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Karkloof Safari Spa
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Reviews (267)
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All reviewsgame drivesworld classheaven on earththai ladiesamazing experiencethe reserveattention to detailtreated like royaltyhealthy foodunderfloor heatingamazing resortbeautiful surroundingsbucket listevery single staff membersouth africafrom arrival to departuretop class
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Reviewed 22 April 2014

We were fortunate enough to spend our honeymoon at Karkloof during April. I cannot think of a more magical venue and everything was more than we could have imagined:
- exceptional service
- wonderful food
- luxurious spa facility and treatments
- relaxing game drives
- world class suite

Karkloof is truly one of a kind, with attention given to every small detail. Karkloof oozes understated luxury, and every aspect of the experience is of the highest quality. We enjoyed every moment of our stay at Karkloof and cannot wait to return. It is certainly a memory that we will cherish, and a venue that I can not recommend highly enough.

A big thank you to Fred and his wonderful team.
Derik and Sanet Coetzer

Room Tip: Make sure who check-in early and check-out late.
  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank DerikCoetzer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 March 2014

My husband surprised me with a weekend to the Karkloof Safari Spa as a birthday treat.What a weekeend of sheer luxury and indulgence! We experienced 3 days of heaven. The venue and accomodation was awesome , the service was unparalleled and the food and spa facilities were outstanding. We experienced total relaxation in an exclusive and very private enviroment. The Spa facilities, the game drives with our own ranger and the gentle polite service from the lodge staff all lived up to the 5 star award.Free to enjoy all this luxury at one's own pace makes this destination an ideal escape from the frantic pace of daily living. This is truly a secret gem in Kwazulu Natal.

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank DHaug2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 February 2014

Gaye and I have just returned from our fifth visit to Karkloof Safari Spa in as many years. The stunning location and the features and facilities available in the Lodge and chalets contribute to our enjoyment, but the people of Karkloof Safari Spa make the experience memorable. Their friendliness, levels of service and attention to detail is unsurpassed. The cleaners, gardeners, the Lodge, kitchen, reception, Spa, rangers - they all contribute to make you feel special.
The Spa is always a delight and I don't believe we have ever had an unenjoyable treatment. I have only one complaint - it should be closer to my home so I could visit monthly !
To Makoni, Freedom and Lovemore - thanks for researching and answering all our questions so patiently.
See you all soon.

Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
1  Thank MikeAshby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 February 2014

Ok, this is going to be a bit longer and I had to do some thinking about it so for those of you who want to have the gist up front (the others will be able to get a more detailed review in several paragraphs): It is (especially with the rand devaluation) fully worth the money and we will most likely come back nevertheless there are area which could and imo should be improved.

So that you know what my comparison is: Southern Ocean Lodge in Australia the Nam Hai in Vietnam, Woodall in South Africa, Tawi in Kenia, Mandarin Oriental and the Anantara in Thailand and some others are my referencepoints when it comes to judging 5 or 7 star hotels and clearly Karkloof wants to play in that league.

After finding this resort in a travel catalogue I was set to trying it out and with a nice flight offer to South Africa the chance came up. Lawrence as a reservation manager dealed with me fast, efficient and very friendly and even though with the 4 night package there came a lot of mails exchanged nothing seemed to be too much for him or too complicated.

The flights were booked without trouble and we arrived in Petermaritzburg and were greeted by lovemore, our driver also for the next days who took care of our luggage and dorve us up to the lodge (the last couple of kilometers is a bit rough but the car was good enough for it). At the reception we received another warm welcome, a nice drink and just behind the buildings we had zebras, nyala, impalas and rhino so all started extremely well.

Now I am going through it a bit area by area:

The Spa: Let´s start with the diamond of this lodge. A very large, bright and sunny area with a charming, friendly, helpful and professionell staff. The treatment rooms are very big and bright as well and it was very fun to have a pedicure and see the nyalas outside or having a lunch close to some warthogs. We had 7-8 treatments each and we enjoyed them very much. If you want to they drive you to and from the Spa, I recommend walking it makes for nice wildlife encounters.

