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“Like No Other Place you will ever go”

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Londolozi Private Granite Suites
Reviewed 27 June 2009

Londolozi is a private game reserve located in the sabi sands reserve in South Africa. We are from the states so it took a while to get there, but once we were on Federal Air landing at the hotel's private strip we knew it was worth it! As we landed Giraffe and zebras sat near watching us as we landed. There are a few camps within the hotel and each camp had its own tracker/ranger with their vehicle pick up the individual guests going to their camps.

Me and my family My Mom, Dad, My sister (24), and me (21) stayed in two villas in the private granite suites camp. (Even though we thought this was the nicest and most private camp out of all, all camps were equally beautiful). Our safari vehicle with our ranger and tracker (Like and Julius) took us to our camps lodge where we ate all of our meals and met up for our game drives. It was beautiful and had books to read and all sorts of drinks and beverages to choose from (there is also a minibar in your villa). Our camp manager Jackie and our Butler Johan were awaiting our arrival with champagne and other drinks. Everyone was so nice and teh grounds were so beautiful that we did not care that our room was not ready. It is so serene and beautiful. When we made it into our villas, it was spectacular. The living room had a large picture overlooking the river. The bedroom has windows also looking over the river. Behind our bedroom was an area to store luggage and our clothes which was very convenient. Before you entered the bathroom they had a makeup area with workout supplies. The bathroom was the most spectacular part of this villa. Separate vanity's and a beautiful bathub next to a large block of something over a bed of rocks.....what was this? OUR SHOWER!!! It was a rain shower, the head is on the ceiling and it is open. ONE WORD: AMAZING!!!! The whole bathroom is mainly glass windows so anyone can see you......anyone meaning the animals lol....Your patio has a table, and some lounge chairs and a pool. Yes you have your own private pool including an outdoor shower.

The Property is amazing. You normally stay in your own camp but we ventured out into the other camps on some days. We also visited the gift shop which is pretty interesting. Another place you have to go on property is the staff village, very interesting!!! One night we went to the varty camp for a special dinner they called a Boma. It was amazing and a must do at least one night. Speaking of food each camp has their own chef which cooks up amazing indigenous food. Better than most 5 star restaurants ive been to anywhere. You wont believe how amazing the food is, but i wont spoil that for you.

The service is beyond excellent, everyone anticipates your every need and desire. You immediately become close with the staff members (since the staff you started with, stay with you until you leave) and you dont look at them as staff, more as friends. I cant say enough about how knowledgeable they are about everything in the area and the animals.

Ok now to the most important part, the Game Drives. There are two games drives one early in the am and one in the afternoon. The drives include your whole camp. and each truck carries 6-9 people. (We only had 6 in our camp, 4 in our family) The other two people in our camp were on their anniversary and we got along with them great! The drives were amazing, we saw something new on almost every trip, and yes, you will most likely see the big 5. The drives go out onto londolozi territory but cross over into some other hotels territory that they have agreements with which make the land that the trucks can drive very vast. Trails run for hundreds of miles it seems like, i cant imagine how the drivers know their way around....We saw everything we wanted to see: monkeys, baboons, zebras, lions (a huge pride at that), leopards, giraffe, elephants, hippos, impala, all types of birds, crocodiles, GIANT porcupines, hyenas, mongoose, bucks, buffalo, wildebeast, and MANY more. You will never be bored on a game drive. during the afternoon drive, it eventually turns into a night drive, and mid drive they open up a table on front of the truck and have cocktails in the middle of nowhere. It is so quiet and amazing to think that we were in the middle of "AFRICA" not at the zoo.

One night my sister asked if they had a telescope she could use. Not only did they surprise us with a very nice telescope, but they set up an entire star/planet watching night for us after our night game drive. The head ranger knew a lot about everything and it was quite an experience. They also setup a cocktail area in the middle of the runway for us.

Overall, i cannot quite tell you in words how amazing this experience was (especially for world travellers like us). It really has to be experienced in person at least once in your life. We will be going back as soon as we can. It was an unforgettable experience that will hold a special place in our hearts forever.

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled with family
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1  Thank TheMiamiUrbEx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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70 - 76 of 82 reviews

Reviewed 24 May 2009

Our first trip to Kruger and the Sabi Sand Game Reserve was about 8 years ago. We stayed at Singita Boulders and it was fabulous. Honestly, it was one of the 2-3 nicest places we'd ever stayed. I always expected that when we returned to South Africa, we'd stay there again.

