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“Fabulous wedding and honeymoon”

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Garonga Safari Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 28 May 2013

Believe everything that other reviewers say about Garonga. It really is THAT good!

We were married there and enjoyed the first few days of our honeymoon afterwards. It is a fabulous mix of 5 star service without being stuffy and formal. Standards are exceptional but you always know that you are in Africa on safari, we really didn't want to stay in a generic hotel which could be anywhere in the world. It is so relaxing and all of the staff are wonderful. The food was excellent and the game drives were brilliant. The trackers are very knowledgeable and go to great lengths to ensure you see the animals well and it was amazing to see the animals so relaxed around the Garonga safari staff. The animals are wonderfully healthy looking and clearly the whole safari side of everything is as well managed as the "hotel" side.

The wedding was a truly magical experience. We were married up on the sleep-out deck which is about 25 minutes drive from the main lodge. How many people see giraffe, elephants, zebra etc all just on the drive to the ceremony? The wedding itself was a very personal affair, carried out by a lovely chap called George. We actually had 2 ceremonies, the standard, exchanging of rings version and also an African one where we exchanged meaningful African curious which symbolised various aspects of married life and caring for one another. George provided all of the items and they were ours to keep!

We cannot speak highly enough of the whole experience at Garonga, you'll only ever know how good it is if you go yourself!

Room Tip: We slept in tent number 6. It is the furthest from the lodge and does not overlook the watering hole...
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  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Elaine B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BERNARDO S, Owner at Garonga Safari Camp, responded to this reviewResponded 1 June 2013

Thanks indeed for your very kind words. It was a pleasure to host you on your very special day here.
Weddings are very majical in the Bushveld out amongst Nature and only the Animals to keep you company.
Best Wishes
Bernie

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202 - 208 of 384 reviews

Reviewed 25 May 2013

we stayed 3 nights at Garonga and enjoyed every minute there. Everything was perfectly organised, the accomodation spacious and clean and the safari drives were fantastic. We were close to lots of the animals and always felt safe. Jaffad and Rebel knew where to go to see the animals and we did some exciting four-wheel driving. Bernie looked very well after all of the guests and nothing is a problem.
The food was great, the staff friendly and helpful and there was enough of everything.
It was a really great experience and we will come back to Africa at some stage.

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank SeppSydney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BERNARDO S, Owner at Garonga Safari Camp, responded to this reviewResponded 1 June 2013

Thanks for your very positive comments. Jaff and Rebel are a great team together.
We hope to see you back.
best Wishes
Bernie

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Reviewed 24 May 2013

Garonga Safari Camp is simply magical! I decided on Garonga based on the reviews from Trip Advisor. I took my 79 year old mother, who had always wanted to go on a Safari. I thought the pictures and videos of the property were too good to be true, but the property looked exactly as advertised.

The "tents" were actually done in a Moroccan style, which added an amount of elegance that was very functional and pleasing to the eye. I put "tent" in parenthesis because the foundation was rock solid, with a polished stone floor (to keep snakes out) and a stucco style walls. The roof was a heavy canvas. Each tent had a very nice bathroom, washing area and an unbelievable shower (another shower was outside). The beds were king-size, very comfortable and protected by mosquito netting. The main dining area was great for socializing with other guests. Wine, beer, certain liquors were all complimentary. The food was outstanding!

The best part of the trip, however, were the safaris. We took two safaris each day, each between 3 to 4 hours. We left at 0615 in the morning and would return around 0945. We'd eat breakfast, then have the middle of the day to ourselves (swim in the fantastic pool, get a massage, lie in the hammock, etc). We'd eat lunch around 2:00 pm, then get ready to go on the afternoon safari around 3:30. We'd be out until about 6:45pm, then freshen up and have dinner around 7:30pm.

