SA Game Lodge Advice

Oct 11th, 2005, 12:32 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2004
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SA Game Lodge Advice

Anyone have thoughts or favorites from this list? Sabi Sabi/Selati Camp, Savanna, Exeter River, or Tinga Lodge/Narina Camp.
I realize how subjective this is, but any thoughts appreciated. I have not seen much at all regarding Tinga's Camps which are private camps located just inside Kruger.
I have stayed at Lion Sands/River Camp and Londolozi/Founders in the past. River Camp was a bit bigger than we would like. Londolzi was unbelievable in every way! Thanks.
Jim_G is offline  
Oct 11th, 2005, 12:59 PM
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Wouldn't do a Sabi Sabi camp based on the amount of beds per acre and the need to drive by the main Kruger gate to traverse their land.

If you have been to Londolozi, you should definitey not go to Sabi Sabi. If you want to be in the southern portion of Sabi Sand, go to Kirkman's, they probbaly have some deals.
napamatt is offline  
Oct 11th, 2005, 01:55 PM
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Frankly Selati Lodge is one of the smallest camps in the sabi sands. It has only 8 suites. If you like them smaller then Sabi has Little Bush Camp with only six suites.

Selati is a charming camp that refelects the old colonial style of Africa. They recently added air conditioning to the rooms, however did so with care not to interupt the tranquility of the camp.

I can't agree that if you have been to Londoz that you should not go to Sabi. I also do not understand how you would pass the Kruger gate to get to Sabi. Access is via their own private airstrip or by car through the Sabi Sand gate.

I would add that f you have been to Londo, then by all means try Selati, you will enjoy that too, it sounds like it is your style.
mkhonzo is offline  
Oct 12th, 2005, 12:07 AM
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Exeter River Lodge is also a real nice lodge, however I would also have a look at Exeter's Dulini lodge - I would very highly recommend this lodge, the accommodations are the best that we have stayed at incl Londolozi Tree camp and Ulusaba Rock Lodge. Check it out, it will be worth your while I can assure you!!
bushmad is offline  
Oct 12th, 2005, 07:25 AM
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Sabi's property is very small and in two parcels, to traverse between the two, you travel along the fence line right next to the Kruger entrance. You do not go through the gate, but you get much closer to civilisation than anywhere else in Sabi Sand, certainly Londolozi, that was my point. While Selati itself may be small, the vehicle density on Sabi Sabi is the highest in the area. That could be an issue for some people.
There is a detailed explanation of Sabi's traversing rights on another forum written I believe by Bwanamitch.
napamatt is offline  
Oct 13th, 2005, 12:40 AM
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I LOVED Selati - stayed there in July 2001 - never saw a fence or another vehicle! The suites are beautiful with huge bathrooms, excellent food/service, superb guide and staff. I like the small camps, therefore would not consider any other Sabi Sabi property BUT Selati.

I understand game is luck of the draw, but we'd seen a leopard making a warthog kill 2 minutes out of the lodge on our first game drive, lots of lions as well as all the others of the Big Five and smaller game.
Africaholic is offline  
Oct 13th, 2005, 04:44 AM
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Take a look at Djuma Bush Camp & Vuyatela in Djuma Game Reserve - in the Sabi Sands - and at the reports on the rainbow tours website. Very hard to equal; impossible at the price.
Misaotra is offline  
Oct 13th, 2005, 06:33 AM
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I stayed at Djuma Vuyatela while one of the owners of Vuyatela happened to be there. At the first meeting, during lunch, she avoided all eye contact and I just figured her for an unfriendly non-English speaker. I mean she would not even acknowledge my wife and my presence at the table.

Then later she is introduced to us by the manager of the camp and she acts as if she is seeing us for the first time.

Later, in the chill of mid/late June, so she can have the dining room to herself and her friends/family, a "romantic" dinner is set up for my wife and I on our porch. It was in the low 40's farenheit and we were so cold that we had to take our dinner and eat it in our room like naughty little children!

I thought that Simbambili was much much better than Vuyatela and it is roughly the same price.
Roccco is offline  
Oct 13th, 2005, 10:03 AM
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I have to second Rocco's post on the owners at Djuma -- meeting one of them (an older woman, possibly the same person) whilst on safari in Botswana made me so glad that I never stayed there. She was the most inconsiderate person I've ever had the misfortune to share a campe with -- nothing mattered but what she and her family wanted to do. I shudder to think what a camp run by her and her family would be like.

jasher is offline  
Oct 13th, 2005, 11:24 AM
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As I knew I would when I started this thread, I've gotten lots of varied suggestions and opinions. Still though no info on the Tinga Game Lodge and its Narina camp. No hits through a search on this site either. It looks spectacular, and its non-discounted price would certainly put it at the high end. So come on now, we leave in a month, what's up with this lodge? Rocco, Safarinut and Bushmad you know (or can find) the answer to this question. Help.
Jim_G is offline  
Oct 13th, 2005, 12:05 PM
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Please note, that Djuma Game Reserve consists of several farms. Even if the owner of Vuyatela is a 'unfriendly' person, that doesn't say much about the other Djuma properties.