After extensive research and use of the Trip Advisor online forums, though, we decided to try Londolozi's new Granite Private Suites. The difference in price between the two was maybe $100 per night--which is nothing at these rates. With that said, we now love both places. In some regards, they are similar, in others quite different. Since both experiences are so great, the balance of our review won't really be about pros and cons of the two as much as about pointing out our perceptions of the similarities and differences.

Location/Acreage/Camps:
Londolozi and Singita properties are adjacent to one another and approximately the same size (both are larger than all other Sabi Sand properties excepting Mala Mala). Londolozi perhaps has a bit more land on the north side of the river and better traversing rights to the south. Also, the two have limited traversing rights with one another, which is great. As readers of the Trip Advisor forums constantly debate the importance (or not) of the size of the traversing area, I'll add our 2 cents--bigger is better! We were there in the middle of summer (February) when it is more difficult to see the animals due to the foliage. With that in mind, the larger the area you have to search for game the better. In this regard, I would certainly prefer to be at Londolozi OR Singita since their traversing rights are so much larger than other Sabi Sand lodges.

Unlike Singita's 2 camps in the Sabi Sand (Ebony and Boulders) that both have about 8-10 suites, Londolozi has 5 camps (each camp having anywhere from about 3-8 rooms). Having walked through all of the camps at both properties, they all have their own charms and unique aspects. In terms of the LUXURY safari experience, though, I'd say that only Londolozi Granite Private Suites and Londolozi Tree Camp are comparable to Singita Boulders and Ebony. And because Tree Camp--beautiful as it is--isn't really right on the Sand River, only Granite Private Suites is really a direct comparison to Singita Boulders.

Rooms:
The villas at Singita Boulders and Londolozi GPS are both quite modern to contemporary. Both have lovely pools in all suites, spacious rooms, fabulous luxury amenities and wonderful views. As the name Granite Private Suites would imply, the rooms, while beautiful and luxurious, are full of granite, stone and cement and built right into the rocks along the Sand River. They are also extremely private. At Londolozi, the guests from the 5 camps do not really mix and each day's game drives are only with guests from your reserved camp. However, it should be noted that it's an easy walk among the camps, and it's fine to do so during the daylight hours. During our stay in GPS #2, we were the only guests in the camp for 3 days. As such, our 6 game drives were completely private--just the two of us plus Julian, our ranger, and James, our tracker--both of whom were awesome! Because Singita has many more suites, having a Land Rover all to yourself would be a much rarer occurrence--unless you wanted to pay hundreds of dollars additional per day for the privilege.

Room #2, by the way, is probably the closest suite to the river of any in the Sabi Sand. It's plunge pool is beautiful and larger than most. Unfortunately, it's also a bit harder to use because of its unusual "construction" and proximity to the Sand River. While the views from Rooms #1 and #3 at GPS might be slightly less dramatic, access to your plunge pool is vastly easier than in Room #2! Honestly, at these Singita and Londolozi camps, I don't think there's really a "bad" room.

Service/Food:
The service from Jackie, the GPS camp manager, from Cry, our butler, and from the chefs, suite attendants, security, etc. was all genuinely warm and great. While Singita's service was equally professional, I must say that there was a warmth about the Londolozi (and specifically GPS) staff that I don't recall at much at Singita. Regarding the food, I'd say that our breakfasts and lunches were incredible and that dinners were very good. Sometimes, it seemed that the dinner courses might have been better if not quite so complex or elaborate. Still, it's hard to complain about private dining in either your own suite or at the main PGS pavilion by a crackling fire. On the whole, I'd give Singita a slight edge in the food department and Londolozi a slight edge in the service department. Both do a great job of catering to all your needs.

Rangers/Trackers:
Like, the regular tracker at GPS, picked us up from our Federal Air flight when we arrived. We had read about him in other posts and reviews. Unfortunately, he had just learned of a death in his family and apologized that he would not be able to be with us for our stay. As I said, though, James stepped in an did an incredible job. Even in the middle of summer with all of the full foliage, he and Julian found not only the Big Five, but so many other animals and beautiful birds to show us--even a few spiders we would have been fine not seeing!. While our earlier trip was in May and the animals were easier to spot, I will say that the addition of so many migratory birds in February enhanced the experience. Our journeys across the rushing Sand River (yes, Julian got soaked) were thrilling and the animals looked great. Seeing them in the middle of the summer, especially the Burchell's zebras, it was noticeable how much happier and healthier they looked than in the autumn/winter months.

