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“Amazing accommodation but let down on service”
Review of Kings Camp

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Kings Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
82 reviews
51 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 98 helpful votes
“Amazing accommodation but let down on service”
Reviewed 26 August 2012

On arrival we were immediately shown to our rooms, but there was no tour of the camp or what we could expect. In the room I found an impersonal letter stating the daily timetable and the names of the staff.

Once again my room was the furthest from reception, room 11 – the honeymoon suite. The room is ridiculously large. There is a massive chandelier, giant triple wardrobe, tables, armchairs, a big deep bath in the bedroom together with a shower, twin sinks, tea making facilities and an expresso machine, inclusive mini-bar, tray of fruit and decanter of sherry, electric blankets on the bed, bird and mammal guides in the room. Candelabras and fresh flowers are everywhere. There is also a radio and i-pod dock. Outside there is a covered patio with small private pool, sun loungers and tables and chairs. There is free wi-fi, however this is very intermittent during the day, although I had a full signal late at night in my room (although no signal during the day).

Unfortunately this luxury was a bit wasted on me as we only ever returned to the camp to eat and sleep and it was only on our final day that I saw the room in daylight. Each evening there would be a card left with the next day’s weather forecast. Despite the oppulence, I found the bed somewhat hard and didn't sleep very well.

As they were short on rangers, we had a freelance guide called Brendon and our tracker was Selby. Our guide was happy to go out all day, although this may be because he was freelance and I’m not sure the actual camp’s guides would have been as accommodating. Hot water bottles were provided on morning drives.

One highlight was the two wildcats that hung around the lodge after breakfast each day.
Regrettably I found the organisation in the camp to be chaotic and there was little sign of the personal service I have come to expect from luxury lodges in South Africa. We had booked lodges in the Timbavati in the hope of seeing white lions, but no-one in the camp was interested in our objective. Our guide, being freelance, did not know what was happening in the area and there seemed little communication with other guides.

The communal areas are quite close together so it is hard to get away from other guests unless you are in your own room. The food does let the camp down. The only saving grace is the desserts which are a work of art and, due to a chef not turning up, were created by Tristan the camp manager.

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
3 Thank bushmaniac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KingsCampManagement, Manager at Kings Camp, responded to this review, 30 August 2012
Thank you for taking the time to complete the REVIEW for Kings Camp. Your feedback is invaluable to us and we are constantly striving to meet our guests expectations. I am the lodge manager with my wife Lisha and we were away during your visit. Tristan is my assistant manager that was in charge during my absence.

I am sorry that your stay with us did not meet your expectations. You are correct in saying that we used a feelance guide and the reason for us using him is because you had reserved a private vehicle. I have sufficient guides for a full camp but when a private vehicle is occassionally booked I need to bring in a qualified and experienced guide to offer the service you deserve. Your guide has been working within the reserve for the past 16 years and is one of the most experienced and knowledgible guides in the region The white lions do occur in the region but unfortunately we have not had any confirmed sightings for around 3 months now and I am concerned for their well being. I have had sporadic reports that they have been sighted further North in the Klaserie Game Rerserve and will gladly keep you updated on their movements.

Lisha and I have lived at and managed Kings Camp for the past 17 years. The camp is not merely a job for us but our home and passion where we have raised a family. We take your feedback very seriously and will endevour to investigate and rectify our short comings. Again, I offer my sincerest apologies.

Regards
Warren and Lisha Moore
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (95)
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English first
Boston, Massachusetts
2 reviews
Reviewed 22 August 2012

What a wonderful experience! My wife and I spent five nights at Kings Camp in June. We had an amazing room with a private pool. The food was wonderful (plentiful and varied). The game viewing was excellent. But, first and foremost, the staff was lovely. Great service and genuinely nice people that you wanted to converse with and enjoy a glass of wine with. My lasting impression of the hotel was the fact that several of the staff walked us out to our car upon our departure and waved as we drove down the driveway. Probably the single biggest reason that South Africa ended up being our best vacation ever.

  • Stayed June 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank glhudson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dubai
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 August 2012

July found us back again at our most favourite place in the world.. Kings Camp. Back for the third time.It felt like coming back home.. the huge welcome we received at the airport from Warren , the drive leading upto the camp..my family geting more and moe excited as familiar landscape rolled by..and then.. aaah... seeing the camp standing by itself in the middle of the dry african bush ( being winter there) .. meeting and hugging our long friends Warren,Tristan, shauna, mellisa, Lisha and ofcourse Patrick, guys cant thank you enough for the love, warmth and friendship you have honoured us with... then walking up to our beautiful room ( which is always reserved for us)... ohhh sheer bliss!!

what makes this our home away from home.. hmmm.. I might need more space than whats given to go on and on. the first thing which comes to my mind is the utter warmth and friendliness of EVERYONE there.. from the managers Warren and Lisha to the kitchen staff, Nico, the servers, the tracketrs, the office staff, our lovely rangers... everyone has a smile on their face, a twinkle in their eye, a joke or a helpful word on their lips. It wasnt just us who were made to feel like the most special people in the world, but all the guests who came and enjoyed this hospitality. I have yet to see another camp who has so many returns. Each gueat is remembered with fondness even if their last trip was a couple of years back and little anecdotes are shared about their sightings and stay with them. you feel like you belong... simple!

I cant thank you guys enough for making each trip so special for us everytime. Special mention goes out to : Warren and Lisha , an amazing couple who run this beautiful camp like their own.Tristen, shauna, mellisa who buzz around the camp making sure every thing is par excellence, yet always having time to stop by to have a chat or share a joke or chase after their two adopted cats!Morney, Colburt,Sinead and ofcourse our beloved ranger Patrick. Words arnt enough to thank you Patrick for the friendship and care you honour us with time and time again! Selby , and albert our lovely hardworking trackers who can literally find a needle in the haystack! Nicoh and his wonderful team who fed us day after day with yummy delicious gourmet food! the wonderful servers who aldeady knew our 'specials' and without hesitation would make them magically appear in front of us without us having to even ask for them.

If I had one negative thing to say about the camp is.. its that we cant live there round the clock!! Reality does come back to cloud our haze of bliss and we have to adjust to getting back to real life. We had tears in our eyes when we left.. but also a smile.. knowing we shall be back sooner than you can say 'morning morning' :)

love you all and thankyou again for a dream come true.


thank you thankyou thankyou!

Karan, Sanyukta, Sanjana and Saanika Kumar, dubai, UAE

Room Tip: All the rooms are beautiful with wonderful views looking out into your own little bush heaven.
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  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank JadeDubai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rio Rancho, New Mexico
Level Contributor
47 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 August 2012

This camp is for the higly social person. Nice ammenities and service; however, there was a little too much 'down-time' which could have been used more adequitely viewing wildlife rather than taking siestas. We went as a honemoon package and recieved awsome and personalized service including a candle lit dinner on our private deck. We also got all of the Big Five in One Drive twice!

**Booking your own personal safari vehicle and guide is a must for any true photographer or avid amimal lover of a specific species, otherwise you spend your time with other people from other groups and go by the whim of the groups wants, not yours! Be more than a number and book your own vehicle!**

Room Tip: Honeymoon suite is nice with a personal plunge pool
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  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank RacquelMS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
15 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 July 2012

In reviewing such sites, there are really two factors to consider and review. One is the site itself as far as the staff, the amenities, the service, the facilities - the typical "hotel" review, as it were. The other, however, for a site as unique as is this one, is the quality specifically of the nature reserve, their guides, their trackers, their vehicles - the AFRICA that you came to see and experience. I will agree with all those reviewers who found the staff superlative in all ways - who found that they were as service oriented as the highest rated European or American five star luxury hotel. I agree that the facilities are wonderful, and that the experience there is superb.

However.

Even that must pale in comparison to the safari experiences themselves that we experienced with this group. Our guide, Colbert, and our Tracker, Selby, were, well, incomparable. They were not just immensely friendly - they were not just almost eerily knowledgeable - they were not just tremendously capable as trackers and guides at finding game - they were genuinely themselves excited by doing so and by being among the animals each time we found them. The vehicles were more not only comfortable than others we had experienced on safari at other locations we had gone to in several countries in the south of Africa for the preceding few weeks, but the way that Colbert drove, and the care in which he ensured that we were properly positioned relative to the animals yet considering our requests for proper lighting and position of the sun relative to the animals for photographic purposes (with a 400/2.8 lens, there is a lot riding on the photographic success of this photo safari trip), and the patience that he showed in our requests for more - and more - and more yet again, was incomparable. When we found a mother leopard and her cub or a herd of elephants that surrounded us and let us observe from within them or a rare spotting of a honey badger during the daytime - if it meant that we would return back to camp later than what had been "officially advertised", then so be it, they did so without a second's hesitation. They were so concerned that we have the most successful and enjoyable time on our safari experience that this overwhelmed all other considerations except for safety. And the love that Colbert felt for these animals was almost palpable. Going for a brief hour or so walk in the bush with him was the icing on the cake.

There are many ways to go on safari. But if one can afford to do so, going with a guide and a tracker is soooo much more efficient (rather than merely hoping that you find by chance the animals you are seeking). Doing so in a private reserve where you are permitted to follow some of these animals into the bush (and I do mean INTO the bush - over bushes, down hills - these guys are experienced bush drivers!) is the ONLY way to actually find and observe these magnificent creatures from so close that we could absolutely literally just about touch them in most cases. And doing it with Guides and Trackers with this level of knowledge, experience, and customer orientation - well, that's incomparable.

If you can afford this type of safari, look no further, for you have just found THE perfect one. You can count me as another life member of the "Kings Camp Fan Club", as it were - and one who is already dreaming about a return visit...

Room Tip: I believe that there are a total of twelve cottages/rooms and, if you so desire, two honeymoon suite...
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  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank ekanal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brighton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
46 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 July 2012

We visited Kings Camp on our honeymoon for a 3 day safari and had such a wonderful time. The room we had was absolutley stunning (the honeymoon house - look at the pic attached). Every single detail had been thought of (most importantly all the alcohol and treats!). From the rolling bath, to the huge shower, private pool, lounge area, massive bed and overall style it ticked every box (and 3x over!).The game drives were superb and we saw a leopard on nearly every drive.The staff are also very welcoming, experienced and genuine. It was such a beautiful place to stay and we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. Thank you for making our honeymoon so special - we'd love to return one day.

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank LadySteercat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
pgh
Level Contributor
8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 July 2012

we just got back from staying in Kings Camp for 3 nights at the end of our 2 weeks in South Africa. we have NEVER stayed in a place like this! when you pull up to the lodge the staff is waiting at the door to greet you. cold drinks are waiting for you, there is a briefing about safety (after all, you are in the middle of the largest reserve in South Africa!), then they personally escort you to your room and go over all the amenities and services available. their guides and trackers were so informative and knowledgeable, their jeeps more comfortable than the others we were in - and they provide hot water bottles for cold mornings in the jeep! the staff was helpful, friendly and overall incredible. i agree with the other reviewer - we did not want to leave!

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank jekPgh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Kings Camp

Property: Kings Camp
Address: Unkhulu Gate, Argyle Road, Kruger National Park 1218, South Africa
Region: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 17 Speciality Lodging in Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:5 star — Kings Camp 5*
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, Kings Camp reflects the charm and romance of a colonial past in a pristine corner of unspoilt Africa. Kings Camp is situated facing an open savanna plain with a waterhole, which is frequented by a wide variety of wildlife, day and night.Eleven generously spacious colonial suites are luxuriously equipped with air-conditioning, Victorian ball-and-claw bath, indoor and outdoor double shower, fully stocked mini-bar and private verandah. Dark tones of wood and thatch offset the natural colours of the bushveld. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kings Camp Hotel Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
Kings Camp South Africa/Kruger National Park

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