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“Comfort & Culture in the middle of majestic mountains”
Review of Maliba River Lodge

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Maliba River Lodge
Reviewed 6 November 2010

Stayed at the River Lodge for 2 nights and 2 days. Party of 5 that fitted comfortably into the cosy and well equipped River Lodges. Arrival on late Friday evening, we were greeted with a ready and welcoming reception outside in the cold by Crystal. We were offered drinks in the bar in the main lodge before we were handed paperwork to check in.

The lodge was by the river and was well equipped down to mugs and toaster and bottle opener and a large fridge and even a webber (barbecue griller) on the patio/dec that faced the river. Both the deck and balcony of the upper room had coffee table and chairs. The rooms, we pleasantly found that ALL beds were equipped with electric blankets! We all concluded it was very good comfort for the price per night between 5 people. Definitely charming, with stone construction and wooden beams/floorboards/stairway and thatched straw roof and all!!

Daniel was our guide for both the Basotho Horse ride and local Cultural visit. It was my first time on a horse, and so the steep and more difficult terrain was not chosen (Thanks Daniel!). One of the horses we were on was a stallion and one of the females was in heat so they kept wanting to mate. Daniel had to control the horse and swap out his calmer horse for the stallion. He handled the situation very well. The cultural visit was to a nearby village where we had the best time. The children were playful and Daniel waited for us as we played and took pictures with the children. This was definitely the best part of the weekend, and was a service provided free by Maliba Lodge, which is extremely generous and a great initiative in promoting cultural awareness.

The main lodge is culturally stylish and serves meals, for which we ate breakfast and dinner. The continental breakfast was good, self service, a selection of fresh fruit, granola, cornflakes, cold meats (proscuitio, shaved bilton, salmon pate of some sort, and i believe there was sliced churico etc), mini crossants/scons/danish with jams and honey and mustard. They also had polenta cakes (kinda like polenta hash browns) which we loved. Coffee & Tea was available, though this was not self serviced and we wished it was as the staff took a little longer than we would have liked to have coffee served alongside breakfast.

We were looking forward to the dinner as the pictures on the website looked delicious. This was the only thing that was not beyond our expectation of this establishment. While the food was good, it was not as outstanding as it looked on the website pictures. The menu was limited, and the portions on the smaller end. Perhaps we would have liked it more if it was less fine dine style so that there could have been more variety to choose from the menu, but again, this might have been a logistics thing as it is quite remote.

Overall, a very good relaxing weekend. The main lodge has a beautiful deck patio to chill out on, and one lower one that has an outdoor fireplace. We spent time on both and it was super relaxing for out team of 5 working in South Africa (team consisted of people from Sydney, Boston, Idaho, Atlanta and Virgina). I have posted photos as I think it is definitely worth a visit. Even though a fire has swept through and all the vegetation is regrowing!

  • Stayed: November 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank bluespinich
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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83 - 89 of 93 reviews

Reviewed 1 November 2010

I was so very impressed with the staff and with the accommodations I would recommend this beautiful mountain lodge to all of my friends. The staff is professional and personable. Cristel was the most wonderful hostess, looking after our comfort and needs to the smallest detail. Daniel provided us with a fantastic tour of his home village as well as being our guide and teacher during our horseback ride excursion. The facility’s entire staff were polite and accommodating in every way. This was an especially nice slice of paradise in the already picturesque mountains of Lesotho. There are no words that can adequately express how nice this place is. We thoroughly enjoyed our weekend!

  • Stayed: October 2010, travelled with friends
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1  Thank davidforrest
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 September 2010

After having looked forward to a relaxing long-weekend at Maliba River Lodge, I sadly have to rate the service at this establishment as dismal (which is sad because Lesotho, & the Tsehlanyane National Park within which the lodge is located, is a magnificently beautiful place). The day after our arrival at the lodge (Saturday) was meant to be our only full day there, as we were meant to check out the following morning.

Unfortunately, at approximately 11h30 on Saturday morning, we were quite unprofessionally (and in a panic) told by Crystal to pack up our belongings, as there was a fire on the mountains, which could possibly get out of hand (note that I saw a fire on the mountain at 7h30 on the same morning, but obviously this didn't bother the management of Maliba logde at that stage, or they just didn't care until the very last minute when it got out of hand). We were given no further direction in terms of where to go once we'd packed up, even though we were being rushed by Crystal to pack up, & being watched as we threw our belongings (including our food, since we were in a self-catering unit) into the car. We then had to find out from her as to where we were supposed to go, to which she replied "well, it's probably best if you go wait at reception", while staff ran around in a panicked state. So that we did, met by nobody at reception, and watched the flames move progressivley closer to the lodge.

At approximately 13h30, Crystal & other staff came running into the reception area, seemingly talking to other staff members (looking blindly past guests at the lodge), frenziedly repeating something to the effect of "get off the property" (like it was now a big surprise that the fire had moved closer!). After a minute, I caught her attention as she walked right by me, looking right past me, without even acknowledging that we were guests at the lodge & that it would only be professional for her to give us some direction at least. Upon my enquiry, we were told to "get off the property" (there was no elaboration as to "which" property to get off exactly - the property of the lodge, or that of the national park??). So, naturally, with us being in another country & having been booked in at Maliba, we enquired as to whether we would receive a refund (as her statement meant that we would have to travel back home or book into another place for the night). Her response was arrogant as she stated "my priority is the fire". Okaaay then, let us drive & let us see...