The Intangibles (if you're still reading):
Anytime you tell someone who doesn't know luxury safaris how much they cost, they are invariably shocked at the price--for a "hotel room" no less! Of course, for those of us who have had the privilege, it is so much more--it's an unforgettable experience! And in this "experience" regard, I tip my hat to Londolozi. While both Singita and Londolozi both have luxurious rooms and service, great food, large properties, and great staff, only Londolozi integrates this experience with the very people who call the Sabi Sand home. Adjacent to the premises of Londolozi is the Shangaan village (the Shangaan are the native people in this area). Many of the employees of Londolozi live there with their families (about 200 of them); there is housing, a school, computers, and a clinic with regular doctor's visits and medicines. They have sports teams, craft shops, and a community center. It is clear that the Varty Family (long-time owners of the property since the 1920s) have a great love and respect for the Shangaan people--and vice versa. Our visit to the village one morning, including the songs that the schoolchildren sang for us, was really an "experience" we will never forget. For this very sentimental and humanitarian reason, we give the slight nod to Londolozi Private Granite Suites over Singita--truly a great overall EXPERIENCE!

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank MillionMilerMan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 May 2009

We booked our safari with Icon expeditions and it has just been perfect. I've travelled extensively in Africa (24x) but I have never before experienced this level of efficiency.
At Londolozi we got upgraded to Granite suites and the accomodation was really stunning. You really have an entire house at your disposal with a livingroom, bedroom dressing and a bathroom to die for. This combined with the vieuw from the deck, with private plungepool and the elephants bathing in the river in front is just an amazing experience!
The staff is absolutely wonderful, you can ask them anything. They prepared an Easter brunch in the middle of the bush for the entire camp. And one night we had dinner in the boma with just our camp and two uninvited visitors an elephant that broke through the fence and an hyena that went straight for the kitchen.
So it was all pretty adventurous...
The game drives were just the best with the big five on our first day and lots of leopard and lion (with the tracker outside the jeep looking for them) We even saw a huge python strangeling a small bushbuck.
So if you go for the best be sure the include Londolozi in your trip.

1  Thank NicolePBelgium
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 April 2009

Our stay at the private granite suites was incredible. The suites are gorgeous, modern and the bathroom huge with an open shower. They also have an outdoor shower which is great. We saw elephants walk along the dry river bed. We also had a private plunge pool - we were in suite 2. We also enjoyed a massage outdoors behind our suite.

  • Stayed: October 2008, travelled as a couple
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Thank Carol M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 December 2008

Starting from the reception on the private airstrip you know you are in for something special.
Staying in the granite suites for 6 nights, we were impressed with the lounge quality which is essentially for a total of 6 people. Large terrace, log fires, open bar, all to a very high standard. All meals are taken here though you have the option of in-suite dining which we did on one occasion.
The suites (we were in #1) are well appointed with views out over the river. As other posters have commented, the electric fence is only for the elephants, you are likely to see pretty much anything else wandering around with great views via the massive picture window in the suite.
Game drives ( a morning and evening are included, you can book more by request but not needed in our opinion) were entrusted to the team of Julius and Like, and what a great pair. What we really liked was that the focus is not just on the Big 5, but all that nature provides. Fascinating insights into bird life, bugs, beetles, lizards, whatever. We also did a couple of bush walks, which is highly recommended for the occasional heart-stopping moment.
So, with all this why only almost perfect? Breakfast was simple but very good, lunch (at our request) was always vegetarian and excellent, but the dinner was generally disappointing. Quality of ingredients was just about OK, but preparation and presentation were not really up to scratch for this level of establishment.
Having said that, it is a small point when considering the overall experience, which is one we would recommend and plan to repeat in a couple of years time.

4  Thank Richard D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 August 2008

I had the opportunity to spend a few days at Londolozi's new Granite Camp and found it to be stunning! The suites were like nothing I've ever experienced (and I've been in a lot of nice hotel rooms) and my only regret was that my spouse was not there to share the amazing bed.

