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“Billing nightmare”

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Imbali Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
San Francisco, California
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Billing nightmare”
Reviewed 18 July 2013

We had a nice stay at Imbali last month, lovely accommodations & friendly and helpful staff. Our ranger Oscar was phenomenal, going out of his way to make sure we had amazing sightings. However, since returning home, the experience has been nothing short of awful. We realized that we had been double charged for our stay and contacted them to address the error. They replied with no apologies but told us they would look into it.

I wanted to wait until the problem was fixed to write this review, but one month later, the administration still has done nothing to reverse the charges!! Worst of all, they have not been communicative and had no sense of urgency, we have to keep emailing them asking for updates. Finally we contacted our credit card company to handle it from their end.

Get it together Imbali, it's not okay to double charge your patrons, barely maintain a sluggish correspondence, and leave an HUGE problem unresolved. This experience really marred what otherwise would have been a very nice memory. I saw that another reviewer on tripadvisor has had similar issues so they must have a serious problem with their billing process - until they figure it out, choose to stay somewhere else in Kruger.

Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
10 Thank eskimo118
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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395 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (58)
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English first
Austin, Texas
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 July 2013

We stayed at Imbali for two nights and went on 3 safari drives. We enjoyed our stay here and would return. Here are some details and notes of our experiences here.

ROOM
The bed was huge and covered with a mosquito net. There was an open walk in shower with a window you could look out of as well as a bathtub. Rooms came with an assortment of teas, a water heater, and insect repellant (although we didn’t need it). The porch/patio was very large with two lounge chairs (covered) and a hot tub (although touching the water, it wasn’t very hot so we never went in). If you didn’t want to lounge in the heat, you could lie in bed and look out the back wall that was all windows. We had the first room on the left with a view of the “dried” creek. An elephant walked right by, dug a hole to get water, and gave us a personal backyard showing!!! NOTE: you’ll have to get an escort when walking to and from the main area to the rooms at night. The only fence around the camp is to keep elephants and large animals out. A little scary to think a lion can walk through camp, but talking to the staff that had only happened twice in his long tenure there and it seemed like most lodge’s fences were similar.

FOOD
Amazing! All around. Impala filet for dinner and coffee muffins for breakfast were our favorite. Dinner with the driver was also fun!

SPA
We did an after breakfast couple’s massage in the convenience of our room’s back patio. They brought portable massage tables and set them up outside. Fun experience to get a massage with the sounds of nature and little dear-like animals running around.

SAFARI DRIVES
We were in covered vehicles. The roads of this camp were very well kept! We couldn’t go off road, but were able to see lots of animals. Out of the big 5 we saw everything except the leopard. Our favorite was a pride of lions; there were 3 moms and 8 cubs – we were so close! Stefan was our driver and he was great – super passionate and very knowledgeable even on all the 100s of bird species. He also gave us great tips on using our SLR cameras having taken time off work in the past to attend some animal & nature photography courses. NOTE: they do not use a second person/tracker, but they do walkie-talkie with other drivers on animal sightings. They also do not go off the main roads.

CONS
-super slow wifi in the main area. No wifi in rooms. They have a desktop in the office, but wasn’t worth the wait/inconvenience to use.

COMPARISON
We stayed at Imbali and Arathusa, each for two nights. At Imbali we liked the rooms better. At Arathusa, we liked the camp/resort grounds better overlooking the waterhole. Both places had really good food, helpful staff, and exciting drive experiences. Arathusa had a unique dinner braai (grilling). Imbali invited the drivers for dinner every other night. Arathusa was more expensive; it had an actual spa building and looked to be building a new dining area. Arathusa also had better wifi access.

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank marcil008
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nisha D, Manager at Imbali Safari Lodge, responded to this review, 18 July 2013
Dear Marciel008

Thank you for your valued comments on Imbali Safari Lodge.

We have taken note of your comments with regards to the Wi-Fi. Our internet connection at the lodge is via satellite and can be affected by weather conditions.
We do go off road on the concession for Big 5 sightings, but only if these sightings are not close to the road. We have a focussed approach to conservation, and will always try and reduce the impact of vehicles on the bush.

Once again thank you very much for your valued comments
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Umhlanga
Level 5 Contributor
50 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 July 2013

After having to leave Kruger Park unexpectedly due to our car breaking down, we decided to treat ourselves to a night at Imbali, after being unable to get accommodation back in Kruger. We had a wonderfully warm welcome from Julius and his team who went out of their way to provide fantastic service throughout our stay. Our ranger, Stefan, deserves special thanks as there was little game around and yet he managed to make our two drives very interesting. We had received notification from our bank that our payment had gone through (both via sms and email, which we printed out for the office) but as this did not show up in their banking (their error as their credit card banking was not up to date) the administrative department asked if they could take a copy of our other credit card which they promised would only be put through if they could not find our initial payment. This was not done with much tact either - we almost got the feeling that we were not being trusted, being constantly badgered during our stay. Within an hour of leaving, I received an sms from the bank notifying us that a second payment had been processed - no phone call, no notification from Imbali. I emailed to ask them to rectify the matter but have not heard anything from them. It will now be up to us, on our return home, to approach our bank to get this second payment reversed. This has ruined what would have been a 5 star review and left us upset and angry.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank SunnyKZN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nisha D, Manager at Imbali Safari Lodge, responded to this review, 16 July 2013
Dear Mrs Bland

Many thanks for your review and our sincere apologies for the inconvenience caused.
We have followed up on the charge and accounts has confirmed that the payment was taken twice. We have requested for a reversal from your bank and the money should have reflected in your account by latest Thursday the 11th of July.

