Emdoneni Lodge is a tranquil retreat found just two and a half hours from Durban and six hours from Johannesburg. Nestled in the Hluhluwe/ Imflozi game reserve, this lodge boasts elegantly decorated rondavals as well as chalets.

Facilities and Activities available

  • Relaxing Spa
  • Tours to the cat project
  • WIFI
  • Kids playroom
  • Kids ranger activities
  • pool
  • tours to St Lucia
  • Game drives

When you think about a “vacay”, or even a break, many of us think about jumping on a plane and traveling for hours to reach paradise, however, how many of us have pondered on exploring our own countries.

The truth is that South Africa is blessed with hidden gems, not just from a scenic view, but also its animals and diverse culture.

The last time I visited the St Lucia region in Kwazulu Natal was probably about twenty years ago. The truth is that I have become so accustomed to seeking adventure outside our borders that I have become blind to what stands in front of me.

My recent trip to the Emdoneni Lodge has fired up my curiosity to adventure and explore what is truly unique.

The Lodge itself is sheltered by the highest of high trees, what I can only describe as a sea of deep green plant life. I am a city sleeker so this had me in bewilderment the entire weekend.

On reaching Emdoneni Lodge, I was greeted by a jovial and friendly face who assisted me with a quick check in after which I was whisked away to the Zululand cat conservation project.

Zululand Cat Conservation Project

The project itself seeks to adopt orphaned or injured cats with the hope of rehabilitating the them. Once they have been rehabilitated, they are then released back into their habitat. If you appreciate cats, this place should definitely be on your bucket list.

Some of the cats that I encountered there were caracals, servals, wild cats and of-course my favourite, the cheetah.

During the tour, I was introduced to each animal and their stories. Some may never leave due to circumstances. The comforting thought is that for the cats that stay, there is love and a home.

I managed to get my adrenaline pumped when I got an opportunity to take a photograph with a cheetah. Talk about close encounters. The tour itself was 90 minutes but it was 90 minutes well spent, not only was I educated but I got to enjoy the playfulness of the cats.


The accommodation at Emdoneni Lodge was immaculate. Apart from the single rooms there are also chalets available that can accommodate families. Each room is equipped with a tea and coffee station as well as air conditioning. There are no TV’s in the rooms, however I did see a TV in the common area. With all honesty, I was so engrossed in the splendour of nature that there was no time for TV even if I did have one in my room.

The rooms have a makeup up and turn down service which adds to the comfort. The room I was in had a neat, well kept shower, however I was told that some rooms have both, a tub and shower.

Lets talk about the food, breakfast was served buffet style and there was enough variety to keep everyone happy. The lunch menu was small but satisfying and dinner was served buffet as well as ‘a la cart. The food was flavoursome so much so that I think I’ve put on a kg or two.

There was never a dull moment as the lodge provides many activities, apart from laying at the pool, I took long walks around the grounds exploring. If you are traveling with kids, the lodge offers a young rangers program that will keep the kids entertained for hours. And whilst the kids are being entertained the adults can enjoy some well deserved time out at the tranquil spa.

The spa was a relaxing experience where I was treated to a full body massage, and at this point let me add, never judge a book by its cover. I was greeted by a tiny young lady, Nontu who gave me one of the best massages I have had in a long time.

Boat Cruise

You can not go to St Lucia and not visit the hippos. There is about a 45 minute drive from the lodge where you can book a boat cruise with Heritage Tours and Safaris.. The lodge can facilitate the booking on your behalf. They were also very kind and packed a little picnic basket for me enjoy whilst exploring the wetlands. They probably realised that this little lady can eat a lot. I felt like Dora the Explorer in one of her adventures.

I was shaking with excitement as I marvelled at the gigantic sized hippos and the lazy buffalos hidding in the water. The birds chirpped and hopped from tree limb to tree limb. Let us not forget the ominous crocodiles hiding in the bushed.

My stay at Emdoneni Lodge was without a doubt a memorable experience. The service was impeccable, the friendliness of the staff was outstanding and the venue itself was extraordinary. Just one word of advice, carry mosquito repellent.

The evening sky and the Emdoneni atmosphere will leave you dreaming of your return.

A special thank you to everyone that made me feel at home.

Nondumiso (reservation)

Ingrid (Manager)

Desere’ (Assistant Manager)

Sindi (Head Chef)

Nyaradzo (Chef)

Nontokoza (Spa Therapist)


Slindile and Nomfundo (Waitresses)

For more information

Social media handles:

Emdoneni Lodge

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Zululand Cat Conservation

Facebook – zululandcatconservation

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Heritage Tours & Safaris

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Bev – 035 590 1555

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Tags : Cheetah projectEmdoneniEmdoneni lodge and spagame reservehluhluwetravelZululand cat conservation project