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“Wonderful Honeymoon Experience”

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Imbali Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Wonderful Honeymoon Experience”
Reviewed 21 January 2014

My husband and I had a wonderful stay at Imbali as part of our honeymoon and would highly recommend this once in a lifetime experience! We stayed a total of 4 nights and all our expectations were exceeded by a mile (or kilometer).
We landed at the small Hoedspruit airport and were immediately greeted by Stefan and bottles of cold water. The drive from the airport to the Lodge is approximately 2 hours but feels like 20 minutes and is basically a mini safari in itself. The ride is comfortable and Stefan is hilarious, not to mention extremely knowledgeable about all things Kruger.
The lodge is beautiful and rooms are private and surprisingly luxurious considering you're in the middle of Kruger. There were a number of times that I would see elephants grazing across the riverbed while I was reading on our deck. My favorite part were the baboons who seemed to think our deck was party central one day - the adults were tossing one another into the hot tub and while the babies pulled each other's tails. This may not be everyone's cup of tea but we thought it was hilarious. Also, to note - the staff was quick to clean the deck and drain/clean the hot tub without us even mentioning it.
Our guide was James who put his heart and soul into the drives. Within the first 48 hours we had seen the big 5, as well as, hyenas, giraffes and a few dozen other birds/animals. We really enjoyed our time on the drives with James - he's knowledgeable, entertaining, professional, intuitive and patient. Everything a good guide should be.
I could go on and on about Imbali, the grounds and staff. Honestly, this is a very special place and I'm not sure how anyone could leave here feeling anything less than satisfied. Every member of the staff goes out of their way to care for you and you can tell they take great pride in their lodge.

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank M F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
LBucceri, Marketing representative at Imbali Safari Lodge, responded to this review, 14 March 2014
Dear M F,

Thank you so much for your lovely review! We are thrilled to hear that you had such a wonderful experience with us, and we hope to welcome you back for your anniversary.

Regards,
The Imbali team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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380 reviews from our community

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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (58)
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English first
Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
65 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 January 2014

We sent four nights at Imbali at the end of a five week trip around Southern Africa. We wanted to have a bit of luxury, without having to pack bags and move at the end of a long trip. We got exactly what we wanted.
The villas were private with an enormous king size four poster bed. Game drives are included in the price. We got a very cheerful wake up call at 5:30 each morning so we were ready for our 6:00 am departure. Our ranger, Stefan, was very knowledgeable sharing his personal knowledge and experience, but also lending guidebooks so you could study the animals and birds in more detail. On the morning game drive you get to stop for a tea or coffee and then continue on for another hour or so until returning to the lodge for breakfast. During this time, your room is also cleaned so you never get interrupted or disturbed whilst you are there.
The evening game drive surprised us on the first night because you stop at sunset for a sundowner and Stefan sets up your drinks and nibbles. On the first night we watched a white rhino walk park us about 30m away - it was the first rhino we had seen on our whole trip - it was brilliant.
We saw plenty of lions during our numerous game drives, up close so fantastic photos were taken.
The food is all included and is fantastic, a huge variety and something different every day.
All the staff were very friendly. On our last night it was someone's birthday and the staff all sang songs and danced, it was a really nice touch and completely unexpected.
One of the afternoon game drives saw the manager organise to serve ice cream cones just outside the main gate - we only got that once whilst we were there. Again a nice touch on a warm afternoon, and a nice surprise.
The only small downside was that on the last day when we settled the account, it took about 30minutes as the lodge had to phone the bank(or card company?) to have payment authorised. It wasn't until we read the card number out again, and the person at the other end had in erred two of the numbers, did things get resolved. It could happen anywhere, but I recall reading about it another review, so it might be something to be aware of.

Room Tip: Room number 1 only has one neighbour so is particularly quiet.
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank HelCam-12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
LBucceri, Marketing representative at Imbali Safari Lodge, responded to this review, 14 March 2014
Dear Hel-Cam12,

Thanks so much for your lovely review. We are so pleased that you had a wonderful holiday with us, and are delighted that our small touches made your stay extra-memorable.

We hope to see you again soon!

Regards,
The Imbali team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
34 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 January 2014

We saw a lion cross the road as soon as we entered the Kruger. From then on it only got better, we saw all of the big 5 plus about 30 other species of animals and birds, the rangers were so helpful and knowledgeable. The lodge was great and the staff. The rooms are enormous and we had a sun deck and jacuzzi, every night you are escorted back to your room for safety.
This trip was everything we had hoped for and it was organised faultlessly by South Africa Holiday Architects.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank sunseekerCoDurham
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
LBucceri, Marketing representative at Imbali Safari Lodge, responded to this review, 14 March 2014
Dear sunseekerCoDurham,

Thank you for your review. We are so pleased you enjoyed your stay with us, and hope to welcome you back to Imbali soon.

Regards,
The Imbali team
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Charlottesville, Virginia
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 January 2014

We stayed 4 nights at Imbali during our honeymoon trip to South Africa. We LOVED it! Everyone was so friendly and accommodating. Our room was fantastic. We enjoyed massages on our pool deck twice and both times there were elephants across the riverbed at the watering hole when we woke up! It was out of a movie! Our room was clean and spacious and we enjoyed using the pool. The food at the lodge was plentiful and delicious! We ate all sorts of fabulous local fare. The guides were knowledgeable and friendly. We saw the big 5 twice, thanks to our guide Twice! We also enjoyed an African Village Tour outside of Kruger and got to see some amazing tribal dances and listen to gospel choirs. It was truly amazing. Overall, we were really pleased with the staff, food, accommodation, spa and safari experience.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Jen M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
LBucceri, Marketing representative at Imbali Safari Lodge, responded to this review, 14 March 2014
Dear Jen M,

Thank you for your feedback. We are so happy that you had a lovely honeymoon with us, and we hope to see you again for your first anniversary!

