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“Amazing Hospitality, Food & Safari Drives” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Toro Yaka Bush Lodge

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Toro Yaka Bush Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Level Contributor
11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Amazing Hospitality, Food & Safari Drives”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 May 2014

My wife and I chose Toro Yaka as the first-stop in our honeymoon to South Africa and it was amazing. Nicole and Steve, along with Mike, Percy, Deborah and the rest are awesome people you would entrust your lives with in the reserve. Even Ngwedi was so so hospitable to the guests.

Steve's game drives were always enjoyable and informative, and his passion for animals was infectious. On our first evening there, we went on foot and came face-to-face with a bull elephant. Over the four nights, we came across elephants, leopards, hippos, kudus, lots of impalas, giraffes, wildebeest, a baby croc, eagles etc. We particularly enjoyed the part of the drive where Steve and Mike would stop and we would have tea right in the bush. After the game drives, you will be met with a wonderful breakfast/dinner prepared by Nicole and her staff. The meals were absolutely superb and we still miss her cooking now!

The lodge itself was really nice. The rooms were clean and extremely comfortable. And in the afternoons, it was nice to just hang out by the pool to read a book or have a cup of tea. After dinner, it is advised to stay out at the pool area for a while before going to bed. We saw some elephants and giraffes come by the watering hole and it was quite an amazing experience.

All in all, Toro Yaka was amazing and we highly recommend it to anyone travelling to the area!

Andrew & Grace

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank poksy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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332 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (55)
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
28 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 April 2014

The Fantastic Toro Yaka experience starts when you are greeted at your car by cheerful and friendly faces and taken through to the lodge to enjoy a very welcome and refreshing glass of iced tea.

The rooms are elegantly presented with large beds and mosquito nets- the room we were in had a private decked area overlooking the watering hole, which is a very nice touch.

Safari drives with CJ and Goodman were fantastic, they even managed to get us enthusiastic enough to get up at 5:30am for the morning drives without complaining.

Here the food is the understated jewel in the crown. Don't be fooled into thinking that you'll just get good home cooked food, what you get here is fantastic restaurant quality food which is presented beautifully. It is also nice that they join you for dinner.

Thank you Nicole, Steve, CJ, Mike, Deborah and Percy for making our stay so memorable. (Steve - I'm already missing your wicked sense of humour)

Highly recommended!

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank 1Tr1pp3r
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 April 2014

I did not think I could stay in a lodge like this because the prices were out of my range. But Toro Yaka is very reasonsably priced while still giving me all that I could have wanted. The place is just beautiful and very peaceful. The staff is terrific--I learned so much from C.J. on the game drives. I really like that they join you for the meals. The food was really good also. I have already recommended this place to several people.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ScotKibbe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles 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
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Claudia B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles 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 Contributor
15 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles 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
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
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
5 of 5 bubbles 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
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank KentusTheGreat
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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