Most certainly, at no stage, was any of the staff's priority or concern that of the safety of their guests!! They were in fact completely unprepared for dealing with any form of an emergency, & most certainly reacted in a huge panick to things only as they occurred! (One would think that they would surely have to deal with the breakout of fire on the mountains now & again, & at the VERY LEAST KNOW HOW TO HANDLE GUESTS IN A PROFESSIONAL MANNER in such circumstances!?!).

So we proceeded past the maliba gate (which had been abandoned) and on to the gate of the national park, meeting other maliba guests en route to the gate & at the gate, who were just as confused as we were, in terms of whether we should begin our (long) journeys back home, or wait around "hoping" to receive some communication from the staff of Maliba. We waited... we chatted... we contemplated... we tried to make the best of a real situation... (we were hungry, as the drama unfolded just before lunch & it was now close on 15h00...)... we watched people who were supposed to have been checking into Maliba on the day being turned away, & having to leave only minutes after their arrival... & then word somehow reached that the fire had reached the main lodge & that it was pointless going back.

So now, upon our journey back home, & after having crossed the border already, I finally received a phonecall from Andrew of Maliba lodge, who states, "the fire has been contained, the lodge is fully operational, guests were asked to evacuate only as a matter of safety, you can return to the lodge"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! To which I state that that isn't the message we received, or what staff at the loge communicated to us at any stage, & that we've already passed the border & cannot go back at that stage. To which he sticks to his guns, saying "the lodge is fully operational & we are open". So I enquire as to a refund, to which he replies, "I cannot comment on that because as far as I know, the lodge is open & the evacuation was temporary"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Okaaaay, right, it obviously doesn't mean anything to them that their guests spent the better half of a day actually off the Maliba premises, and totally clueless in terms of communication from their staff!

DID THE STAFF ON THE GROUND AT THE LODGE AT ANY STAGE GIVE US ANY DIRECTION / ANY MEANINGFUL FEEDBACK / COMMUNICATION??? Nope. In fact I would've recommended this establishment in a hearbeat to anyone wanting a beautiful, peaceful holiday away, save for the shockingly dismal & totally unprofessional handling of emergency situations by the staff at Maliba! Oh yes, I shudder at the thought of the fact that we set out hiking in the very same mountains just an hour before the chaos broke loose, but that we returned due to totally unrelated reasons!! The staff did not even take a count of the guests, to establish who was where, etc!!!!!!!!!!!! People were driving around trying to locate their family members, while the staff's "priority was the fire". Need I say more?

  • Stayed: September 2010, travelled with friends
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1  Thank TravelbyLight
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MalibaFox, Owner at Maliba River Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 5 October 2010

Maliba Lodge management takes guests complaints and suggestions very seriously. The fire that swept through the park was a major emergency situation that got quickly out of control. As this is not a regular event, our staff have never experienced a similar situation before and were acting under severe stress at the time.

We do however agree that we should have dealt with guests evacuations more professionally. It is no excuse but the lodge was extremely fortunate to survive the fire (with the exception of some staff accommodation) and as such we just wanted to get guests to a safe and secure location. Luckily there have been no reported injuries as a result of the fire. We received no assistance from local park staff and /or any other emergency services, so it was all hands on deck and our emergency plans were admittedly, stretched to the limit. The Lodge was in touch with guests on the opening of business on Monday to organise full refunds.

Your comments and the experience have made us focus and rework our emergency management and evacuation plans and drills so should a similar situation occur in future, we will be better prepared.

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Reviewed 4 August 2010

Being a travel agent myself, I'm very particular when it comes to accommodation standard and Maliba totally blew me away. My friends and I stayed in one of the river lodges during a winter month and we were so impressed by the facilities and the features thereof. They have under floor heating in all the rooms and the living area with heaters on the walls, the kitchen is fully equipped with all the standard kitchen facilities and the general style of the lodge is modern. We had the most incredible view of the river and the dominating mountains and there were walking trails we could take as activities. Maliba also arranged a special engagement party for our friends and went out of their way to make this a memorable experience. I will defiantly use Maliba in the future when organizing holidays for both my clients and myself.

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Chantelle007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 December 2016 via mobile
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Stayed: December 2016, travelled with family
Thank Rikvis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 November 2016 via mobile
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Stayed: November 2016, travelled as a couple
Thank Don Hans N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 August 2016 via mobile
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Stayed: August 2016, travelled as a couple
Thank Katiouchk4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Additional Information about Maliba River Lodge

Address: Tsehlanyane National Park 400, Lesotho
Region: Lesotho > Butha-Buthe District > Tsehlanyane National Park
Amenities:
Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Spa Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 B&Bs / Inns in Tsehlanyane National Park
Price Range: £42 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Maliba River Lodge is a self-catering retreat set in a pristine wilderness valley deep in the north of Lesotho's breath-taking Maluti and Drakensberg Mountains. The lodge offers four cosy and modern fully serviced accommodation and is situated right on the clear waters of the Ts’ehlanyane River. Each River lodge can accommodate up to 8 people. It is perfect for families, groups of friends or even couples that want an affordable getaway where they can relax in peace and serenity. The main lodge features a gourmet restaurant & bistro, two bars with quiet discreet areas to relax in with views of the surrounding mountains. Guests have a unique opportunity to explore the beauty of the landscape on horseback, go hiking along the various mountain trails, enjoy a visit to the cultural village or indulge a massage from at the Maliba spa. Maliba Lodge also offers a kids club to keep your little ones entertained. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Maliba River Lodge Lesotho/Tsehlanyane National Park

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