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“First class ... I have fallen in love!”

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Motswari Private Game Reserve
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 15 April 2012

I stayed at Motswari due an incredibly kind friend who secured accommodation there for me after my original booking at a nearby lodge had to be cancelled due to the devastating floods in January 2012, which left my accommodation very wet!! Well, I have to say I was truly truly blessed by this stroke of fate.

The lodge is not opulent and over the top luxury, but very definitely up-market and tasteful. The rooms are spacious with everything you need (including a lamp in case of power failure, mozzie spray etc). The bathrooms are gorgeous - my bath looked out onto the bush, with beautiful thick,large fluffy towels (my pet hate is skimpy towels that feel like cardboard!). Very comfortable beds affording one a good nights sleep, as well as a fan and airconditioning.

The area they traverse is absolutely beautiful with varied terrain and many rivers to cross. It was incredible to see concrete and 30ft dam walls washed away by the recent floods, leaving dry river beds and changing the landscape - each drive was an adventure even for the guides as so much has changed. Add to this a section of land in the north bordering Kruger which is beautiful, very wild and with a beautiful rocky kopje to view the sunset from (you have to be fairly agile to get up there mind you!!). The bush was incredibly thick which I hadn't expected in this area, filled with beautiful trees, mopane and thick vegetation (all aided by the heavy rains). The river bed in front of lodge (I understand normally dry) provided good viewing of an ellie who came down at lunch time for a drink and splash about, together with many different bird species, not the least of which was a woodland kingfisher flashing his turquoise wings regularly.

Game viewing is first class for all things big and small, including 2 chameleons (on my bucket list). We traveled some distance to get to the northern sector (mentioned above) so as to take advantage of 2 snoozing lionesses and their 4 cubs. It was totally magical spending at least 45 minutes watching the cubs slowly accept our presence and begin to play. Grant and Jacky. our guide and tracker, were enthusiast and passionate about their mission to explore and find our next thrill, and the excellent rapport between them made for most enjoyable listening between each sighting. Nothing was too much trouble, and when I asked if we could possibly have our morning coffee break by a dry river bed (my absolute favourite) they obliged with a very beautiful scene to sit and absorb the sights, sounds and smells of the bush. Magic!!

All the staff at the lodge were exceptionally friendly and helpful. It was a privilege to meet one of their well known guides who was due to go on leave but took time out to chat with me before departing. I particularly liked that Godfrey, the Deputy Manager and Thea and Dave, the Managers, all delightful people, introduced themselves to each guest and interacted with them throughout the day and during the evening meal - rather than being aloof and away from guests which is a common experience at other lodges I have been to. They really made one feel like a part of the family for the time you were there.

Meals were superb, whether it be early morning coffee, breakfast, lunch or dinner - a huge selection of delectable treats. Evening meals were taken at varying venues, on the deck by the river, in the boma, or, I believe, sometimes out in the bush. The lodge was even happy for me to invite friends who live or work close by to join me for dinner.

Motswari has stolen my heart as a lodge to go to for a friendly, comfortable, relaxing and superb game viewing safari experience and I definitely recommend staying here and hope that I will return before too long.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled solo
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5  Thank UKIngwe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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511 - 517 of 709 reviews

Reviewed 6 April 2012

Motswari is amazing ! I stayed there in september 2011 and september 2010 for 2 nights each, and have visited many other lodges in the Sabi Sand and Timbavati, but Motswari is definitely one of my favourites.

A really lovely place. Its not luxurious, but very good middle class and with everything you need. Each bungalow is named after an animal, and each of the 15 bungalows is differently decorated. All of them with a lot of love for detail, with african touches (without being over the top / kitsch), and with great artwork. Lion and Elephant are at on end of the lodge and are beautiful and a little bit "secluded", but I aso love alsmost every Bungalow I visited.

In the main area, a small pool overlooking the usually dry riverbed, and several open eating areas, a small library, a shop, all very nicely decorated. Really good food, buffet and made to order eggs at breakfast, a small but very varied and tasty buffet at lunch and in the evenings, boma dinners or 3 course meals.

