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“Much Better Than Expected”

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Zulu Nyala Heritage Safari Lodge
Ranked #1 of 7 Hotels in Hluhluwe
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 17 April 2016

First of all let me start my review by noting that I purchased the Zulu Nyala (ZN) at a silent auction like most of the guests who were at the property. We were a little apprehensive about this trip having never heard of ZN and also never having visited South Africa or even the continent of Africa before. So first let me state that overall we had an excellent experience at both ZN and in Johannesburg where we stayed for 2 nights prior to traveling to ZN,

So that is why I gave our overall experience at ZN and South Africa 5 stars. I read a lot of reviews about other peoples experiences prior to coming. I think it is best to address that negative things I read first and provide a comment about our experience:

- "ZN is too small and gets boring after awhile"- We did not find this to be the case at all. We did almost every game drive that our driver arranged and we saw something new and different every time. We looked forward to every trip because our guide, Erika was very knowledgeable and knew what she was talking about. We also were teamed up with a nice group so we had a lot of fun. We did a few side trips and those were very good. I'll provide some more details later.

- "The food was terrible"- We did not find this to be true at all. First of all the food appears to be very safe, fresh and nutritious. We had no problems at all and never heard one complaint about the food from other guests. ZN has especially great breakfasts with an omelet stations that was outstanding. And you get a great value on all wine, beer and mixed drinks. They had some nice wines priced around $US15. Beers were about $2 a bottle. They also provide each guest with a liter of bottled water everyday which was very nice.

- "Rooms are not that great"- Our room was very nice. We stayed at the Heritage lodge the 7 days, 6 nights we were there and had not problems. The room was plenty large and had a very large bathroom with two sinks and a large shower. The AC worked well and cleaning service was very good.

- "Unfriendly Staff"- Not true at all in case. We found the staff at the Heritage Lodge to be extremely customer service oriented. They tried to do everything they could to make our stay enjoyable. Lloyd and Valentine were at the front most of the time and they couldn't have been more helpful.

I'll share a few things that we did or heard about that made the trip more enjoyable:

-- Get a picked up at airport when you arrive. We flew into Johannesburg and had a driver meet us and drove us straight to the hotel we were staying at in Sandton. We arranged that through the hotel. It cost about $US 40 total. It makes your arrival all that much easier rather than trying to find the train or a taxi. When we left Jo-burg to fly to Richards Bay, we took the train to the airport as we knew how that worked by then. That was about $US 8.00 each.
-- We rented a car in Richards Bay. You have to drive on the left side of the road but did not find it to be a problem. The roads were very good but you will see people and livestock walking right next to the road so be very attentive. Having a car made it much easier to get around and see things near ZN.
-- Side Trips from ZN. We did Phinda which is the large game reserve next to ZN. Our guide arranged that for us and it was outstanding. They have everything there including lions. We did the Elephant interaction tour which again was outstanding. Also, we went to St. Lucia which took a whole day which was OK but not that great. Finally, we drove to Hluhluwe game reserve which is only about 15 miles from ZN. This is the oldest park in South Africa and is a self drive. It was outstanding as we saw a lot of wildlife including two male elephants who were right next to our car.
-- Research, Research, Research-- Read as much as you can on Trip Advisor and other travel cites about ZN. You will find a lot of useful information that will help you plan your trip. Also, I used Skype to call the various places we were visiting to ask questions before hand which helped.

Room Tip: We stayed at the Heritage Lodge only. The Game Lodge is only accessible via a fairly long drive on...
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  • Stayed: April 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
9  Thank ssmarc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 17 April 2016

A clean, fun, professional place to begin your adventure. The car service from the airport is what most people used, we rented a car. The grounds are constantly cared for, the zebras grazing next in the tents in the morning were a surprise. Caged crocs (natural setting - pond and water lilies) baking in the sun during the day. Plenty animals on the morning and evening drives. Plan on taking excursions. Hippo (St Lucia) and elephant fun. Some game food at dinner and breakfast. Jeanine was our guide and she was great.

