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Nkorho Bush Lodge
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Reviewed 23 June 2014

We have been fortunate to visit many Game lodges in Sabi Sands reserve but we have found the best for overall relaxation, enjoyment and viewing - a home away from home ! The young crew running the lodge were friendly, helpful , informative and gave exceptional hospitality.
We will certainly visit again and gladly recommend to friends, colleagues and business associates. It was an absolute pleasure with our Game ranger to have game drives filled with great sightings , information and most of all a good sense of humour.

Room Tip: The Honeymoon suite was 'amazing".
  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Burt1735
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 June 2014

I stayed at Nkorho Bush Lodge in 2009 with my son and we just had the best time there (see previous TripAdvisor review if you are remotely interested!), and when my wife agreed to come to the African continent for the first time in 2014, Nkorho was at the top of my list of places to take her.
And we weren't disappointed - it was terrific!
By and large, the staff has turned over since I was last there (except for the manager, Karin). I've been told that many of the rangers move on to other positions in other lodges after a few years of being in one place, just to experience a change and broaden their CV . The crew at Nkorho were all pretty young, like Anja and Chantelle in the office, and Jaces, Werner Pieter, and Bernard the rangers, and they looked after us well.
The large chalets were atmospheric, with a veranda, comfortable beds and large showers inside and outside. I loved the outside shower which, for chalet no 5, overlooked the waterhole, which invariably had zebra or impala gathered around it. Nkorho has a nice pool and open deck area, and breakfast is in a covered but open-sided area, with made to order hot food and a selection of cold foods. Lunch is served there too. Dinner is usually in the boma with a roaring fire in the middle.
Note - this is not super luxury accommodation as on offer in other parts of the Sabi Sand, with your own plunge pool and 5 star dining, but it has everything you need and i kinda prefer it - it's a little closer to rustic Africa. Plus, it's not nearly as costly.
Booking was arranged direct by email with Chantelle, Anja and/or Jessica, including paying a 50% deposit in advance (paying the balance on departure). Email contact was really efficient. Further, Nkorho arranged air travel for us with Federal Aviation from Johannesburg airport. As an international tourist, I don't think I'd travel there any other way. You can hire a car and drive in a day, but that's a day gone, depending on your arrival time. By flying with Fed Air, you can fly in to Johannesburg's O R Tambo International Airport, and there are flights to the Sabi Sand private game reserve airstrips in the middle of the day, so if you have an early international arrival time, you can go straight there; otherwise, stay in a hotel near the airport overnight (have a look at those at the Emperor's Palace, like the Peermont - I've reviewed it on TripAdvisor - they have a free shuttle to and from the airport) and then return to the airport after a leisurely morning. Find the Federal Aviation desk at the main airport and they will arrange for a transfer for you from the commercial airport to the Federal aviation lounge (free wifi, coffee, etc, while you wait). Your bags are weighed and taken care of, and off you fly to a nearby airstrip. Nkorho will have a safari vehicle there to meet you, and you are usually in time for the afternoon game drive. Returning is the same in reverse, and we were in time to meet our 6.00pm flight to Sydney. And as I say, the girls at Nkorho organised it all for me - very convenient!
Games viewing was terrific. There are over 30 concessions in the Sabi Sand, and Nkorho is a more remote one, sharing a boundary with the Kruger Park itself. I first chose Nkorho in 2009 partly for the location. They have arrangements as to who can traverse who's property, and the rangers are in radio contact, so when something interesting happens, everyone can share in the sighting. And they rotate the cars through, so you don't have 30 cars surrounding some poor lion like I've seen on the Serengeti. We saw the Big Five promptly (rhino [white rhino], elephant (we had a fabulous time with a big herd - watching the babies mock charging us was hilarious), buffalo, lion [the Styx pride, with cubs] and leopard). But then Jaces and his tracker Chris added cheetah (having just made a kill) and wild dog, making it into the Magnificent Seven. Now I've been coming to Africa every year since 2007 and I've never seen wild dog, but Jaces got us there. My wife comes on her first safari (at Nkorho) and sees everything in one visit! Jaces also found me a chameleon one evening drive - he knew I wanted to see one, so was on the look-out!.
Those who have been on safari will know the drill - you are woken by a ranger 5.00-5.30am (depending on the season), go on a game drive for a few hours, come back and have breakfast, shower, etc, go on a walking safari (don't under-estimate the pleasure of these - I wouldn't miss one!), chill around the pool with Spot & Lilly (the little dogs) or at the bar, and after lunch, go on another game drive returning at night for dinner. On the return, you are greeted with a drink and a damp cloth. The long-base land-cruisers are great game-viewing vehicles, and can be exciting when you are rushing to a sighting. They are open top (but they have blankets in case it's cold at night). Dress appropriately - layers are best to add on or take off as it heats up in the morning or cools down at night.
Other things to note - South African plugs, but there are adaptors; drinks (even sundowners whilst out on game drives) are not included, so are tallied up at the end; tips at the end to the ranger and tracker, and to the admin and kitchen staff to share, are appreciated - and deserved.
We had a fabulous time here, and hope to return in a couple of years.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank seagullrob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 June 2014

