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“Wonderous and wonderful”

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Toro Yaka Bush Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Portland, Oregon
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Wonderous and wonderful”
Reviewed 12 April 2014

What an experience! I could have stayed for weeks. Our hosts, Nicole and Steve, were gracious and dedicated to sharing their wonderful part of the world. The accommodations are gorgeous and serene, Nicole's cooking beyond delicious and the guides knowledgable and fun. Highly recommended!

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Claudia B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 April 2014 via mobile

Nobody can ever have been so sad to be heading to Mauritius for a ten day holiday.... But after 5 nights at Toro Yaka we certainly were! Nicole and Steve own the lodge, and along with the rest of their team they will do anything to make your stay the best it can be.

We stayed for 5 nights at the beginning of April and whilst the bush was thick and green at this time of year don't let that put you off. You'll not be disappointed, and Steve goes above and beyond to make sure you have the most intimate of encounters possible with the wildlife. The game drives are around 3 hours long, twice daily (early morning and late afternoon) in a purpose built open-top landrover - Steve will take this beast anywhere, the off-road driving experience is almost worth the cost alone! You'll get the opportunity to get out and walk in the bush with Steve and Michael which is well worth it... I don't know if you've ever stood 10 feet from a wild elephant? Now we have!

Safaris are punctuated by genuinely brilliant meals home cooked by Nicole. The girl can cook!... and every evening offers a different feel in the way it is served and what she is cooking. You get a chance to sit with Nicole, Steve and the other guests - Pick their brains on nature, conservation and the protection of all species in South Africa, subjects they're obviously enormously knowledgable and passionate about. Make sure you ask Steve how many times he's been forced up a tree to avoid Rhino's! (Sorry mate, but the stories are too good!)

Around the lodge everything is about attention to detail - nothing is overlooked, rooms are made every day and turned down every evening! There's an indoor and outdoor shower and balcony with sun loungers. There's an infinity pool shared by the 6? bedrooms overlooking a fresh waterhole where wild animals come to hangout day and night. We had elephants and giraffes repeatedly quenching their thirst throughout our stay - sunbathing whilst game spotting; now that's what I'm talking about!! There's a proper bar open all day and whilst unmanned works on an honesty basis, and a beautiful open air living room... And an indoor one too!

I'll stop now before I bore you. Don't think about anywhere else, get it booked - you will not regret it!

Special thanks from Niki and me to you all - especially Michael, Deborah and Percy. Top people. We'll miss you all!

Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
2 Thank Rikstark
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
london
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 April 2014

Cannot praise the team at Toro Yaka enough for a great 4 night stay. Based in the Balule Nature Reserve -part of the Kruger Park-its about 6 hours by car from Johannesburg or a quick (1hr) transfer from Hoedspruit airport. The passion and commitment of the whole team made for a most enjoyable experience with superb food and a peaceful setting.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank Andy021
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kendal, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 March 2014

My girlfriend and I travelled to Toro Yaka at the end of our trip to South Africa. I would definitely recommend this to any one else planning their trip as the accommodation, people and surrounding area is unbeatable.

We were greeted on arrival from all of the staff and introduced to the other guests. This meant we made some great friends from the beginning and it made socialising during meals a real pleasure.

Mike showed us to our luxurious room which we were blown away by. The outside shower was an added bonus. The room comes with air conditioning, a very comfortable bed and a big mosquito net. You are provided with complimentary echo friendly mosquito repellant too, but we didn't get one bite during the whole trip. Your room is cleaned on a daily basis and they even leave you with a bedtime bush story each night.

We packed in as many game drives as possible. Our first two were provided by CJ who is both incredibly knowledgeable and funny. The rest of our drives were provided by Steve who knows the bush inside out. During one of our drives, Steve stopped the jeep and took us walking to track an elephant (wow)! After 15 minutes we found a large male bull. We felt very safe and learnt a great deal from both guides.

Nicole, Steve, CJ and Mike ate with us most nights. This was a great opportunity to speak about the bush and learn more about the wildlife.

I have never felt more welcome anywhere in my life. We're already saving for our next trip to Toro Yaka.

When planning your trip, make sure you book as much time as possible! Do not stay any less than 6 nights, trust me!

Thank you so much!

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank KentusTheGreat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kirkby Lonsdale, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
64 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 March 2014

I have never in my life stayed in such a special place. If you don't stay here then you will have missed out on one of the most precious experiences of your life - I promise you.

Nicole and Steve (the owners) and their supporting team (Mike, CJ, Redwell, Deborah and Perci) are all absolutely fantastic people. They make you feel so welcome, at home and warmly wanted - you feel so at home. They are such beautiful, genuine, interesting people who are passionate about conservation. Very few people touch your heart as deeply as these guys do - truly special people. Steve and CJ told us so many riveting stories around the campfire that we will never forget - ask Steve to tell you about his near death experience with 2 male lions!

