“Our experience was once in a lifetime… From the moment we arrived and greeted by Glory, Mira and Jochen at the River Lodge we were impressed with the atmosphere and personal service we received. I feel they did everything within their power to deliver us an amazing experience. All of our questions were answered and we felt like family the entire time. Once we transferred to the Billy’s lodge it was no different… Josh, Knox and Sue were very accommodating and patient with our questions as we roamed the lodge in awe of the beauty surrounding us. Both places were very determined to ensure our every need was met. Both guides, Jochen and Josh, and trackers, Eddie and Conrad, showed us the animals in such an intimate way nothing will compare to our experience anywhere else in the world!!! The people the place the environment is 100% the best to experience a safari in Africa!!!” – Nichelle & Mike
“Like the name, Ezulwini translates to “a place of heaven”, for our first ever Africa experience, it seemed to us that Ezulwini Lodges have to be the most unique locations. River Lodge on the banks of the Oliphants River and Billy’s Lodge in the gorgeous grassy savanna, are both nestled in the Balule Private Nature Reserve surrounded on one side by the Unesco Heritage Drakensberg Mountains and with open land all the way to, and through, Kruger Park on the other side. Each Lodge location is not meant to have more than 16 guests at a time, so it makes for fantastic value with very personalized service, food, and wine. The perfect way to see the Big 5 game animals and enjoy the northeastern region of S Africa. A typical day is up before sunrise for a quick coffee, tea, or hot chocolate and biscuit. If it is winter, be sure to bundle up for the open Land Rover ride in the early morning chill. As the sun comes up your game drive goes on trails and off road, across the more than 90,000 adjoining acres searching for the Big 5 as well as all the other birds and wildlife you can see. Stop for morning coffee, tea, hot chocolate and biscuit break then continue on until about 9:30 when you head back to lodge for breakfast about 10. Greeted by Eddie, Glory, or Aubrey with moist hot towels to wipe the dust off and warm up (if it’s winter), your breakfast order is taken. Breakfast outside, weather permitting, with linen and fresh flowers, on the decks near the skywalks, you are bound to have bush buck, monkeys, or elephants very nearby. Your lunch order is taken and the rest of the morning is yours to relax wherever – in the shade, out on the skywalk lounges, the terraces and libraries, or pools – or explore within the fences due to the free ranging of the Big 5. Lunch is at 2, again on the decks, with linens and flowers, and you need be ready for the afternoon drive at 3:30. After a gorgeous midday in the warm sun, be sure to take extra clothes for the chill down that occurs after sunset, and don’t forget to specify your choice of “sundowner” evening libation for the drive. Out again, covering yet another part of the vast terrain, in search of animals and panoramic vistas. As the sun sets, you will stop for your “sundowner” cocktail with nuts, chips, biltong, and maybe more, before continuing on. Return to camp with hot towels waiting again as well as a small sampling of a specialty cocktail (I haven’t heard of any other lodges that do this), and your dinner order is taken. Freshen up, then come out for cocktails before dinner, and find the dinner table sumptuously set with white linens, flowers, silverware and glass on a table next to the outdoor fire. Enjoy the perfectly paced service for dining, and then crawl into a fabulously made bed, beautifully turned down with flowers on your pillows. Sweet dreams before you have the pleasure of doing it again tomorrow. Your experience is truly enhanced by Josh and his sensitive, professional staff at River Lodge, including when Josh is your game drive guide and Richie your tracker; and by Lauren and her equally sensitive, professional staff at Billy’s Lodge with Rex as your incredibly experienced guide and Franz as your tracker. Also, at Billy’s Lodge there is a wonderful wine cellar you may be lucky enough to experience and enjoy. If you want something other than the typical Zulu-style, mud brick and thatched roof room with en-suite bath (shower and soaking tub) and king-sized bed, then there are luxury cottages that have their own individual pools, indoor and outdoor showers, soaking tubs, and a large living area, porch, and dining area with huge picture windows at both the River Lodge and Billy’s Lodge locations. Each cottage is more privately set off and has a sleeper sofa to accommodate a family or more guests. So, if you want to really experience the African bush, be more than comfortable, and feel like there was great value in your experience, come to Ezulwini Lodges in Balule; but if you want to spend excesses for too many people, excess glitz and a spa experience, this is not where you should be.” Jay and Ginna
“I knew from the moment I was met by the manager Mike Nagel and Head Ranger Mica Ubisi that Ezulwini Game Lodges were special… Ezulwini means “place of paradise” or as Mica tells me “Heaven” in Zulu, and this it certainly is… The brochure says, “At Ezulwini the emphasis is on friendliness and informality.” And that pretty well sums it up. If you go there with a bunch of friends, Billy’s Lodge is yours. Bigger groups can opt for the recently opened Paradise campsite, situated high on a hill… or you can stay at River Lodge on the banks of the Olifants River”.
– Richard van Ryneveld, SA Country Life Magazine
We consistently get high ratings from guests and the travel industry. Tell us what you think.
Ezulwini is one of only two members of the elite “Dream Destinations” of Balule.
Stringent criteria of club membership:
1. Must be established for more than 10 years, with a proven conservation record.
2. Own and conserve Olifants River frontage.
3. Land size must owned must exceed 1,000 acres.
4. Traversing area must exceed 10,000 acres.
5. Must have a social responsibility programme.
6. There must be one ultra luxury lodge.
7. Strict adherence to environmental and professional criteria.
“Africa…her spirit has been alien and aloof from that of the rest of the world, and her charm continues uncontaminated by the conventions of civilization. In her heart of hearts she is and remains wild and free. Nowhere is that mysterious presence of wild Africa felt more deeply than in the Transvaal lowveld. It remains one of the most virgin corners of this continent. The tourist who visits it will see there probably the most plentiful and wonderful collection of wild game which can today be found in the wide world. To the lover of plants it presents an almost equal attraction and in the tremendous escarpments which flank it in the mountains of Pilgrim’s Rest in the west, the Barberton mountains in the south, and the Cloud mountains further north, will be found some of the most magnificent scenery of the whole African continent. But greater even than its wonderful fauna, its sub-tropical flora, its unrivalled scenery, is the mysterious eerie spirit, which broods over the vast solitude, where no human pressure is felt, where the human element indeed shrinks into utter insignificance, and where a subtle spirit, much older than the human spirit, grips you and subdues you and makes you one with itself. To those who wish to experience a thrill – a thrill which is unlike any they have ever experienced before – I venture to recommend a visit to this secluded home of the earth spirit. – J. C. Smuts