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“Truly unforgettable experience..”
Review of Livingstone Lodge

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Livingstone Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Truly unforgettable experience..”
Reviewed 8 June 2014

We have just returned this afternoon from our Livingstone Lodge experience, and WOW what a truly remarkable trip. From the moment we arrived to a glass of champagne.. and a taster or Amrula in the beautiful sunshine, we knew we were in for something special. We stayed in Elephant tent, prime position over the water hole and we honestly had to keep reminding ourselves that we were in Kent! The views were stunning and the atmosphere created made it so similar to our past experiences in both Africa and Asia. The evenings meal was a mixture of large glasses of red wine, beautiful tender meats and great conversation. The safari's themselves were led by two extremely knowledgeable guides and there was plenty of time to take photographs, ask questions and soak up the park before and after closing, a special privilege. Waking up this morning to the sounds of the savannah, a water buffalo a few metres away and gorgeous sunshine.. well it is a memory that will never leave us. Could not recommend this more.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
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1 Thank Lucy R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Ashford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 June 2014

This experience was a fantastic 40th birthday surprise present. We turned up around 10am parked in the private secure car park ( private for who's staying for the night). Then started our adventure, we had a nice day walking around the park, we were very lucky with the weather, around 3 to 3:30 we could check in in the Livingstone reception and drop off our bags and cases, meet your hostess (ours was Sue and she was fantastic) then sit down and enjoy a nice glass of champagne and chat to other fellow guests. Around 4ish you climb aboard the large bush taxi with your guide, ours was Jack and he knew his stuff due to living out in Africa a very knowledgeable guy. By this time you feel you have left the UK. The 1.5 hour safari went to quick and was very enjoyable and interesting so many animals with different story's about them (some sad but makes you think) around 6 you arrive at the tented camp ( posh tents ( glamping)) wow our tent had a four poster bed, draws, white dressing gowns and fluffy towels plus 2 chairs for use inside or on your personal balcony ( all our cases were waiting for us in our tent) it really was like a hotel and felt clean and warm with the added heater. We freshened up with the onsite showers sat on our balcony looking at the stunning Kentish views and animals drinking out of the water hole. Come 7:30 we met our fellow travellers for dinner and what a dinner it was 5 star all the way, again our hostess and guide joined us, I'm sure the food changes in different seasons but it was really devine. There is a well stocked licensed bar if you fancy a few drinks for dinner and after you can sit around the log burner and sip your drinks while listing to the guides stories. We retired to our private veranda with another glass of bubbley and looked at the clear sky and listened to sounds of the animals and a light breeze. Then it was time for bed in our warm luxurious tent. The second day after a real good sleep in comfort we met for breakfast from 7:30 this was also delicious as expected. Then a slightly shorter African Safari back to the Livingstone reception ( all bags and cases collected and again waiting for us). We said our BIG thanks to Sue and Jack who looked after us very we'll, loaded our cases into the car and had another wonder around, we were told we could of visited the other park Howletts included in the price but we will do that next time. Everything about this was fantastic. And we like to thank everyone again especially Sue and Jack who treated us like family.

A little niggle was we were told by another visitor that that paid half the price we did from Groupon the same week as the visit and we booked it 9 months before to get the four poster bed.

10 out of 10 for the experience. We definitely recommend this!

Room Tip: Cheetah tent is great
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank B3travels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sudbury, Suffolk
Level Contributor
61 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 June 2014

What an experience this was. We stayed for a night as a (BIG!) family treat with my husband, daughter and son (as mentioned by NatureloverSheffield in previous review). It is so special. Expect top hotel service, but in a tent! After the welcome drinks, we boarded the safari truck with our guide Ellie. Meanwhile our cases were sent ahead and were waiting in our tent/lodge when we arrived. The truck driver allows loads of time to stop and photograph the animals while Ellie talked to us about their behaviour, breeding programmes and the groups at Port Lympe park. The tour finishes at the Lodge and there at the waterhole were wildebeest, deer and best of all, giraffe. It was so exciting.
On entering our tent our cases were waiting, bathrobes, toiletries and towels are provided and there is even electricity for a heater. We had two tents, each with twin rooms. There is a rule that children under 16 should not be alone, so we had a mum/daughter tent and a boys tent, but it was fun. We all headed to the Laapa (meeting place) where we gathered on the balcony and Ellie told us about the giraffe herd at the park. Ellie was a host for the rest of evening and Jess looked after our every need in terms of catering and drinks. The evening meal is relaxed and we all sat at a shared table. Met a great group of people. The food was terrific, with a good selection. We were then able to take drinks back to our tents, which each have their own balcony and uninterrupted view across the park to the coast.
Everyone seemed to be up early to make the most of the time, sitting out watching the animals, groups of deer, wildebeest and a water buffalo and a cheeky native fox. After a good choice of breakfast, hot cooked, cereals and fresh breads, we took another tour.
Again, it is unhurried with the driver sitting for as long as we want to watch and listen to Jack the keeper for the morning. As we left the Lodge the giraffe were approaching so we sat and waited for them. what a treat. They came so close, then the biggest got very curious and was walking around the truck and put his head in a couple of times.
The safari continued, taking in a different area of the park to the evening before. It was so interesting. When we arrived back at the reception, our cases were waiting for us again. park admission is included and our family then headed over for a day at Howletts.
An amazing experience. It's pricey but it's a special event being so close and learning so much. The kids and the adults were equally thrilled. The accommodation was superb, the staff are on hand during the whole stay and we spent time with a lovely group of people. Do it!

