- 4* 22 Bedroom Safari Lodge
- Within Hluhluwe National Park
- Big five
- Low malaria risk
Rhino Ridge is a superb four star safari lodge sat atop a ridge overlooking the Hluhluwe game reserve. Stunning views in the heart of ‘big five’ territory makes this affordable option perfect for a real safari experience.
An easy three and a half hour drive from Durban and part of Africa’s oldest proclaimed game reserve Hluhluwe Imfolozi, this low-risk malaria site is ideal for families. Situated in a 96,000 hectare park dedicated to rhino conservation, the park is now home to over 1,000 white rhinos that can be spotted, along with the rest of the big five, on the day and night game drives offered by the experienced rangers. This area is a perfect alternative to Kruger national park for those preferring easy access to the beach as beautiful coastline is only an hour’s drive away.
The lodge is set within the National Park itself which has its advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side the park is huge and the safari experience offers a greater feeling of authenticity than in the nearby private game reserves. The drawback is the bush can be thick making wildlife sightings harder and some of the roads through the reserve are tarmac, which can detract from the sense of wilderness. Overall though, we find this one of the best safari options in the KwaZulu Natal area. The accommodation and lodge itself are very comfortable, food is excellent and service friendly. There are a number of activities available aside from the daily game drives including walking safaris, bird watching and uniquely, an opportunity to get an insight into local zulu culture.
The overall feel of the lodge is contemporary whilst the décor is in keeping with the surrounding natural bush. An 11 metre unheated infinity pool with a large sundeck offers exceptional views from a high vantage point providing unique sights of wildlife even when relaxing. The lodge also houses a day spa providing pampering surrounded by the sights and sounds of the African bush. This is a real highlight for those who enjoy time to relax as well as explore.
22 en-suite rooms are divided into safari rooms and luxury bush villas. The luxury bush villas sleep 2 or 3 with a twin or double bed arrangement and feature a large outdoor viewing deck. The Safari Rooms are the lower priced units and although smaller are luxuriously appointed and feature small outdoor viewing decks. The Safari Rooms are clustered in twos, with the safari family rooms featuring two safari rooms joined by an enclosed small entrance lobby area and will sleep upto a family of 5. Every room has its own private deck providing sweeping sunset views of the entire reserve and giving a genuine safari feel. All expected amenities are available including air conditioning and wifi and a fireplace brings together each villa. Two luxurious honeymoon villas are also available each with their own private plunge pools.
We have had consistently excellent feedback from guests staying at Rhino Ridge, with praise in particular for the standard of guiding and food here. We have enjoyed our own stay here greatly with excellent wildlife sightings (rhino, large herds of elephant and even lion). We do feel the chances of seeing a big cat are probably greater in the nearby private reserves than in Hluhluwe National Park, simply because of the size of the National Park, but when you do see them in Hluhluwe it is so much more rewarding.
Rhino Ridge is superb for families. It has a number of family rooms with two en-suite bedrooms and a communal lobby area that links them and can be separately secured. Activity packs are provided for kids and a kid friendly menu is provided. Children are usually served dinner earlier than adults, but this arrangement works well, with children either able to stay at the table with parents whilst they eat or relax in the adjacent lounge area. Lodge staff often put on activities for kids between game drives to give parents an hour of privacy and rest. The camp is fenced lightly, but only to stop big elephants roaming through, and we frequently had zebra between rooms during our stay. As is typical on safari, parents will need to keep a close eye on children and not let them roam freely on their own in case of wildlife. There are no minimum ages, but children under 6 are only allowed on game drives if on an exclusive use vehicle and at the judgement of the guide and camp manager.
Combine superb big five safari at Rhino Ridge Lodge then relax amidst the luxury of Thonga Beach Lodge.
Tailor-made Luxury 9 days
From $2,893 per person
Combine the beautiful Drakensberg Mountains, Safari and remote beaches in this perfect three centre family holiday in South Africa's KwuZulu Natal.
Tailor-made 12 days
From $3,201 per person
The safari trip was excellent! The stay, the food and the people were all very nice. We were happy to have Ryan and Stanley as our game drive guides they brought us up close to the animals and Ryan gave very good information throughout.
Would definitely recommend to friends who are interested in safaris :)
Also, thanks much for your help, particularly keeping the room for my Brother and his wife they’ve enjoyed the safari very much too!
Woan Chyi L reviewing Cape Town & Kruger Safari on 16 October 2019
We had a fantastic time and all the arrangements worked perfectly.
We were very impressed with the quality and service levels of all 4 locations visited and it was truly a holiday of a lifetime.
Thank you to you and to Lisa for giving us this experience.
Particular highlights for us – really the whole experience, but of particular impact:
Breathtaking scenery at Cathedral Peak Hotel
Rhino Ridge game drives incredible, thanks to guide (we had their head guide, Hala, who’s knowledge, enthusiasm, kindness, interaction, ability to spot wildlife was out of this world)
Luxury of Rhino Ridge (shower, food, views, service)
Immersion in nature, torch lit meal on last night and beach trip at Kosi Forest Lodge
Level of service, quality of food throughout
Catherine F reviewing South Africa Safari, Beach and Wetlands on 04 September 2019
We had a fantastic time. Thank you and it went smoothly in the main except for British Airways!
The trip had the right degree of luxury and relaxation (for me) and adventure (all of us).
A few points:
Driving directions to Umlunghi Lodge were slightly wrong. The driving directions should read at the 4th roundabout take the first exit and turn right over the railway. We loved it there. Anton, Bianca and her son and Harriet were very informative and entertaining. The snake talk and handling, night walks and seeing scorpions and the walk in the bush and "bumping" into a giraffe were really special. The kayak trip to Makuzi pan that the lodge organised was good and Tomaz was very informative and kept a respectful distance from the hippos.3 nights was plenty.
Rhino River Lodge game reserve was incredibly luxurious and we felt very looked after. The lion siting in camp the day we arrived sent an extra frisson of excitement down our spines. It was easy to forget there were predators that could attack us with all that luxury. The staff and guides (Karl) were knowledgeable and invested in their set up. We saw rhinos with baby, cheetahs with young, porcupine, Genet, wildebeast, Impala, Lion with young, buffalo, a puff adder, ostrich, zebra and giraffes. 4 nights was also plenty.
They all served great food but I felt Ghost Mountain Inn topped the lot. The variety was amazing. We arrived at 10.30 but could not get into our room until 2 ish. The service was not so personal I guess because it is larger (far more than 50 rooms). We had been a bit spoilt at Rhino River! My daughter and I had some treatments at the Spa and loved it. We also went on a large boat trip on Jonzi and had a closer encounter with a large bull hippo and also a hike up Ghost Mountain with Patrick who was very informative and passionate about his people and his country. Isaac the other guide there took us on the boat trip and pointed out the sugar cane harvest on the way. he was very informative also.
Lastly, Lalaria Lodge was fabulous and we all piled into the surf of the Indian Ocean. There was hardly anyone on the beach. It was "too cold" according to the landlady. The view from her terrace was of the ocean and whales breaching in the distance. I could have sat there all day. She very kindly provided us with a Scrabble board of her own for us to play. We took a Microlight ride from Ballito over the coastline in the hope of seeing whales and dolphins but no luck. If we had stayed longer we might have gone on a boat trip from Durban. We had a meal at a restaurant called Mozambique which was great fun with vast portions, plenty of carbs and fresh seafood!
The value of the Rand to the Pound was excellent and therefore we felt that we got excellent value which also played a large part!
Katrina P reviewing Value KZN Bush & Beach Safari For Families on 02 September 2019