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Zulu Nyala Heritage Safari Lodge
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Reviewed 1 January 2013

Our stay at Zulu Nyala included 5 nights at the Game Lodge and one day at the Tents. I wrote a separate review of the drive to Zulu Nyala under a Game lodge and it wont let me add another one.

The rooms at the Game Lodge were fine. The three meals a day were plentiful and when we took a side trip during the day, we got a packed lunch to go.

We went in November and the weather varied from cold/rainy to mild to hot. The mild (sweatshirt/long sleeves) was the best for us. The cold/rainy was really cold during the morning/afternoon drive. You are given a heavy duty rain poncho, but it doesn't do much when you are in an open top jeep. The hot day would have been awesome if it weren't for bugs.

The drives were great and it does depend on your group and your driver. When you check in you are assign a ranger who is with you all week. he's the one to drive you to another attractions and to take you on the game drives in the morning (about 2 hr starting anytime from 6 -8am) and the afternoon (3:30-4pm). It seems groups stay assigned together during the week stay, but we weren't that fortunate. We had three different parties join us during the week.

We saw all the animals at the reserve, but we also paid to go to Phinda for a drive after we heard a group saw the Big Five in one drive. We weren't so lucky. We got closer to the animals at Zulu Nyala, but we did see two Zebra's fighting at the water hole which was pretty cool. It also seems that because Phinda is so much bigger and popular they tend to "squeeze in" ZuluNyala guests in when they have open space.

We switched to the tents for our last night. After we compared to another guests' tents our tent (number 6) was definitely much nicer and bigger than others. It has a sofa and a side table in front of the bed. The weather was great, but we heard it's a sleepless night during a windy weather. The eating area and the food was much nicer and bigger at the Game lodge. It definitely seems the Safari Lodge is oriented for the large groups, and we noticed small parties reserving tables where we never had an issue at the Game lodge.

We rented a car and drove to St.Lucia Estatuary (1.5 hrs), Hluhluwe National Park (30 min) and Cheetah Conservation (15 min).

  • Stayed: November 2012, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank bmd1277
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 December 2012

Evening meal was sub standard for R180 pperson. Feels like we being ripped. R800 for 2 adults and 2 kiddies. Come on guys. That's just for one meal. Don't bother, tents nice but sounds like we next to railway siding at night. Zebras nice, what I thought was a dam had building rubble in it. I think these guys are in it for money first, customer last.

  • Stayed: December 2012
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10  Thank Andrew (Customer first) Cox
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 December 2012

This was meant to be a fabulous break away with my brother, his wife and 2 children. The tents were very nice, no fridge to keep drinks cold and as the water not safe to drink was very difficult with children who are constantly thirsty. The buffet breakfasts and dinners were lovely, but drinks were extremely expensive. The "game drive" was a joke...at one point we came across 3 zulu men who informed us that they got a "tip off" that poachers were in the area. Our guide then proceeded to go looking for the rhino that were to be poached!!! My opinion is that we should have been taken back to the hotel for our safety..not go looking for trouble!! We went to another game park nearby and had an awesome time for a fraction of the cost and saw many animals. We wont be going back.

  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled with family
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5  Thank Claire P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 November 2012

We stayed in the Heritage Safari Lodge for the first nights we were at Zulu Nyala, then up at the Game Lodge for the second half. Like most people, we bought a charity auction item and planned our trip to South Africa around this piece. We also read the reviews that said to go to the Heritage Safari Lodge first, then the Game Lodge, because as some people wrote, " you'll appreciate it more". Well, there's no need to do that, because the Game Lodge rooms are nicer. Just stay up there.

First the negatives...When we checked in, there wasn't a port around to help anyone in our group with bags, and the front desk agent didn't seem to know how to best direct us to our individual rooms. Although our room was modern and just fine in all other aspects, we did not have hot water in the shower, rather in came out in a drip. Lastly, most of the front-lines hotel staff are experienced at providing the level of customer service that most of us front US and Europe are used to. (I'll address this.)

The positives...When I brought little problems to the attention of the management, they were extremely attentive and eager to fix any problem - and they did. The staff are all very friendly and eager to serve. Also, the buffet meals were very good, both because there were many offerings at each meal, but also because of the variety of game meat at dinner. It was new to me and very interesting. Next, our ranger, William, was outstanding! He made our trip by weaving extra insight and personal stories into his guides. Can't say enough about our ranger.

TIPS...Your ranger plans your week of activities, so don't worry about not having all of your daily excursions off property planned before you arrive. Things depend on the weather and your personal interests, so don't worry.
Do see the Phinda Game Reserve though if you can. That's where see way the whole pride of lions.
Bring long sleeves and warm weather clothing for the early morning, open air rides in the vehicle to where you're going are sometimes really cold. A couple layers including a fleece should do it.
We used bug spray once when we went to on night drive, so don't bring a lot.
Get to know the people in the van ride from the airport because they may be with you all week. We were lucky because we got along great with our group and did things together all week.
Be patient with the bartender in the hotel bar if he doesn't know how to make a particular martini. They really don't do mixed drinks around there, mainly beer and wine. (Try the local beer, Castle - really good.)
Tipping...We didn't know about tipping before we got there, but this is what we were told more than once when we go there. You do not need to tip the hotel staff for every service. It is customary to leave a tip of USD$10 per hotel guest per day at the end of your visit when you check out. Tips are then distributed to the hotel staff. Also, your ranger, who is with you all week, customarily receives a gratuity of USD$100 per couple per week. (We tipped more because of our extraordinary service.)

Lastly, the last bit of advice I like to give is that this trip is the trip of a lifetime for many of us, so go with the flow when you're there. You'll get used to getting up early for your drives. You'll get over bumps in the road to perfect service. Stay in the moment and soak in the wildlife and the views and your spouse's company...and take lot's of pictures.

Room Tip: "Tent" type of rooms have heavy canvas roofs an side walls which blow in the wind at night. Main building rooms would not have that.
  • Stayed: November 2012, travelled as a couple
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17  Thank PtownTMW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 November 2012

This establishement could not offer any us game drives and or any boma braais, the rooms are
very basic with no fridge facilities, the staff have no commitment to the traveller,
they did not for any alternatives to our requests and on several occasions we were just
turned away with the words unfortunately.

Management have also not responded on any of our letters and e mails, they dont come back to you with any report back, they will not see us again, we have been to several lodges in this area, this was the worst experience.

Room Tip: Go to other traveller friendly lodges in the area.
  • Stayed: October 2012, travelled with family
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5  Thank OVERLANDER515
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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