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“African ambiance abounds”

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Makalali Private Game Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Los Gatos, California
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“African ambiance abounds”
Reviewed 12 September 2013

The rooms are spaced well for privacy, and they are charming and unique with custom artistic decor, and the staff was friendly and quick to please. We were a group of six traveling together, and we arrived after a long drive without lunch, so the staff whipped up some quick vittles while we dropped off our belongings in our rooms and raced back for the departing game drive. When we got to the rooms we wanted to savor the lovely ambiance, but had no time. The couple waiting in the game drive vehicle enthusiastically said they had seen the big 5 and had had such a wonderful 3-day stay. We were so excited to hear that! Our 3-day stay was great fun, but our only disappointment was that we did not see very much game. Apparently the cold snap in weather kept the animals down. Over our 3 days we did see rhino, elephant and lions, and several of the antelope family, as well as baboons, cape buffalo, hippo - just sparce sightings each day, with one day hardly anything at all. It is just proof that no two days are alike, and you get to see whatever animal whose path you are lucky enough to cross. We tracked leopard and lion with no finds on those game drives. The reserve is beautiful African bush, and this private reserve manages its wildlife so that one species is not overpopulated causing imbalance in nature. Fascinating methods are used to control certain species populations. The food is very good, enjoyed in both an outdoor boma and in the covered dining area. Baboons entertained us with their sneaky antics as they approached the serving table to snatch some food. The staff made sure we were safe at night, ushering us to and from our rooms after dark. The guides were friendly and knowledgeable, giving us lots of information about the animals as we watched them. The lodge is not hot-fenced, so we had animals wandering through the grounds during the day, mostly the beautiful nyala antelope, and baboon at times. An elephant came through while we were out on game drive and apparently ripped out one of the water pipes, rendering camp without water while the staff worked to fix the damage.

I like to travel in July as it is winter season in South Africa, no rain, cold nights, cool morning/evening game drives and moderately warm days. Water holes have pretty much dried up, so game is more concentrated at existing water holes, making it easier to find animals. I would return to this reserve and lodge. In fact I have a group of 15 to come with me in 2014!

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Sharon L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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316 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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    3
    3
See reviews for
62
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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
Milan, Italy
Level Contributor
41 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 September 2013

This place was beautiful. The hut is so nice and private, with a nice view of the wild. The bathtub and the shower outside are sooooo nice! I loved the wild animals that came when we took a shower. The service at breakfast is really good and fast and they cook good food! The game drives were so fun, but freezing cold in the morning and night. It was exciting to drive super fast when we heard there was a lion somewhere. They knew we were on our honeymoon and they gave us a special treat on our last night. I hope we can go back!!
We travelled here Sept. 2012.

Room Tip: One that is farther from the main dining room.
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  • Stayed October 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank LadyKitten
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
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
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank NickyCam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Solna, Sweden
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
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
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Helpful?
2 Thank Cecilia13190
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Canberra
1 review
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
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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 40 helpful votes
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
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Paigesherm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
los gatos, ca
Level Contributor
37 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank callaw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member 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:
Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 100 Speciality Lodging in Hoedspruit
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:4 star — Makalali Private Game Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Makalali Private Game Lodge is a 4 star graded luxury safari lodge situated on a 26000 hectre private game reserve in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. The lodge consists of 3 camps with 6 rooms per camp. Nestled on the banks of a river one can often view animals in and around the camps. Makalali Private Game Lodge offers game drive twice a day to guests which is included in the rate of accommodation. The reserve is home to the big 5 as well as cheetah and wild dog and a number of other plains game and mammals. Over 250 species of birds have been recorded on the property. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Makalali Private Game Hotel Hoedspruit
Makalali Private Game Lodge South Africa/Hoedspruit

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