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“Heaven on Earth” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Makalali Private Game Lodge

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Makalali Private Game Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Heaven on Earth”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 September 2013

If there is one place I would love to stay at forever it would be Makalali.

We have just returned from our 6th visit in 12 years and the service and staff is just as amazing as always.

In 3 days we saw so much. Lion, Elephant, Rhino, Buffalo, Leopard, Cheetah, Jackal, Crocodile, Hippo, Civet, Zebra, Giraffe, Impala, Nyala, Kudu, Duiker, Steenbok, Waterbuck, Rietbok, Wildebeest, squirrels, rabbits, different Eagles, Vultures, Lilac Breasted Roller, Starlings, Egyptian Gees. These are the ones I can remember..

Lawrence is an amazing Ranger with over 20 years' experience and always going the extra mile to please the guests.

Can not wait to go back again.

Room Tip: All rooms are the same. If you feel more adventurous then ask for rooms away from the main boma. If...
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank NickyCam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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313 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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61
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5
Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (37)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Solna, Sweden
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 August 2013

Very nice lodge, excellent service, beautiful game drives. ¨Best of all, we saw a leopard in a tree, very hard to spot, amazing experience. But the lodge is totally lacking eco-think, no solar cells, water tanks heated by sun, electricity around the clock, huge fires burning everywhere, even aircon in huts where all heat leaked out through bambou walls - a bit disturbing. They want the guests to have modern luxury and a traditional setting.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Cecilia13190
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Canberra
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 July 2013

Hubby and I had an absolute ball at Makalali over 4 days/3nights. It felt like a dream from the second we arrived. We were welcomed into camp with such warmth and professionalism. Our room - WOW. Incredible. I have to admit I never used the outdoor shower as I was scared of the cold, but the bathtub was definitely put to good use. A massive shoutout to Amos for looking after us, and the cook and wait staff were fabulous as well, especially during lunch time once when Monkeys were being naughty and stealing food from the serving table. It was hilarious.

Our driver (Laurence) and tracker (Forence - spelling?) were FANTASTIC. Answered all our questions patiently and informed us of what we were seeing and the lifestyle characteristics of each animal we saw. They worked so hard in making sure we had a great viewing each day - I'll never forget the intense four wheel driving. I've never laughed so much in my life. It must've been baby season as we saw baby lions, elephants, cheetahs, giraffes, buffalo, and leopards! We only saw the leopards the last day of our trip - we had nearly resigned ourselves, and when we finally spotted them (with 2 babies!!!!!!), our trip was made. It was absolutely magical.

We would love to return and spend more time. It's a whole world in itself. There is a laundry service, but it was incredibly cheap. There was no internet service, but I appreciated that as it gave you a chance to disconnect and enjoy and savour every moment. This is one for the bucket list people!!

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Vendy L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Florida
Level Contributor
65 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 July 2013

We just returned from 3 night/4 day safari at Makalali.... What a fantastic trip! We arrived late so missed the evening game drive, but saw so many fantastic sights just getting to the reception area.... A lioness eating a fresh kill, wildebeest, zebra. Incredible. Our room was magical.... The private bungalow has a beautiful deck to enjoy the afternoon sights.... Wildlife grazing and drinking at the river below. It also has a small covered area where Constance gave the most wonderful massages in between drives. The property is enormous and Big 5 are plentiful.... Our Ranger Derrick and Tracker Nicholas found the most incredible sights.... A cheetah and her three cubs eating a fresh kill, two lioness challenging a honey badger, a young rhino rubbing her horn on the back of our vehicle and a male lion sitting in a field shortly after his evening meal. We saw so much in such a short time. It was perfect!
We gave four stars only because the food selections were not conducive to vegans.... However, everyone else seemed to be quite happy with it. Coffee and tea are served with toast prior to morning drives, then after a brief tea stop on the drive, the rangers bring you back to the boma for a proper breakfast. After breakfast you can laze about your plush bed that faces a picturesque window overlooking the riverbed below... So many animals lunch there. Monkeys and baboons are also a common sighting. Lunch is also served in the boma just before the evening drive, and dinner is prepared/served under the stars by a giant fire pit. Seating is family style so you get to enjoy the stories of the animal sighting from other vehicles/travelers. Quite fun. If you're a light sleeper you'll hear the lions and elephants walk through camp in the middle of the night. We were exhausted after the drives so slept soundly through the night... But saw the footprints in the morning!
Choosing the right location was quite difficult, but we were so happy with Makalani. The accommodations are lovely, the staff are all so friendly and helpful, and the game drives are exhilarating!