Sincerely
Imbali Management
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mumbai (Bombay), India
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 29 June 2013

We stayed for 2 nights in June. We saw the big 5 up close and personal all thanks to our wonderful guide Oscar. We wish we had stayed longer as we went onto another lodge in a private reserve and the experience was not the same, even though it was more expensive. The Imbali lodge and accommodation, ambience, the location, the food and wine were all fantastic and our 9 year old also loved it, thanks to Oscar and the rest of the Imbali staff. We have travelled all over the world and the guided safaris led by Oscar were one of our best experiences to date. The hotels service and facilities were also outstanding and we are already planning to return next year!

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank mark_kylie_bell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nisha D, Manager at Imbali Safari Lodge, responded to this review, 8 July 2013
Dear Traveller

Thank you very much for the glowing review. We appreciate the feedback and will pass your comments onto Oscar. We look forward to welcoming you back to Imbali. Safe Travels.
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Karachi, Pakistan
Level 5 Contributor
77 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 June 2013

We had a rocking experience. From the luxurious cottage to the wild experience - everything was wonderful. Great staff attitude. They even had birthday performances ready and those were awesome, at least for us.

The safari experience was good, although we didn't see any lions - but we made it to BIG 4 in two days. The guides were dot on as well.

Will definitely stay again.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank SalmanKasbati
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nisha D, Manager at Imbali Safari Lodge, responded to this review, 8 July 2013
Dear Traveller

Thank you very much for taking the time to put your review on Trip Advisor. I am happy to read that you enjoyed your stay with us. We look forward to welcoming you back in future and to show you the Lions you missed on your safari.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 June 2013

Only spent one night here - but overall the experience was great - Henry at front desk was exceptional - great to see such a strong service ethic. Food was excellent. View from main entertainment desk stunning!

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank jmg57_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nisha D, Manager at Imbali Safari Lodge, responded to this review, 29 June 2013
Dear jmg57_10

Thank you very much for the positive feedback. We are delighted that you enjoyed your stay with us although it was for only one night. I will convey your message to Hendry and the kitchen staff as well. Take care and next time, stay longer. Hoping to see you again soon.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
new zealand
Level 5 Contributor
64 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 June 2013

May 2013 Imbali Safari Lodge was our first stop on our Holiday, we flew in and greeted by a driver from the lodge took about just over 2 hours to get to the Lodge and it was an amazing ride we saw so many animals, our driver was very helpful telling us about the area and wild life.
We had 4 nights, the safaris were breath taking, we were lucking to see the big five, our driver Andrew was extremely knowledgeable, we stopped for hot drinks in the morning and a sunset drink in the evening (great way to have a G & T) we were greeted with hot towels in the evening a baileys or drink of some sort waiting for us on our return, breakfast was very good, as for dinner (3 course) I can only but compliment the chef on a fantastic selection and great taste and excellent service. (lunch was 3 course and very good also). Our room was perfect and well serviced after a long trip from New Zealand, it was a great way to rest during the day for us, the mornings and nights got very cold the days were lovely. (take some warm clothes for the safari that you can layer they have big coats you can put on as well) The Jacuzzi was lovely to relax in and the animals walked past us, you are escorted at night to and from your room just encase there was any animals around. We saw some amazing sites we can not thank all the staff at the Imbali Safari Lodge enough for there incredible service and wonderful host you made our holiday a perfect start

Room Tip: ask for one by the river bed (although it is dry the animals still walk through) and a warm jacuzzi
See more room tips
  • Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank chrismuz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nisha D, Manager at Imbali Safari Lodge, responded to this review, 13 June 2013
Dear chrismuz

Thank you very much for the wonderful feedback received about your stay with us at Imbali. I’m so glad that we could get your South African holiday started with a successful safari. I hope that you had a great stay in South Africa and I will convey your feedback to Andrew. We hope to see you soon again!

Yours in Hospitality.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Imbali Safari Lodge

Property: Imbali Safari Lodge
Address: Imbali Concession | Skukuza, Kruger National Park 1350, South Africa
Region: South Africa > Kruger National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #61 of 174 Speciality Lodging in Kruger National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:5 star — Imbali Safari Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
An exclusive lodge within the world-renowned Kruger National Park, Imbali Safari Lodge continues the safari tradition of a bygone era. Each private suite has exquisite views from the spacious wooden decks and private Jacuzzi overlooking the riverbed and the plains beyond. In the 1900's the African Safari was a journey of great danger and even greater luxury.All twelve private suites have either their own private Jacuzzi or plunge pool, large king size beds and a romantic antique-styled bath en-suite, timber walkways, telephones, mosquito nets and air conditioner.Spa treatments available in the privacy of your room, safaris in 4x4 vehicles, bird watching, guided safari walks by prior arrangement and self drive in the Kruger National Park. No cell phone reception and limited landlines. Children are welcome, but a minimum age of 6 years is applicable for game drives - at the discretion of management. Maximum of 2 children under 12 years of age may share with parents. Children 5 years and younger stay complimentary when sharing with parents.The Lodge is situated in a malaria area. Gate entry fees are applicable and are charged per person per day. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Imbali Safari Hotel Kruger National Park

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