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Notten's Bush Camp
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Reviewed 2 July 2012

Our trip to Notten's was nothing short of amazing. The accommodations were incredibly comfortable, the food was fantastic, and the game drives were a once in a lifetime experience. We had great bush walks and the staff went running with those of us who wanted a jog through the bush. On our game drives, we saw the big five, as well as a number of other unusual animals, including wild dogs. The guides and trackers were knowledgeable and extremely skilled. It was luxurious and exciting. Everything about the trip was perfect, and I can't wait to go back!

Room Tip: Every lodge/cabin is amazing.
  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled with family
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Thank Lauren T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 July 2012

I travelled with my husband to Kruger National Park in April 2011 & stayed @ Notten's Bush Camp.
We stayed at bush camp for 3 days and the experience was just mesmerising. It was like staying right in the middle of jungle with the luxury of good food, clean rooms & extremely hospitable people.
One of the things that i loved about this place was that they make amazing efforts to conserve energy by using candles instead of lights in the night. When you get back to your room after the game drive, you find your room beautifully lit with candles & that view just rejuvenates you within seconds.
The food was also just outstanding, We were the only vegetarians staying there at that time & the staff made extra effort of preparing everything as per our taste & requirements.
The game drives was good too and we were able to see quite a few things.
All in all it was a great experience and i will definitely be staying there when i visit kruger again.

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank ShilpaKansal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 June 2012

The differences between South African safari options, on the high-end, all start to blur at a certain point: sparkling pools, massage/spa offerings and animals galore.

Notten's stands out from the bunch precisely because of its antithetical approach to the luxury bush-camp experience. I had my doubts about the "no-electricity" thing, but here's what I found: The impression left on me from Notten’s couldn’t be replicated at a traditional luxury camp.

First off, the lack of electricity. It's fine. More than fine (especially when you consider your minimized carbon footprint). You have working plugs to recharge camera batteries and whatnot, and an overhead fan. But the rest of the cabin is illuminated by candles and gas lamps. The setting is spectacular, and just changes your view of things. It says: "You are somewhere different. You are in the bush. There are hyenas right outside your door." The rooms are spacious and cool, with a sitting area, large bathroom with both indoor and outdoor showers, and a bathtub.

That rustic setting is also present every night at dinner. We met a number of wonderful travelers, and the conversation didn't feel forced or awkward because of the small setting (we had 12 people present at the height of our stay). Because there are no gadgets to check or TVs to look at, everyone is present and engaged right there. You're talking to people and enjoying the food on your plate, and listening to the sounds around you (dinner is served outside, too). The food, by the way, is as good as everyone says (though if you eat it every day, I imagine you will gain weight).

My husband and I stayed in the cabin located the farthest from the central gathering area, so a couple of times, we went back to our cabin—escorted by staff—to see Cape buffalo nearby. We’d see hyena footprints in the dirt, and our flashlights would often catch a pair of glowing eyes in the darkness.

The staff we met were phenomenal. They were all so personable, and I felt like I was part of a small family whilst there. As far as rangers, you’d do well to end up with Chase as your guide. Not only is he knowledgeable and gregarious, but his instincts are spot-on. We got shifted to his jeep on our second day at the camp, and we immediately noticed his alternative approach to spotting animals. While most of the other guides (I’m talking about guides from other camps that have access to the same private reserve) rely too heavily on the radio to find animals, Chase had the experience and the gumption to try a different tack.

I don’t think most people realize that tracking animals on a large game reserve involves shrewd judgment. It’s not just driving around and wandering aimlessly. For example, if lions were spotted in one area, you can guess they’ve traveled a certain distance by the next day. Driving out to that location can be a gamble, compared to just driving directly to a confirmed sighting from another guide. That drive could take up most of the allotted time before dark, and you might not see anything.

Chase went against the grain several times during our dawn/dusk drives, and we were handsomely rewarded. One day, we came upon a startling scene of lionesses and their cubs encountering two adult males from Kruger. We were the first on the scene, and we alone got to see one tough lioness sort of “slap” one of the males. We must’ve stayed there for 15 minutes alone, in utter silence, taking in what we had travelled thousands of miles to see. Then the other jeeps showed up in a hurry, and like that, the magical moment was gone.

We spent three nights and four days at the camp (for a total of six game drives) and found that to be sufficient. With two long game drives plus an optional walking safari per day, we saw so many animals (we also got charged by a bull elephant!). If you want to safari longer, I’d recommend breaking it up with a visit to Notten’s and a camp located on different terrain. The bush environment at Notten’s isn’t that great for cheetahs, for example, since they prefer wide open spaces.

All in all, Notten’s gives you the best of both worlds: warmth and luxury immersed in nature—not separated from it in a walled-garden/sanitized experience of the bush.

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank wildfriend
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 June 2012

Having been on several safaris, I can honestly say that the Easter weekend we spent at Nottens this year was one of the best holidays I have been on in a long time. The game was outstanding and our ranger (Joe) and tracker worked incredibly hard to enable us to see the Big Five as well as hippo and giraffe, despite few recent sightings.

The game walk was fascinating and the whole experience made us really value being in the bush and the unique surroundings - it's easy to get caught up in the excitement of seeing big game but Nottens helps you appreciate all aspects of the surroundings.

The rooms were beautifully kept and the food outstanding - be sure to check out the excellent variety of spirits when you choose your aperitif after the evening game drive. No request was too much - the staff were warm, helpful and full of information.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with family
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2  Thank ERob9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 June 2012

My wife and I spent 2 nights here whilst on our honeymoon. We had previously spent 3 nights at a lovely lodge in Timbavati, and thought that it couldn't be bettered. We were wrong. The lodge uses very little electricity, and night time movements are all done by torchlight. Your room is beautifully lit with candles, and so is the entire camp. It is quite a sight to return to after your first afternoon drive. There is a plug socket in your room, which is invaluable for charging your gear.
The staff are fantastic. We were hosted by a combination of David and Dale. They were both great, and accommodating.
The rooms are spacious and extremely comfortable. The bathroom has a great shower with a big separate bath. there is also the option of the outside shower.
The camp, and fortunately for us, our cabin look out onto an open area of Bush. Whist we were there we would often see wildlife grazing, or drinking in the small watering hole.
On out first night we had a Rhino sleeping no more than 20 yards from our front porch, and on the second night, we returned to a rather irate Buffalo at less than half that distance. Vervet Monkeys also frequent the camp, and provide an amusing sideshow at Afternoon Tea.
Speaking of the food. It is fantastic, and there is plenty of it. My wife and I tucked in to our breakfast of fresh fruit, toast, rolls and cheese, only to then be asked what we wanted for our cooked breakfast.
The dinner takes place in a lovely dining area, either by the Boma or in the slightly usual eating area. Dinner is taken together, and all the guest sit around the same table (unlike breakfast and afternoon tea). If there is a good group of you, dinner itself can be a highlight. I think we were one of five honeymooning couples for our last night, and it created a fantastic atmosphere, helped by the neverending supply of beverages for those who wanted them, including some fine brandy and whiskey. The food itself is of the comfort food style, and is very good. Plates were emptied every night.

The wildlife viewing was also spectacular. We had some great sightings. The highlight probably being the elusive Wild Dogs, who had a kill, and were forced into fighting off a hyena. We saw plenty of the Big Five, some stunning birds, Nyala, and too many more to mention.

In between drives, you can either go and relax in your room, or spend time by the lovely pool supping on a beverage.
It seriously is everything you could want from a safari.

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Slacks13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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