The atmosphere at Motswari is great. A lot of the staff have been working there for many years, they love their job, and you feel it.

For me, the best about Motswari - the rangers and trackers ! Grant knows a lot about the bush, the animals behaviour, and has a very nice and quiet way. He loves his job, he loves nature, he wants to share it and does a great job about it. Being part of that large herd of elephants walking into a wonderful sunset - wow, that was a very amazing experience, probably one of the best experiences ever in africa. Jacky is a fantastic tracker. The first time I was at Motswari, he tracked the white lions on foot, twice, into very difficult terrain (rocks, where you cannot see tracks) and brought us into extreme wilderness, just a few meters to those beautiful cats. And last year, he again showed his skills.

Just thinking about Motswari and writing about it wants me to go back there.... what a wonderful place !

Stayed: September 2011, travelled solo
4  Thank nathalieyes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 March 2012

3 days spent in Motswari private game lodge is an outstanding experience coached by friendly and super professionnal rangers and trackers, far away from any mass safari people can have in mind. The feeling is just as you were the first one and the only one. traveling with 3 of my four kids (age 16,14 and 12) and my wife, we've never had a so intense experience of wild life. game drives or game walks...we've been facing so many spieces and tracking rhinos, lions, leopards, buffalos, elephants but also girafs, impalas, crocodiles, zebras....I have faced more then 40 different animals in 3 days ! Always in a new context and with no one around except our family and coaches.
facing the animals is the final touch and a real celebration after the tracking adventure which is so exciting, learning a lot on wild life by real experienced people.
Many thanks to our ranger Herold and our tracker Difference, we saw and experienced more then we could expect. The lodge is beautifull and so peacefull, food and staff would give lessons to anyone in Europe. We had the chance to be in a private house that can accommodate up to 10/15 people ; it's "Chlaralumi" which is the place you feel like staying by yourself in the savannah...in perfect safe environment of course !.
The genuine family spirit owning the reserve is all over the camp and the love for animals is perceptible. Congratulation and thanks to everybody for making this possible and helping wild life to remain unchanged ! Sabine, antoine, axel, Emma and marco (Paris)

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with family
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4  Thank trono
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 February 2012

Awesome in every single aspect. The service at this lodge is second to none in all aspects.

Our guide and tracker (Marka and Patrick) were superb and ensured each trip out brought a new sighting and experience - doing their best to track down the big five, the ugly five etc... and chasing then through the bush whenever the slightest hint of their presence was found. Although game may not be as plentiful as the nearby Kruger, the experience you get from the guides and the off road ability of the land rover is far more intimate and satisfying.

The accommodation was simple and nice (well suited to the location and surroundings) and the food was exceptional at every single meal.

I highly recommend this lodge - its an experience that will stay with you for a lifetime

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank HongKongStuey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 January 2012

Motswari is truly a superb location. We had two interconnecting rooms (Rhino and Cheetah) which was great since we had 2 adults and 2 kids. The staff at Motswari was great. The guides (Shadrack was ours) did a wonderful job finding so many animals. We had the Big 5 tracked within 24 hours of arriving. They really made sure you had a very unique experience. The food was great...especially the big breakfast when you came back in from the morning driving. The rooms were very nicely done and comfortable. We even had a lion outside our room one morning...good thing they have someone looking out for you. We highly recommend Motswari.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with family
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2  Thank Bulldoz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 January 2012

