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“Best place to experience the South African bush”

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Umkumbe Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 13 June 2014

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.

Room Tip: Room tip: ask for lodge no. 1. It is called the leopard room, and it was quite nice. Even both of ou...
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  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with family
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3  Thank Brent T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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135 - 141 of 336 reviews

Reviewed 9 June 2014

I visited Umkumbe for three nights with my parents in early June. It was the first time any of us had gone on safari but we had received a recommendation from a friend and decided to book Umkumbe. As he suggested, it was wonderful. Situated on the banks of the Sands River, winter was a wonderful time to go because the water drew many animals to river and they could be viewed without leaving the lodge. We were very fortunate to spot a cheetah crossing the river, as well as a leopard, elephants and buffalo. We did drives with both Lezel and Jason, who had different guiding styles but were both excellent and stopped at nothing to get us to see the animals we desperately wanted to see. A highlight was a "Ferrari safari" drive back towards the lodge on the final night when Lezel received a call that a leopard had been spotted. We found not one, but two leopards and were right next to them as the male chased the female out of his territory and up a tree!
The rooms are simple, clean and the beds are comfy. The food was excellent and I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of fresh salad and fruit that was available.
We all had a magical time and would certainly recommend the lodge to our friends and family.
If you want a great safari experience but aren't as fussed about going somewhere "5 star", which we certainly weren't, you must go to Umkumbe.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled with family
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2  Thank ClaireBrooksley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 June 2014

We are seasoned visitors to South Africa, and safaris - travelling 3 times a year. We usually combine a visit to Kruger with a few nights in the Klasserie, but this time decided to try the world famous Sabi Sand Game Reserve, renowned for its leopard sightings.

And we were not disappointed, even on our 1 night stay. Umkumbe is a small friendly lodge, situated on the banks of the Sand river where you can sit and watch the wildlife walk straight past you, whilst relaxing in the pool. We were lucky enough to see buffalo, elephants and wild dogs in the riverbank, without even leaving the lodge! The previous day a leopard had walked in front of the lodge.
The rooms are clean, comfortable, and traditionally decorated - not that we spent much time there. The communal area and pool were also beautifully kept, a relaxing place to spend the afternoon. The food was wonderful - a buffet style of all you could eat. If the bowls became empty they were quickly refilled by the staff.
The game drives were excellent. We were lucky enough to see four of 'the big 5' in our two drives (only the lions eluded us, as they had moved off the property during the night before we arrived!). The highlight was spending over 2 hours with 2 leopards, oblivious to the fact we were there, and going about their daily business- stalking, hunting etc. And just after breakfast, before we were due to leave, we were privileged to see a pack of 11 wild dogs crossing the Sand river towards us.
The staff were friendly and welcoming. Lezel our ranger was very jolly and informative - on game drive explaining the behaviour of the animals as we sat watching (and photographing) them, while back at camp she ensured everything was ok.

Overall we wished we had stayed longer in this peaceful place in paradise. A true safari lodge, with everything you need for a relaxing and enjoyable stay in the Sabi Sand, without the overindulgences (and price) of the 5 star lodges.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Fiona-Michael C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 May 2014

What a wonderful way to experience the beauty of the wild life South Africa has to offer. We spent only two nights 5th - 7th May 2014 but saw the big four in one afternoon safari drive! The most fantastic time we have ever had, tasty and abundant food, great atmosphere and the most informative and experienced Ranges. We had some amazing sightings and close encounters with all of the big five, our Ranger Lezel made us feel safe at all times. We met some great people and even got to meet the owners of the Lodge. A must see and do experience whilst in South Africa, you will not regret it!

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank Paulinevth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 May 2014

My wife and I along with my son and his wife spent three nights at Umkumbe and were delighted with the place. The property is beautiful and charming. The rooms were very comfortable and the food was very well presented in addition to being delicious. The spread at the buffet was more than adequate and we were not looking for 5 star in in the bush, anyway. They had wifi which was quite fast although our aim was really to get away from all contact with the rest of the world. Being a small place, all the guests would interact like friends at the Boma dinner around the fire. Special mention of Jason and Liz who were very warm and welcoming. Jason spared no pains to give us the best of game viewing. We were sorry we did not see the leopard but will not complain

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with family
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Thank ChrisanthaGomes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 May 2014

We stayed in Umkumbe for 4 nights from 3rd may to 7th May and my kids will not forget this experience. Mike our guide was excellent and made the games drives exceptionally interesting through his inputs on the flora and fauna of the place. We were extremely lucky to see all the big 5 during our stay. The food was good and the rooms were neat. Overall it was good value for money. The location is superb . We could see an Elephant herd by the river on one afternoon and the Lions the next afternoon. Umkumbe is Leopard country so you have good chances of seeing Leopards here. We saw them on 4 safaris .I dont think we could ask for anything more.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with family
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3  Thank lakshmis2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 May 2014

Umkumbe is a gem of a place. Located in Sabi Sands and sharing a border with Kruger, it is an exciting way to experience a safari (one that is far different from the monotony of self game drives that you do in Kruger proper). We checked in at 2pm just in time for lunch and tea then went on a three hours evening game drive followed by a great dinner. The morning schedule has you on a game drive from 6am to 9am, then breakfast and siesta time before starting over with lunch, game drive, and dinner. The guides are welcoming and knowledgeable, the food is delicious, and the wildlife sightings were spectacular (elephants, leopards, and rhinos were the highlights). Highly recommend a two night trip here.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with friends
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2  Thank Poppy510
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Umkumbe Safari Lodge

Address: Luilekker Farm | Sabi Sand Game Reserve, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Region: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 B&Bs / Inns in Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Price Range: £360 - £432 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Umkumbe Safari Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 10
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

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