So you have won a "I dreamed of Africa Safari" at a charity auction and now that it's the next morning you have been searching feverishly everywhere to figure out what you have gotten yourself into. If this is your first trip to South Africa then you have scored a great trip at a wonderful private reserve. The few complaints I heard about Zulu Nyala when researching in advance was that it is a smaller reserve without all the big five animals. This is true, but this was our first safari and the size of the location worked to our advantage as our ranger Ruan was able to find all of the animals. We took two side excursions and were able to see the lions that Zulu Nyala doesn't have. You're going to find plenty of reviews of the food, rooms, and service; we found them all to be good, but so much of that is preference. Here are our recommendations and experience as we booked the trip: We flew into Johannesburg from Washington DC and immediately took one of the many hopper flights to Durban; 21 hours flying total! We just wanted to crash at that point and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express near the airport (good call.) We rented a car through AAA that was $110 for 10 days unlimited miles. If you're brave and can drive on the left side of the road, we would highly recommend getting a car and extending your stay. We drove to Zulu Nyala the next morning and I was amazed how easy it was. The main road N2 runs north (you can follow it on goggle earth) and is well maintained. Heritage Lodge is only two well marked turns and about 5 minutes from N2. Took less than 3 hours. People are courteous on the roads and the biggest distraction is the livestock along the sides. When you have a car you can do all of the excursions plus more for less. I think the price Zulu Nyala charges for excursions is fair considering they provide a ranger and safe transportation, but we never regretted trekking out on our own. Highly recommend the elephant encounter, cat rehab center, and zulu croc. We also took a guided trip at the next door larger Phinda reserve where we saw the lions and their cubs. Ruan was a fantastic guide not just on the safari, but also on getting around and things to do. Nearby is also ilala Weavers which is the best place to stock up on Zulu curio items. We would really suggest splitting your time between both of the properties. The Game Lodge is beautiful, but also a little constricting as it's built on a peak and not a lot of room to roam. The Heritage Lodge and Tent camp has plenty of room to walk around among the animal. The first day we were there we had Zebra and Impala walking within 30' from our tent. The balance of 3 days at each was right for us. Make sure to upgrade your room. We figured we're going all the way to Africa then it's worth the extra couple of hundred to get the huge tent and room. After Zulu Nyala we spent a few days in Durban exploring. Highly recommend a day trip south to the Lake Eland reserve for the high adventure activities. Hope this helps; Sawubona!
- 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