Game driving:Lovemore turned out to be a birding enthusiast and so we had a wonderful time together. We saw all kind of big mammals we even had a jackal howl at us from 5 meters away while we had our GT sundowner, rhinos, giraffe, zebars, you name it. Also lots of birds and the big advantage to other areas is, the animals are not frightened so you can really have close encounters. Giraffes within 20m , zebars and impalas within 10. There even are some nyalas and warthogs who made the ground their residence so close encounters are pretty often. Lovemore did a wonderful job.

Lodging: Large villas in an african earthen decor with a large bath includinh shower, double sink and bath tub, a large minibar (free of charge) a/c, a wonderful view out to the river with some monkeys on the terrace as regular guests, A large bed and a good wifi and all needed and wanted amenities. In the evening port gets brought out and caddles are lit. I recommend having a dinner on your own terrace. Much to be enjoyed with the one main weakness that the ac is blowing directly upon the bed.

Public areas: Well kept in a wooden african decor, a large terrace (perfect for the breakfasts) a nice library and bar and a walk in wine cabinet (very good choices to be had) a lot of nice areas to sit and enjoy the area. A not too big pool with some nice shade from the trees. A very nice garden surrounding everything.

Food: Here we start, there are some points in the a.m. areas as well but the food has a big part for giving only 4 stars: With one notable exception it was well prepared and tasty and it included some local meat (warthog for example) and the chefs as we have seen in a very remarkable moment were more than willing to change as the customers want.

But... it lacked something memorable. Take one example, there is a cheese platter in the evening which is very nice more than generous (as all food is, forget about the salads being light) but it is the same every evening. So what do you do on the third evening? As we said there was no food on the menu that we could not have cooked ourselves and it was far from what we have seen at other 5 star etablissements. Do not get me wrong, it is not bad food in anay way, it is good food but it is surely not 7 stars food.

Staff: Once again do not get me wrong: All the staff we met was more than friendly, more than helpful and very easy to have a nice interaction with. What is lacking for a 5 or 7 star ressort is efficiency in communication and training. One example: The resort has the second most generous all inclusive bars I have ever seen (the best one being southern ocean lodge in Australia) but my request for a Martini led to me showing them how to mix one! Also sometimes there was a language barrier,

There are some more flaws. If you ask people questions during the booking, this should have a result, Living ants in my villa are africa, several dozen dead ones over two days is bad housekeeping as well as not checking regularly what must be replaced or refilled at the villa (minibar!). Not being able to coordinate housekeeping with breakfast times is bad efficiency/training. Do you remember the point of the shade under the trees at the pool? That also lead to fruit etc. raining down.on the loungers! It is very nice if someone comes up and asks you what to drink the moment you go to the pool but cleaning the loungers, replacing spent towels (having some spare ones for guests would help as well) would be as nice as well. But that did not happen (also not in the Spaarea)

This is not asking for things like a cold towel when returning from a game drive or similar luxuries which are in my experience provided in other 5 star hotels, there is I think some lack of attention in areas which are not the Spa and they show. They do have the hardware in place for 5 stars (not 7 again) but the software is closer to 4.

All in all, you get a very good value for money and I recommend a stay there. But for 7 stars, there is a way to go and therefor only 4 stars in my review. It is much about managing expectations.

One last recommendation: There is a wonderful landscape all aorund with lots of animals and as nice as the spa is. Do not miss this part. The waterfall is wonderful and well worth the walk.

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank Florian254
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 February 2014

Our third stay at Karkloof Spa. This is an excellent SPA location. Great food, great service. Our last visit was September 2013. It was quiet, great food, fantastic massages, good fishing, great service, good peace and quiet. This is just what one needs if one wants a break from the hustle and bustle of city life. I would highly recommend at least a three night stay. Food is included and so is wine and drinks and they do a good package of you stay three or four nights. The best holiday location in SA in our opinion.

Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
Thank Goodtaste73
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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