Loz were brilliant, with Awbrey as an epic host! Game drives were such fun with Franz and the team!

Rooms are super clean and spacious with a plunge pool to take the edge off the heat!

Food was Fantastic- good home cooked meals with an African flavour!

I encourage all foreigners to come and try this peace of Africa!

Stayed: March 2014
1  Thank Liam C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 March 2014

I just returned from a 9 day vacation with 2 of my closest girlfriends. We had an ABSOLUTE AMAZING Trip!!!!! We stayed at both the Ezulwini River Lodge & Ezulwini Billy's Lodge. The staff was most accommodating to all of our needs, and prepared fabulous meals morning, noon, & night. The variety of fresh fruits, homemade breads, & African traditions helped enhance the entire experience! The Owner of the Lodges added to a lifetime of memories by inviting us to his private Wine cellar, where we sampled African wines and learned about the history of the land. Simple Fascinating! In addition, we joined in on 2 Game Drives daily, which we saw the most magnificent animals. I felt like we were participating in a NatGeo Special. *Food, Hospitality, Accommodations, & the Adventure was all Top Notch! Truly Exceeded my Expectation! Excited to return in the Near future.

Room Tip: Upgrade to a suite. Totally worth it!
See more room tips
  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank KelliJS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 March 2014 via mobile

I'd never been to africa before and I am so glad I went to ezulwini on my first visit...Our group had a wonderful time...The people at the lodges couldn't have been any nicer..The river lodge was everything I hope. The food was fantastic and plenty of it...and the staff were very personable and friendy...Lawrence even tried to teach us works in his native language and glory was a delight...
Billy,'s lodge was fantastic not better than river lodge but a little different...friendly and accommodating. ..great food and bar ...love a our suite well worth the upgrade..would like to spend more time at bill's on our next visit..and we will go back
Leave expectations at home and go with the flow at ezulwini .you won't be disappointed.

Stayed: March 2014, travelled with friends
1  Thank Bill D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 March 2014 via mobile

My only wish is that it didn't take so long to get here. I would come every year. The staff treated us like family. They made my birthday the best birthday I ever had. The ultra luxury suite almost seems sinful. Food out of this world, especially the kudu.

Stayed: March 2014, travelled with friends
1  Thank jayjustjay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hotels you might also like...
Also consider these accommodations in or near Balule Nature Reserve
20.4 mi away
Kapama Buffalo Camp
Kapama Buffalo Camp
#2 of 4 in Kapama Private Game Reserve
410 reviews
17.3 mi away
Kapama River Lodge
Kapama River Lodge
#3 of 4 in Kapama Private Game Reserve
1,780 reviews
3.5 mi away
Kurhula Wildlife Lodge
Kurhula Wildlife Lodge
#2 of 2 in Balule Nature Reserve
272 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
2.7 mi away
Naledi Bushcamp and Enkoveni Camp
Naledi Bushcamp and Enkoveni Cam...
#3 of 21 in Balule Nature Reserve
1,076 reviews
19.2 mi away
Elandela Private Game Reserve
Elandela Private Game Reserve
#62 of 175 in Kruger National Park
365 reviews
0.6 mi away
Sausage Tree Safari Camp
Sausage Tree Safari Camp
#1 of 21 in Balule Nature Reserve
673 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Ezulwini Game Lodges? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Ezulwini Game Lodges

Address: Ezulwini Billy's & River Lodge | Olifants West Nature Reserve, Kruger National Park 1380, South Africa
Region: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Balule Nature Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 21 Speciality Lodging in Balule Nature Reserve
Price Range: £518 - £1,102 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Ezulwini Game Lodges 3*
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Ezulwini, the Zulu word for 'Place of Paradise', is situated in the centre of the Greater Kruger National Park, Balule Nature Reserve section, where Africa remains unspoiled. Ezulwini prides itself on being able to offer an exceptional African setting, indigenous fauna and flora as well as unique character and charm, to provide you with an authentic experience. Ezulwini Billy's Lodge nestles deep in the heart of lion country and offers three standard chalets as well as three new luxury suites with their own lounge area, private deck and plunge pool, indoor and outdoor shower and super King-Size beds. Ezulwini River Lodge is on the famous Olifants River, with large riverine trees and wonderful sightings of elephant, hippo and crocodile. River Lodge offers 4 standard rooms and 4 Ultra Luxury Suites. ... more   less 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Expedia, Hotels.com, TripOnline SA, Agoda, Ebookers and HotelsClick so you can book your Ezulwini Game Lodges reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Ezulwini Game Hotel Balule Private Game Reserve
Ezulwini Game Lodges South Africa/Kruger National Park

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing