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Reviewed 10 June 2018

Stayed for 4 wonderful nights with our Go Touchdown tour. Everything about the lodge and the reserve is amazing! The individual huts are incredible - love the deck overlooking the river, the soaking tub, the outdoor shower, the zip-down windows. And the decor of the "rooms" as well as the public areas is just perfect - not overdone "safari-esque" but you definitely know you are in Africa! Wessel and Ronell, you created a paradise!
The game drives are awesome and knowing there are just two jeeps worth of people in that huge area, as opposed to the line of vehicles in Kruger, is a humbling experience worth every penny and every minute. And the amenities even extend to the drives - thick fleece blankets for the cold mornings and the awesome coffee break in the bush (we had one with rhinos as our companions), and rain gear if the weather looks threatening and sunset cocktails with the animals.
It's so hard to come up with enough superlatives to describe Humala - to sum it up, Humala River Resort is MAGICAL!

  • Stayed: May 2018, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank susch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DJBarnard, Director of Sales at Humala River Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 4 weeks ago

Dear Sush,

Thank you for taking the time to review. We are pleased to hear that you enjoyed Humala River Lodge and the African bushveld.

Sincerely,
Deon

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Reviewed 6 June 2018

I've taken some time to "cool off" and write this review but still can't shake our odd experience here.

The lodge and landscape is spectacularly beautiful, but that's about all it has going for it.

We had just came off a week in the bush near Krueger National Park and had such an amazing experience. The moment we arrived at the gate of Humala, we knew immediately that this wasn't the place for us. We were somehow roped into a giant Tourist Factory. Go Touchdown Africa, a tour company, had rented out the rest of the rooms on the property so arriving with us was a large group of what we refer to as Tour Bus Tourists (TBT). Yes, I know, I am a tourist too, but a much different one.

We immediately became part of the Tourist Shuffle. They herded us from one area to the next in a large group, over and over. My skin was crawling. I don’t book guided tours or vacations for a reason... I hate being stuck in the herd. You are stuck to a strict schedule of drives and breakfast (understandably) but just know that you are going to be hanging out with 20 other TBT who will ask you 1000 questions all the time. You know your annoying aunt with the giant sunglasses, wedges, and big sun hat who doesn’t stop talking?... that’s these people. And you can’t escape them!!!!

It sounded like Go Touch Down sends guests here almost every day of the week, so I don’t think this was a one off situation. Even the WiFi password was “Touchdown”, so I’m pretty sure that’s indicative of how intertwined they are with Touchdown.

They ran out of food at the afternoon coffee spread, so all I was able to eat for “lunch” was a cold fried tuna patty. It was really bizarre. Dinner was just ok, with small portions. We just drank a bunch of expensive booze to wash away our sorrows.

Then the game drives began... I think I should preface this that prior to coming here and at a different hotel, we had an AMAZING guide who was basically a walking encyclopedia of the bush and LOVED what he did (so I might be biased). Not these guides... nope. Our “guide” would stop at an animal and not say a word, even after carrying on. Knowing that there is so much information to learn about the animals, I would prompt him with questions and he would just give short answers or not have an answer. No info on mating habits, what they eat, social life, dominance etc... He had zero enthusiasm. In fact, I asked him if he liked his job and he said “eh, it’s work, and you can’t really make a long term living”. On our first drive, we saw zebra, wildebeest, giraffe and rhino. Since there are no lions, it seemed as though the giraffe were much less scared of us than I observed near Kruger. They come very close to your car. Also.... the Tour Bus Tourists, seriously, were completely obnoxious. They were extremely excited that they got cellphone service on the drive and were “hey, Siri-ing” about random topics not to do with the animals. They seriously FaceTimed someone ON THE DRIVE. They would not stop talking. The driver (I can’t even give him the name “guide”) did nothing.

Anyways... we were pretty disappointed with the guiding and enthusiasm, we ultimately decided not to even go on the morning drive. It sounded more appealing to relax in an empty resort while the TBT were away. We asked to not be woken up in the morning... at 5am they came stomping down our deck and it woke us up anyway lol. So much for that.
We asked to not go to the Saturday night Fire and dancing because we really just couldn't handle one more touristy thing. They were VERY nice to accommodate us and let us dine alone in the dining room but they seemed totally shocked (and maybe offended) that we didn't want to.

For the price of this place PLEASE GO SOMEWHERE ELSE! There are amazing places on private reserves near Kruger. We stayed in a small 3 room camp on Balule Parsons Nature Reserve and it was absolutely incredible and the same price range.It was much more authentic and you felt like you were really out in the bush and you'll learn so much more!

