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“The highlight of our trip to South-Africa”
Review of Pondoro Game Lodge

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Pondoro Game Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 27 August 2011

Just arriving at Pondoro was already incredible: the standard chalets are so gorgeous it makes us wonder what the luxury chalets must be like. Beautifully decorated, very comfortable (big bed!) and a magnificent setting with view of the river.
But the experience was only starting: the meals, served in another amazing setting, were very tasty, and the rangers and trackers really delivered on game sightings during the game drives. Picking the best sighting from a caracal and her young drinking, a pride of 11 lions taking a walk and later resting in the grass, or a group of 13 elephant bulls walking past a few meters from the car is impossible. What makes these drives special is the fact that the rangers can take you very close to the game with their all-terrain vehicles (which are remarkably comfortable, by the way...).
I should also mention the friendly, personal service of the crew, making the experience a complete delight.
We were only there for 2 nights, but would have gladly added another week if schedule and budget had allowed for it. Pondoro just made it to the top of our places-to-return-to-someday list.

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with family
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Thank KimBa75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 22 August 2011

we intended to stay one night at this lodge but after arrival we decided to stay an extra night. The standard rooms are allready nice but the luxury rooms are something special.
Nice setting along the river, very friendly, decent food and a good winelist.
First safari was the best, lions very nearby, a big herd of elephants with small ones and close up rhino's. The next two safari's we didn't see that much although the ranger tried really hard. unfortunatelly we didn's see the leopard with cubs and were not as lucky as guest on the morning safari we arrived (lions on a kill). Last safari we had a bit more luck, lions, rhino's and some more animals.
Balule is connected with Kruger so it is not like some lodges with own game (zoo style) but a more real experience so you just are dependent of game moving to the area.
We loved our stay but I think that overall there are less antelopes etc i the area and the gamedrives are more or less limited to the same area every drive. However we might have been a bit less lucky. We can recommend the lodge.
The spa is also very good

Room Tip: We liked the Earth room a lot (more african) and the Buffalo room a bit less (more modern), but both...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with family
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Thank ekholland27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 August 2011

Spend our summer holls with two young kids at this beautiful place for 4 nights just last week .From pick up at local airport to drop off back after the safari,everything was well arranged with personal attention from Liz and her crew.A pleasent drive from the airport.Rooms very clean,cosy beds.Game drives very well organized with very friendly ranger n tracker.Saw a lot of smaller animals as soon as we entered the reserve.After that within two days saw all the 4 out of the big 5-except the elusive leopard.She was quite close to the lodge and our ranger tried his best to get us there but the lepord got away.We were also not able to see the chettahs-as we were told that they had just moved out of that area a couple of days agoOn the second drive saw a pride of 12 lions feeding on a big male girrafe thatt they hunted down the previous night.Its something that cant be forgotten.Amazing sight!!.Apart frmt not being able to see the chettah and leopard, no regrets at all.Met a lot of good people-fellow travellers with whome we shared liz,s superb cuisine on the lovely deck and also at that special dinner under the stars by the river.-Sure have put on an extra kilo!!!.THE bush walks were very exciting and i9nformative.Liz was so good to take care of my girls while we went for the walk.-They are below 12 yrs.But she arranged a mini walk with aranger in the premises for them and they were so thrilled.Have safely kept the snares that the ranger made for them!!.Overall it was a dream come true vaccation.Excellent stay,lot of animals and very friendly people to show them to you.Good value for the money and time spent.Would recomend pondoro to anyone without a second thought.My girls have send their love to Patricia who took care of them during our walks.Thanks to you Liz and all the nice people down there...We will miss those days!!

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with family
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Thank menons506
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 August 2011

From the warm welcome to the wonderful food & hospitality offered with such kindness & care to the amazing 4 wheel drive animal spotting this 7 day holiday truly exceeded our imagination. It was a privilege to be introduced to the African Bush & animals by such a knowledgeable,skilled & sensitive Ranger /owner as Robbie,ably assisted by Andreas.The staff without exception were charming & attentive reflecting the ethos of extremely skilled Chef & House Manager Lize.My sister & I (both well over 70 years of age & experience travellers)

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with family
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1  Thank SheilaSybilC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 August 2011

Our room did not have heat but they did provide a portable heater. Robbie and Derrick our guides took us on some excellent Safaris.

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with family
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Thank cherylnurse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 July 2011

We spent the weekend at Pondoro to celebrate my sisters birthday. Lize and Robbie you get 5 out of 5 for service, food, excellent rooms, game drives and staff attitude and much more. I would highly recommend this lodge for couples who seek a romantic time out with all the luxuries of the South African Bush. Would definately go back especially to see the Mongoose!

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with family
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Thank Sylvia S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 July 2011

It was our honeymoon, they made it so special, with a dinner for two, flowers in the bedroom, champagne. Robbie (owner and ranger) knows allot of details concerning big game as well as small species. Allthough the Balule area is not so big, we saw quite allot of game. After this we also went to Sabi Sands, but their safari's were not that nice. Sabi Sands for us felt more commercial and american. Oh, and don't forget to mention the food at Pondoro, unbelievable good food! All fresh and 5 star. Nothing we didn't like at Pondoro, great lodge!

  • Stayed: June 2011
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Thank Quee01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Pondoro Game Lodge

Address: Balule Private Nature Reserve, Kruger National Park 1380, South Africa
Phone Number:
Region: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Balule Nature Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 22 Speciality Lodging in Balule Nature Reserve
Price Range: £501 - £1,009 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Pondoro Game Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set on the cool riverine banks of the Olifants River (largest in Kruger) in the 40 000 ha Big 5 Balule Private Game Reserve inside the greater Kruger National Park, Pondoro offers its visitors comfort, sophistication, elegance and a canvas on which to create a truly unforgettable African safari.In this small, very exclusive 16-bed lodge ( owner managed ) you will discover the only way to experience the African bush. In addition to luxurious accommodation and the caring attention from trained professionals, our visitors are lavished upon with international fare and humble African hospitality.Meals are an extraordinary culinary experience where Traditional African Cuisine fuse effortlessly with modern European trends.To compliment the food, select any of our fine wines from our extensive wine cellar. Vegetarians are specially catered for. All meals are served on a wooden deck high up in the tree canopy overlooking the Olifants River (weather permitting).Between game drives in open safari cruisers, nature walks and peaceful afternoon naps, enjoy a dip in the sparkling rock pool, a spot of sun bathing or browse through the library. The Pondoro bar is the ideal spot to quench your thirst and grab a snack. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Pondoro Game Hotel Balule Private Game Reserve
Pondoro Game Lodge South Africa/Kruger National Park

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