Room Tip: Room 34 is an end unit with TV, AC and a frig.
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  • Stayed: April 2016, travelled with friends
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank macmac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 April 2016

The first time I've been in South Africa and I had an incredible trip. We stayed at the Zulu Nyala Heritage Safari Lodge and took two tours a day. Our tour guide, Bernie was amazing. she was so knowledgable and so positive with our touring different locations. We didn"t want to go home.

Room Tip: tented rooms are somewhat noisy - the other rooms are good and quite
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  • Stayed: March 2016, travelled with friends
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank lisa m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 March 2016

We stayed at the Heritage safari lodge for 5 nights, and participated in the property's included daily safari drives. The lodging itself is very nice, the food is all-inclusive and truly fantastic. My expectation for all-inclusive food is generally that it will be average, but give it to this resort for preparing excellent meals three times per day.

The resort provides you a list of additional activities that are not part of the all-inclusive deal, and we participated in several of them. Because the Rand is in such bad shape versus the dollar, this was very affordable. Be forewarned, however, that you will be paying for certain activities beyond the safari drives in an a la carte fashion.

Our guide, Chris Beukes, was fantastic. He was very knowledgeable about the habitat, all of the flora and fauna, and contextualized the current fight for survival for all of these majestic creatures (most notably the rhino). He's a funny, patient, and intelligent person that will guarantee your satisfaction. He made sure that any booking question or issue we had was handled flawlessly. We can't wait to return with our boys and will be requesting his services specifically. I'd recommend him, but also heard many other guests bragging on their guides quite a bit in the hotel. I don't think you can get a bad one. My wife and I are still biased though!

Finally, one of the best parts of the trip is the pairing with other people in your safari group. You get assigned with others who have the same rough schedule as you, and we were paired with very lovely couples from Australia, England and the U.S. as well. We all had a really fun time getting to know each other and hopefully made some long-term bonds. Chris was helpful in getting the ice broken quickly, and that was just a cherry on top.

We stayed in both the Hemingway tent (which was very nice and romantic as well), and the regular hotel room. The regular room was nice and had a more modern aesthetic, including AC, which was nice. The people who work at the resort are very kind and considerate. Make sure to befriend Princess, the restaurant manager. She is very sweet and works hard in her role.

The only wifi is in the reception and front restaurant/bar area, but this seems intentional. We would end our day there briefly checking internet before going back to the room and being glad to not be connected to devices.

You will not be disappointed in booking with this lodge.

  • Stayed: March 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
5  Thank Andrew N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 February 2016

Stayed at the Heritage Lodge from 1/30/2016 to 2/2/2016. We had won this trip through Bidding For Good auction. Our room was very clean and was equipped with a refrigerator and TV and a large bathroom. The food for breakfast and lunch was very good but the main entrees for dinner was usually not to my liking. There was a charge for all drinks but the prices was reasonable. For an example, we ordered a bottle of white wine which was 135 Rand ( under $10 US). We paid for a side trip to Phinda Reserve to view the Lions and spent several hours trying to find a lion of which we finally found a male Lion and 2 females that was pregnant. We was treated to refreshments and snacks at the end of the trip but I felt for what we saw and did we overpaid for this trip. We was offered a morning and afternoon trip through Zulu Nyala reserve each day with our great guide Peace whom took different routes each time and the interactions of the animals was different each trip. Peace, our guide, was very informative and went out of his way to keep us safe and informed.
We met the head of Maintenance who was a joy to listen to regarding his life in South Africa and one of their Chefs even tap danced with my husband. People are very friendly here. We was warned about Malaria by our children but had no problem during our stay in South Africa. In fact none of the guides, etc. take Malaria pills which eased my mind. One thing tho that bothered me was each time you made a purchase and charged it to your room there was a line for a gratuity on the slip and they also ask you to give 10% on your final bill to tip all employees. It should either be one or the other.

  • Stayed: January 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
4  Thank RedontheheadIndiana
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

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
Price Range: R3 871 - R4 071 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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 
Also Known As:
Zulu Nyala Heritage Safari Hotel Hluhluwe

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