Regards,
The Imbali team
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mumbai (Bombay), India
Level Contributor
398 reviews
110 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 November 2013

The Resort is 3 to 4 hours by road from Nespruit Airport and you start wondering if it is worth it. But it was great! There are 12 lodges- 9 facing a river bed, 4 with outdoor jacuzzis- excellent rooms, great service and lovely safaris- saw all the big 5 - 5 hours of safari each day and chilled out in the balance time - a lot of wine! All in all a great experience. The Safari guides were great!

Room Tip: Ask for River facing rooms- If you stay for at least 3 nights - you should get them. 3 Nights are t...
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  • Stayed October 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank KanwarTavy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Leeanne d, Manager at Imbali Safari Lodge, responded to this review, 13 November 2013
Dear Traveller,

Thank you very much for the positive feedback. I’m glad to see that you enjoyed your Safari experience with us. We would love to host you again future.

The Imbali Safari Lodge Team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
2 reviews
Reviewed 8 November 2013 via mobile

We stayed at Imbali for 4 nights with 3 1/2 days of safari. We absolutely loved the lodge and the staff. Service was exceptional. You stay in your own spacious bungalow with a giant bed and your back patio has either a hot tub or a plunge pool. The dinners were pretty good with a decent selection to choose from including vegetarian courses. In the afternoon you choose 3 courses for your dinner: a starter, main, and dessert. Our first night we had the ostrich filet and it was so delicious - the best ostrich we had during our entire trip in South Africa. Another food favorite was the butternut squash soup. The spinach soup was awful it was incredibly salty I would recommend staying away from that starter. Breakfast is delicious with a big selection and they also make eggs to order for each person (they have some difficulty understanding sunny side up vs over hard. You really have to make sure they understand otherwise the eggs are runny. I ended up just ordering scrambled because I don't like runny yolk).

As far as the animals go our safaris were pretty great. We saw a number of animals just driving through the park on our way to the lodge. We also saw many animals from our room and from the eating area because there's a water hole directly across from the lodge. We saw elephants just about every day drinking water and splashing themselves. One day we saw over 20 elephants there all trying to get water and some even fighting with each other for a spot. There were about 4 tiny baby elephants in this group too, so cute! We saw a hyena one evening and a group of 30 baboons also frequently walked by.

We cannot say enough great things about our guide, Nicholas. He was incredibly nice, knowledgable, and fun. He really did his best to not only show us the big 5 but as many animals as possible. You can just tell that he loves the animals and what he does and he is happy to show us and teach us about all of them. We ended up seeing 4 out of the big 5. Nicholas tried so hard to find us a leopard but it just wasn't in the cards. We did get a special experience getting up close and watching a group of the rare wild dogs. We saw lions up close multiple times including watching a male lion eating a buffalo 15 feet from us! Needless to say, we did not leave there disappointed.

Our only complaint is that we woke up one morning to find a bush baby had fallen from the inside of the roof of our bungalow into the bathtub! It was injured from the fall and had pooped and left a trail of urine in the tub. Not a huge deal, it's not surprising that a rodent found it's way in but what upset us is that when we got back from our safari and our room had been cleaned: bush baby removed, poop removed, but there was still the urine trail in the tub. We were disgusted because the cleaning staff obviously didn't do a deep cleaning after the dead bush baby fell into the tub! We showered for the remaining couple of days.

A helpful tip when traveling to/from the Kruger gates be careful as you are leaving. We were stopped by what appeared to be cops saying we were speeding and could drive all the way back in to pay our R750 ticket or we could pay him R350 now and be on our way. Obviously a scam and/or corrupt cop just looking to catch the tourists.

  • Stayed October 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Alkeadventures
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Leeanne d, Manager at Imbali Safari Lodge, responded to this review, 13 November 2013
Dear Traveller,

Thank you for the review of Imbali Safari Lodge after your stay with us. I am happy to see that you enjoyed your stay and have left with fond memories. The issued raised have been brought to the attention of the respective department heads and we apologise for any inconvenience caused.

The Imbali Safari Lodge Team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New Delhi, India
Level Contributor
17 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 November 2013

This was one trip we had dreamed to take for so long....and when it finally happened, we came back so completely satisfied with our stay in the lodge and of course, our experience of the safari trips into the Park. The dining area enjoys a fantastic location where one can relax and watch elephants, giraffes etc. come for water to the watering hole, sit around with one of the coffee table books in the lounge and soak in the atmosphere of the wilderness...which also can be fully enjoyed from the lodge rooms where we have deer walk right up to the door! The rooms are well appointed, clean and serviced, bathrooms are large and nice. Staff courtesies are excellent where I can't forget Henri and Baldwin! The chef allowed our friends to help prepare a vegetarian Indian meal in their kitchen!! Light refreshments are plentiful all day in the patio. Wake- up calls and room service was faultless. Internet services can be dodgy as also cell connectivity but the Managers are always kind to help with getting connections outside. It was always lovely to enjoy snacks and tea at the end of a safari trip in the wide open vastness of the savanna....I could go back time and time again!

Room Tip: I'd say Room No. 10 is reached quickest from the reception/dining area. Hardly matters though s...
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  • Stayed October 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank 123319
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Leeanne d, Manager at Imbali Safari Lodge, responded to this review, 13 November 2013
Dear Traveller,

Thank you for taking the time to write such a positive review about your stay at Imbali Safari Lodge. We would love to have you back in future. We will convey your kind words to Hendri and Baldwin.

The Management Team of Imbali Safari Lodge
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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 171 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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