Room Tip: They're all good.
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Janet S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sheffield
Level Contributor
87 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 June 2014

Where do I start, you really need to do this experience its amazing. Hubby booked it in January when I reached a significant birthday - we decided to wait until May when the weather would be better. The whole experience was brilliant from start to finish. The two ladies who dealt with our bookings, Christina and Bertie were very friendly and efficicient and answered all our questions.

We were staying in Canterbury so wanted to visit Howletts before arriving at Port Lympne. A lovely lady called Zoe rang Howletts to let them know we were coming and sure enough when we arrived, they knew to expect us and not to charge us admission (Howletts was brill, I will be doing a seperate review for them).

After visiting Howletts we arrived at Port Lympne (pronounced "lim" believe it or not). We went to Livingstone Lodge reception but were early so a lovely lady explained where we could get a cup of coffee. Then at 3:45 we arrived at reception and were greeted by Ellie and another young lady whose name I didn't catch. They labelled up our luggage for us and off it went to our tent, and we sat down in a lovely reception area and had a glass of champagne (which was lovely), you could have had Amarula which is a Souh African liqueur and there were soft drinks for the children. In our group there were 5 pairs, a couple with a son about 13 and a couple with a son about 11 and daughter about 15.

Then we set off in the truck which was open sided, and Ellie provided a commentary about the various animals we saw and the conservation ethics of the foundation. We saw cheetahs, elephants, various sort of deer/antelope, rhino, ostrich (including George who was 50), zebra etc. It was great to be so close up to the animals and to have plenty of time to take photos and just watch the animals. Ellie was very informative and was very friendly and interesting to talk to.

Then after about 1.5 hours we arrived at our tents (now that is a misnomer ) - they looked like tents , but when we went inside - my goodness. We were staying in the Rhino tent that had a four poster bed in it. Chairs with blankets, sressing table, lovely toileteries, electric supply, rails for hanging your cloths and a couple of lamps - we did bring a torch as well that came in handy - and..... an electric radiator which was lovely and hot. We had a quick brush up in the shower block, (2 showers and toilets for the ladies) - imagine similar for the gents and headed to the Laapa.

While the chef finished preparing the food , we went outside to the viewing platform to look at the animals - they actually have white deer caused by a recessive gene passed from the parents and we saw a male, female and baby. We had a lovely meal, varied salads, smoked salmon, couscous, potato salad, fresh fruit, sausages, beef, chicken, vegetarian, vegetables, and for dessert either an Amarula panna cotta or a chocolate dish. The food was lovely and we all sat round and had a chat. The giraffes and some of the deer came for a visit. It was great seeing the animals just wandering around and grazing. The children really enjoyed it as well.

We went back to our tent and sat outside (wrapped in the blankets) and watched the animals till about 10:00. It was so peaceful. The bed was lovely and comfy and it was chilly till the bed wamed up but the duvet soon sorted that out. I had a lovely sleep and woke up at 5:45 to visit the loo. (they provide lovely warm bathrobes as well).. I looked out over the watering hole and could see some deer so I grabbed a chair and 2 blankets and watched the animals till about 7:30 when I got dressed.

While we had a lovely breakfast, we were visited by zebra, buffolo, water bison and the deer - they were really close and it was brilliant to watch them. A keeper brought some food and we watched them eat. Jack our ranger answered our questions, he was really well infomed too. Then we say outside our tents until we dropped our luggage off and went on our second safari. We saw some giraffe and drove neer to them. Then we sat and watched them and a couple of males came really close. we were asked not to touch them but they came so close we could see their eye lashes and individual markings and it was brilliant. Then we continued round the rest of the park and saw some other animals such as gibbons, zebra, bison, the endangered horses whose name I couldn't pronounce, Jack provided an excellent commentry, Then we disembarked, put our luggage in the car and had a look round Port Lympne.

I really can't recommend this trip highly enough, for animal lovers its a must and even if you are not barmy about animals you cannot fail to thoroughly enjoy it. Its a shame we live so far away as some of the other experiences the wildlife park provides sound really good as well.

