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“Trip of a Lifetime! Incredible Resort!”

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Ulusaba Private Game Lodge
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Skukuza
Seattle
Level Contributor
12 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Trip of a Lifetime! Incredible Resort!”
Reviewed 23 April 2012

We went on a 2 day safari trip and had an exceptional experience. Ulusaba is one of the most beautiful resorts in the world. The staff is top notch. Our ranger Trevor and our guide Sam were amazing. They gave us an incredible experience out on safari. We saw all of the Big 5 game multiple times and so much more. It exceeded my every expectation. The highlight was spending an hour and a half following and observing a female leopard. I never thought that we would be able to be up so close to the animals. I would highly recommend Ulusaba... outstanding accommodations and an incredibly high level of service.

Room Tip: We stayed in a private bungalow down by the river. It had it's own private plunge pool. It was...
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
3 Thank btlifter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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33 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (16)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Basingstoke
Level Contributor
27 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 April 2012

We arrived at Safari Lodge with great excitement as it was our first safari and I have to say that we were just blown away with the four nights we spent there. From the minute we arrived with champagne on arrival, meeting Kim and the team through to our Game Drives was fantastic.

There was nothing that was too much trouble, the food was excellent and then there was the Game Drives themselves. Wow, we had the great pleasure of having Steve as our Ranger and Tulani as our Tracker. What a great team they were, great fun to be with and excitement always looking forward to a drive. Steve was absolutely brilliant and it was a pleasure to have been passengers with him as our ranger.... A brilliant experience.

As to the animals we saw the Big Five and more........ Drove around all four corners of the estate and at times seeing nothing for ages, but Steve knew where to be and what to see when.

We thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and have not stopped telling people all the stories of what happened, what we saw etc etc. We cannot state highly enough how good this place is and how special the team make it.

Thanks all I promise we will be back

Room Tip: We stayed in the Elephant 3 Room. Excellent room .... Great view of the wildlife as well....
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank AndrewTBasingstoke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
33 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 March 2012

Disappointed. A little too laid back. Kind of like hanging with the college party gang for a lot of money. Staff was friendly and helpful. No problem there. Rock lodge more upscale. Recently upgraded. Internet spotty at best. Good game viewing.

Room Tip: Rock lodge has the views. Safari lodge has good game viewing from the hotel. Visit the water hole wh...
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  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank Coastline1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 March 2012

Me and my wife arrived at Ulusaba Rock Lodge in Sabi Sands with high expections. Sir Richard Branson has been an idol of ours and the chance of visiting Ulusaba for 2 days was too good an opportunity to miss. After being dropped off at the Ulusaba airstrip by our Thompsons driver (Tom) we we're greeted with champagne and informed that our ranger (Trevor) was coming to pick us up. He quickly drove us up the steep accent to Rock Lodge with breath-taking views across the brush and savannah where we were kindly greeted by the Ulusaba staff. After a quick but thorough tour of the property we were taken to Rock Cliff 1. A large double room accessed via a steep accending stone stair case. On opening the door, a short set of stairs took us to a large king sized bed, sitting area and en-suite bathroom all with spectacular views. Moving out onto the balcony literally took our breath away! It is certainly the jewel in the crown of a fine room with all essential amenities.

At 4 o'clock we walked up to the main dining room area which contained a well stocked bar (you can even attempt making your own cocktails!), a spectacular dining table with Impala horns adorning the chair backs, a sitting area and access to the wooden open air terrace where we ate on a number of occassions. Here we met James, a long-standing barman of Rock Lodge, who is an absolute gent! Courtious and always smiling, he always attempted to make us feel at home whilst plying us with stiff drinks! He has many a story to tell.

The food at Ulusaba was spectacular and freshly prepared by the chef. A set lunch menu that did not change, a group dinner menu delivered in person with a choice of 3 starters 3 mains and 2 deserts all hit the mark and we never went hungry (drinks and nibbles also on both game drives!). I would personally recommend the Kudu burger it was delicious!

The hotel facilities were unfortunally not worth writing home about. Whilst the spa was very enjoyable, I had a Zambian massage that was additional but highly recommended! The sitting areas and pool were deserted and somewhat neglected. However, fitting in two game drives, freshening up and relaxing in the privacy of our room meant we never needed to use either of these facilities.

And to the main point of Ulusaba's existance. We we're woken at 5am each morning and met at 5.30am for a quick strong coffee and muffin before heading out with our ranger and tracker for the trip, Trevor and Sam. They were superb! They always endeavored to search out all of the big five and plied us with extensive information on all plants, mammals, reptiles, ampibians and a broad range of interesting information. We got to see 4 large male lion's that had newly arrived from the south and killed the long standing Mr T who had ruled Sabi Sands for 6 years the day before (see the death of Mapogo on YouTube). We even got beached and had to be winched out! Exciting when you have 4 large lions sitting directly infront of you! We tracked two leopards (a male and female) through the bush and succeeded in getting some great photo's. These along with elephants, a large herd of buffalo, lazy hippo's, crocodiles, rhino's, and the elegant girafe capped off our first safari experience. We an both hooked and are looking forward to arranging our next fix! In summary, Ulusaba caters to all your needs. Though of you don't like stairs maybe the Safari Lodge is for you. It has similar facilities with the Rock Lodge's view swapped for a closer proximity to the wilderness. The pesky baboons will however keep you entertained up by Rock Lodge! Either way you won't be disappointed. It's an experience that I will never forget and will always recommend to anyone who want's to witness nature in it's rawest form.

