We would recommend this property to friends and colleagues seeking a family friendly luxury game viewing property in KwaZulu Natal, a low risk malaria zone when we were there.

Overall Impression While we were at Amakhosi it rained every day, on every drive. One day we returned so soaked, in spite of the rain ponchos and blankets provided in the safari vehicle, my boots took three days to dry out. And, yet the game viewing rewards were such that all the guests, children included, went out drive after drive in the cold and rain.

Of course there was more to this family friendly luxury lodge facing the Mkuse River than rain. The new looking and well styled lodge was comfortable and the staff welcoming. We enjoyed our spacious and handsome river fronting suites (mine even had a Jacuzzi and hammock), creature comforts like warm refresher towelettes and cocktail beverages on our return from the game drives, in room massages and foodie oriented meals.

We especially appreciated the staff’s friendliness and nice touches. Pieter, one of the staff members, was unfailingly service oriented and attentive. We would recommend this property to friends and colleagues seeking a family friendly luxury game viewing property in KwaZulu Natal, a low risk malaria zone when we were there.

Children Yes, children of all ages were welcome although a company representative indicated it is not advisable for young children to join the scheduled game drives.

Class Of Accommodation Luxury safari lodge

Connectivity There was no Internet connectivity or cell phone signal within the camp while we were there.

General Manager Alwyn Wentzel

Handicapped Access Yes, a River Suite had some wheelchair access features.

Length Of Stay Two nights

Location The lodge is about 350 kilometers or a three hour drive from Richard’s Bay and about 450 kilometers from Durban, the main city in the region.

Owned Simon and Jan Kat

Pets Allowed No

Size There were eight suites and 38 employees at the lodge located within a 12,000 hectare reserve shared with the Mkuze Falls Lodge.

Year Opened-Renovated The lodge opened in 2000. The most recent renovation took place May 2009 when the main lodge buildings were re-thatched and the deck had maintenance work.

Lobby And Common Areas The décor was contemporary African and earthy with thatched roofs and Zulu artifacts. Greens, burnt siena orange, dark brown wood and leather furniture were predominant colors and features. The was a one story building that was the heart of the lodge where the indoor and outdoor dining areas, reception, bar, gift shop and pool of the property were located. The suites fanned out to one side of the main building, fronting the river.

Bathroom The bathroom was spacious with a water closet on the left, a doorless concrete shower on the right, a large bathtub in the middle, and twin sinks on a stone base with rectangular wood framed mirrors. There was also a full length mirror hanging on the wall to one side.

Room We stayed in two similar suites both 75 square meters large. Mine was Umntwana Honeymoon Suite or Suite 8, the last room and one of two honeymoon suites situated at the end of the walking path and slightly recessed from the river for maximum quiet and privacy. While it took a few extra minutes to get there and it could be a bit intimidating to walk to and from the suite at night I appreciated the extra privacy and quiet. I never once saw or heard my neighbors, a honeymooning couple from the United Kingdom, except along the path to the lodge. My travel companion stayed in River Suite 3, one of the nearest to the main building. It fronted the river. Both suites had a split plan with the sleeping area on the right side, a spacious open plan bathroom in the middle and back and a living area on the left. While both had a spacious wood deck with comfortable outdoor furniture including loungers and a table with two chairs, mine also had a hammock and a Jacuzzi plunge pool facing the river.

The floors were of polished and sealed concrete, making them cool to the touch. Indoor temperatures were regulated via two individual wall air conditioning units, one in the living area and another in the sleeping area. Earth tones and African artifacts rounded out the wood, glass and concrete décor.

Sliding glass and wood doors led into each air conditioned suite which had soaring thatched ceiling and large windows to let in the sunlight. The living area had comfortable informal furnishings, a peach colored two-seat sofa, two cushioned wicker armchairs, and several wood tables. A long rectangular framed mirror hung above the sofa and a coarse area rug was at my feet. There was a built in wood cabinet against the wall with a beverage filled mini refrigerator filled. On top of the cabinet there was a coffee and tea service.