The suite had a huge, comfortable living room with stunning views, a comfortable bedroom with the giant bed, a very well-designed dressing area, and one of the largest bathrooms I've ever seen. Outdoors, there's a private pool, along with a wonderful outdoor shower (which I used on average twice daily).

The staff was equally terrific, and the lodge manager Nicky was fun and competent, and our ranger Julius (with our tracker named "Like") delivered the Big Kahuna -- a leopard kill! We were able to quietly observe a leopard take down a large male impala, and subsequently lose his kill to an aggressive hyena. In all my years on safari, I’ve never seen anything like it.

I wholeheartedly endorse Londolozi, and especially the Granite Suites!

1  Thank SavvyNavigator
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 March 2008

Before describing our adventure at Londolozi’s Granite Camp, I would like to mention my fabulous experience with RhinoAfrica’s Katherine Terry. We were booking on fairly short notice and having trouble getting any response, and had no idea what we wanted other than a luxury safari experience. With my first inquiry to Rhino, Katherine phoned us from South Africa, and we worked out an appropriate itinerary. She gave us a couple of choices, but strongly recommended Londolozi. Her experience came in handy even as we were leaving the States since I was denied boarding because I didn’t have two empty pages together in my passport. Katherine’s travel information had mentioned this, but I didn’t read it carefully enough. Apparently, those empty pages at the end aren’t suitable, they must say “Visa” on them. My husband left me behind as he had business in Joburg, and I was left to make my way to New Orleans for a new passport. I phoned Katherine on their toll free line in a panic, and she cheerfully told me not to worry, she would fix everything. She contacted Londolozi and Federal Air, and everything was pushed back to give me time to get to Africa.

After finally arriving days after I had planned, we made our way to the Federal Air terminal at OR Tambo Airport. If you’re arriving at the main terminal, Federal Air has a shuttle that will drive you over. They have a comfortable waiting area, a buffet, and a full bar to tide you over while you wait for your flight to board, as well as showers if you need them. It was a quick one-hour flight to Londolozi’s airstrip, and our ranger was waiting when we arrived. Within minutes we were inside Granite’s beautiful lodge and checking in with our lovely hostess, Laura. She settled us in, and told us lunch would be waiting as soon as we were ready. Granite has three villas, each very private, and there are no children allowed there. There are never more than six guests there at one time, so it’s the most private of the camps. We were in Granite 1, the closest to the lodge, and Laura walked us down to show us around. The most important thing, really, seemed to be how to work the baboon lock on the front door. The villa itself was gorgeous, quite large at about 1,000 sq. ft. We had a living room with a picture window overlooking the river, a bar area (wonderfully stocked) a dressing area, a bedroom with a very comfortable king-sized bed, and a huge bathroom. We had a garden tub, two sinks, and both an indoor and outdoor shower. The shaded deck had two chairs with ottomans, and two unshaded chaise lounges with an umbrella. Our favorite spot outside was our plunge pool with a waterfall, from which we watched a daily parade of elephants down at the river. We had worried that it would be miserably hot and buggy outside in February, but there was always a cool breeze coming off the river, and we never noticed any bugs at all. In fact, even though it was summer, it cooled off so well overnight that we needed jackets on our early morning drives.

As far as amenities, you don’t need to bring much with you. They provided bug spray, a hair dryer, and high-quality toiletries. They also had plugs to convert any appliance in the world to South African, so we were able to charge all of our camera equipment. There is complimentary laundry service, and Laura was available to provide anything else we needed at a moment’s notice.

Each day began with a knock on the door at 5:00, and a tray of coffee and biscuits. By 5:30, we were dressed and out for a sunrise game drive. We would stop during the drive for more coffee, tea, or whatever, and were back at the lodge by 9:30 for breakfast, where our butler Johan and Laura greeted us with cold towels. There was always a large cold spread waiting, and the chef, Eric, would come out and take orders for anything hot you wanted. After breakfast, we were on our own until lunch, which was usually around 1:30. Since they offered high tea at 4:00 before the afternoon game drive, as well as gin & tonics and snacks on the drive, we skipped lunch more than once. In fact, on one of our evening drives, our rest stop was made even more special with a linen covered table, lanterns, and champagne. The food itself was fantastic, all freshly prepared, colorful, and quite varied. Their chefs should be very proud of their work. They inquired ahead of time about any special dietary needs or allergies, but since we had none, we were able to sample everything they brought forth. Each dinner was served in three courses, and there was usually a choice of starter and main course both. I was worried that there would be some game offered, but the wildest thing we had was venison, and it was delicious. Laura mentioned that they are working toward growing all their own vegetables to provide an organic food experience for their guests.

