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“Great way to rough it” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of nThambo Tree Camp

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nThambo Tree Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Alameda, California
Level Contributor
49 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Great way to rough it”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 December 2011

5 nights, more than usual but we had more experiences, all good. Lion roaring under our tent at 3 am unnerving but excused by mating activity. Shower could benefit from privacy curtain. Guides, trackers and staff all a pleasure. Fun and wonderful.

  • Stayed October 2011
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank teddybeeear
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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359 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (43)
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English first
Maitland, Australia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 December 2011

Just been to Nthambo tree camp for 3 days. Wished we'd stayed longer! It was the best!

We were met at the airport by Isaac. He was heading off on holidays this day, so in the afternoon he was the tracker while Ryan took over the reins of being our guide throughout our stay. It turned out that Ryan was an excellent tracker as well. Ryan and the rest of the staff exceded all expectations. Everything was very well organised with no fuss - almost by magic it seemed. By the end of our three days, we had seen all of the Big 5 and countless other amazing animals thanks to Ryan's dedication and extensive knowledge.

The ladies in the kitchen had delicious home-style meals all ready for when we arrived back at camp after hours of excitement and experiences in the open modified land drover (complete with rugs). I especially loved walking back into camp at night to find the lanterns on the table lit, the campfire crackling away and the earthen floor meticulously raked of any footprints. It truely was the perfect setting for relaxing and chatting about the day's adventures and sightings and of course listening to the many stories that Ryan had to share.
The accommodation in the tree-house was romantic and authentic (in a safari sense), with very comfy beds and lovely linen and a mosquito net - which really set the scene for an african safari. Oh, and there was a toilet and shower inside the huts so you didn't have to venture out at night.

All in all, we had a wonderful experience - the trip of a life-time. Thanks to Isaac, Ryan, the Management and the kitchen ladies for making our African Safari such a wonderful experience. We would recommend it to anyone who wants a 'real holiday' and has an appreciation for nature.

Maxine and Geoff.

  • Stayed November 2011, 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 Maxine D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 November 2011

Nthambo Tree Camp is located in the private Klaserie game reserve. It is a small establishment - about 6 huts in total - and is aimed at those who want to stay in individual huts actually in the reserve (there are no fences to keep the animals out and you have to be escorted to your hut at night in case there are animals nearby) but in a reasonable degree of comfort. The huts aren't luxurious but, given where they are located, they are about as well equipped as can be reasonably expected. If you're after 24hr electricity and air-con then go elsewhere as the huts are basically very luxurious tents (with proper toilets, showers, etc.) on stilts. For us, the balance of feeling you were right in the reserve with a small group of people combined with a very comfortable, if not luxurious, place to stay was just right.
The staff were fantastic. They were perhaps slightly undermanned and the guides in particular seemed to work from sunrise until the last person went to bed. However, aside from a slight feeling of guilt at their level of work while we were relaxing, this did not detract from our stay. Personally, I don't think a dedicated on-site manager is required but we did not have any particular demands which the staff could not readily meet. As such, we were more than happy with the service provided.
Game drives are always a lottery and we were very lucky. The traker and guide were excellent although I have never before seen a tracker just disappear on his own into the bush to be picked up 15 minutes later! He seemed happy enough about it and nearly always reported back where the lion / leopard was heading.
The experience is nothing like other safaris I have been on in Kenya or Tanzania. This is mainly due to the landscape - the lack of open plains means you can rarely see more than 50-100 yards in any direction. This makes it more difficult to spot animals but, conversely, there seem to be fewer 4WDs (and certainly no mini-buses!) and there is no requirement to stick to the trails. There are pros and cons of such an approach.
Overall, we had a fantastic time. I should like to particularly thank the chef who I never met but managed to make every meal individual and of high quality.

Room Tip: The huts are identical.
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  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank chewey709
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Frome, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
27 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 November 2011

We stayed here for two nights Oct 2011. Two adults and two kids 14 and 12. I'd partially agree with other reviewers that the camp could do with an experienced Manager on site. The nearby sister lodge, Africa on Foot, is where the senior manager / owner stays but we only saw him when we needed our solar powered lighting to be fixed (which was done quickly and with a friendly team). Food was at not great, take some biscuits and snacks of your own, but the rooms on stilts were wonderful - clean, comfortable, mosi-nets, hot water and nice towels. Consider it as glamcamping rather than a hotel and your expectations will be met.

We went for the game and were not disappointed. The big 5 were seen in the first 24 hours. The on-site camp manager / tracker / ranger / driver was Isaac and I'd recommend you make sure he's on duty when you go; he was brilliant and worked his socks off for us. Up at 4.30am and last to bed after escorting us safely to our rooms around 10pm. Together with his brother-in-law Enoch they made the game drives exciting and successful. In the morning, Enoch was dropped off on foot in search of leopard. We'd drive off to get right in amongst a 50+ herd of elephant or buffalo or whatever was around and then get a radio call to tell us where the leopard had been found. We would drive off-road through tough bush in pursuit of a good sighting and there is a rule shared by neighbouring reserves who agree to share their land that no more than 2 vehicles can watch an animal at any one time. It all worked really well.

