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“Amazing Visit”
Review of Pondoro Game Lodge

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Pondoro Game Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 23 July 2014

The entire experience was top notch, from the welcome refreshments to the heated pack on your seat every morning drive Pondoro takes care of every detail which made our experience something we truly enjoyed.

We loved the game drives and walks and took advantage of all three opportunities each day of our visit. The trackers and guides were outstanding, very knowledgeable and friendly. Ral and Andres went above and beyond what was expected to make sure we had great angles for pictures whenever we came across an animal.

The setting and our accommodations were great. We were fortunate enough to see multiple elephants, crocodiles, baboons and impala while relaxing on our porch in the afternoons. Dinner down by the river was also a nice touch and a memorable setting.

We couldn’t have asked for a better experience on our 1st safari.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank kbhst3
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 10 September 2014

Dear kbhst3,

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

I am very happy to read that your 1st safari to Africa lived up to your expectations and that you thoroughly enjoyed the experience from the knowledgable guides to the accommodation and small touches.

Greetings from the bush,

Robbie and Pondoro family

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Reviewed 23 July 2014

We had a wonderful stay in this lodge. Having now visited 5 lodges in this price range, I think I can fairly compare. The food and service is the best I've experienced. The chalet rooms are small and in need of a bit of upkeep compared to other lodges I've stayed in. My only reason for not giving 5 stars is the game drives. We had some wonderful sightings but our ranger barely spoke a word to us. In other lodges, rangers engage with guests and show them all sorts of things in the bush from plants to birds. Our ranger simply drove until we came across a large mammal and all he said was its name. The game concentration is very low so it means long periods of driving with nothing being said or shown. Pity as the ranger and tracker we clearly very good but simply didn't interact with the guests.

Stayed: July 2014
4  Thank rwjames1uk
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 24 July 2014

Dear rwjames1uk,

Thank you for taking the time to write a review.

I am glad to see that you had a wonderful stay at Pondoro and that the food and service is the best that you have experienced. Your recommendation regarding the chalets are noted.

I am disappointed with the engagement and interaction from your guide and have addressed the problem. It is certainly not the kind of experience that we want to provide for our guests. It is always wise to notify management of issues during one's stay as we can only resolve what we are aware of and I would have loved for you to have an even better experience.

Please note that the largest concentration of animals in Kruger are in the central parts between the Sabi and Olifants river. Pondoro is located inside this corridor. Our concentration of general game like giraffe, zebra and other antelopes, as well as all the Big 5, are on the high end of the scale for private reserves in this game rich region. The following Big 5 sightings were seen at Pondoro during the period of your stay: elephants 5 times including a group of more than 30 animals crossing the river next to the lodge and an elephant bull standing inside our reception area, buffaloes 4 times in groups of up to 200, white rhinos 5 times, the very rare and endangered black rhino once, lions twice including a male and females. You had 4 cheetah sightings that includes witnessing a cheetah busy strangulating an impala. Hyenas were also seen twice. I have answered this part in detail as I believe your comment about game concentration to be genuine but lacking of substance and experience.

Greetings from the bush,

Robbie and Pondoro family

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Reviewed 22 July 2014

Our family stayed at Pondoro last week. After doing an extensive amount of research into various game lodges throughout Kruger, I settled on Pondoro based on the reasonable price and the exceptional reviews they had received on Trip Advisor. Pondoro absolutely did not disappoint and managed to exceed even the highest of expectations I had going in. I’ve never before written a review on Trip Advisor, but felt compelled to do so in this instance.

My wife and I have traveled extensively, and the hospitality provided by Robbie and Lize and all of the staff far exceeded anything we have ever experienced. They absolutely make you feel as though you are part of their family and they can never do enough for you…from warm towels after a game drive to your local news at breakfast. The food, breakfast especially, was fit for a king. Both the presentation and taste of our meals were exceptional throughout our visit. The pride Lize takes in the meals truly shows.

We felt very fortunate to have Robbie and Sam as our ranger and tracker, and it was a pleasure learning from them throughout our stay. The passion, love, and expertise they have for what they do is easy to see, and we thoroughly enjoyed watching Robbie get excited on more than one occasion as we witnessed rare sightings. Robbie seemed to know exactly where to drive through the bush so that we had just the right angle as the animals approached the vehicle. Sam’s tracking skills, especially at night, were unbelievable…he was able to spot a chameleon, in a tree, at night, with just a brief moment of spotlight.

I did not want to get my hopes up in terms of viewing the Big Five as I knew spotting various game can come down to chance, so we felt very lucky to have had the opportunity to see the each of the Big Five (some numerous times) and to have witnessed so many unique sights…watching a male lion and his cub feast on a kill; having a lone elephant block our path and then attempt to charge at our vehicle; watching a leopard hide in a tree while three lionesses stalked it from below.

Our stay at Pondoro was better than we could have ever dreamed. Thank you to everyone at Pondoro for making our trip the trip of a lifetime!

