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Suggestions for Adding on to Trip to Zulu Nyala

NY
Level Contributor
105 posts
10 reviews
Suggestions for Adding on to Trip to Zulu Nyala

Hi. We'd like to add on to our trip as we wish to stay more than six nights once we make the trip all the way to Africa. Can anyone recommend other places in South Africa to visit that would compliment this safari experience? We love adventure, fine wine, snorkeling, and peace. Thanks!

13 replies to this topic
Long Island, New...
Level Contributor
6,803 posts
21 reviews
1. Re: Suggestions for Adding on to Trip to Zulu Nyala

How long would you like to stay? When are you going?

Zulu Nyala is nice, but a very small reserve. It's really a shame they auction 6 nights - they should do 3-4. Six is way too many. But if you add a few day trips, it'll be better. Definitely do a day in Mkuze. It's so pretty and very different from most public reserves we've visited. It's very close. Maybe a day in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi. It's the biggest game park in KwaZulu Natal.

There are too many options to name them all, but the town of St Lucia on the coast near Zulu Nyala is tons of fun. See www.stluciasouthafrica.com for all the fun available. All water activities, kayak with hippos, horse riding on the beach, whale watching... So fun, plus on the beach and on the edge of the iSimangaliso a Wetland Park. The beaches are beautiful and the Indian Ocean is warm.

If you want an exclusive beach experience, try Thonga or Rocktail. For crowds, head to Uhmlanga or Ballito.

Are you planning to visit Cape Town? It's a nice city and wineries are nearby. Just fly from Durban - easy.

Are you going to Kruger? Kruger is a pretty easy drive through Swaziland (great passport stamp!) with a stopover for golf and casino in Mbabane, the capitol. You can stay in the park or the private reserves.

Give us more specifics and we can help more.

NY
Level Contributor
105 posts
10 reviews
2. Re: Suggestions for Adding on to Trip to Zulu Nyala

Hi cbir! Thank you for your very helpful reply! We actually toyed with Madagascar ;)

St. Lucia sounds wonderful and I'll give that deep consideration. We considered Cape Town, although it's a bit farther away. How long would you recommend to stay there? Not into the golf and casino, so should we fly?

We are unsure of dates yet, can you recommend a particular time of year? Will definitely plan day trips from Zulu, and have read good things about Phinda.

Ironically, we recently moved from Mt. Sinai, Long Island to Bloomington, IN. Where are you?

Happy New Year!

Long Island, New...
Level Contributor
6,803 posts
21 reviews
3. Re: Suggestions for Adding on to Trip to Zulu Nyala

For wildlife viewing, May - August is best. If you go April - May it won't be too hot, but the Indian Ocean will still be warm.

S Africa is huge, beautiful and "a world in one country". Don't try to go everywhere. See a little of S Africa. It's hard to help without any clues about what you want to do. Day trips from ZN are fine, just know everything takes longer than we think. Plan carefully and ask the staff if what you plan is doable in the timeframe you give yourself.

You can't visit Phinda unless you stay there. It's beautiful but there are other private reserves that are much better values. It's sometimes difficult to find the more affordable reserves from the U.S. because they don't market to us. It's too bad because my favorite places have all been the more personal and unknown spots.

I thought three nights in Cape Town was plenty, but many stay five or more nights, do the winelands, etc. Lots to do, but I'm not a foodie or wine enthusiast and live near "the best city in the world". If you plan to visit Cape Town, do it first - safari is always the highlight and I like it last. Then fly to Durban for ZN and whatever else you plan. I love KwaZulu Natal and Kruger for wildlife and beaches/activities. I only mentioned Mbabane, Swaziland because that's how to get to Kruger, the premier game reserve, from KZN.

Have fun planning. Stick to S Africa, though. I currently live in Plainview, planning our move to KZN in the near future (yes, I love it there!) It is quite a change to Indiana!!

4. Re: Suggestions for Adding on to Trip to Zulu Nyala

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Tempe, Arizona
Destination Expert
for South Africa, Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Level Contributor
9,599 posts
65 reviews
5. Re: Suggestions for Adding on to Trip to Zulu Nyala

Clients I have helped add nights to their stay in South Africa have stayed in more authentic safari reserves that are sort of across-the-road from ZN - on the west side of the N2. Thanda is more expensive.. but quite nice. And, Leopard Mountain is also very nice - and at is price, a very good value.

Phinda - next door to ZN - is even more expensive but a 5-star experience, so might be worth it.

To me - the information that apparently is not well-explained at the ZN auctions is - where it is located. Richards Bay airport is closest, but with limited service. About 90 minutes, more or less from ZN. Durban has flights from JNB on a few airlines so fares are competetive, and you can get to ZN from there on good roads (till you enter the ZN reserve!) in about 3 hours. You definitely will need to rent a car for whichever of these plans you choose, and to leave ZN some days to make your experience in this part of South Africa worthwhile.

