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Camp Jabulani
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Reviews (307)
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All reviewsendangered specieselephant experienceplunge poolchef alexevery mealgame driveswine cellarwild elephantssuspension bridgethe main lodgefelt like homelove elephantsthe entire staffonce in a lifetimedry river bedlife changing experienceamazing experience
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Reviewed 7 June 2014

The personal service here is what sets it apart from other camps. Our hostess Kate went above and beyond to exceed our every expectation. Our guide Ryan Bates gave us very personal attention to find the animals we were most interested in and was very well versed in the habits of each.
Dylan, the chef @ Jubalani puts out a gourmet spread at every meal. It is hard to believe you are in the middle of the bush when you view his presentations.
Kate upgraded us to the only Villa which was way over the top. But I checked out the standard rooms and they were beautiful and plenty spacious.
The elephant ride into the bush at night to look for animals was very special.
Sundowners were a blast

Room Tip: Ask for a room overlooking the river bed
  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with family
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Thank Mike H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
wildm0untain, General Manager at Camp Jabulani, responded to this reviewResponded 8 June 2014

Thank you so much for your wonderful review. We are so glad that you enjoyed your stay with us and that your expectations were exceeded, As you know every cent of profit from Camp Jabulani goes towards the upkeep of our herd of orphan elephants and to support the excellent work done by Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre, so we really appreciate you helping to spread the word to other travellers. Best wishes to you and your family from the whole team at Camp Jabulani.

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Reviewed 5 June 2014

We recently stayed at camp jabulani with our 3 adult children,as part of a surprise birthday
Celebration. What a beautiful camp. We stayed in the Zindoga Villa which was out of this world. Absolutely beautiful.Elephants are amazing and I got to ride on jabulani. Staff are so welcoming. Food is fabulous. Sundowners is wonderful and lots of fun. Everything about this camp is more than you could ever imagine. Thank you Kate, the wonderful Werner, and the absolutely fabulous Ben for his spectacular cuisine and my beautiful birthday cake.
Another highlight was a trip to the endangered species centre and interaction with a beautiful cheetah. Thank you again, this will be a birthday I will never forget.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with family
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Thank mummahunto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
wildm0untain, General Manager at Camp Jabulani, responded to this reviewResponded 11 June 2014

Thank you so much for your lovely review. We thoroughly enjoyed spoiling you for your birthday and so glad that it was so special for you. We agree that getting up close to magnificent animals such as elephant and cheetah is a rare privilege and amazing treat. We have such lovely memories of your wonderful family. Best wishes to all of you from the team at Camp Jabulani, including Kate, Ben, Werner and Jabu himself.

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Reviewed 27 May 2014

we recently stayed at Jabulani, march 2014, we found everything to be far beyond our expectations, food, wine, drinks, anytime with a smile. the elephant experience brought tears to my wifes eyes she was so impressed by the way the elephants a re pampered and the interaction allowed between the elephants and the visitors, the safaris day and night were great, with our ranger full of information. Sundowners, drinks in the middle of the bush at sunset was an added treat sipping a gin and tonic and watching the sun set, staggering. Put it on your bucket list it is a must go.

Room Tip: Only 6 rooms all are fabulous
  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Cyclesamoa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
wildm0untain, General Manager at Camp Jabulani, responded to this reviewResponded 28 May 2014

We really appreciate you taking the time to write such a lovely review. I am so pleased that Camp Jabulani exceeded your expectations in every way and that you particularly appreciate how well that our elephants are looked after. You are right, there is surely no better way to end a day than to watch a magnificent Kapama sunset whilst sipping an icy cold G&T in the bush. Thank you for encouraging others to put this amazing experience on their bucket list as well. Best wishes from all the team including Jabulani and his friends.

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Reviewed 15 May 2014

As part of a 10 night trip to SA, my husband and I recently (01/05/14) stayed at Camp Jabulani for 4 nights. We flew to Hoedspruit from Johanesburg via SA Airways and were collected by Ruan, our dedicated ranger who was awaiting us at the airport.

Ruan took us on the short (30 min) drive to the Camp, although the actual entrance to the private reserve was literally opposite the airport, and we got our first glimpse of the wildlife.

Upon arrival we were greeted by Kate who runs the camp, with a glass of bubbly and introduced to the Butlers who would take care of us at mealtimes.

The main public areas of the lodge, both inside and out were beautifully designed and built and from there Kate took us across the bridge over the riverbed to our suite. When we entered it was absolutely stunning and as described, very isolated, surrounded by the Bush on 3 sides and with patio doors out to a deck and plunge pool looking out into the Bush and riverbed.

Whilst there we did 3 different safaris on the elephants 2 “sundowners” and 1 at night. All were superb. Being on top of the magnificent animals looking down on the world, but still knowing that the elephants were in charge and happy was incredible.