In the bedroom, the comfortable queen bed with mosquito netting took up most of the space. It was framed by identical wood night tables with lamps. There was also a vanity table with mirror and a luggage rack. The bed in the River Suite had no mosquito netting and there were many insects which was disquieting initially. There were also many mosquitos at the entrance to the River Suite and few to none at the entrance to mine, perhaps because it was slightly further back from the river.

Food And Restaurants We always looked forward to meal times at Amakhosi. The cuisine, a blending of African and European flavors prepared by Lauren and Shaun, was delightful. One of my favorite treats was tea time where there were sweet and savory bite size morsels to tempt us and friendly staff to egg us on. While we were there we had two delicious dinners: Starters of Cauliflower and Cappuccino Soup or Slow Roasted Venison; Pineapple and Mint Sorbet; main course of Over Baked Yellowtail or Seared Kudu Loin with vegetables; and Chocolate Tart followed by a cheese board and hot beverages. For our second dinner there was Mushroom and Biltong Soup or Beetroot and Goat Cheese starters; Melon and Ginger Sorbet; Seared Beef Fillet or Spinach and Feta Filled Chicken Breast with vegetables; Vanilla and Mango Pannacotta followed by a cheese board and hot beverages.

Amenities There were luxury regular size toiletries including shampoo, bath salts, foam bath, vanity kit, body lotion and soap as well as bathrobes, slippers, fully stocked mini bar, electronic safe, and air conditioning.

Facilities The lodge had a restaurant, bar, pool, library corner and gift shop selling handcrafted jewelry, silk scarves and African mementos.

Pool An attractive pool, surrounded by lounge chairs and foliage, was about 9 meters long, 5 meters wide and 1.25 meters deep at the deepest side. We were surprised to discover a number of sound filled frogs in the pool as we walked by one early morning on our way to our game drive.

Game Viewing Game viewing, especially of lions, was good. Our guide made few comments when we stopped to see animals he was looking for and answered questions curtly. There were four guides and four trackers at Amakhosi. A maximum of six or eight guests was permitted per vehicle, game vehicles had different capacities, so that “each guest has a ‘window seat,’” according to a property representative.

During our visit we had an opportunity to spend quality time with a pride of lions on more than one occasion, including two male lions and mother and two juveniles making an affectionate greeting; and several lions feeding and playing. We also saw a cheetah feeding for a few minutes before we drove away. Other animals we saw: Elephant, warthog, wildebeest, impala, nyala, giraffe, zebra, waterbuck, bushbuck, thick tailed bushbaby, and monkeys. We also saw malachite kingfisher, tawny eagle, martial eagle, wolly stork, and European bee eater.

Activities In addition to the dusk and dawn game viewing drives, there were in room massages and village visits on offer. The pool area looked like a nice place to spend time although it was raining and much too cold during our visit to even think about the pool.

Other The lodge supported a local Zulu village in the form of donations and offered guest visits to a working Zulu village. The ponchos they provided to protect us from the rain didn’t seem to be completely waterproof (I was soaked through three layers of clothing on our return one night) and had no lining. Water for the lodge was sourced from the river and a bore hole. Phume, a friendly local Zulu woman who learned some massage techniques and worked as a server at the lodge, provided in-room massages. I had a 30 minute back and neck massage in my suite just before tea.

Cleanliness Excellent

Date Of Review October 2009

Reviewers Article by Elena del Valle

Photographs by Juan Cooper

Service There was twice daily room service. Since it was raining so much and I had few changes of clothes with me I was very pleased that my laundry was returned the same day. My requests for an animal list and about the possibility of a frog tour remained unanswered.

On the night we got soaked I was chilled to the bone from the cold and rain and was thrilled to find a surprise steaming hot bubble bath in my suite on our return from the drive. To add to the ambiance the bathtub and nearby area were decorated with bougainvillea flowers and leaves. By dinner time I had warmed up and was ready to enjoy the tasty meal.

Would You Stay There Again? Yes

Contact Information

  • Address:
    • Farm Vergelegen,
    • R69 Magudu
    • Pongola, South Africa
  • Phone:
    • +27 (0) 34 414 1157
  • Fax:
    • +27 (0)34 414 1172
  • Website:
  • Email: