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“It's the place to go!!!”
Review of Monwana Game Lodge

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Monwana Game Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Guernsey, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“It's the place to go!!!”
Reviewed 5 January 2014

This was a destination booked for me by a friend, who strongly recommended it and I can see why! The whole stay from start to finish was fantastic.

Emma and Jacques were fantastic and it was amazing the way they worked so well together and had everything covered all of the time! It was my first safari but my girlfriend has been on several and neither of us could think of anything but total compliments.

The reserve itself is brilliant with very comfortable rooms and very spacious bathrooms. The food is out of this world and the menus that were put together were great. Nothing is ever too much trouble for any of the staff at Monwana. The only problem was the food was so good you just couldn't stop yourself eating everything that was put in front of you!!

The game drives were ace. Although everyone wants to see the big 5, of which we saw 4, Jacques and Morris (the tracker) would point out and explain any of the wildlife that there was which was great to learn about, no matter how big or small, rare or common they were.

Huge compliments to all the staff at the lodge and thank you for making our stay so enjoyable. Hopefully see them all again soon!!

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank James R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (65)
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English first
Brooklyn, New York, United States
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 December 2013

My fiance and I stayed at the Monwana Game Lodge for 4 nights just two weeks ago, and we had an amazing time. First of all, Jacques and Emma, the hosts, are fantastic people who keep Monwana feeling warm, welcoming, and intimate. They made us feel looked after from the moment we arrived. Jacques was outstanding at spotting game on our twice daily game drives. Emma is one of those people that is super nice and sweet, but meanwhile she is running the whole operation flawlessly. We loved that Monwana only has a few rooms, so we felt special throughout our entire stay and really got to know the other guests.

A big highlight for us was the food. We are big foodies, and we didn't make it easy on Emma by being vegetarians. Yet every meal was truly amazing, and I felt like I was in a five-star restaurant every time. That is not easy when you are deep into the bush, so I give Monwana a lot of credit.

We definitely recommend Monwana. There's a reason they're #1, and I expect them to remain there for a very long time.

Eytan

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Eytan K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
70 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 December 2013 via mobile

Emma (the hostess and manager), Jacques (the ranger) and Morris (the tracker) made my three day stay very special. The photos on the site are truly representative of my experience, and you just cannot beat the extremely welcoming and warm service. Among the very special bits, I would mention the chef. Rarely have I had the opportunity to have such fine cuisine in the "bush." I will surely be back. Thanks Jacques and Emma, for a much needed bush break! Nancy

Stayed December 2013, travelled solo
Helpful?
1 Thank Nancy G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
79 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 89 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 December 2013

We are a couple in our late 30s (UK and Greek) that usually stay in upper-middle to luxury accommodation (or very basic camping). I have stayed in game lodges all over Southern and Eastern Africa but for my girlfriend it was her first bush holiday.

Monwana is the best lodge I have stayed in and for many reasons. We stayed for three nights and self-drove to Thornybush. The main reason for this was the efforts of Emma and Jaques, the couple managing the place who were simply amazing hosts.

Room itself:
Clean and spacious with comfortable bed and pillows, excellent view over the waterhole, decorations attractive.
Wet weather whilst we visited but the room had a nice deck.
Large bathroom with separate shower and bath and two sinks and again views over the waterhole.

Food/drink: good quality and good portion sizes. As good as any other lodge I have stayed in or better. Tasty wine list. Excellent boma on the third night.

Safaris: I had actually become pretty demoralised by rubbish guides that are only out to find the big five. Jacques however is not that sort. He was flexible and stopped at other interesting sights (frog spawn in a tree, migrant birds, hunting herons and crocs, a chameleon etc) as well as locating lions (12 in total over two prides, one with a kill), leopards, elephant, cheetah etc. We had just been in Kruger for 5 days and thought we had enough of the big game but he is so knowledgable that I learnt lots every trip about every plant and animal he pointed out. The tracker, Maurice, has the eyes of an eagle. Between them they have made me want to do safaris with a guide and tracker again. I cannot speak highly enough of this team.

