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“Amazing food and service!”
Review of Pondoro Game Lodge

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Pondoro Game Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 21 June 2014

The lodge is small and very beautiful! Also, the spa was the best we experienced in South Africa!! The staff would greet us by name and arranged a special private dinner to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. Each meal was delicious...even the veggie options. The trackers do a great job of making sure you get to see as much as possible even if that means off roading for an hour.

The only reason I did not give 5 stars was I thought they over crowded the safari jeeps...we were there on a romantic getaway and did not always get to sit next to each other on 5 hr safaris. Also, the rooms are probably great in summer but are quite cold on winter nights and mornings.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank gatorgirl515
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pondoro, Owner at Pondoro Game Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 25 June 2014

Dear gatorgirl515,

Thank you very much for taking the time to write a review.

I am glad to see that you enjoyed your stay with us, especially the food and service.

I fully understand that you wanted to sit next to your partner during all the safari drives. There are however only 3 seats in a row and all safari vehicles are built the same due to various factors out of our control. Limiting guests to only 8 in a safari cruiser that can seat 10 can hardly be called overcrowding the vehicles. You would not be able to get a better deal at any 5 star lodge in the Kruger area at the prices that we charge. The only lodges where vehicle capacity might be limited to 6 would charge at least twice the rates of Pondoro. Please understand that it is just not financially viable to provide the service you request at the rates that we charge and we must take care to compare apples with apples.

Your other option would have been to book a private vehicle at only R4000 per day. So for as low as R4590 per person per night a private vehicle for two can be booked. You will not find a better rate at any 5 star lodge inclusive of a private vehicle.

Yes, off course our rooms are colder during winter. All our rooms have got an aircon with a heater setting as explained to guests during check-in. It would have been no trouble at all to management to help you with operating and with the settings on the aircon if only you had requested us to do so during your stay. An extra heater could also have been provided if made aware that you were cold.

I am sure that the hot waterbottle that we put in your bed during evening turndowns were much appreciated.

Greetings from the bush,

Robbie and Pondoro family

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Reviewed 17 June 2014

Pondoro is a piece of African bush magic...as this was part of our extended Honeymoon, I was looking forward to visiting the lodge. From the very second we arrived we were greeted by Lize, one of the owners and shown to the rooms, with a true South African welcome. Light lunch was served and our first game drive commenced. This was done exclusively by Robbie, the other owner and his tracker Andries. They were a very dedicated team and tried their best to show us the best of the bush and we enjoyed every moment. Dinner was served in a private cellar, which was a very romantic experience, but nothing compared to the turn down service of our second evening, which even included a personal message on the bed made out of petals and leaves. A personal highlight was sitting in the jacuzzi at sunset and experiencing two elephants walking by, a mere 10m from us.
Pondoro is about service, quality and true hospitality!!!
Thank you Lize, Robbie and the entire friendly team....we will be back!!!

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Stevie J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pondoro, Owner at Pondoro Game Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 25 June 2014

Dear Stevie J,

Thank you very much for taking the time to write a review.

It has been an absolute pleasure to host you during your honeymoon. Glad that we could make a once in a lifetime experience special. We will definitely be looking out for you for your return visit.

Greetings from the bush,

Robbie and Pondoro family

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Reviewed 17 June 2014 via mobile

My husband and I had the best stay at pondoro. Robbie and Lize are wonderful hosts, and their staff is extremely friendly and trained. Food was generally very good and wines were carefully chosen. We had an elephant 10m from us when we were having champagne in the jacuzzi!

Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
Thank Patrice B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pondoro, Owner at Pondoro Game Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 25 June 2014

Dear Patrice B,

Thank you very much for taking the time to write a review.

Great to see that you enjoyed your stay with us. It has been lovely to host and meet you. I bet that there are not a lot of people around that can boast that they have only been 10 meters from an elephant while sipping champagne in a jacuzzi.

Greetings from the bush,

Robbie and Pondoro family

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Reviewed 14 June 2014

We were hoping that our trip - the first safari for us - would be the trip of a lifetime, and Pondoro made sure that it was. Every detail was perfect. The grounds and room were more than we could have hoped for. The staff was always accessible, warm and accommodating. Each meal was incredible - everything was thoughtfully prepared with the freshest ingredients. Our tracker and guide did everything in their power to ensure that we saw the Big 5 and more - and we did! Look no further. Choose Pondoro and you will not be disappointed.

We will definitely return in the future.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank Kim D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pondoro, Owner at Pondoro Game Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 25 June 2014

Dear Kim D,

Thank you very much for taking the time to write a review.

I am elated to see that we could make your first safari, the trip of a lifetime and that you found everything to be perfect.

Greetings from the bush,

Robbie and Pondoro family

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Reviewed 11 June 2014

As an owner of a Travel Company in NYC for over 30 years, I have had the good fortune
to experience many resorts,hotels and lodges. Never have I stayed at a property that excelled
in every category as Pondoro.

