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“A Once In A Lifetime Experience”
Review of Dulini River Lodge

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Dulini River Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Westfield, New Jersey
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“A Once In A Lifetime Experience”
Reviewed 23 August 2014

We had the most wonderful and exciting time on our first Safari adventure. The staff, rooms and food were outstanding. Our guide, Justin, made the daily animal sighting so interesting as he filled our days with knowledge and animal life information. He was the best! Everyone and everything at the lodge was superior and I would return tomorrow if I could. It is a must destination for pure joy and adventure with comfort and warmth. Loved this place.

Room Tip: All 8 rooms are great
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  • Stayed August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
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Thank Cls721
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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288 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (81)
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English first
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
27 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 August 2014

We stayed for 4 nights in July. This was only our second safari lodge so we aren't very experienced but Exeter River was first class, 5 star all the way. Game viewing was perfect, saw it all and more. Food was amazing. Room was a perfect nest for 2. The extra surprises were so much fun - breakfast in the bush, twilight champagne delights, dinner in the BOMA, candlelight dinner for two, etc. The staff was wonderful and a big thanks to Stephen for the game drives. Two thumbs up for Exeter River Lodge!

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank 11jud11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
1 review
Reviewed 21 August 2014 via mobile

My stay at Exeter River Lodge was amazing in many ways. First and foremost Exeter Lodge is so incredibly special because of the team of people that run and work in the lodge. This team has a huge amount of warmth in the service that they give that it feels like a home away from home. Leisha is an excellent manager which is clearly shown by the way in which the staff interact with one another and with guests. Such a stable team creates an excellent atmosphere and provides a family comfort which lacks in other lodges.

Secondly, the butlers and chef's are brilliant. Return took extremely good care of me throughout and brought a smile to my face every time he was around. Ronnie-Ronnie, though not my butler was always around to help and was great fun - both men are formidable dancers when it comes to Boma nights and great fun to laugh with. Will and Sunnyboy, the chef's are both wonderful and extremely funny men to chat with and even better chef's. The food at this lodge is some of the best I've tasted. Every meal provided is well thought out, executed perfectly and delicious.

Lastly, the game viewing at Exeter is some of the best. What makes the rangers at Exeter such a great asset is their approach to guiding and how they view drives. Unfortunately many guides want to tick off a list of animals and respond to sightings which is not what I find magical about the bush. It's what I've missed since going to the bush since I was young, the sense of adventure and interest as you drive around searching for animals and the rangers and trackers actively tracking. Thankfully, the rangers here appreciate the bush and wildlife and would rather provide guests with more meaningful viewings which is where the real beauty lies. I have to say the biggest thank you to Casper the tracker and most of all Justin my ranger. You spend an incredible amount of time with the ranger and my experience was made that much more special because of Justin. I can say that Justin had been one of the most capable rangers I've ever had. The sightings at this lodge are some of the best I've had from leopard cubs, lion interactions, elephants playing in the river and that elusive cheetah I was privileged enough to see beautiful animals in their natural environment with a ranger who understands the importance of what it means to view an animal rather than tick it off. Additionally, Justin's sense of humour meant there was never a dull moment. Again, although Blaine was not my ranger he too is a great guy and had amazing sightings with his guests and illustrates the friendliness and service standards of all the staff for all guests.

Overall I cannot express in words what an amazing trip for both wildlife and service Exeter provided. I had been fortunate enough to visit the bush every year since I was young and have been to some well rated lodges, but hands down I would recommend Exeter or Leadwood above all.

Thank you to everyone mentioned and everyone else that I have not mentioned in this review for making me feel part of the family.



Stayed August 2014, travelled solo
Helpful?
Thank Tarryn G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Essex
Level Contributor
195 reviews
53 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 97 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 August 2014

We stayed here for 4 nights after Ngala, thinking it would not be as good as what we had seen already, we were in for a treat. This place is 5 star rooms, staff and food. The game viewing in the Sabi Sands was brilliant, we could not have dreamed to see all we did.

Rooms are for two people and the resort only holds 16 so you really get looked after. The food was great and if you wanted something basic and "boring" you only had to ask. Fabulous views from my daughters room over the river, room 2.

Rooms are luxurious and the outside shower ( optional) was a nice treat.

All the staff were fantastic which made it even better.

Animals come into resort so you need security escorts in the dark, one day during the day there was a leopard at our front door!!

Room Tip: Room 2 had a great view across the river, Room 1 view was obstructed by trees.
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  • Stayed August 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank BatWillow68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Orange CA
Level Contributor
34 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 August 2014

Wow, what an experience, what a place!! We loved it!!

Icon Expeditions (Leigh-Ann) recommended this place after we told her that we wanted to see predators in action. And for longer periods of time. We wanted to see the hunt and kill. Very rare to see. You have to be very lucky.

When we were in the Serengeti viewing the great migration, we saw millions of animals. But when they went off road into the bush, we couldn't follow because in the national parks you have to stay on the roads. It was frustrating when we saw some lions on the hunt, but couldn't follow.