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Paigesherm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
los gatos, ca
Level Contributor
34 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 July 2013

Our arrival from another camp was a bit late, so the camp manager, Dave, rushed us into the bush truck without offering lunch. We had been on the road six hours and he finally relented, giving us the lunch that had been prepared for us and must have been sitting in the kitchen. Off we went and had a great drive, with rhinos, elephants along the river, giraffes, and the usual impalas, etc. on the way back, we even spotted a small pride of lions. Next day's morning drive featured a recent kill by three lions, which was terrific. After that we saw almost nothing for 5 straight drives. Maybe just terrible luck, but we would have been much better off just enjoying camp. Another problem was that the ranger had scheduled destinations, such as a sunset viewing, and because he was late, we had to endure 10 minutes of bone jarring travel. On the good side, rooms were fantastic and food very good. Some game came onto grounds, which was fun.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank callaw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
88 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 June 2013

We did a Safari Tour in May 2013 and Makalali Private Game Lodge was certainly the number one stand-out place.

The rooms are just perfect, luxurious with a great African feel. The food was amazing and the game drives were just awesome. A BIG shout-out to Laurence who was just such a great guy and very good ranger. He really made Makalali especially memorable.

The grounds were also lovely, with a very picturesque pool. There are some photos of the grounds, pool and room attached as well as a couple of highlight snaps taken when Laurence took us out on the grounds.

Really I just loved Makalali and would entirely recommend a visit there.

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Benjamin G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ConsultantSafari, Manager at Makalali Private Game Lodge, responded to this review, 15 July 2013
Lawrence is and has always been such a great Ranger at Makalali! His knowledge is extensive and his charming personality makes him so good with guests. I am glad that he contributed to your experience at Makalali.

Thank you for your photos. I am sure they help to persuade other Tripadvisor users to come and expereince Makalali for themselves. Your great review of us will also help!

We would love to welcome you back to Makalali in the future for the same quality experience.

Kind Regards
Lana Botes
Makalali Private Game Lodge
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Berlin
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 June 2013

We went to Makalali for our first Safari in Africa. We werent prepared much and started with just our backpacks. It turned out as one oif the best trips we ever made. The Rangers did get us right close to all animals we anted to see. Two game drives daily over 3 days gave us the opportunity to see the big five. The lodge had a lot of charme and excellent service. Our room provided a safari feeling with its fireplace they started for us every evening as well as outside showers. The food they cooked was excellent. We have been there in late May, so winter time started.... In the evening times and early morning the staff did escort us from our room to the restaurant place for safety reasons as in the night time time elafants or Rhinos were coming through the lodge occasionally. We would highly recommend it for adults or families with kids >10years. For smaller kids this is not the o9ptimum place as you would have to watch out what they are doing.

Room Tip: The rooms are great for couples or singles, but not optimum for families
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  • Stayed May 2013, travelled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Matthias S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ConsultantSafari, Manager at Makalali Private Game Lodge, responded to this review, 15 July 2013
Thank you for your great comments. We always appreciate it.

Seeing the Big 5 is always such a great experience and creates memories that last a lifetime! The firepalce and the outside shower create a lot of charm and the fact that you enjoyed that is very good to hear.

The staff go out of their way to make our guests feel at home and it is very rewarding for them to know that their efforts do not go unnoticed.

May your Makalali experience be one that you talk about for years to come.

Kind Regards
Lana Botes
Makalali Private Game Lodge
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Makalali Private Game Lodge

Property: Makalali Private Game Lodge
Address: PO Box 809, Hoedspruit 1380, South Africa
Region: South Africa > Limpopo Province > Hoedspruit
Amenities:
Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 99 Speciality Lodging in Hoedspruit
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:4 star — Makalali Private Game Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 24
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Makalali Private Game Hotel Hoedspruit
Makalali Private Game Lodge South Africa/Hoedspruit

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