Room Tip: There are only 5 'chalets' - all identical. If you want a twin not a double ask in advance a...
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  • Stayed October 2011, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Sherald
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
golden, colorado
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 November 2011

Just back from several days at nThanbo and were a bit disappointed. Like other recent travelers there, we found this camp in serious need of on-site management and supervision, and there is a serious lack of personnel to meet the needs of guests. We never met the camp director and were not welcomed or thanked by anyone in management for our business. In all, there were 3 cleaning/cooking staff and our Guide, Isaac, for all 7 guests...they worked their tails off trying to please and did a good job. But one could see that they were totally overwhelmed and exhausted. The rooms were basic and without charm, and hot water was barely adequate. Food was simple and served cafeteria style; nothing fancy, but adequate. Game viewing is good...we saw a lot of animals. In general, this might be a good camp with some enthusiatic on-site management, more staff and more attention to maintaining its facilities and vehicles. However, overall, we would not go back and would not recommend this camp to anyone else. If this is your only time going to Africa, try some other camp with enought staff and management on site to make it a memorable experience.

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled with friends
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank guthrierj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Scottsdale, Arizona
Level Contributor
38 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 November 2011

We recently spent several nights at nThambo Tree Camp. The camp desperately needs an onsite manager. Earlier replies on this site from the "manager" about understaffing are expectedly defensive--it's apparent he knows the camp has problems.
The guide and tracker do a great job finding game--as committed as any guide could be, but he's also asked to serve the food, get the drinks, clear the tables, serve as the handyman and attend to every wish of the guests. He maintains an excellent attitude (and was rewarded by guests for his attempts), but It's an unfortunate and seemingly exploitative situation. There is no one making sure the guests are welcomed--the camp has a real void in that sense.
Game viewing is terrific and all efforts are put forward to ensure guests see the Big 5, which we did in a matter of a few hours. However, the vehicles need attention--spikes poking through seats are dangerous; tires are badly worn and vehicles are rusted. The camp generally has a utilitarian feel, but with very kind, attentive, albeit overworked personnel. (We have visited other safari camps and this is not the norm.)
Temperatures while we visited were in the high 30's and 40's (celsius), yet there were no fans in the rooms and often there was no cold water for drinking although guests are charged for drinking water. There is a "pool", but it was not maintained and none of the guests was willing to enter the water although the weather was very hot.
On a couple of occasions, a woman who appeared to have some relationship to the owner was present for brief periods, but never even spoke to the guests, much less made them feel welcome or their business appreciated.
In sum, for the game viewing, nThambo was great. From all other perspectives it was well below expectations, but offers tremendous potential with good onsite management.

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled with friends
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank happytrails500
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington DC
Level Contributor
20 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 November 2011

Overall, we had a great experience, and the accommodations were nice... just what we expected for a "tree camp" in the "bush". Game drives were also great... but to be fair, there was one Camp attendant - Isaac, who was wonderful, but was responsible for EVERYTHING... morning coffee, morning drives, including tracking, morning walks, meal set up, evening drives, sundowners, etc., etc. He did a great job, but really one additional staff member (not including the kitchen ladies who cooked and left after every meal) would have been nice. It's just impossible for one person to handle all of that, and it's awkward to have to ask over and over for water, cold drinks, etc. Additionally, the hot water was intermittent in our tree house. It was supposedly fixed, but when it turns cold 1/2 way through every time you take a shower, it's not fixed! There was no electricity available at the camp on the first two evenings... not a big deal, but poor Isaac had to run back and forth to the other camp to help the guests charge their phones, etc. One more thing... just to be aware of. Meals are served family style and while the food was fine, simple, but o.k., there was never enough for seconds if in case you wanted to go back for more. We didn't starve of course, but would have been nice to indulge a bit on a second helping, even of salad, if we were so inclined. Happy to discuss further off line and can also recommend another camp close by that looked pretty interesting.

  • Stayed October 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank henriandkim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
aofbrett, Manager at nThambo Tree Camp, responded to this review, 10 November 2011
Thanks for your feedback. Please allow me to respond to your comments. Firstly game rangers are expected to be with the guests from 5am until the guests go to bed. It's standard in the safari lodge industry where lodge staff work 6 weeks on and then take 2 weeks off. Isaac is supported by 6 housekeeping staff and other members of staff that are assisting with pick up and drop offs.

Please note that nThambo is an eco-friendly camp and electricity works on solar power supported by generators where necessary. All chalets have sufficient electricity to provide lighting and heat the gas for the showers. All guests are requested to charge electronic equipment while the generators are on. In your case, this did not seem adequate. We understand that Isaac tried to meet your needs by going back and forth to the other camp, adding to his commitment to you. We feel your comment that electricity was not available is very misleading as we provide sufficient electricity to meet most needs while at the same time trying to remain eco-friendly and provide a quite peaceful safari experience environment for our guests.

nThambo provides exceptional value for money in terms of being a comfortable eco-friendly camp in a game rich wildlife area. We pride ourselves on our traditional safari camp experience and cuisine. We appreciate your positive feedback on Isaac. He is a great asset to nThambo and we hope he will remain with us for many years.

Thanks for your feedback we always strive to make improvements where we can.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about nThambo Tree Camp

Property: nThambo Tree Camp
Address: Kruger National Park, South Africa
Region: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Klaserie Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 14 Speciality Lodging in Klaserie Private Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
nThambo Tree Camp is a safari camp located in the Klaserie area of the Kruger Park. The camp offers daily morning and afternoon game drives to view the Big Five. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Nthambo Tree Camp Hotel Klaserie Private Game Reserve
nThambo Tree Camp South Africa/Klaserie Private Game Reserve

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