Room Tip: We stayed in the Rhino lodge, it has a four poster bed and is directly opposite the watering hole so...
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  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank NatureLoverSheffield
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
18 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 May 2014 via mobile

Took my husband there for his 40th birthday, you can spend the day there at your leisure and you meet up at 4pm, welcome drinks and then had 1.5hrs safari and it was brilliant, we were so close to the animals and the guide was really nice, the weather was awful it was tipping it down but the experience of the animals was just magical. Our tent was wonderful and the evening meal was fantastic, meet some very nice people and by now the rain and wind was hammering down, in the tent you were warm and dry, the morning again lovely breakfast and another hour safari, all in all a wonderful day and night, would recommend to anyone,

Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Tracy K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Horsham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
22 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 May 2014

My wife and I stayed at the Livingstone Lodge and had a fantastic time. We arrived at 12ish and was invited to explore the park until the 4pm check in. You can either explore the park via bumpy (but fun) safari trucks or via the footpaths. There's quite a lot of walking but fortunately we had nice weather so we did a bit of both. The park itself is very nice with a large variety of animals who have nice, large enclosures. You can see that the focus here is very much more on the conservation of the animals rather than showing the animals off.

Once it was time to check in we were given drinks and met the other guests. Our luggage was taken ahead to our tent (Buffalo), while we went on the first of our safaris. This lasted a couple of hours; the rangers were very knowledgable and friendly and the trip was surprisingly educational! The driver also stopped for quite long periods to allow everyone to get as many photos as they required up close to the animals. We were quite fortunate to have the group of giraffes eating next to where we stopped and walking around the truck.

After the safari we had an hour to settle in to our tent and admire the breathtaking views from the top of the hill over the surrounding countryside, sea and of course the animals and watering hole in front of you! The tents were plenty warm and there were complimentary bottles of water inside along with complimentary tea and coffee at the bar just down the path which was just for guests. This is also where you had your meal. The food was excellent, all the guests sat around a long table and helped themselves to the food arranged by the chef around the central pit fire. The particular highlight for me was the boerwurst (something like that!) sausage, but the giant fillet steak and peri peri chicken were all great too! There are toilets just up the path too. Also as a side note, don't be disappointed if you are in one of the two cabins not directly in front of the 'savannah' as these are closer to the toilet building and you are next to a large rhino enclosure too!

In the morning you wake up to a great full english, and the animals in the park are fed just in front of the bar you eat in resulting in a great view for your first meal of the day! We were doubly fortunate to have the giraffes wander up in front of our tents too! We ended the trip with another safari back to basecamp, and we then proceeded to go to the sister zoo howletts which you get free entry to, which was also a great day out.

So all in all I would definitely recommend staying at the Livingstone Lodge. It's pretty great value when you consider that for two people you get; two days entry to Port Lympne and Howletts, a 5 course meal, a full english breakfast, 2 in depth safaris and overnight accomodation with an amazing view. Plus a third of it goes to helping the Aspinall foundation itself in its conservation efforts. Also a special shout out to the staff, as they were all super friendly and helpful and were clearly passionate about their jobs!

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank ScottyB1988
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Maidstone, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
19 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 April 2014

We went as a group of 7 ladies celebrating a special birthday and have a wonderful time. The evening safari was great, the guide was really knowledgeable and friendly. Arriving at the lodges were really exciting, how cosy and welcoming the tents were. The main lodge where we ate was fab with a lovely log burning fire. Food was excellent, loads of choice and all very tasty. We spent a lovely evening around the fire chatting with our ranger and Sue who looked after us so well. The tents were very cosy and we were warm, but they were very noisy. It was very windy and the tents flapped all night. It was also a bit of a pain to keep walking up to the toilet block (I'm not a great camper!). In the morning breakfast was yummy and the animals were fed in front of the tents so we got to see lots close up. The morning safari was much shorter and our ranger not so engaging. It was quite cold so not many animals were around.
All in all it was a wonderful treat - thank you Port Lympne!

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Lucy A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Livingstone Lodge

Property: Livingstone Lodge
Address: Port Lympne Aldington Road, Lympne CT21 4PD, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Kent > Lympne
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 5 Speciality Lodging in Lympne
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:2 star — Livingstone Lodge 2*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Voted the UK's best tourism experience in 2012, the Livingstone Lodge Safari Experience at Port Lympne, Kent, is the UK's only overnight safari lodge perfect for a romantic break, engagement, celebrations and Hen Parties and has to be the answer to those who would love to visit the wilds of Africa on safari. Enjoy a multi award winning safari experience and a totally magical night under the stars, first-class authentic African dining, dawn safari, full breakfast & more. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Livingstone Lodge Lympne, Kent

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