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“Good but not great”
3 of 5 bubbles Review of N'kaya Lodge

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N'kaya Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
42 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 114 helpful votes
“Good but not great”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 October 2013

We recently stayed at N'Kaya for 2 nights and were somewhat underwhelmed by the experience overall.
The accommodations are very good, well maintained, spacious and comfortable. Not as private as some lodges we have visited as all the rooms face inwards towards the pool area. We liked the outdoor eating areas and the hide over the water hole.
Whilst we had good wildlife sightings during our stay, we were disappointed by the quality of our "tracker" Andrew who added nothing to our game drives whatsoever. We spotted more wildlife than he did and he did not get off the vehicle once to follow tracks - it would have been better if he had not been on the vehicle so we could have had a better view! Dean, our driver, was quite good but somewhat repetitive with his stories and repertoire. It was VERY disappointing to get back from our morning drives at 8.30 and 8.20am respectively (when we had just driven past other trucks just taking their coffee break) when breakfast wasn't even ready until gone 9. At other lodges we have been out till gone 9.30am and brunch is served as soon as you get back. Clearing up the breakfast table just 30 minutes after food has been served and guests were still enjoying coffee and toast is unacceptable. Similarly, the staff cleared up dinner plates very swiftly.
Beckson was the lodge "manager" but seemed out of his depth. Many requests were met with a blank look and had to be repeated several times. No-one mentioned Lianne but she appears on documentation, maybe things are better when she is there?
Wifi is paid for but doesn't work well and was always dropping out. Yes, we were on vacation but needed to keep in touch with home for personal reasons. If you charge for a service, make sure it works properly! We had no problems with (free) wifi at other lodges in Thornybush.
Food was good and tasty, poor selection and too little of it at afternoon tea as several items ran out.
At this price point, bottled water at least should be included.
Would we return or recommend - no, other lodges provide better service and game drives.

Room Tip: they are all the same
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  • Stayed October 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
4 Thank FTG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NKaya42, Manager at N'kaya Lodge, responded to this review, 16 October 2013
Thank you very much for your honest feedback.
This is always appreciated and ensures that we can aim to better the standard.
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95 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (23)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Perth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
15 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 June 2013 via mobile

Fantastic two nights at this remarkable game lodge, excellent food, cooked fresh for us in the company of the trackers, Dean, Bex and Anders, luxury accommodation in self contained little thatched bungalows. Game drives were excellent - saw the big five and many more thanks to the skill of our tracker Anders and our driver Bex. The setting of this lodge and the layout around a central bar/lounge area, outside eating area and the secluded Boma makes it cozy and friendly. The hide is also a lovely place to pass an hour or two watching visiting animals with a cold beer/cider from the honesty bar! Well worth a visit, we will be back.

  • Stayed May 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Pam1305
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NKaya42, Manager at N'kaya Lodge, responded to this review, 16 October 2013
Always good to know that people have wonderful memories of their trip.
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Bristol, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
31 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 April 2013

Stayed 2 nights at this amazing lodge. 20 mins transfer from main lodge so you truely feel you are in the wilderness. Great welcome and safe compound. 4 two person separate accommodation pods with lounge, 2 bathrooms and a beautiful bedroom set up. Main lodge was awesome, bar overlooking a waterhole where many animals amble past as you sip ice cold bears and discuss what you have seen on the game drives.
Food a highlight, home made and delicious. Plentiful but not forced upon you.
Swimming pool or hide to while away the in between drive hours. The peace of the lodge for me was the highlight.
Game viewing was excellent - our last drive included 2 male cheetah on the road followed by a caracal wandering towards us - rare sighting indeed. The abundance of animals in this well tended reserve is evident.

Our trip of a life time with 13 and 9 year old boys was enhanced by this 2 day bit :-)

Room Tip: All rooms are exactly the same
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  • Stayed March 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank NeilKerfoot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NKaya42, Manager at N'kaya Lodge, responded to this review, 3 April 2013
We always aim to enhance a trip, glad we succeeded and that the sighting of the Caracal added an unexpected surprise to top it all
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roma
Level Contributor
44 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 October 2012

We've stayed at the N'Kaya Lodge during our honeymoon and only for 2 nights. This was the only bad!!! After you arrive, you only want to stay more. It was our first safara experience and it's been really incredible: Becks and Andres are extraordinary guides, the atmosphere, both in the morning that in the night, was so magic with colours and nature and silence ... not to mention the animals!!! We've seen everything, more times and so close!!!
The Lodge itself is very beautiful, simple but so comfortable. There are only 4 chalets, so they can have only 8 guests!!! Our chalet had 2 big bathroom, one with shower and one with tub, big and confy canopy bed, space outside to have a break. They have a selfservice and very well furnished bar and the food is so good ... expecially breakfast! We cannot thanks enough all the staff for our wonderful days.

