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“Absolutely STUNNING!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Imbali Safari Lodge

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Imbali Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Absolutely STUNNING!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 July 2013

Imbali Safari Lodge was absolutely stunning, the lodge itself it beautiful and each room has its own private pool or jacuzzi. Tired from the drive, we were immediately revitalized by the staff because of their friendliness and enthusiasm. Our ranger Stefan was very knowledegable and was very good in educating us about not only the "big" animals, but also the fauna/flora and birds in the areas. What was so special to me was during dinner, elephants came right up to the pool and watering hole whilst we were eating, it does not get better than this on a safari. I would highly recommend this to anyone wanting to have a safari experience in the Kruger / Sabi area.

  • Stayed July 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
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Tracey S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Stacy C, Manager at Imbali Safari Lodge, responded to this review, 29 July 2013
Dear Tracey
Thank you very much for your glowing review. We were honoured to host you and your family. We are pleased to see that you enjoyed your experience at our lodges in Kruger and that our guide took the time to educate you about nature as a whole, stopping for the smaller, often overlooked animals as well. We hope to welcome you back to our lodges again in future.
Regards
Imbali Management Team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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363 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    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 (57)
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English first
Lafayette, California
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 July 2013

We spent a few nights here as well as two other private lodges in S. Africa. It is small, so it feels like you have the place to yourself. James, our guide is exceptionally knowledgeable and went out of his way one evening to get close to a lepard that another guide had spotted. He also deftly handled a rude and overbearing family group (from a country east of S. Africa) who virtually demanded he produce a lion and were late to two consecutive game drives by separating them from other guests. He even offered photo suggestions.

Excellent food, beautifully appointed facilities - both the common areas and the rooms.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank 61GaryL843
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Stacy C, Manager at Imbali Safari Lodge, responded to this review, 26 July 2013
Dear 61GaryL843

Thank you very much for the great review, we really appreciate it. I’m glad to see that you enjoyed your Safari experience and that your guide made sure to leave you with a memorable experience and lasting memories of our Lodge and Concession. We hope to welcome you back one day.

Regards the Imbali Management.
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San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles 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
Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
16 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles 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
    • 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 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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Umhlanga
Level Contributor
49 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles 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
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      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
Report response as inappropriate
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
5 of 5 bubbles 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
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      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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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Karachi, Pakistan
Level Contributor
77 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles 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
    • 4 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
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      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.
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 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 #51 of 169 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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