We had our first dinner outside with the other guests from Granite, the rangers and Laura. The Londolozi Women’s Choir entertained us and sang Happy Birthday to my husband. The second night, we were the only guests and asked to have a quiet, light supper in our villa. When we got back, Johan had drawn us a bath, placed tea lights all around, and provided champagne at the tub. He had also set a beautiful table on the deck with lanterns in the trees, and served our three-course meal outside. For our third and last dinner, we were invited to one of the other camps in the large original Varty family boma for a traditional brai. Laura was concerned that we were spending too much time alone, and wanted us to meet some other guests. To be honest, between the passport stress, the 24 hour journey to get there, the Ambien, and the gin & tonics, I could barely string two sentences together. In fact, I was sitting across from an exquisitely gracious woman who I thought was named “Hennie” and was with a German couple also seated at the table. It wasn’t until halfway through the meal and a few stupid questions (Are you here from Germany?) that I realized it was Shan Varty herself, owner of the property. After dinner, we were entertained by one of the rangers, an accomplished guitarist, and while my husband could have listened all night, I fell asleep sitting up in my chair.

We weren’t at camp long enough to take advantage of everything offered. We didn’t have a massage, even though there was a table in our room, and we didn’t go to the yoga classes. There is also a gym in one of the other camps that we never saw, as well as an internet center. We did manage to get to the curio shop, which had a lot of high-quality crafts as well as Londolozi shirts, hats, etc. One thing we did do, which is a must, was take a tour of Londolozi Village, where the staff lives while on property. Johan took us around, and we saw a replica of a traditional Shangaan Village, the clinic, the café, and best of all the crèche, where the children sang us a song, and one particularly cute little guy gave me a hug and a kiss. We also didn’t take advantage of a private bush walk as it was just too hot in the middle of the day.

If you’re still reading, you must be wondering about the game itself, which is the reason we all make the trip. It wouldn’t do to describe everything we saw, as the experience changes daily. Whether you see babies depends on time of year, and whether there has been rain and the grasses are tall will influence which herds are in what areas. Suffice it to say that Londolozi encompasses a private area of 7,000 hectacres (about 2 ½ acres to a hectacre) and has traversing rights to 17,000, which is more than all the other preserves like Exeter combined. Every imaginable animal is represented save for black rhino (plenty of white) and while we didn’t see any cheetah, they do live there. You will see the big five repeatedly, and plenty of my favorites, giraffe and zebra. They are famous for their leopards, and we were fortunate to see a couple. We came upon a pride of three lionesses and nine cubs that hadn’t eaten in a week, and by the end of our stay, we watched them eat a large kill. We also watched a male lion eat one of the baby giraffes we spotted on our first drive out. Actually seeing a kill is rare, and didn’t happen for us, but that was just fine.

When trying to decipher the advantages of the different lodges, don’t worry a bit when considering game at Londolozi. It’s all there. Just concentrate on what the actual lodges have to offer and what’s best for you. In that regard, I think a good agent like Katherine is invaluable.

3  Thank aceeare
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Londolozi Private Granite Suites

Address: Kruger National Park 1350, South Africa
Region: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Sabi Sand Game Reserve > Londolozi Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 6 Speciality Lodging in Londolozi Private Game Reserve
Number of rooms: 3
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Bold, inspiring materials mirror the extrusion of granite rocks that flank the camp while conveying the raw essence of Africa. A palette of silver, charcoal and elephant grey in a range of sumptuous materials creates an elegant and contemporary setting in each expansive suite.The emphasis is on space, light and privacy while blurring the barrier between inside and out. A seamless integration with nature is achieved with large doors and windows all opening directly onto the Sand River. This luxury safari lodge is for the discerning traveller who appreciates the finer details of an African safari. Each suite has a private, heated swimming pool. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Londolozi Private Granite Suites South Africa/Londolozi Private Game Reserve

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