  • Stayed September 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank clarita76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NKaya42, Manager at N'kaya Lodge, responded to this review, 17 October 2012
We hope that this great experience will make you come back for more and instead of your honeymoon ,it will be anniversaries that will next be planned at N'Kaya LOdge
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Bellevue, Washington
Level Contributor
144 reviews
81 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 October 2012

My husband and I just returned from spending four wonderful nights at N'kaya Lodge located in the Thornybush Game Reserve. The location is an easy flight (40 mins) from Johburg or 21/2 hours from Capetown. Right from the beginning we were treated like royalty with courteous and friendly service from everyone employed. The staff who is ably led by Leanna is relatively small and yet they all aim to please their guests in any way possible. From our Driver/Ranger (Bex) and Tracker (Andres) trying to find new animals to show us on our twice daily safaris, to Suzette and Tambi who presented delicious and wonderful food three times per day. Leanna rotated meals with Bex and Suzette who all shared bush stories about themselves and their chosen career paths. It was not only refreshing it felt familial. Since N'kaya's capacity is eight guests (we never had more than six) it was intimate, comfortable and very relaxing. We felt a long, long way away from home and yet with all of our comforts, ie: wonderful air conditioning, Internet, tasty and plentiful meals, lovely and spacious cottage, modern amenties and a noteworthy bar with any kind of cocktail desired. I would be remiss if I didn't mention the wild life....WELL ....we saw lions, hippos, crocs, wildebeest, steinbok, cheetahs, elephants, warthos, giraffe, zebra, water buffalo, impala,baboons, monkeys, hornbills, vultures....just to name a few. Thank you so very much - we had a wonderful time !

  • Stayed September 2012
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Helpful?
Thank Bliss62
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NKaya42, Manager at N'kaya Lodge, responded to this review, 10 October 2012
It is always good to know that we have succeeded in our aim to please and managed to give you the best experience possible.
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oxford
Level Contributor
46 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 September 2012

3 nights of complete pleasure and relaxation with wonderful game drives.

You arrive as a guest and you leave as a friend - the staff are wonderful, they make you feel completely welcome and the Driver (Bex) and Tracker (Andres) for our game drives never failed to find the animals we wished to see. Big 5 done in the first two days and the bonus of both white and black rhino, and wild dogs with pups made it all the more special.

The first two days we had the place to ourselves which was wonderful - then we were joined by three other couples who were great fun and added to the enjoyment.

I would highly recommend here to adults and older teenagers as there is nothing to do during the day except relax which younger kids might find difficult - there's no TV internet or radio which is wonderful and as an adult it meant complete relaxation.

I would happily return to N'kaya Lodge for the complete escapism, friendly staff, great food and wonderful wildlife viewing, if you want lots of people to chat too pick another lodge as luckily you only have 8 guests and the staff to share the Lodge with which makes it all the more special .

Room Tip: Any room will be perfect
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  • Stayed September 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank jlcOxford
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NKaya42, Manager at N'kaya Lodge, responded to this review, 20 September 2012
Meeting great people all the time is a real plus working here and the other bonus is the awesome wildlife around us. The wild dogs and pups has everybody in the reserve buzzing with excitment.
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Derbyshire
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 August 2012

3 nights here with a party of 7( ages from 8 to sixty something). We had the most wonderful, magical time. Amazing game drives with an awesome driver and tracker team, who found us every creature we could have wished for and more............ some real Wow moments. Our host at the lodge was charming and the food utterly delicous. One evening we ate under the stars amongst fire torches, another in the beautiful main lodge and another on the veranda. Breakfast each morning after the first drive overlooked the watering hole, offering sights of monkeys, zebra, impala, warthogs, giraffe and one very special day.... 24 elephants! There's a lovely pool and a timber hide which overlooks the watering hole............ a great place to sit in the afternoon with a cold beer. Even hot water bottles provided for the early morning chilly drives! for us, this place was faultless............. a real gem.

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Penny H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NKaya42, Manager at N'kaya Lodge, responded to this review, 20 September 2012
It was a real pleasure to host your family and it is great that you have such special memories.
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Additional Information about N'kaya Lodge

Property: 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 (Based on Average Rates): ££££
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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