Room Tip: Room 10, last room but quite a hike.
  • Stayed: March 2018, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank Kerri S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DJBarnard, Director of Sales at Humala River Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 7 June 2018

Dear Kerri S,

We have noted your review. We will do some homework and get feedback from the Humala Management re the comments you made about the "guide" and running out of food at the mid-day coffee spread. Please give us time to get some more information.

From your review I am not sure if you booked the accommodation yourself, or if you traveled with Go Touch Down on an organized small group tour (please let us know).

There are currently only 10 luxury cabins at Humala River Lodge. Our Jeeps used on safari can accommodate up to 9 people in the 3 rows behind the driver, and 1 can sit with the Guide up front if they wish. All safari lodges are similar: ie. they use 9 seater jeeps, and have anything from 6 to 60 rooms or tents at the reserve. Humala River Lodge is pretty exclusive (ie only 10 cabins), and currently can only accommodate maximum. 20 pax when fully booked.

During the 4 day stay at Humala, our Go Touch Down guests (this is an exclusive benefit) has the opportunity to visit the Kruger National Park for a full day excursion, to find any of the Big Cats or any other mammals they may have missed. Our tour air-condition vans used prior to checking in at Humala, seats only 6 people.

Go Touch Down Travel and Tours strives to deliver an excellent tour experience and our ratings over the past 7 years on BBB have testified to that. We believe the cell phones we offer our guests, and the daily activities and entertainment included is what our guests are seeking when wanting to sample South Africa.

If you traveled with Go Touch Down on our small group tours, we request that you please consider contacting our USA corporate offices (ask for me), and let us see what we can do to make up for your unhappiness at Humala River Lodge. If you traveled with us, I would love to talk to you about the rest of the tour and the other experiences you had.

Sincerely,
Deon

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Reviewed 1 June 2018

Only ten individual lodges for max of twenty people, each with the most comfortable beds, I swear “ironed” sheets, private bath with soaking tub and outdoor shower, zip down canvas windows, and turn down service. Chef prepared meals. Morning and evening game drives in open jeeps with all but cats on property. Wish it were closer; I’d go back every year!

Stayed: April 2018
Thank bbmom8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DJBarnard, Director of Sales at Humala River Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 4 June 2018

We are adding 5 more tents to our portfolio this coming fall. Thank you for taking the time to review.

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Reviewed 26 February 2018 via mobile

There were 5 of us who spent 4 nights here as part of our packaged tour. (2 couples and 1 single) I wish I had ended my trip here rather than starting here as it was SO wonderful. This place is a 4 hours drive east of Joburg. The drive itself was interesting as we saw the country and its native people plus cattle in the roads. Humala Lodge is in the middle of a huge private game reserve and there are only 10 individual sleeping units. They call them tents but they are much nicer. We had a queen sized bed plus a large bathroom. The unique feature was the outdoor shower. I thought I wouldn't like it but it was the best part.

We had 2 game drives daily. One early in morning and one in late afternoon. In between people would use the small outdoor pool or sleep or relax in their rooms. The guide Richard was very knowledgeable and told us many interesting stories. The Range Rover could drive through anything and it was perfect for seeing the animals. We learned there were no lions in the park, so we relaxed more after hearing that. We saw many animals during the drive especially giraffes, zebras, Cape buffalo, all the different "boks", warthogs, jackals, rhinos, etc. We tried over many days but did not see any elephants even though they have 60 on the land. We did have coffee and muffins under the umbrella tree and saw signs of elephants in the area.

They have a small gift shops where I did buy some trinkets. I also bought postcards and was able to mail it from their bush post box. The meals are in a separate building and were made with proud by the chef. He came out each morning to greet us. We appreciated meeting the different workers at Humala. I felt in awe of the scenery and the natural beauty of the land and the animals. It was a gift to see these wild creatures who are NOT used to seeing humans in their own environment. I would love to bring my adult kids to Humala. They would love it. It didn't bother me that the wifi was spotty and only in main building. We were out in a remote place and I was just enjoying myself.

Stayed: February 2018, travelled as a couple
1  Thank t j
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lucy T, Senior Client Liaison Officer at Humala River Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 26 March 2018

Thank you for taking the time to write your kind review. We look forward to having you enjoy your next stay with us soon.

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Reviewed 14 February 2018 via mobile

Lovely rooms with stunning views. A very different experience to Kruger. The remoteness gives the benefit that you are emerged in nature. Excellent guide- thanks Richard. We stopped on the way from Kruger to St Lucia. Food was disappointing given the room rate but appreciate getting provisions is not easy.

Stayed: February 2018, travelled as a couple
1  Thank LisaClareS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lucy T, Senior Client Liaison Officer at Humala River Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 15 February 2018

Thank you for providing us with feedback regarding your stay. We are happy you enjoyed your stay and look forward to welcoming you back in the near future.

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