Hotel Review: Zulu Camp at Shambala
Zulu Camp at Shambala is one of the most exclusive lodges in South Africa. Located 200 kilometers away from Johannesburg, the lounge offers luxurious accommodation, personalized service and the chance to see incredible wildlife. Even though the prices are high, staying at Zulu Camp at Shambala is worth every penny.
Zulu Camp at Shambala is located a few kilometers away from the remote town of Vaalwater.
- Classification: None
- Room Category: Luxury Thatched Chalet
- Month of Stay: August
However, Zulu Camp is a whole different world upon you enter through the moat and the gate where two armed guards wait for your arrival.
As soon as the lodge manager on duty takes you to Zulu Camp at Shambala, you’ll feel like you are totally alone in nature.
A mere 30 minutes drive through the steppe, animals left and right and no noise besides the vehicle make the drive to Zulu Camp at Shambala the first part of an amazing experience.
That’s how you start enjoying a hotel from the beginning onwards!
Luxury Thatched Chalet at Zulu Camp at Shambala
We’ll have an extra post on the amazing wildlife at Shambala Game Reserve, so we’ll focus on Zulu Camp itself in this hotel review.
Therefore, it’s worth starting with the eight luxury chalets in the property which are surrounded by a wooden fence together with the public areas.
Like this, you are always safe to walk around inside the property. The luxury chalets themselves are not very large and got just basic equipment. This means there’s neither a television nor Wi-Fi.
The large King Bed is extremely comfortable and the furniture is very classic, yet in a perfect condition.
Each of the eight chalets is secluded from the others and offers a private terrace with average views of the nature inside the camp.
The only animal you’ll see from time to time is a baboon, but the calm is lovely nevertheless.
Something that’s worth mentioning is that both, a fully stocked minibar with non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages as well as laundry service, is complimentary for guests at Zulu Camp at Shambala.
Bathrooms at Zulu Camp at Shambala
The luxury chalets at Zulu Camp are amazing, especially because it’s such a unique way of accommodation.
Nevertheless, we were even more impressed by the large bathroom which comes with a large rain shower, a deep soaking tub, a sink as well as a detached toilet.
However, the highlight is the outdoor shower which is hidden from view. Starting the day with a shower in the sun is something utterly amazing I can just fully recommend to everyone.
Moreover, the size of the toiletries was really shocking as Zulu Camp at Shambala offers the largest ones I’ve ever seen. 300 ml bottles of Molton Brown and not only one, but two of each.
Like this, you definitely won’t feel out of toiletries at any time. As you’ll expect at a property like Zulu Camp at Shambala, everything was filled up by the room maids every day.
That said, everything was also spotlessly clean at all times.
Dining at Zulu Camp at Shambala
Staying at Zulu Camp at Shambala means that you enjoy full board with unlimited drinks and meals included. However, non-local alcohol comes with an extra charge.
The special thing about all meals we enjoyed at Zulu Camp is that the chef is always introducing himself and the menu.
If there’s anything you don’t like, you can just ask for anything else of your choice and it will be freshly prepared for you.
It’s not only the taste and the presentation which amazed us when it comes to the dining experience at Zulu Camp at Shambala, it’s also been the service by our lovely private butler who was constantly taking care of us.
There is a lot more to mention like the nice little breakfast buffet, the bush picnic we had once and the traditional barbeque we enjoyed one evening.
Nevertheless, the most important thing to know about dining at Zulu Camp at Shambala is that the experience is so private that you are at your own or with a single other couple at all times.
This also means that you can dine at any time of the day – just as you wish.
Public Areas at Zulu Camp at Shambala
The public areas at Zulu Camp at Shambala are not very large, but all got a brilliant view of a small river and the nature.
There are a few tables in the restaurant and bar area, a nice little lounging area and a large fire place which is used for barbecues.
Moreover, in the one corner of the restaurant area, there’s a small swimming pool. However, this one may not be used in the South African winter as the water is just too cold.
Yet, the loungers which are very comfortable are amazing for relaxing even in “winter” which means 20 to 30 degrees Celsius at daytime. Other facilities include a Spa which offers treatments for an extra charge.
Even though everything is outdoor (under a wooden roof), the fire places make dining and relaxing in the public areas from the early morning till late in the evening very enjoyable.
In all public areas, guests may also enjoy Wi-Fi which is surprisingly fast.
Activities at Zulu Camp at Shambala
Even though you could relax at Zulu Camp at Shambala for several days without even leaving paradise, Zulu Camp at Shambala is all about activities.
The staff recommends different activities, but you are totally free to choose what you want at what time of the day.
Unlimited game drives as well as some special activities like bus walks or star gazing and a river cruise with cocktails and a beautiful sunset (only once) are included in the rate (we’ll have a special review on the river cruise later), while special activities like elephant riding come with an extra charge.
We enjoyed several different activities with the amazing ranger Dean who was extremely knowledgeable and friendly.
However, we’ll focus on the amazing wildlife and other great activities in a special post!
Bottom line at Zulu Camp at Shambala
Zulu Camp at Shambala is an extremely expensive game reserve even compared to other luxury camps in South Africa.
Nevertheless, the invested money pays back as the advantages of Zulu Camp at Shambala compensate the little weakness like the small pool which you can’t even use in winter or the service which was a little streaky on the last day while being amazing the first days.
What makes Zulul Camp at Shambala such a special property is that you can plan all your activities to your liking and the extremely personalized service which makes you feel like you are part of the family. An incredible luxury experience which is recommendable for everyone!
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