The Motswari Private Game Reserve is a very well run resort. This was our fourth Safari experience in Africa, but the most unique as far as the game drives were concerned. The activities were regulated by the time of the game drives. There were 2 per day. The morning game drive began around 5a.m. for three and half hours. Prior to the morning game drive we gathered for coffee/tea and muffins. Afterwards we had an excellent buffet breakfast. Lunch was served at 3p.m. to prepare us for the late dinner. The afternoon Safari drive began from 4p.m. to about 7:30p.m. Upon return we prepared for dinner which was excellent every time. The lodge was lovely and comfortable. We had some difficulties with the air conditioner not working the first night, but they promptly changed us to another cottage with a well working air conditioner. The beds were supremely comfortable. During the in-between times we were able to relax in the small pool. The best part of this experience were the game drives. The land rovers used were different than we were used to in other Safaris. These were completely open with space for about 8 people. Each seat had an excellent view. The rides were bumpier on the back seats. Our guide and tracer were most adventurous and with the land rover we were able to cross rivers and go through bushes and unexplored areas. This meant that we could get very close to the animals. We saw numerous lions, including the White Lion. There were hundreds of elephants, many of them swimming through the river. We saw several leopards, rhinos, buffaloes and many of the smaller animals including birds. We also learned a lot about tracking. We went on a walking safari too and learned more about animal foot prints. We hope that we can remember most of the information that was shared with us.

Room Tip: All the cottages seemed to be good, but make sure that the air conditioner works. It is probably be...
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  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Adrienne999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 January 2012

This is a really well-run and excellent value property. We have stayed in another 5-star private game lodge on the same trip to pamper ourselves, but considering the price we paid for Motswari which is about 35% less, everything was almost on par. First off, the staff and chef and ranger and tracker were all very friendly, they really do make you feel like you are a part of a family (as opposed to simply guests). Food was very tasty and served in buffet style mostly. But presentation and quality is top-notch. Atmosphere is always amicable and every night you dine together at a few big tables. The chef Leigh is always passionate. The game drives are very awesome. Our ranger Grant and tracker Jacky were very passionate and helpful, and Grant would literally drive ANYWHERE and do all his best to track and get you close to the animals without stressing them. In a few games drives he was only person doing the driving, tracking, explaining. We saw a white lion (one of only four wild ones in the world, and only found in Timbavati), and saw all big 5 by 2nd game drive. Room is on the more basic side, but very clean, tidy and spacious with a nice sofa and terrace.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank jjjason1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Motswari Private Game Reserve

Address: Kruger National Park 2021, South Africa
Region: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 17 Speciality Lodging in Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
Price Range: £489 - £937 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Motswari Private Game Reserve 4*
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Open to the Kruger National Park and playing host to Africa's Big Five is Motswari Private Game Reserve. One of South Africa's jewels nestled within the Timbavati Nature Reserve, this family-owned and operated four-star luxury safari lodge prides itself on its warm atmosphere and luxurious accommodation.The name Motswari means "to conserve and protect" in Tswana and the owners have held the name to be a promise to each of their future friends who arrive to share in the splendour of an African sunset at this vintage bush lodge.The 150 square kilometres that make up the reserve are part of the greater Kruger Park and guests will be treated to wildlife in their natural habitats as part of their unforgettable experience of Southern Africa. Ideally situated and exclusive, Motswari Private Game Reserve holds the best of everything for the traveller to the untamed majesty that is Africa.If you’re looking for a relaxed atmosphere, peaceful communion with nature and a private experience on a traditional African game farm, this holiday location is for you!Morning and evening game drives in open Land Rovers with professional field guides and trackersMid morning bush walks * Safari walks in lieu of morning game drives guided by armed field guidesOvernight bush hiking and camping sleep-out experience for groups of 4 with experienced guides*Hide sleep-outs in the Motswari Game Reserve*Swimming pool*Boma & bush dinners*Pre-lunch safari interest talks*Curio shop at Motswari Game Lodge*Brunch, high tea (late lunch) and dinner*Library and Art Gallery with 24-hour internet facility at Motswari Game Lodge*Fully equipped air-conditioned conference room for 20 delegates at Motswari Game Lodge*An additional vehicle plus guide can be arranged for an extra cost per day and covers 2 game drives per day ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Motswari Private Game Reserve Hotel Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
Motswari Private Game Reserve South Africa/Kruger National Park

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