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“Good choice close to the Kruger NP”

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Sabie River Bush Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 6 November 2013

As we did not want to stay inside the KNP, we booked one of the smaller units at the SRBL.
The Lodge is located ideally to the Kruger`s (about 20km before Kruger Gate) without paying the enormous rates of the Lodges inside the park. Our room was clean and tidy, maybe a bit small. Wi-fi does not work properly inside the units but people seemed to have range on the sun-deck and within the bar area. The sun-deck facing the river is amazing - really spacious and well equipped. We did not see too many animals though - Lower Sabie Rest Camp certainly has much better views, if you are after that.
Staff is very kind and helpful and the food is really good.

We enjoyed our stay and certainly did not regret not having stayed inside the park!

Room Tip: The smallest units do not face the river and are rather tiny but come at a sensible rate
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  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Christine S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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395 - 401 of 620 reviews

Reviewed 26 October 2013

My husband and I stayed at this establishment in July this year. Lodge management are on the ball.
We were well received and immediately felt at home. The rooms great and well maintained. We really enjoyed our meals.
The lodge is located in a beautiful area surrounded by not too far from the Kruger, and there plenty to do in the area.
All in all – we’ll be back.

Stayed: July 2013, travelled as a couple
1  Thank Mary F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 October 2013 via mobile

The Sabie River Bush Lodge is a nice lodge at the edge of the Sabie river.
In our 4 night stay there we encountered elephants, hippo's, buffalo's and wildebeest right there at the fence.
The lodges are basic but clean and comfortable.
The staff is very helpfull and polite.
The food (breakfast and dinner) is good but not excellent.
Wifi connection is there but very poor, especially when more guests are logged in... Forget Skyping home!

We went with a guided drive into Kruger Park, we had the full day drive, it only lasted 1,5 hours longer then people who had the morning drive although it was a lot more expensive. Also the guide seemend enthousiastic in the morning but after the lunch break that was all gone.
Not worth the money if you ask me, go for a self drive if you can!

Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
1  Thank WouterGrimmie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 October 2013

We stayed in this lodge for three nights. The lodge is pretty nice, fairly rustic compound with the Sabie river out front where elephants love to visit.

The rooms, avoid the regular hut rooms and spring for the tents! The tents are much nicer and give a true safari feel. My wife and I really enjoyed the luxury tent we had for the last day, with the outdoor shower with a few of the elephants.

The grounds staff is very helpful, notably Lucas (he's back, often sporting a safari hat) who seemed to know the in's and outs.

The food for dinner/breakfast as a bit bad though, so knocking off one point for that.

Overall, breakdown:

Pluses:
- Affordable
- Outstanding accommodations if you spring for the luxury tents (which are not much more than regular rooms, there's no reason not to upgrade!)
- Deck and pool are great
- Grounds staff and wait staff were outstanding and friendly.

Minuses:
- Dinner and breakfast were somewhat meh
- Regular rooms (non tented) are kind of lame
- I like the wildlife sounds, but this might make it difficult for some folks to sleep

Room Tip: Spring for the luxury tents, or at least the regular tents. Regular rooms are not worth it.
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  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Arjuna S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 October 2013

Overview:
First off, SRBL is not in a private game reserve lodge (very pricey and typically "all-inclusive") nor the Sanparks-run accommodation within the Kruger National Park (cheap and self-catering but you have to book MONTHS in advance). Instead, SRBL is a perfect in-between option just 19km outside the KNP. The best thing about SRBL is that you have options, you can choose to self-drive to KNP (which we did) or go on their guided game drives (for extra cost), self-cater or go on half board (b/f+dinner). We initially chose SRBL as we were too late to book the sanparks accommodation and what a happy "mistake" it turned out to be. For those that love longgggg reviews (like me!)... read on.

Location:
Along the road that leads to the Paul Kruger gate from the small town of Hazyview. Nothing much in the vicinity of the lodge, the nearest restaurants/shops/supermarket are at Hazyview. Although there are many accommodation options in Hazyview, SRBL is one of the closest to the Paul kruger gate (other than protea, just outside the gate, and Kruger gate guest house, about 10km from the gate). Protea or KGGH don't have tented accommodation though! An additional benefit is SRBL's location along the Sabie river, which gives you a semi-bush living experience (despite the proximity to the main road). Paul Kruger gate is ideal for covering the Southern part of KNP (best for seeing all Big 5 in a short time hence the most crowded), we managed to cover the main routes over 2 days.

Game drives vs. Self drive:
As we planned to stay at a private game reserve in the Klaserie after our stay in SRBL, we did not go on their guided game drives on their cool 4WD (from c.R450/pax per drive depending on the timing). Instead, we drove ourselves in our little rental Nissan Micra (2WD is no problem even on the unsealed roads). Park fee is R204/pax per day for foreigners, just pay at the Paul Kruger gate. We didn't buy any maps, just screenshot the sanparks website's map. Even though it was our first time on safari, we spotted the Big 5 by ourselves over 2 days, with very lucky close-ups (the animals in KNP seem totally unfazed by the vehicles and can come close to or even onto the roads!). Of course it is not very "safari-like" to be sitting in a normal 2WD sedan, but this is the only downside and the cheapest way of seeing the Big5. Plus you can enjoy the air-condition and wear flip flops :P

