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Why did we hand pick Nxala Ranch?

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  • Wonderfully tranquil and resplendent nature reserve with roaming general game
  • Bass fishing and game drives on site and numerous outdoor pursuits in the region
  • Convenient access to the historic Battlefields

Nxala Ranch

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Price tier (pps): R200  R1500+

Child policy: All ages

45km from Rorkes Drift


-28.3591, 30.5407


Named after the elusive mountain reedbuck which roam the mountain and grassland landscapes, Nxala Ranch provides a very comfortable stay on a game and working cattle farm that is conveniently located close to the historic battlefields of Isandlwana, Rorke's Drift and Elandslaagte. 

The modern thatched-roof lodge provides accommodation in an upstairs master bedroom with a King bed and balcony, and in the Twin-bedded Africa, Zebra and Eland rooms, all decorated in a distinctly African style. The living room is equipped with satellite TV and a music system, but the crowning glory of the house is the spacious veranda. With a large braai area and a wooden table overlooking the three dams, guests can enjoy a tranquil meal here whilst watching the weaver birds at work and trying to spot the resident water monitor lizard who regularly frequents one of the dams.

The dams, just metres from the house, are abundantly stocked with bass, and guests can fish here with artificial lures on a catch-and-release basis. Game drives can be done in your own 4x4 vehicle, or on guided drives in the farm’s Land Rover Defender or Unimog by arrangement. More than 20 mammal species, including giraffe, zebra, and the rare Black Springbok and Mountain Reedbuck, can be spotted on drives.

The property contains ancient San rock art and a spectacular waterfall which make hiking particularly rewarding, while guests can also view the pedigree Brahman, Simbra and Nguni cattle that are farmed here. 

Arranged tours to the historic Anglo South African battlefields will make for a fascinating day trip which will transport you back into the heated skirmishes which shaped the history of South Africa. 

Rates & Summary

The Lodge - Exclusive Use Only

Sleeps 8 in 4 bedrooms 
3 en-suite, one with private bathroom
Lounge with DSTV
Fully equipped kitchen
Spacious veranda with braai area
Tranquil views over three dams


Bed and Breakfast

  • R 750 pp sharing - max 8


  • R 1 200 for up to 4 guests
  • R 100 pp sharing 5 - 8 guests


B&B or self-catering option
Dinner on request: R 200 pp
Light lunch on request: R 55 pp


Children of all ages are welcome.

Why Stay Here?

Nxala Ranch is situated in a wild, malaria-free reserve, where the thatch-roofed lodge nestles amongst willow and paperbark trees in the tranquillity of a lush, park-like garden, and where your only disturbances are bird calls and the distinctive whooping of zebras. Located in the Dundee area of Kwazulu-Natal, on 1 600 hectares of mountains, grasslands and streams, Nxala Lodge pays tribute to Africa at every turn and is a wonderful place for a private family or friends getaway.


  • Wonderfully tranquil and resplendent nature reserve with roaming general game
  • Bass fishing and game drives on site and numerous outdoor pursuits in the region
  • Convenient access to the historic Battlefields


This secluded, exclusive use lodge guarantees total privacy.

Things to consider Bringing

Sunblock, hat, walking shoes, swimming costume, swimming towels, hiking gear, fishing gear, binoculars for bird watching and game viewing.

Road Conditions

The approach is on 14 km of dirt road, suitable for all vehicles in most weather conditions.

Activities & Attractions

  • Swimming in the river
  • Hiking 
  • Bass fishing
  • Game viewing
  • Bird watching
  • San rock art
  • Viewing Brahman, Simbra and Nguni stud cattle
  • Tours to the Zululand battlefields can be arranged


Accommodation & Hospitality

  • Lounge
  • Dining table
  • Verandah / patio
  • Bed linen supplied
  • Bathroom towels supplied
  • Daily housekeeping
  • Laundry service available
  • Ironing service available

Catering & Kitchen

  • Breakfast
  • Licensed
  • Full Kitchen
  • Braai area available
  • Microwave oven
  • Stove
  • Fridge or minibar


  • Water supply good for drinking
  • Electric geysers
  • Eskom electricity

Leisure Amenities

  • Satellite television
  • Garden

Business & Connectivity

  • Good cell phone reception

Access & Convenience

  • Child friendly
  • No pets allowed
  • Off street parking
  • Nearest shops within 10km
  • Nearest fuel further than 10km


  • Credit cards accepted
  • EFT accepted
  • Cash accepted




Zululand & the Battlefields

KwaZulu Natal


It was from the bush and grassland of northern KwaZulu-Natal that the impis of King Shaka emerged, sweeping down onto the other tribes of the hinterland and eventually engaging the British forces and shaking the very roots of the Empire. At the height of its power, the Zulu nation covered 30 000km2, but 60 years after it was first formed, its reign was over. In those 60 years, the Zulus shaped the future of the country and were engaged in battles with the Boers and the British, but these were not the only bloody conflicts in the region. 