In Africa while on safari the "Big five" refers to seeing the elephant, rhino, lion, leopard & buffalo. You will most probably see all 5 at Pondoro but you also will see & experience Pondoro's "big five" . They are:

1- 5 star genuine friendliness. You will arrive with a handshake and leave with a hug.
2- 5 star service. The entire staff cannot do enough. Tremendous attention to detail.
3- 5 star accommodation. Suites & chalets beautifully decorated in an African theme & spacious
4- 5 star cuisine. All meals were amazing. Taste , presentation and variety, rivals the best of NY
5- 5 star game drives. They are exciting , educational and just plain fun. Trackers and Rangers
are as excited as guests when we came across game.

I will not hesitate to send our most valued clients to Pondoro.

Robbie & Lize owners of Pondoro and their entire staff do a remarkable job and I want to thank them again for everything, especially the memories!!

John , Sally, Dave, Tom, Jackie & Vicki

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled with family
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3  Thank empresstravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pondoro, Owner at Pondoro Game Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 25 June 2014

Dear empresstravel,

Thank you very much for taking the time to write a review.

I am as always grateful to see when guests have thoroughly enjoyed their stay with us. It has been a pleasure to host and take you on safari drives during your stay with us. Glad that you could experience Pondoro's version of the Big 5. The whole idea of a safari to Africa is to create new and wonderful memories and glad that we could.

Greetings from the bush,

Robbie and Pondoro family

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Reviewed 3 June 2014

What can I say?

On the airport transfer into the lodge we saw kudu, a tortoise, some impala and zebra. Once at the lodge, we saw hippos, baboons, vervet monkeys, elephants, warthogs, waterbuck and impala, and all of that was without even leaving our suite.

The game drives were something else. Robbie (our ranger) and Andries (our tracker) went out of their way to ensure we had numerous experiences that we'll never forget. We got up-close and personal with all of the big-5 and many more.

During the course of our seven-night stay we were able to learn some of the Shangaan words for various animals through the discussions between Robbie and Andries. It was always exciting for us to hear the words nghala or yingwe, but there were many more that we came to love too.

It was clear to us that everybody working at Pondoro is absolutely passionate about the wildlife, and that shows through everything that they do. It was nice getting to experience the area through people who are so passionate about it themselves.

Our party stayed in the water suite and a chalet, both were a delight. The suite was a short walk through from the main reception area of the lodge, and we were assigned a friendly and helpful escort, America, to get us to and from the room safely at night when the animals are active.

I would echo some of the previous comments about the volume of food consumed.. we were surprised that the breakfast menu included one of each item listed, when we were expecting that any one item would have sufficed! It was all absolutely delicious though, and meticulously prepared by Lize and the kitchen staff, so the diet that I now need to put myself on is well worth it.. :) The dinner menus were first-rate. Some highlights for us were the impala pie, and the ostrich burgers. Some of our dinners were extra special; one night in particular we were treated to dinner by the river, and a demonstration of Shangaan singing, dancing and drumming that was put on by some of the staff. Everyone was clapping along and getting into it, and it made for a super special night. We noted on a number of occasions that Lize and the team went out of their way to create special evenings for honeymooners, in more private locations, which seemed like a nice touch..

If you're looking for a way to experience the African wildlife in an intimate setting, with experienced rangers and trackers who go the extra mile, and like the sound of fine dining and a great wine-list, then don't look past Pondoro. It's magical.

Room Tip: Our party stayed in both the Water suite and the Hardekool chalet. The water suite was a little fur...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with friends
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1  Thank David G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pondoro, Owner at Pondoro Game Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 11 June 2014

Dear David G,

Thank you very much for taking the time to write a review.

It has really been a pleasure to drive all of you around. Thank you very much for posting some of your photos. They really are of the highest standard. Everyone at Pondoro enjoyed your company and it is uplifting to have guests that are so enthusiastic about everything. Hope to welcome you soon again. Lets see if we can expand that Shangaan vocabulary to include Melembe, Shombane and even Kwarri.

Greetings from the bush,

Robbie and Pondoro family

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Reviewed 26 May 2014

Lize & Robbie (our hosts) and their great staff know how to make one feel at home in their enchanted lodge. First-class chef, breathtaking location, super comfortable bungalow (with lovely design details), and above all the safari (we had the chance of being guided by Robbie himself - a passionate, extremely knowledgable ranger) in a beautiful scenery (our trip was at the end of the rain season) and, needless to say, close encounters with all possible animals. Highly recommended.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with family
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Thank Lucilla B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pondoro, Owner at Pondoro Game Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 11 June 2014

Dear Lucilla B,

Thank you very much for taking the time to write a review.

I am glad to see that you really enjoyed your stay with us. It has been a pleasure to guide you and host you at Pondoro.

Greetings from the bush,

Robbie and Pondoro family

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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 21 Speciality Lodging in Balule Nature Reserve
Price Range: £518 - £888 (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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