As always it was great. Saw a lot less game than we used to before - not talking about the big five. - talking about other general game. Our guide was good but a little constructive criticism - he needs to consider stopping and explaining the different trees and smaller species and birds to the client, it's not only about the big 5. it just makes the drive a little more interesting i think.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
1  Thank Vanessa M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 June 2014

Off the bat, I would like to highlight that we are not able to stay at Nkorho due to changes in our travel plans. However, their customer service was the best that I have experienced in a very long time. My significant other and I are planning our trip on our own and I had many questions about the lodge, getting there, flights etc. The folks at Nkorho were quick to respond to my queries and their responses were clear, detailed and very helpful! They were very polite in their email exchanges with me and seemed genuinely happy to answer my questions and have us as guests. I am blown away by their service and saddened that we are not able to visit Nkorho. I will recommend them to anyone looking to do a safari. Thank you Nkorho - I wish everyone in the service industry treated their potential guests-to-be and guests the way you do!

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank KC0723
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 May 2014

I recently stayed at Nkorho Bush Lodge for 3-nights and did 6 game drives with them. I've done safari's all across Africa and around the world and I must say that Nhorho ranks very high on my list of places. I found it offers the perfect balance of comfort and cost, with outstanding game viewing Certainly there are lodges that are more swanky, but cost double, and in my opinion one is primarily there for the game viewing, which at Nkorho is among the best. Not only did we see the Big 5, we were fortunate to be there at a time when Nkorho was "ground zero" for leopard viewing and we saw leopards on 5 of 6 game drives most within 5 meters or less of the vehicle !

Nkorho Bush Lodge is a high end, but not ultra luxe lodge offering excellent value and unparalleled service. I found the quality of the staff (especially the safari leaders and front office) to be exceptional and so friendly. They have a genuine passion for what they do and it certainly shows. They are very professional and service is very proactive. I couldn't find anything to complain about !

The Lodge rooms are large and spacious. They are independent cottages, which is nice and quiet. The beds are very comfy, the double indoor and outdoor rain-forest showers wonderful, and I found it to be very "bug-free" - something I can't say about other lodges. They do a housekeeping service twice a day and keep your towels and stuff refreshed at both times. There is a mini-fridge in the room, which is always helpful and plenty of plug points to charge your devices (very handy especially for photographers and camera batteries). I found the food to be very good and they offer a good variety. Dinner is served outside in a "boma" and one night they also did a bush braii (BBQ / grill) out in the "wild" which was outstanding. There are plenty of birds and impala to be seen while having breakfast and lunch, so I kept my camera handy. In fact the Lodge is named Nkorho after the hornbills which are plentiful around the lodge.

The safari operations were outstanding. The vehicles were of excellent quality - spacious and comfy (well padded for the bumpy roads). They provide blankets for the cool morning and evening periods. Given it is a smaller lodge than some, I found I had plenty of space for myself and my camera gear. Several other vehicles from other larger lodges we saw were quite packed. The safari leaders (I had Jaces and Chris) were very qualified and superb at spotting game. Chris would occasionally get off the vehicle and follow the tracks of leopard etc on foot so we could have a better chance of seeing these animals. His tracking capability was impressive resulting in us seeing elusive Leopards on 5 of 6 game drives. Unlike the Kruger Park, the private reserves allow vehicles to go off road and in most cases this was critics to getting close enough to big game for the best photography (something I urge people to consider). Plus the private lodges seem to restrict the number of vehicles at a time in any one area - maing it a better viewing experience.

We typically left at 0500 AM for our morning drive (after morning tea and rusks) and stopped along the way for a coffee break. A full breakfast was after the morning drive. I really loved the option Nkorho provides to do a safari walk (accompanied by the guide) after the morning drive. Walking and seeing game without the "protection" of the vehicle was a vey unique experience.
The afternoon game drives left around 1600 hrs and included a refreshing sundowner drink.

Overall, I had a wonderful experience at Nkorho and would heartily recommend it to others who are looking for upper-end accommodations and service at affordable prices. If you are looking for super luxury, then I suggest you look elsewhere. The wildlife aren't picky and don't seem to care either way :-)

Room Tip: Depending on how much privacy you want, choose a room near or further away from the common area. I stayed in Cottage 1 (closest to the common area) and preferred it for the shorter walk and quick access to coffee facilities. Room 1 is also close enough that it gets the wifi signal in the room vs. having to go to the reception area. That said, further out is quitter and there is apparently a "honeymoon suite" further out for those who need one
  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled solo
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5  Thank travelplansr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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