Service: Again top notch. I wanted to go on a balloon ride in order to propose to my girlfriend and they were helpful in arranging transfers in the middle of the night. It was cancelled in the end due to the stormy weather and instead Emma arranged a romantic meal in our room and went completely out of her way to help. She and the team could not be helpful enough.

Few notes about Thornywood:
Parking for self-drive is not at Monwana but the main lodge - parking near the front gate would be better for 2-wheel drive cars but roads were passable though slippery in the wet. There is a landing strip and flights in and out are possible - email them directly for info I guess.
It is attractive bush area but fairly thick foliage and if you want large numbers of rhino or elephant or wide-open savannah then go into Kruger itself. They have all you could want at Monwana though so still go there for a few days at the end like we did! It will be worth it!
Get Jacques to take you on a foot safari - he knows a huge amount on most of the plants and animals and it is a completely different experience.

Summary:
I am not going to try another lodge and if Monwana are booked in the future I will change my holiday dates to go there again. I miss it already.

Room Tip: They all look pretty good but clearly having a waterhole view is ideal.
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Andrew C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco Bay Area
Level Contributor
75 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 December 2013

None of these places are cheap, but some offer better value. This is one.

Nice place, with so few cabins.

Guests were more diverse and personable than at some other locations.

The hosts were relatively new the location but already getting well integrated.

Meals: No problems, not bad, nothing special for vegetarians though they did their best to accommodate us -- otherwise I'd call it a five star location.

We would recommend the place to friends.

The preserve provided ample and fortuitous sightings. The terrain is not exciting, but we would not have noticed that if this was the only place we had visited since we saw so much great wildlife. The game on view is excellent including things like BOTH black and white rhinos, etc.

This was one of the only places we stayed at during out trip where some of our fellow guests were South African, which was cool.

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank nathan_h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bedfordview, Gauteng, South Africa
2 reviews
Reviewed 8 November 2013

The only way to describe Monwana is as the gem of Thornybush! We had a fantastic stay and really enjoyed every aspect of this lodge. Jacques & Emma, and their stand-ins, Chewie & Monica went out of their way to ensure we felt right at home.

Every meal tasted like it was made in Mom's kitchen, the portions were perfect and really tasty.

The accommodation was so comfortable and private, and our unit had a great view over the waterhole.

The animal sightings were excellent, we got to enjoy the Big 5 as well as the many smaller interesting things the bush had to offer us. A huge thank you to Morris our tracker for finding all the things we would never have spotted on our own! We were never bored for one minute, the bush walks were so enjoyable & educational but the highlight was learning how to track lions in the dry riverbed that runs in front of the lodge.

A big thank you to the whole Monwana team for making our stay unforgettable, we hope to visit again soon!

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Marina N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dallas, Texas
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 6 November 2013

Monwana exceeded my high expectations in every way! The facilities are wonderful and the setting is of course beautiful. What I did not expect was the absolutely amazing food, impeccable service and unbelievably gracious hosts. Emma’s welcoming manner instantly makes you feel comfortable, and the small touches like a drink and warm cloth after a chilly game drive take hospitality to another level. I can’t say enough good things about the menu she has developed. Jacques is everything you could ask for in a ranger, knowledgeable, interesting and patient. His enthusiasm for nature is infectious and you will walk away knowing more about the local wildlife that you ever dreamed. There seem to be no limits to his customer service, as Jacques is also a great photography instructor and quite the bartender! Every aspect of our stay at Monwana was simply amazing and I can’t imagine a better experience!

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Phil T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Monwana Game Lodge

Property: Monwana Game Lodge
Address: Thornybush Game Reserve, Kruger National Park 1380, South Africa
Region: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Thornybush Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 12 Speciality Lodging in Thornybush Private Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:4 star — Monwana Game Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Monwana Game Lodge, Thornybush Game Reserve, is a Four Star Superior lodge set in the heart of the African bushveld. Offering fantastic Big 5 game viewing, exquisite African cuisine and personalized service. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Monwana Game Lodge Thornybush Private Game Reserve, South Africa

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