Mkuze Falls Lodge--Rustic Luxury In Zululand
Another GEM offered by LL!!!
This is one of the most affordable safari deals in the region. Definitely best-priced safari lodge on LL, as well.
We priced several lodges in Zululand and hands down, this is one excellent BARGAIN!!
Mkuze Falls Lodge is fairly convenient to reach. We flew a 50 seat Dash8 propjet from Johannesburg to Richard's Bay (around $150 each way and 1 1/2 hr flight) and picked up an automatic car rental for about $50/day. This is a small airport--there are more rental car companies than gates!! Our drive to the lodge was almost 3 hrs. Highway, trucks and short dirt road to our home for 4 nights.
We arrived in time for lunch at 1:00, which is served from one menu for the entire stay--plenty of variety--salmon salad, sandwiches, grilled meats/fries, etc. That menu is available for room service much of the day if needed.
We checked out our chalet (the tented camp was closed, so they upgraded us to all 4 nts at the lodge chalets). Our "room" overlooked the falls (dry due to low season) with a generous deck that flowed around to our private plunge pool and outdoor African shower. A door led to the large bathroom w/tub and back to the room. The bed was draped in mosquito net; however we were in a very low-risk malaria zone. We had plenty of hangers and a wardrobe and space for our clothes; a safe, fridge and beverage making area. Rustic ambiance with touches of luxury.
We got our first game drive at 3:30 (just after tea time!!) and met our ranger and tracker for the next 4 days. Jabulani was so congenial and well-educated in bush sciences and taught us so much. Our tracker Elliot seemed to know where the animals were--almost on demand! He read tracks and dung signs and took us right to a group of 4 male cheetahs on a kill!! Every drive was exceptional spotting--elephants, small prides of male lions, lioness and cubs, a lions' den, giraffes, rhino--we even had a stop amidst an entire herd of about 100 cape buffalo!!!
Awesome drives twice a day! Yet to see the elusive leopard...
Our dinners at the lodge were lovingly cooked--some to order, some small buffet style--one was served party style in the outdoor fire pit/boma when the lodge was full capacity of 20. It was quite hot under the roofing; it would have been nicer to be open air. We had one night solo--it was so quiet and relaxing! Most of our drives were with a few other guests--guys from Germany, ladies from Netherlands, family from Joburg...
The staff at Mkuze Lodge was totally indulgent--friendly to the NTH degree and so warm and courteous! They embody the phrase used so often in South Africa, "pleasure" when it comes to service. They helped with little things like setting up the lodge laptop for our use, charging a video on their office PC, etc. Nothing was too much to ask!
The lodge is warm and inviting--wood and African art--very nice gift shop, as well. The bar was open in the afternoon and evenings but it could be open on request. Wine and beverages were reasonable and plentiful. Certainly no lack of food with 3 meals and high tea each day!
We would be quite interested in returning to Mkuze Falls Private Lodge for another stay.