Oct 13th, 2005, 02:49 PM
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Jim G

I am on call today,will respond to your question in detail later tonight.

safarinut is offline  
Oct 13th, 2005, 03:09 PM
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Jim G,

Honestly, I was so happy with my stay at Simbambili that I would find it difficult to choose anyhwere else, especially if the prices were much higher.

The guiding, gameviewing, accomodations and food at Simbambili was all excellent and despite the small size of Simbambili, it shares traversing rights with Chitwa Chitwa, Elephant Plains and more.
Roccco is offline  
Oct 13th, 2005, 09:06 PM
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Jim G

Favourite camps in the SSGR:

1)Mala Mala
2)Londolozi Tree
3)Singita Boulders
4)Ulusaba Safari Lodge

Sabi Sabi:
I have been to all three lodges and will never return.The acquisition of Londolozi Safari Lodge has increased their traversing area a bit but I still feel that it is too small for the number of beds.They don't need to drive by the main Kruger Gate to reach their traversing area though.I think what Napamatt is referring to is Shaws gate that you see on your way to Earth Lodge.

Not your best choice in the SSGR due to their proximity to Newington Gate and the fence.

Great lodge under new management,well worth a visit.I would choose one of the lodges in the western sector though.Kirkmans has never been the prime game viewing area when they were still part of Mala Mala and this is one of the reasons Mr Ratray sold Kirkmans to Stephan Saad of Exeter.

Tinga Game Reserve:
I haven't been to Tinga yet but friends of mine in South Africa went and raved about the accommodation but was disappointed in the game viewing.Tinga is located on the opposite side of the Sabie River inside of the KNP.So if you sit on the main deck at Lion Sands River Lodge and you look across the Sabi River to the other side you will find Tinga's western border.Once you enter Paul Kruger Gate and you drive towards Skukuza Tinga's Southern border is on your left hand side.I know their eastern border extends close to Skukuza but I am unsure of where their northern border ends.

Really if your priority is game viewing look no further than Mala Mala.The new Ratrays Camp will have private decks,plunge pools,spa services etc...

I honestly feel that a visit to the SSGR isn't complete without a visit to Mala Mala.It's like driving the all-new B-Class mercedes and never experiencing the 493-hp twin-turbocharged V-12 SL 600

Good luck with your choice!
safarinut is offline  
Oct 13th, 2005, 09:23 PM
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safarinut is offline  
Oct 13th, 2005, 10:05 PM
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I am also a huge fan of MalaMala's. I have a question for you that I prefer not to ask over an open forum. If you wish to hear my question, please email me at [email protected].

I am about to leave work and not be in until Monday, and I am on Australia time. If you do leave me an email address, I shall reply on Monday. Thank you.

austkaye is offline  
Oct 13th, 2005, 10:59 PM
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Hi Jim G

I have to second Safarinut - I have not been to either one of Tinga's lodges (Narina or Legends) but have seen them from the opposite bank whilst at Lion Sands. To be honest although the accommodation looks right up there with the best of the lodges, I have also heard that the game viewing is not that great there. My suggestion is that you would be best served by sticking to the SSGR - have not been to Mala Mala but from all accounts it is second to none when it comes to game viewing, although find it hard to believe how it could beat our game-viewing at Exeter's Dulini lodge on our last visit there in July: 8 different leopards in 3 days, plenty lion, 2 cheetah sightings, multiple elephant, buffalo and rhino sightings - honestly if you are undecided as to where to go, my opinion would be one of the following: Mala Mala Rattray's, Dulini, Londolozi Tree or Leadwood lodge (in no particular order). I would avoid Sabi Sabi and Savanna for reasons pointed out by Safarinut!! Hope this helps
bushmad is offline  
Oct 14th, 2005, 06:26 AM
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OK. Great stuff! Awesome information. What a resource. My thanks to all for taking the time! A few clear choices always emerge. I need though to eliminate the ones that don't offer last minute discounts. Too rich for me. So goodbye Singita, Mala Mala and probably Londoz. Will keep my fingers crossed that the great choices of Simbambili, Dulini or Leadwood are available when I am within my window for booking via "that website." The discounted listings there have dropped dramatically over the past two years. All but Mala Mala, Tree and Singita were available then. Too much traffic? Anyway, thanks again!
Jim_G is offline  
Oct 14th, 2005, 07:18 AM
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Jim - Mala Mala operates at about 80% occupancy most of the year, which I think speaks to its quality. In addition many of us keep going back, January will be my ninth time there.

Safarinut - I'm headed to Rattray's for three after 5 at Main camp in January. Have you been to Rattray's yet?
napamatt is offline  
Oct 14th, 2005, 03:28 PM
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I have a provisional booking for Ratrays in late January for 3 days.I think the Camp opens on the 1st of November.I am sure you know this area well,what a beautiful spot for the new camp!

I bought a house in Nelspruit and is waiting for the completion of a wooden deck and infinity pool before I confirm.Don't want to go before everything is finished.I actually got hold of the builder that did most of the decks and plunge pools in the SSGR including Singita,Londolozi Tree,Ratrays and Exeter Leadwood!!.Just absolutely love those designs8-)
safarinut is offline  

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