We very much enjoyed our 5-night stay at Inyati the last week of August. On the very first drive we watched a female leopard eating an impala. By the time we left we had seen about 8 leopards, dozens of lions, buffalo, giraffes and elephants, many rhinoceros, hippos, wild dogs, zebra, warthogs, monkeys, baboons and a hyena. Also, for those who enjoy birds, I think the location could merit an entire bird trip. But of course the emphasis is always on the Big Five.
Though weather was variably cool in the mornings (bring many layers), the hot water bottles provided enough comfort on the drives for even someone like me who hates cold. The evening drives were much warmer and the temps in the afternoon were in the 80s. For this reason I would say we came at an excellent time. The lack of insects during this month almost made malaria prevention overkill. If I ever return in August I personally would skip the Malarone and use only insect repellent.
Two things make Inyati the special place that it is. First, because it is unfenced, the wildlife is free to roam at will, and you very much feel like you are living in their world. To me a bordered lodge would not be a genuine safari experience; it would feel too much like a zoo.
Secondly, the quality of the guides and trackers (hurrah for Khimbini and Richard!) was top notch and also the friendliness of the entire staff was genuine. Each one of our game drives was an exciting adventure with fresh perspectives and breathtaking close-up encounters with animal families. We did not merely spot animals, we stayed long enough that we felt like a guest in their world. We even saw leopards mating!
If you want great photos that will make your friends gasp, come to Inyati. They share drive territories with several other lodges so you get a wide range for tracking. We were affected by Hurricane Irene when returning to New York City and spent many hours in the airport swapping stories with visitors from other lodges. Many confessed our wildlife sightings far overshadowed theirs.
My advice to visitors is to bring LOTS of extra memory and backup batteries for your cameras. Many guests at the lodge were upset that they needed more memory and the lodge does not sell memory or batteries. I deleted unwanted photos after each drive due to the large volume I was taking.
The really huge luxury rooms were much nicer than expected. An oversize tub was great for relaxing after dinner. We stayed in room #10 so we got to share our outdoor shower with a resident pair of friendly nyala. (No, they were not really in the shower.) For those of you who are less adventurous, the rooms also have indoor showers, but you're missing half the fun!
If you have concerns about bar costs, one free drink of your choice (wine, soft drink) was included free at sundown. The additional glass of wine that was purchased at the lodge looked like it was around $3, which was quite good.
Our only complaint about the food (heard from others) was lack of vegetarian options, mostly during tea, but also some of the meals. Of course it's a *game* lodge, so I can see where the local culture is not thinking in terms of vegetarian cuisine. However, since most meal courses are served buffet style, I personally was satisfied with the variety even though I eat very little meat. Still, with international guests it's something that needs to be considered. Soups and desserts were outstanding.
Many nationalities were found among the guests at the lodge. Two separate parties were visiting for their 9th and 10th times, so Inyati has a very loyal following! We hope to be returning here also.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Inyati Game Lodge is situated in arguably one of the best game viewing areas in the Africa & most prestigious private conservation areas, the Sabi Sand Reserve (Wildtuin). Home to the free roaming 'Big Five' (elephant, rhino, lion, leopard and buffalo), as well as cheetah, wild dog and hundreds of other species of animals, birds and plants indigenous to the area. Our highly trained and experienced guides with their trackers ensure that your safari experience ranks amongst the finest in Africa. At Inyati, you can look forward to fantastic close-up experiences with Africa's wildlife on every game drive. #inyatisafari ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Inyati Game Hotel Inyati Private Game Reserve