Accommodation:
We booked the ensuite luxury river frontage bush tents (there are only 2 with ensuite!! Tents 4 and 5) that are on half-board basis. Tents 1-3 are cheaper as they are not ensuite, but have kitchen and BBQ facilities, and the price is on self-catering basis as clearly stated in the website. Our tent was spacious, with semi-private deck (shared with the other ensuite luxury tent) and deck chairs where you can watch the birds and animals wander by. Ensuite bathroom was great, with his and hers washbasins and a small but modern shower stall. Note that the 2 ensuite tents are closest to the river and furthest from the restaurant/common area, lots of privacy BUT you cannot get in-room wifi :(

the non-ensuite tents and ensuite rooms are clustered around the restaurant so you can get in-room wifi. Do note that the tents (being tents) are not soundproof so you can hear vehicles passing on the road, although road traffic is minimal after nightfall. This didn't bother us at all but if you are a light sleeper you might prefer a room instead of a tent.

Facilities:
Smallish pool that would be great for summertime. Wifi was centred around the reception/restaurant and quite slow/spotty at times, but as it is free I have no complaints. Secure parking inside the lodge compound and the staff even wash your cars every morning so you can take nice pictures through your shiny clean car windows.

Food - Awesome! :
Breakfast: Simple buffet of cereal, fruit, breads (try the home made scones!), yoghurt, as well as a cooked breakfast (choice of bacon/sausage/eggs/tomato/mushrooms or ALL of them).
Lunch: not included in half-board as you would typically spend the entire day inside KNP (we ate at the rest camps, recommend Lower Sabie rest camp for your lunch stop, very crowded but awesome sightings just by the river, you can typically see 2-3 of the Big5 just by stopping here).
Dinner: 3 courses ! a choice of soup/salad to start, meat/fish for mains and fabulous sinful desserts. It's not fancy epicurean stuff ( no foam and garnishes and jellies of course!!) but well-executed and homey.

Hope this longgggg review is helpful for those planning a trip to KNP, all the different types of accommodation in and around the Kruger can be really quite confusing to a first-timer! As it was our first safari we tried both methods (self-drive from SRBL and later a private game reserve with guided drives, both were great experiences).

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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10  Thank BeyondBanalityBlog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 September 2013

We are very excited to share the amazing experience we had at the Sabie River Bush Lodge.
The staff are outstanding! Very helpful and friendly.

I would recommend this lodge to anyone at any time. Rooms are beautiful and tidy.
As for the food, that was even better.

Thank you for everyone at Sabie River who made our stay unforgettable!

Room Tip: All the rooms are amazing!
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  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled with family
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3  Thank Chantelle L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
sabieriverbushlodge, Owner at Sabie River Bush Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 2 October 2013

Hi Chantelle

Thank you for your business and thank you for taking the time out to review our Lodge.
I trust you and Derrick are happy in your new house after the wedding.
I will pass on your comments regarding the excellent service to the staff at the Lodge, it really motivates them when they see that the hard and dedicated work that they put in is noticed and appreciated by our guests.

Regards
Dale
Owner - Sabie River Bush Lodge

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 September 2013

If you're planning a trip in the Mpumalanga region to include Southern Kruger Park, this is an excellent choice, as it is very near to the Paul Kruger Gate, it has the most relaxing view in front of the sabie River where you can sit comfortably watching the Hippos on the water just a couple of meters from you, enjoying a nice drink watching the sunset. The food is good, with 2 plates of choice on every meal, and its a must to have dinner on the wooden porch enjoying the landscape and Sabie River in front of you. We have stayed in several Game Lodges around the Kruger and this is the best cost/quality option so far. Very friendly staff, the rooms aren't enormous but the twin size bed is very comfortable and the bathrooms are nicely decorated to make you feel at all time in Africa. Also, Wifi is available free and very good.

Room Tip: Thera are also available luxury tents to give you a safari like experience.
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  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank NunoCaldeiraOliveira
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
sabieriverbushlodge, Owner at Sabie River Bush Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 2 October 2013

Hi Jon

Thank you for visiting our beautiful country and for spending some time with us at Sabie River Bush Lodge.
We really appreciate it when our guests take the time out to review our Lodge.
I will pass on your comments to the chef and the staff, they are always happy to hear from guests re the guest experience at Sabie River Bush Lodge.

Regards
Dale
Owner - Sabie River Bush 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 Sabie River Bush Lodge

Address: R536 Portia Shabangu Drive | Kruger Gate road, Hazyview 1242, South Africa
Region: South Africa > Mpumalanga > Hazyview
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 44 Speciality Lodging in Hazyview
Price Range: £38 - £312 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Sabie River Bush Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located on the banks of the Sabie River overlooking the majestic Kruger National Park lies Sabie River Bush Lodge, a bush lodge where you can "recharge your soul" and experience the African Bush. Situated a mere 19kms from the world famous Paul Kruger Gate and 13kms from Phabeni Gate, this is the place you want to be! Sitting on our raised pool deck enjoying great, friendly service and a cocktail with an African twist, one can view the BIG 5 and some of our smaller, yet beautiful, wildlife. With an extensive bird watching opportunity, there is no better place to sit back, relax and take in the natural beauty of the African Bushveld while all your needs are taken care of by our staff! Join us on a guided safari in our open vehicle into the Kruger National Park for a chance to get closer to the amazing animals the Kruger National Park boasts home to. ... more   less 
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