Room Tip: All rooms exceptional! Rock Cliff 1 at the edge of the property has a balcony corner and views from...
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank cshayes252
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ilkley
Level Contributor
151 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 121 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 March 2012

The most amazing place we have ever visited. Could not fault it in the slightest! We went on honeymoon and got upgraded straight away. We stayed at rock lodge and safari lodge and they are both worth doing. The safari trips are out of this world and defiantly worth getting out of bed for! Everything is all inclusive and it includes champaign! The food is amazing and the staff are really friendly and helpful. This hotel should be on everyone's bucket list. A very special remembable place. I'm saving to go back already. You will not regret it I promise

Room Tip: All rooms excellent
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Rebecca H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Burton upon Trent, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
14 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 February 2012

This was our second stay at Ulusaba and even better than the first time
Staff are fantastic-anticipate guests every need and go out of their
way to make your stay unique. Breakfast in the bush, private dining if you ask etc etc
The bush was stunning - green and lush. We saw everything except cheeta, including wild dogs
Our ranger Sam was brilliant. There is a trainee ranger their at the moment called Dan. Any lodges needing a new ranger should seriously consider giving Dan a job - he too is fantastic (snap him up before its too late!!)
We would not hesitate to recommend Ulusaba to anyone couples, families or those travelling alone. Everyone is made to feel welcome
We definitely plan to return
Heather and Mark Sutton
Staffordshire

Room Tip: Having stayed in Elephant and Rock Lodge suite in the past we stayed in Rock Lodge rooms this time...
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
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    • Rooms
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    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Cats19
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago
Level Contributor
294 reviews
129 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 320 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 August 2009

There are so many things to consider when planning a safari trip (especially if it's your first, as this was for me) that it can be overwhelming. How long do I stay? What should I bring? What will the weather be like? How do I get from point A to point B? Here's one thing to make your planning easier: stay at Ulusaba.

I've just returned from a stay at Ulusaba and have to say that it's likely the best hotel I've ever stayed at. But then again, "hotel" is a bit of an understatement - this falls more under the category of an "experience" - and an amazing one at that.

Undecided on which lodge to pick, we opted to split our time between both the Rock Lodge and the Safari Lodge - 2 nights at each. As the Rock Lodge was our first stop, we were taken there upon landing at the Ulusaba airstrip and being refreshed with a nice glass of champagne - into the safari vehicle and up the hill to the lodge, the adventure had begun. Upon arriving, we were taken on a tour of the central lodge areas and then to our room (to our surprise, we had been upgraded to the Makwela Dawn suite -- an incredible split-level accomodation with private deck and plunge pool). The views from Rock Lodge were amazing. And the room was so nice that we actually then requested to spend all 4 nights there. However, new guests were coming in, so we had to move to Safari Lodge two days later. I'm glad we did it this way - they are two very different lodges, but with the same emphasis on both making guests feel at home and catering to their every need. At the Safari Lodge, we were surprised with another upgrade -- to a River Room...another gorgeous accomodation - a little smaller than the one we had at Rock Lodge, but also beautifully appointed and complete with private deck and plunge pool. While Rock Lodge is a teeny bit more refined and elegant, Safari Lodge feels like more of an adventure in the heart of the bush.

Food at both was excellent -- and plentiful. The day starts at 5:30am with your wake-up call. After getting ready, you call to be escorted from your room to the lodge, where you'll find tea, coffee, scones, shortbread, and cookies. Halfway through the drive is a rest stop for more of the same. When you get back around 9:00am, it's time for a full breakfast. Breakfast is the same every day (except for the day we had it served in the bush) - with cooked-to-order omelettes, pancakes, etc. As a person whose breakfast usually consists of a coffee, I actually found myself quite hungry after the game drives. Well - about 3 hours later, lunch is served. Again, the menu is the same every day, but there are plenty of options - ranging from a Kudu burger to a butternut/goat's cheese pizza. At 3pm, tea is served (we only managed this the first day) - sweet snacks and tea and then you are off on your drive. Halfway through - it's time for sundowners! Drinks and more snacks. And at 8pm, dinner is served at communal tables. The chef introduces the menu options - 3 each for appetizers and entree (1 of each is always vegetarian). Great, innovative, and tast selections.

But I haven't even gotten to the highlight yet - and that's the game drives. They are, in a word, fantastic. Yes, waking up at 5am is hard. Yes, they can be cold (they provide fleece cover-ups, blankets, and hot water bottles, but if you are going in their winter, bring a fleece jacket and hat). But they are absolutely great. With the trusted guidance of Jobe (our ranger) and Powlie (our tracker), we saw all Big 5 by our second day. We also saw mating leopards, baby elephants and hippos, a leopard chasing impala, and a lion about to feast on a wildebeast. The animals come very, very close to the vehicle sometimes and our adrenaline definitely got pumping, but we never feared for our safety. We also went off-road quite a bit, which was exciting! This is the type of thing that words won't do justice for, you just have to experience it for yourself.

So, how long should you go on safari? It depends. For us, 4 days was the perfect amount of time. We got into the routine, saw everything, but were not too exhausted by the early wake-up times or jaded by the amazine wildlife encounters.

But however long you choose to go for and whenever you choose to go, stay at Ulusaba. You won't be disappointed.

  • Stayed August 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
10 Thank Sunny77777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Ulusaba Private Game Lodge

Property: Ulusaba Private Game Lodge
Address: Ulusaba Private, Skukuza 1242, South Africa
Region: South Africa > Mpumalanga > Skukuza
Amenities:
Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Spa
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Skukuza
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Number of rooms: 20
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Ulusaba Private Game Hotel Skukuza
Ulusaba Private Game Lodge South Africa/Skukuza

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