-Anthony M. & Family

Room Tip: Our family stayed in the Buffalo, Water, and Tree suites, the three farthest from the lodge, respect...
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  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Anthony M
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 July 2014

Dear Anthony M and family,

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

I am very happy to see that we could exceed your expectations and that you rate our level of service so high. It has been an absolute pleasure to drive all of you around during your stay and I loved the enthusiasm and eagerness to learn and experience more about nature. I will pass your remarks regarding the food over to Lize and the other chefs.

Greetings from the bush,

Robbie and Pondoro family

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Reviewed 19 July 2014

Pondoro is one of the most amazing places we have ever stayed at. First and foremost, the owners and staff are unreal, always going out of their way to make you feel at home, just when you think they cannot out do themselves they surprise you.

The food, OMG, every meal is outstanding! The chef is world class.

The accomodation, couldn't ask for more. Comfortable and perfect, nothing like a bath under the stars.

Game drives, Rul and Andries were fantastic, no such thing as keeping to the roads. Rul will take you right to the animals.

Thank you so much for an amazing get away experience, we will definitely be back.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank sparky1818
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 July 2014

Dear sparky1818,

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

It is really heartwarming to see how much you enjoyed your stay with us. Glad to see how much you enjoyed staying in our chalets and that you loved having a bath under the African stars. Yes Rul and Andries really try their best to try and give our guests the best possible safari experience. We are looking forward to your return.

Greetings from the bush,

Robbie and Pondoro family

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Reviewed 17 July 2014

Pondoro was a perfect stay from start to finish. We stayed 4 nights in Hardekool and then 1 night in Tree and loved both. The personnel and service were outstanding and the food was exquisite. We had read about the amazing attention to details and this proved to be true throughout our visit. We spent time at another lodge following Pondoro and while nice, it could not in any way compete with Pondoro. One thing we loved about Pondoro is that it is tastefully decorated - you feel you are in an exotic location but without the unnecessary over the top decorations. The views from the room's terraces and from the restaurant on the Olifant River are stunning and provide, when you are lucky, fantastic vistas from which you can watch animals (giraffe, elephants,...) After game drives, we always felt like we were coming home - completely comfortable and knowing that we would have a wonderful meal and peaceful sleep. You should not hesitate to book at this lodge as you will not be disappointed. One piece of advice - don't bug the drivers/guides to view specific animals - they are not Dr Doolittle - you will see what animals are out and the drivers/guides cannot control this!

Room Tip: Seems that all rooms are good
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  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank safarigirlNC
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 July 2014

Dear safarigirlNC,

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

I am happy to see that you really enjoyed your stay with us and that you enjoyed staying in both the chalets and suites. I love your comment regarding Dr Doolittle. It is so true. I might just use it in the future!

Greetings from the bush,

Robbie and Pondoro family

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Reviewed 17 July 2014

We had a truly wonderful 4 night stay at Pondoro in July. The staff couldn't have been more attentive. The accommodation was luxurious. The food and service was world class. The wildlife was awesome. We saw more than we could have ever dreamed; The Big 5 plus giraffes, zebras, baboons, crocs and much, much more. The game drives were amazing and the trackers and guides did over and above to make sure we saw as much as possible and that it was as fun and enjoyable and informative as it could be. Lisa and Robbie and all their staff do a wonderful job and well deserve the awards they have received. Cannot recommend Pondoro more highly and would love to return for a longer stay. Thanks again for an awesome holiday guys! Gill and Bob

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank Gillian C
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 July 2014

Dear Gill and Bob,

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

Glad that we could provide you with a memorable stay at Pondoro and that you found the accommodation to be luxurious and the food and service world class. It is good to see that the guides and trackers made the safari drives fun, enjoyable and informative.

Greetings from the bush,

Robbie and Pondoro family

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Reviewed 15 July 2014

We stayed at th Pondoro Game Lodge the beginning of July 2014. What a fabulous lodge that will not disapoint in any way! Let's start with the staff.....WOW in every aspect. Clearly Robbie and Lize lead the Pondoro family of staff to make sure every guest has exactly what they need or want. Our servers, Linkie and Kgomotso were such wonderful young ladies with the most beautiful of smiles! No request at meal time was ever a trouble to them. And the food was always delicious. The presentation of the food could clearly be a photo cover on any gourmet magazine and seemed to make it that much more tasty. My only complaint was that I think I gained 5 pounds in the 3.5 days we stayed there....LOL. The room was devine! Of course it came with that breath taking view of the river that you set on your deck to view or even from your bed. Again we wanted for nothing. The game viewing was lead by our ranger, Rul with the tracker Andres. We were extremely happy when we saw two lioness with their nine baby cubs! In addtion we saw zebra, white rhino, elephant, giraffe and many antelope. I highly refer anyone to stay at this lodge if your plans include the private reserves west of Kruger! We loved our time there, THANKS to al,l at Pondoro Lodge! Vicki & Terri, USA

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
1  Thank SeeTheWorldMiami_FL
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 July 2014

Dear Vicki and Terri,

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

It is as always good to know that someone has enjoyed their stay with us. I will show your review to Linkie and Kgomotso who will take great satisfaction and pride from this. Rul and Andries are stalwarts and finding animals are not only a priority but also gives them great pleasure. It really helps when you love what you are doing.

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 22 Speciality Lodging in Balule Nature Reserve
Price Range: £604 - £994 (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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