After the Zulu empire was broken, the English and the Boers fought for control of South Africa, with many battles taking place in Natal. While the best-known battles in the area are undoubtedly Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift, as well as the siege of Ladysmith, there is fascinating history to be had at countless other ones. 

The beauty of the scenery clashes harshly with the devastating past, while the rough terrain makes one wonder how the machines of war were manhandled across the country, and how the Zulu impis managed to cover such vast distances in a single day, barefoot.

The regions of Zululand and the Battlefields merge together and are hard to separate, stretching from the northern and western KwaZulu-Natal borders to the towns of Ladysmith and Colenso in the south and towards the Elephant Coast in the east.

Zululand has managed to remain largely unaffected by industrial expansion and much of it remains farmland, timber plantations and rural wilderness, including beautiful Big-Five game reserves and grasslands. 

On the other hand there is the industrial hub of Richards Bay, the largest port in South Africa.

Tourism revolves around the natural beauty and diversity, as well as the haunting battlefields on which so many lost their lives and which are simply fascinating to visit, especially with a knowledgeable guide, of which there are a few.

Since this is the birthplace of the Zulu nation, it is also the place to come to grips with Zulu tradition, culture and history.

A number of cultural experiences exist, where tourists can become immersed in the local tradition and culture, learning a huge amount and enjoying themselves even more.

A few reserves in the region offer good game-viewing, from Weenen and Spioenkop in the south up to Ithala in the north. The diverse ecosystem means that hundreds of bird species are present, and a few notable bird-watching spots include the Dlinza and Ongoye forests, as well as the wetlands of Richards Bay.

An area as large and diverse will always have an almost endless array of attractions, and Zululand and the Battlefields are no different, from fishing in Richards Bay to horse-riding, mountain-biking, game-viewing and bird-watching. There is even a brewery to lighten the spirits when the history gets a little heavy.

Look out for

Zululand Brewery in Eshowe is a great place to pop in for a relaxing Zulu Blonde Export Ale, a beer that has won awards and rave reviews internationally. While you’re sitting at The Happy George Bar, ask around for recommendations on what’s new to do in the area.

The Dlinza and Ongoye Forests are serious birding hotspots and both are easily accessible. In fact, the Dlinza aerial boardwalk is something that even non-birders will enjoy and appreciate.

Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift are the two seminal battlefields in the Battlefields tour and are both intensely fascinating and moving. A good guide is invaluable in bringing them to life. Ulundi and Blood River are also well worth visiting, giving different insights into the bloodshed that shaped this land.

Take a hike up Majuba or Spioenkop mountains, both of which offer sensational views in addition to stirring battlefield history. The historic O’Neills cottage, where a peace treaty was signed to end the first Anglo-War, lies at the base of Majuba.

The majestic Ithala Game Reserve in the very north of KwaZulu-Natal offers good game-viewing and bird-watching, as well as epic scenery of mountains and valleys. While there is a variety of accommodation, the pick of it is undoubtedly the bush camps that can be booked out for your group.

Every year the Zulu nation holds the Reed Ceremony near the eNyokeni Royal residence in Nongoma north of Melmoth, thousands of maidens gathering to pay their respect to their king. This happens in spring and visitors from all over the world come to watch the women dance and sing to King Goodwill Zwelithini in his ceremonial regalia.

The eMakhosini Ophate Heritage Park should not be missed by anyone with a sense of history. It is the birthplace of the Zulu clan and what is known as the Valley of the Kings. The Spirit of eMakhosini memorial and an educational multimedia centre are worth a visit, and there is also game, including the rare oribi antelope and black rhino.

Immerse yourself in the Zulu culture at a place like Shakaland and watch Zulu dancing, ask a sangoma (witch doctor) for his sage advice, sample traditional Zulu beer, listen to singing and perhaps try out a few simple phrases for yourself. Arts and crafts are also on sale and make wonderful gifts and souvenirs.

When to go

To Do

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