If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times – the bush is my ultimate getaway! So when the opportunity for us to stay at Umzolozolo Private Safari Lodge came up, I was thrilled to bits.
Umzolozolo is one of the safari lodges we’ve had our eyes on for some time. Located in Nambiti Big 5 Private Game Reserve in Ladysmith, it’s also only about 3 hours drive from where we live, so it’s relatively close for somewhere that feels so far away from it all.
Once again, we had very high expectations for our stay at Umzolozolo. We’d read reviews, we’d seen friend’s post about their stay there, and we’d just spent 3 incredible nights in the reserve at 2 other lodges.
EVERY. SINGLE. EXPECTATION. WAS. MET.
The lodge is everything it is hyped up to be and more! The staff are insanely attentive, every single staff member knows your name, and they all make every effort to ensure your stay is memorable. That, combined with the sensational views in the lodge, the beautiful accommodation and the excellent food and drinks make for a truly amazing experience.
We were welcomed with some cool, damp towels and cocktails, and a brief tour of the main lodge areas before being shown to our room for the night.
We stayed in one of the Luxurious Suites near the Boma area, and it was absolutely gorgeous. An enormous bed with soft linens and mosquito nets, a small seating area with complimentary sherry, a tea and coffee station, an indoor bath and shower with huge windows to soak up the view plus an outdoor shower with 2 shower heads, also showcasing the incredible view. All this and a private balcony with a view to die for.
Your accommodation at Umzolozolo includes breakfast, lunch (on day of check in) and dinner, as well as tea, coffee and 2 game drives a day with drinks and snacks. All you have to cover during your stay are your other beverages, any possible extra activities (they have a lovely spa) and any gratuities. Each lodge also charges a R55 Nambiti Rhino Protection Levy.
After checking out our gorgeous suite, we settled down to a light lunch and a drink each (they have a marvelous selection of gins and some awesome Amarula based drinks), we even opted for a quick swim in the beautiful pool overlooking the reserve.
One thing I do have to mention is that I expected the drink prices here at Umzolozolo to be far higher than they were. They were very decently priced for a luxury safari lodge.
Sadly our afternoon game drive was cut short due to a horrendous storm that hit, with loads of heavy rain. We did some some antelope, but that was pretty much it due to the weather.
We were welcomed back to the lodge with warm hand towels this time (scented with essential oils) and we were able to dry off in front of the fire burning in the main lodge before we had our dinner.
Dinner was a 4-course affair, with a soup to start, followed by a choice of starters, mains and desserts. Nick went for the Springbok carpaccio for starters that was served with pears and a lovely pesto, while I had vegetarian spring rolls that were super delicious. Mains for me was a lamb curry (probably the best I’ve ever eaten, that lamb just melted in my mouth) with all the trimmings, and Hubs had the fillet steak. I feel awful that we even accepted the offer of dessert, as by the time it came out (you order when you’re eating lunch, so you aren’t really sure how hungry you’re going to be) we were so full from the first 3 courses that we couldn’t even taste it. They kindly wrapped it up for us so that we could take it back to our room – Nick chose the tiramisu and I chose the cheese plate, not realising how massive and varied it would be! It would have been lovely with a nice dessert wine or a glass of red though.
We basically rolled back to bed (stuffed to the brim with warm, comforting food) and were so exchausted we slept earlier than we’d have liked. There had been turn down and some cute little branded chocolates placed on the bed for us too. The morning game drive leaves at around 5/5:30, so we were due for another early start.
Our morning game drive was FAR more successful. So successful, in fact, that we spotted 2 male cheetahs that looked like they’d had a meal. They walked along the road in front of us for some time, before pausing to sip on some water puddled up from the previous night’s rain. We were also lucky enough to spot a bachelor herd of giraffes who were lying down!
We arrived back at the lodge in time for a delicious breakfast, and then we took a walk around the premises, browsing in the curio shop – we were even allowed a sneak peak at one of the Luxurious Chalets and, the Presidential Suite.
Breakfast is wonderful, with the cold continental offering as well as a selection of hot breakfasts. We both opted for the Umzolozolo Breakfast – a full fry up – and it was delicious. The Banana Split looked amazing though (bananas, yoghurt, peanut butter, muesli etc).
Overall our stay at Umzolozolo was superb. Great food, wonderful selection of drinks, a beautiful setting with the most out-of-this-world view (honestly photos and video don’t quite capture it, but stay tuned for the upcoming vlog) and staff that just topped the experience. A big thank you to Henry for taking the best care of us and to Robert for always ensuring we had a drink to sip on, be it hot or cold. Another huge thank you to Reece and Billie our rangers – these two are SO passionate about what they do, and so knowledgeable! They truly made our game drives that much better.
I can HIGHLY recommend this lodge to locals and foreigners. AMAZING for honeymooners especially!
If you’d like to know more regarding pricing, bookings or specials, you can contact Umzolozolo Private Safari Lodge on +27 (0)31 579 3870 or you can email Tracey on firstname.lastname@example.org
You can watch my vlog of our stay here: –