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“Treated like extended family and outstanding Safaris”
Review of N'kaya Lodge

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N'kaya Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 4 March 2012

I wanted Sylvia, my wife of 49yrs, to experience Africa in the wild on her birthday. Our stay was far better than I envisaged and will be a lasting memory. Following a lengthy car ride from the airport over rain damaged roads and tracks we were welcomed and shown to the most superb lodge. From then on we were cosseted by Marissa, Leanne and Bert (with their effecient team) and over 3 days saw the big 5 (both types of Rhino) in incomparable conditions. Bert is more than a ranger and takes a deep interest in the whereabouts of the animals which roam tremendous distances.From taking to the bush to track a Cheetah which had made an early morning kill and before leaving watching a lion give the most impressive roar which seemed to last over 5minutes and reverberated for miles across the reserve, we were given encyclopedic descriptions of everything..
The organisation necessary to ensure that we were out at 05:30 on safari, given the most varied meals and off on safari again at 5pm, followed with supper at 9:30pm was most impressive. Throughout all this activity we were treated with a warmth, friendliness and service which matched the best I have experienced in over 40 years of World Wide corporate travel. We felt like honoured house guests. Whatever the other Thornybush Lodges may seem to offer N'kaya is the one I will choose to visit again. My only tip; leave it all to Marissa and co.

Room Tip: Lodge 3 has superb facilities and a good view of the surrounds.
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Joe90point5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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75 - 81 of 107 reviews

Reviewed 23 February 2012

N'kaya was the last stop of our 2 week South African honeymoon and it was the most memorable part. We absolutely loved this lodge. It is not pretentious or flashy but tranquil and intimate with a naturalistic luxury. This lodge has such a laid-back vibe I could return year after year. We loved our chalet, it was huge, the bed was very comfortable, and having 2 bathrooms was great! We will never forget the romantic dinner for 2 in our chalet the night before our departure prepared by the staff. Mariza, Bert, and Andries were exceptional at their jobs. We had amazing safari rides. We were lucky enough to see the big 5 day after day. We really enjoyed the snack breakfast and sundowners on the ride as well. If we were not on safari we were either relaxing by the pool with an ice cold beer or relaxing in the observation deck with an ice cold beer. We enjoyed N'kaya immensely and would highly recommend it. On another note, if you do not like bugs, frogs, or lizards you should stay in the city and out of nature.

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank gigglesNY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 February 2012

My boyfriend and I stayed at N'Kaya in mid January, and we had the experience of a lifetime!. Leanne, Becks, and Andres really made us feel at home. The accomodations were excellent-- there were are four different huts which allowed a max of 4 couples to stay at the lodge. Each one had two large bathrooms, a bedroom, and a living room--lots of space and extremely clean! It allowed for a really intimate feeling and just what we were looking for!
Although I had reservations due to my dietary limitations--Leanne really went the extra mile and cooked meals catered to my preferences/allergies. The meals were delicious and really were the perfect addition to an already pleasant day!
Each day we started at aboout 5 AM (perfect timing as it can get hot later in the day), the morning game drive lasted about 3-4 hours, following we had a full brunch at about 9 am, and had the afternoon at our leisure (poolside/at the bar/taking a nap/at the hideaway); following we had tea at about 3, which was followed by a game drive that lasted about 4 hours. Finally the night ended with a beautiful dinner outside!
The safaris were amazing. Becks and Andres really went the extra mile and we saw each of the Big 5 almost every game drive! We saw baby leopards playing, a full grown male lion walking through the reserve, elephants drinking at the waterhole, a cheetah taking a nap, a mother and baby rhino, a war between buffalo and lions, and hippos playing... all within a couple of feet from the vehicle! ABSOLUTELY AMAZING EXPERIENCE!
We stayed 3 nights at the lodge and went on six safaris. Although one doesnt need even this long (because each day is so packed full of wonderful experiences), the time was well worth it.
Both of us were really really sad to leave Nkaya and South Africa--but its a place we hope to go back to one day!

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Mitika P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 December 2011

What a wonderful place and what a fantastic experience. We went to N'kaya Lodge for our 25th wedding anniversary holiday to South Africa. The safari part of our holiday was the part of our holiday that we were most excited about and it exceeded all of our expectations in every way. We stayed four nights, went on 8 safaris and we will not forget the experience for the rest of our lives.

The accomodation is excellent, with only four chalets for a max. of 8 guests, each chalet is private, with a large and comfortable bedroom, sitting room and two bathrooms. It is very clean and the whole safari experience is very relaxing.

The food was was outstanding, of such a high quality, really delicious. We had brunch in the morning, a lunch in the afternoon before the second safari of the day, and dinner in the evening. Lianne, Mariza and their team do a wonderful job of preparing the dishes and go to a huge amount of trouble to prepare interesting a nd diferent lunches and dinners each day. There is a fabulous wine selection to boot. We ate with team members and Beckson or Andries every day and, which was lovely.