ZN actually does offer a game drive in Phinda, so I am told. But according to my client who was there, this is one of the activities that depends on a certain number of ZN guests to sign up before it would happen. Don't quote me on that.. That's just how I understand it..

She was at ZN in August, and her observations of the experience includes some things people might not expect - these are observations and opinions and should be considered as such. Here's some of what she sent me in her trip report:

"..They are unable to sustain lions due to its size (the size of the Reserve, she means). They have two watering holes and they feed the animals there. They used the term "supplement" as in we "supplement" their food. However, I don't believe supplement is accurate because there is no natural vegetation for the hippos. None. Grass, hay, etc is spread on the ground by the water holes. This of course, attracts the animals and you can see everything all together. Boom, you're done.

ZN has an odd but actually fair price system. The price you pay for the excursion is based on the people going. so the more people in the group, the less per person you pay. If you want to go on an excursion, you tell your ranger and they keep a list of all of the guests who want to go. Then they schedule the day and tell you when you're going. You don't say, I want to go to the Elephant Interaction on Tuesday; they will tell you you're going on Thursday.."

She wrote a lot more - but the points above are, I think, objective and fair.

Edited: 30 December 2015, 04:55
Tempe, Arizona
Destination Expert
for South Africa, Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Level Contributor
9,599 posts
65 reviews
6. Re: Suggestions for Adding on to Trip to Zulu Nyala

In re-reading this: "..Clients I have helped add nights to their stay in South Africa have stayed in more authentic safari reserves.." I am not sure it's clear. I am speaking of nights - in addition to the 6 nights at ZN - in reserves that are close by.

Dave Patterson - Owner - The Africa Safari

Pembroke Pines...
Level Contributor
10 posts
61 reviews
7. Re: Suggestions for Adding on to Trip to Zulu Nyala

My first trip to South Africa so excited and anxious to "see a lot" like you. We got our safari at a charity auction. You? Did you go yet? We booked it for Mar. 3-8 and "May" use GATE ONE tours for the 8 days prior and do Victoria Falls on our own. Wanna join us?? I finally have some info. My brother lived there but not now. Feel free to email me at ramona9136@gmail.com. Happy Everything. I was VERY glad to get an email from "Pam"

She provided me with lots of upscale advice. We will NOT, however, attempt driving ourselves. Also, we are probably OK with no air conditioning. Will see. I have been advised that no matter how many wineries we have seen NOT to miss the ones near Cape Town, there since the 1600's.

Pembroke Pines...
Level Contributor
10 posts
61 reviews
8. Re: Suggestions for Adding on to Trip to Zulu Nyala

Yes, I read something to that effect. We are not planning to rent a car. IF we'd meet someone going to same place, we'd jump at chance to share a ride. What are are chances for that?-(-going to ZN We have our "safari" Mar. 3-8. I heard they are less than happy when folks book on their own in middle of safari time, but, of course we probably will. Do they charge extra for the Phinda trip? And St. Lucia? Can one snorkel or dive at St. Lucia? (Yes I have my "C" card and daughter snorkels. My email is ramona9136@gmail.com and I am grateful for any information about going to Victoria Falls after our ZN stey--and--taking OFF for a one day CAT safari. Which might you suggest?

Edited: 27 January 2017, 05:48
Northampton, United...
Level Contributor
2,280 posts
52 reviews
9. Re: Suggestions for Adding on to Trip to Zulu Nyala

Hello and firstly I know very little about Zulu Nyala but I do know the area very well. Just to follow on from a comment above. There was a serious drought in KZN spanning a few years that recently broke. (hopefully anyway!) Several reserves were having to not only suppliment food for animals but were also shipping in water. Sad times but hopefully the worst is over. Just a few ideas. Check out St Lucia, driving the Western Shores and the Eastern Shores to Cape Vidal. Depending on budget look at Makakatana Lodge, the only safari lodge actually in the wetlands. Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park is a must. You can self drive & self cater or there is the newish Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge. You can also check out Thonga Beach Lodge which has many activities included. Otherwiase there are also several other excellent private lodges and reserves in the area.

Mark - Owner - SafariKZN

Spokane, Washington
Destination Expert
for Glacier National Park, Spokane
Level Contributor
3,501 posts
114 reviews
10. Re: Suggestions for Adding on to Trip to Zulu Nyala

Just returned. Rented a car for more freedom, very easy to drive there. Phinda is a must if you want to see the cats. Did a self drive in Hluhluwee, big rhinos with full horns. Accommodations at zulunatal are great, the game drives get old very quickly there. With car you can chose other locations and arrange own games drives in those locations as opposed to paying the high prices from the zulunatal lodge folks.

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