Basically all the elephants were orphans (including Jabulani after whom the camp is named), injured or born at the Camp and whilst they did the safaris and had handlers (who really love and care for them and NEVER use force) led by Tiger, they are free to roam where they want most of the day.

We also did game drives by jeep with Ruan every day and had a once in a lifetime encounter petting cheetahs at the endangered species centre. All were wonderful and we saw all the Big 5 over the 4 days, but on our last full day we saw them all again (and plenty more) only a few feet away within the space of a few hours (as well as a great picnic and spectacular sunset).

The animals were obviously the highlight, but anywhere else it would have been the food and wine prepared and recommended by the Camp chef, Andre. Andre came out before every meal, including breakfast and personally talked through the menu, checked if there was anything we did or didn’t like and recommended wines to compliment the menu. Whilst we were there we didn’t have a single course of a single meal that not only tasted delicious but was beautifully presented. On our wedding anniversary Kate arranged for a private table to be set up in the wine cellar and Andre prepared us an anniversary cake. Just another example of some lovely little touches throughout our trip that made it even more special.

So our thanks to Kate, Phil, Andre, Tiger, all the Butlers and housekeepers and in particular our superb Ranger, Ruan for really giving us an incredible holiday.

To sum up, Camp Jabulani is a bit more costly than most of the safaris you will see, especially within package deals, although the “fully inclusive” price covers everything we have mentioned and much more.

However, for us it gave us a true “Once in a Lifetime” experience, was worth every penny and we could not recommend it highly enough

Room Tip: Only 6 couples lodges and all looked wonderful
  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank AntEd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
wildm0untain, General Manager at Camp Jabulani, responded to this reviewResponded 19 May 2014

Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a wonderful review. We all thoroughly enjoyed meeting you both and particularly whilst you celebrated your 19 years together. We intended for your anniversary to feel like a second honeymoon, so we are glad that you felt thoroughly spoiled. It is great that the animals also played along and came out to see you, though I am sure that Ruan's excellent guiding skills played a huge part in the excellent Big 5 sightings that you had.

We particularly appreciate the kind words that you have shared about Camp Jabulani's elephants and the special bond that they enjoy with their handlers. As you know, Camp Jabulani's whole existence is about providing support for these wonderful animals and their welfare is at the heart of everything that we do here.

Hopefully you will have the opportunity to return again at some stage in the future, but until then best wishes from myself, Phil, Ruan, Andre, Tigere, and the all of the team at Camp Jabulani.

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Reviewed 5 May 2014

What an extraordinary experience we had at Camp Jabulani. First of all, it is ultra luxurious with exquisite décor and incredible bungalows with plunge pools and amazing views. Meeting Jabulani for the first time is just an overwhelming experience. To stand next to him and look in his beautiful eyes as he calmly looks at you is incredible To touch his skin and then of course to feed him. Wow!

You meet the keepers and learn about their lives and how they are completely dedicated to the elephants. I rode twice with Foster. Foster, I told you that I would always remember you and that is true. Riding on Bubi and Sebawke with my husband and you was one of the highlights of my life. Thank you!!!

This isn't Disney World! On one of our rides Foster said, "listen, the elephants are talking". And then the babies started walking quickly to be closer to the herd. The elephants knew there were lions and indeed there were! I saw a huge male lion watching us. And then we saw his pride of females watching, too! Elephants don't like lions. And lions respect elephants. So although there was a feeling of tension. The lions didn't move any closer. On another walk there was 3 rhinos and a herd of buffalo. Again they just observed us, but you realize this is very real. Not an amusement park!

Another highlight was feeding the baby elephants. Oh, how they love their treats and to receive some extra love. We also got to watch them swim and play in a watering hole. Such joy.

The elephants are so well taken care of. They are all orphans and have formed a loving herd where other orphans are welcomed.

All of the elephants would have died or have been killed if it wasn't for the amazing Lendte Rhodes who established the Hoedspruit Endangered Species center to save cheetah's and other animals. She built Camp Jabulani, too. And the elephants are supported by the few lucky guests who stay at Camp Jabulani (only 6 bungalows and a house).

So, we felt so very good about staying there. Plus we had a fantastic guide, Schulk (sp.) who showed us so many animals on game drives. A huge bull elephant walked right over to our jeep and started touching it with his trunk! We were told we were safe, that the elephant was relaxed and just curious. But wow, what a feeling to be so close.

As guests of Camp Jabulani we had the special privilege of petting a cheetah at the Hoedspruit Wildlife Center. And watching what looked like a hundred vultures being fed at the "Vulture restaurant". WOW, unforgettable.

We stayed 2 nights and I would strongly suggest that one night just wouldn't be enough for the whole experience. You don't want to miss feeding the babies or the center!!!

Oh, and if you are into wine...you are allowed to go to their wine cellar and pick any bottle you would like. It was a fun thing for the wine lovers in our family to do.

Room Tip: The bungalows are ultra private and luxurious.
  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with family
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3  Thank DaisyM03
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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