The game drives are phenomenal. We went on early morning drive each morning at 5:30am and one at 4:00pm each afternoon. The drives were between 3 and 3.5 hours each so you really do get to see lots of wildlife and game of every variety. Beckson and Andres, the guide and tracker are just amazing and their knowledge and exierience in tracking and finding animals wasgreat. Watching them find and follow the tracks of animals to find shy and often reclusive animals (especially the black rhino that was very shy and reclusive and hard to get a clear sight of ) was just great. You never know what you'll see each day but you are pretty much guaranteed to see the big five. We saw them all and at very close quarters, which was amazing. to see lions, cheetah, rhiono, elephants and buffalo up close and personal was incredible. But its much much more than the big five (we saw four of the big five on our first safari which was just great). The two guys tracked leopard for us and we saw a mother and her son leopard on two separate days really up close. We also saw an amazing array of other animals, from a variety of deer and entelope, including Impalas, Kudus and many others, Hippos, Wilderbeasts, Zebras, Giraffes, Warthogs (their so cool) and many other animals. We also saw a huge variety of beautiful birds, and other fascinating creatures including leopard tortoises, huge snails, snakes and other creatures. Beckson even found a chameleon one evening in the dark. The two guys have a huge knowledge and would spot the most incredible things all the time.

We have the most amazing memories to treasure and would love to return one day.

Thank you to the wonderful team - Leanne, Mariza, Bert, Beckson, Andries, and the other support staff at N'kaya. we will ceratinly be promoting N'kaya to all our friends as the place to go for the safari experience of your life.

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Terry S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 October 2011

We thoroughly enjoyed our time at N'Kaya. There only four chalets on the whole property, so it's definitely a more intimate feel. It's a four-star lodge, which is more our style; not so luxurious that it makes us feel uncomfortable.

It's all-inclusive. You get brunch in the morning, tea-time in the late afternoon, and dinner in the evening. The meals are excellent. Lianne does a wonderful job of preparing the dishes. My wife has a sensitivity to wheat, so Lianne went out of her way to make sure that the food was made gluten-free.

The game drives are just phenomenal. You go on a early morning drive at 6am and one at 3:30pm. Although these could change depending on the conditions. We ended up starting the morning at 5:30. Totally worth it. Andres and Beckson are just amazing. You never know what you'll see. We saw a cheetah with cubs, elephants feeding on trees, and so much more.

Only downside is, unfortunately, the price. It is not cheap. Also, since you're being driven most of the time, there aren't many opportunities to be active. You're advised against going outside the reserve for walks on your own. So if you need more physical activity, I'd look elsewhere.

But if you would like a comfortable, relaxing safari experience, definitely look into N'Kaya.

  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank emanbruin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 October 2011

If you want to put it in one word: WOW

The Lodge itself is great and in excellent condition. It fits 8 people max which means that the atmosphere is very private and personal. You will be living in your own little chalet with living room and two bathrooms. Between the game drives you can relax by the pool or just hang out at the observation deck and watch Zebras, giraffes, warthogs and many others coming along to have a sip of water.

So the Lodge is great and we couldn't imagine it to be better but what will blow your mind is the game viewing. N'Kaya's rangers Andres and Beckson are out of this world. They will try everything possible to find the animals you want to see and most likely they will succeed! So for those who want to know: yes, we saw the Big 5. But we think, people shouldn't focus so much on the Big 5 since there is so much more to see: the nature is just beautiful and there are a lot more animals to be spotted, than just the Big 5. Especially the morning drives are great and it is just great to watch Andres and Beckson as they follow the tracks.
Just to give you an idea: except of the Big 5 we saw Hippos, Wilder Beasts, Zebras, Giraffes, Impalas, Kudus, Warthogs and even a Leopard with cubs.

What we also liked: not only would one of the managers Mariza and Bert (who are just as great as their staff by the way) join us for breakfast and dinner but also Andres and/or Beckson will be at your table.

Summarized: N'Kaya is not only worth a visit, you almost have to go there. The only thing we regret was staying for two nights only. But we want to come back, those two days are among the best and most memorable in our lives.

Thank you and many regards to everyone at N'Kaya

Ellen & Martin

  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank Martin J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 August 2011

What a wonderful place, we stayed for our honeymoon and it couldn't have been more perfect. All the team at the lodge made us feel so welcome.
We saw all the Big 5 plus other beautiful animals like the cheetahs, all the game drives were so exciting thanks to Andries and Beckson, these guys really know their stuff, so professional and friendly.
Lovely lodges felt quite luxurious, so spaceous and comfortable.
The watering hole with the hide is a fantastic feature, the area is prolific with birds and other animals, a great place to relax.
The food was outstanding, of such a high quality, really delicious. And a fabulous wine selection to boot.
We have the most amazing memories to treasure forever and would love to return one day.
Thank you all (Maritsa, Burt, Leanne, Beckson, Andries, Margaret and Lydia).

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank CarolMarkWeymouth_UK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about N'kaya Lodge

Address: Guernsey Road, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Region: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Thornybush Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #10 of 12 Speciality Lodging in Thornybush Private Game Reserve
Price Range: £461 - £549 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — N'kaya Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A wonderful gem in the bush, 4 star, located in the Thornybush Reserve, well known for superb game viewing. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
N'Kaya Lodge Thornybush Private Game Reserve, South Africa

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