Umkumbe far exceeded my expectations! Considering its one of the cheaper lodges in the Sabi Sands, I cant imagine what else you'd get at the more expensive ones. Our guides were amazing. Did everything they could to accommodate all of their guests. They were always the firsts ones up, and the last ones to go to bed so that they could personally walk every guest to their private lodge. And most importantly, they always tried their best to find all the animals that the guests wanted to see. Herman, the owner of the lodge was kind enough to take us out on a bush walk through the property, and I can honestly say that I have never learned SO MUCH during that span of time. It was incredible the amount of knowledge that everyone at Umkumbe has about the flora and fauna in the area.
The thing that most people are probably most interested in....the animals. I am happy to say that we did in fact see all five of the Big 5 while at Umkumbe. We saw a pride of lions on our first game ride; there were elephants roaming the river bed right in front of the lodges; we drove through a herd of approximately 400 buffalo; we saw multiple black rhino, and amazingly spotted TWO leopard on our very last game ride, all within only 2 days at Umkumbe. Not only was spotting the animals amazing, but also the stories that our guides had to share about the specific animals that we were seeing made the experience so special. The guides who see these guys on a day-to-day basis, and the owners and some of the trackers who have been there for decades seem to have a truly intimate relationship with the animals that occupy the area.
In addition to the amazing game viewing, the food was great. It was something different for every meal, although we were only there for two days. Also, the shower deserves a mention. I've never talked about a shower in a review before, unless it had to do with it being broken, but the showers at these lodges deserve to be mentioned. The outdoor shower is something to be experienced. Showering under the stars, with open air above you is quite amazing. It might be because I'm a city dweller, but I have never seen stars like that, let alone while taking a hot shower.
Highly recommend Umkumbe. Can not say enough about the lodge and the people.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Umkumbe Safari Lodge is located in the Sabi Sand Wildtuin, considered by many to be the premier wildlife reserve in South Africa. Located on the banks of the seasonal Sand River, Umkumbe Safari Lodge is perfectly situated in one of the best Big Five game viewing destinations in Africa. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Umkumbe Safari Hotel Sabi Sand Game Reserve
- Umkumbe Safari Lodge South Africa/Sabi Sand Game Reserve