Exeter is on a private reserve. They can go off road and they have a driver/guide and tracker. The tracker is important because when they find fresh tracks, the tracker will leave the vehicle and follow the tracks until they find the animal. He then radios us and we drive thru the bush until we see the animal. We stay with the animal for longer periods of time.

Also on private reserves, they limit the number of vehicles viewing the animals to two. They take turns, but you stay with the animal for a while. All the drivers are in communications with each other. In the national parks there will be 15 vehicles surrounding the animals. Here the animals don't feel crowded.

Each vehicle holds eight tourists. Nice number but I prefer Kirkmans. At Kirkmans they had six tourists to each vehicle.

We saw leopards and lions. We got to follow them and saw a leopard kill. A leopard was crouched near our rear tire right below me hunting kudu. This is rare because kudu are usually too big for the leopard, but this was a male leopard. The Kudu saw him and sounded the alarm. All the kudu stared at the leopard, who raised up with his tail curled and started walking like "ok you saw me, the hunt is over". But one kudu didn't pay attention and......BAM lightning quick, the leopard was on her, went for the throat and within a few moments it was over. Then the leopard was feeding on her. The leopard had four cuts on his face. We hoped he would get a few meals for his effort.

We stayed there for quite a while. We left and later, Mac our guide, was thinking about going back to the kill, but didn't. We wished he did. The other vehicle from Exeter did and were treated to hyenas feeding on the kudu.

So the game drives were much better than the Seregeti, Masai Mara, and Negorongoro crater.

When we arrived at Exeter, the manager, along with his staff were waiting outside, with welcoming drinks and food. Very nice touch. When we got back on game drives they were there also. You could tell that Brendon (currently the manager at Kirkman's Kamp), used to be manager at Exeter. All the services were top notch. They had our laundry done on time.

On our last night, we had a private candlelight dinner in our room. Flower pedals everywhere. Very nice.

OUr room was better than Kirkmans. We had a river view, a sitting room, with a long balcony, and spa. Many times we saw animals coming down to the river to drink. Elephants, cape buffalo, impala, and others. Great view. Then to our surprise, elephants came across the river and headed for our lodge. Our room. They ended up a few feet from our balcony next to the electric fence. Eating the foliage around our room, never taking their eyes off of me. Amazing.

We took a night IR scope and saw lots of animals at night.

The food was outstanding. Five star quality. We especially liked the Kudu. Ordered it every chance we got. We liked that our guide Mac and Blaine had dinner with us. Interesting conversations. Mac and Blaine did a good job finding the animals.

The room was air conditioned and clean. We were escorted back to our room at night, as there are animals visiting because they think they are safer near our kamp. We saw the male leopard just outside the main lodge. We were told he has gone inside, looked around, and left. The lodge is in his territory.

They did a great job. We would give them our highest recommendation.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank TravelerOrangeCA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
28 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 August 2014

My wife and I had the pleasure of staying here as a treat for our wedding anniversary. The place is simply stunning; 8 guest rooms by the river, unfussy but luxurious and extremely comfortable. The staff are attentive without compromising privacy and the food is absolutely exceptional - the only shame was we were rarely hungry enough to want it all! Above all, the game viewing experience is unmatched in my experience (I have been to Kenya, Borneo and elsewhere in S Africa). We were admittedly very lucky in seeing everything we wanted to see, including a lion kill before our eyes, but the knowledge, experience and absolute passion of our guide, Craig, meant that each game drive was memorable. For location, hospitality and relaxation, I doubt that this place could be beaten.

Room Tip: There are only eight rooms and there aren't any bad ones.
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Nathan B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Newcastle, Australia
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 8 June 2014 via mobile

Visited in a group of six. Can't speak highly enough of all the staff - rangers, trackers, chefs, everyone. Saw big five. Ugly five, beautiful bird life and had lots of laughs. June was a great time of year to see lots of activity with the young males of the varies species vying for dominance and mating rights. Teenage males in all species seem to have some common behavioural habits!

Fantastic fresh food and plentiful beverages. They had thought of everything right down to hot water bottles for the morning safaris - face towels on return. Always a smiling face to greet us. Thanks particularly to Steven our ranger, Prince our tracker, Difference and Ronnie Ronnie our waiters, Patricia and Isaac. We never had to lift a finger and the accommodation was extremely comfortable, clean and private.

They always asked us what in particular we wished to see and, with their great communication system both within our lodge and between neighbouring lodges, seemed to be able to make our wishes come true.
We are well travelled Aussies and we all would love to return one day.

Stayed May 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank Louise M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Dulini River Lodge

Property: Dulini River Lodge
Address: | Mpumalanga, Kruger National Park 1240, South Africa
Region: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #22 of 42 Speciality Lodging in Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:4 star — Dulini River Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
In spite of the dry name of the river on which it is located, there is nothing arid about warm and welcoming and Beyond Exeter River Lodge. Perched on the edge of the Sand River, this tranquil lodge is the perfect safari retreat, boasting spacious riverside suites, Big Five game viewing with excellent leopard sightings and the perfect amount of privacy. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Exeter River Hotel Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Dulini River Lodge South Africa/Sabi Sand Game Reserve

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