The hospitality is superb - amazing food and wine flows. Yummy! anything you need/want can be organised - nothing is too much trouble. Honestly - if there was an 8 star place then Toro Yaka would get my vote.

The game drives and bush walks with Steve and CJ are amazing! Steve has a very special way with the animals and going on a bush walk with him is an indescribable experience. He is extremely knowledgeable and intuivitive with the animals.

The accommodation itself was amazing - all the luxurious comfort you could want in a very relaxed, at home way. It feels like 5 star boutique luxury right out it in the bush. Amazing.

Words cannot describe how special this place is. The lodge only hosts 6 rooms so you have a very personal experience and get to make great new friends with the other people staying. Nicole and Steve have dinner with all the guests so you have such an authentic bush experience. It was such a life changing experience and we are already planning our return trip :-)

Only advice I can give you is to stay here for as long as you can!!!!!

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank JiffyJoy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
france
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 March 2014

Our experience at Toro Yaka Bush Lodge far exceeded any expectations! The accommodations were exquisite, the setting peaceful, the food in both presentation and taste fantastic, the guided walk with Steve was awesome, the jeep tours with CJ were fantastic...it goes on and on. The food was so good that my family had to be talked out of leaving Kruger early one day as hated to miss lunch at Toro Yaka! We have stayed at many game parks but this experience was the best. We cannot wait to bring our university aged sons back with us. Thank you Nicole and Steve for your warmth, humour, expertise and service.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank canadiantravellers4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Copenhagen, Denmark
1 review
Reviewed 10 March 2014

Steve and Nicole, who run this cozy and fantastic small lodge, are warm and hospitable beyond imagination. They do everything to make your experience here extraordinary in every way both in the lodge area and in the bush. Steve is so knowledgable about the wildlife that you often return from excursions with him completely amazed. He knows the animals and can track them all and he gladly shares his knowledge so you can learn about prints, dung, calls, habits or anything else that might spark your interest. He even attracted specific birds using his fingers to form a flute! I've been to several different safari camps and this is by far the best I've experienced.

The lodge in itself is also amazing. Placed in the middle of the bush surrounded only by a small wire to keep the elefants away, this is as close as you can get to the wild and still feel completely safe. Comprised of 6 rooms each with outdoor showers, a nice pool area overlooking an often visited waterhole, a bar, a barbecue area and indoor and outdoor dining facilities it makes you feel like it's just you, the hosts and the wild that visits this place.

The food is fantastic and versatile, and they take any special references into account. But the best part is sitting around the bonfire together, recounting the day's adventures or listening to Steves amazing stories with lion roars and the sounds of the bush in the background while enjoying a night cap. Private dinners are of course available should you prefer this, but I do recommend enjoying that you're in a unique place and getting the most of it!

I can't wait to return for my third visit!

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank DanielLlorenteTabor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Toro Yaka Bush Lodge

Property: Toro Yaka Bush Lodge
Address: Sable Road, Kruger National Park 1380, South Africa
Phone Number:
Region: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Balule Nature Reserve
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Balule Nature Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Owner/Manager team Steve & Nicole Baillie would like to invite you to visit Toro Yaka Bush Lodge. This special lodge is nestled in the heart of the Balule Nature Reserve, a 38 000 hectare conservancy, which forms part of the Greater Kruger National Park area. ToroYaka means “My Dream” in Northern Sotho, one of South Africa’s local languages, and the creation of Toro Yaka Bush Lodge has fulfilled the dreams of Steve and Nicole, by establishing a haven of peace and tranquility from which to share their passion for nature. The lodge has been designed in a modern elegant style, with a relaxed atmosphere, allowing guests to sit back, relax and feel at home. The six en-suite double rooms ensure tranquility and comfort at all times. Steve has spent more than a decade sharing his knowledge and love for the bush with clients from all over the world at luxury game lodges throughout South Africa. Nicole is a qualified holistic massage therapist and takes care of all the tiny details. Together with the Toro Yaka Staff, they will ensure your stay to be a memorable one. Balule is home to a large variety of plants and animals. From the smallest spider to the largest elephant, from the tiniest flower to a 1000 year old Leadwood tree, owls at night and eagles by day, every aspect of the ecosystem is explored. The Olifants River, which flows year round through the Balule, is home to hippos and crocodiles, and the whole area is one of scenic splendor, with the northern tip of the Drakensberg mountain range being visible from many points. Together with all of this, Toro Yaka Bush Lodge offers you good home cooked food, friendly service, warm South African Hospitality and loads of enthusiasm. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Toro Yaka Bush Lodge South Africa/Kruger National Park

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