The safaris themselves were unforgettable experiences. We drove in an open air Land Rover 4 wheel drive vehicle that accommodated 10 people. There was no roof or windows on this particular vehicle, so the animals theoretically could have just jumped in with us (although they never would). These Land Rovers were engineering marvels. They could take the steepest grade, ford the deepest rivers, and drive at impossible angles without rolling over. The reserve was about 10x10 square miles, full of brush and trees. The property was shared by numerous game reserves, not just Garonga. It was a delicate ecological balance to keep so many animals on that property without one breed of animal exerting total dominion over the others, but it was done masterfully. We saw lions, cheetahs, elephants, rhinoceros, giraffes, antelope, buffalo (in a separate area), zebras, hyenas, impala, jackals and numerous other animal and bird species. We came across a pride of lions feasting on a zebra carcass. We were only about 20 feet from them! We also came across a bull elephant in heat, the only time I got really nervous! The highlight of our safari experience was on our last day, when we say two cheetahs chasing zebra, and then the zebra reared up and chased the cheetah!

I could go on and on about this fantastic place: the internet connectivity, the evening safari cocktails, the treehouse lunch, breakfast on a dry river bed. Best of all, the staff was fantastic. The overall value was tremendous. Congratulations to Bernie and the rest of his crew for creating such a magnificent experience!

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled with family
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Thank CAPTJohnston
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BERNARDO S, Owner at Garonga Safari Camp, responded to this reviewResponded 1 June 2013

Thanks indeed for your very kind comments; you certainly had a great Safari. I will pass this on to the staff on our weekly meetings.
Best Regards
Bernie

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Reviewed 15 May 2013

We spent 3 nights at Garonga the end of April and cannot say enough how much we enjoyed our stay. It was highly recommended by a friend when we started planning our first safari and I am happy to say that our expectations after hearing from her were not only met but exceeded! We felt the timing of our stay was perfect as it was a little chilly in the morning and evenings but nice and warm in the afternoon. It is an absolutely beautiful place, both looking out of the lodge and our own tent, truly a "safari for the soul". I loved our tent and felt completely at peace there and in the lodge eating meals overlooking the bush, as well lounging by the pool during the day relaxing with some beers. It was also nice that it is only 12 guests max - there were only 6 of us the first night and it was lovely! Bernie and the entire staff could not have been more welcoming and we LOVED the food (Bennett, you are a fantastic chef!) and had some great meals there. We did the sleepover and I highly recommend it - when else do you get to go sleep in a treehouse and literally see no other lights when looking out, and just listening to the sounds of the animals. We saw plenty of animals during our 5 safaris (including a lion cub on the gravel runway as we were leaving!) and were so sad to leave. Thank you to Bernie and the entire staff for a truly once in a lifetime experience, although we certainly hope to make it back again soon! :)

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank bethie331
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BERNARDO S, Owner at Garonga Safari Camp, responded to this reviewResponded 20 May 2013

Thank-You indeed for your very positive comments.
The sleep out is a must, especially now in the Winter when ity is so clear at night!
It was a pleasure hosting you!
All the best
Bernie

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Reviewed 13 May 2013

We spent 3 days at Little Garonga for our daughters wedding in April and cannot speak highly enough about Little Garonga, the staff, the atmosphere, the surroundings, the games drives, the list is endless! The wedding was truly magical from the service under a fig tree to the choir, reception, food and stunning location! From the very minute we arrived to the very minute we left we were treated to sights, sounds and experiences we will never forget. Thanks Bernie and your great staff (CJ and Hefrek in particular) for looking after us so well including the small touches (ie sand messages). We so appreciated your efforts on our daughters big day and the rest of our stay with you.

Room Tip: The Buckingham suite has a wonderful outlook from the decking area
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  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled with family
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Thank Chris E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BERNARDO S, Owner at Garonga Safari Camp, responded to this reviewResponded 20 May 2013

Thanks indeed for your very kind comments.
I will certainly pass on your message to CJ and Hefric!
Best Regards
Bernie

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Reviewed 7 May 2013

We had 3 nights at Little Garonga and and two nights at the main camp, we went as it was our son's wedding. It was the most fantastic experience with superb but polite service from all the staff, wonderful food and a great range of drinks and amazing safari expeditions in the mornings and afternoons. The accomodation was extremely comfortable and we loved the outdoor showers.The wildlife was magnificent and the trackers and guides were friendly and knowledgeable and this enabled us to see many amazing animals. Our stay far exceeded our expectations and Bernie and all his staff were so helpful throughout, I would really like to return to Garonga whilst I'm still able to get in and out of Land Rovers easily and still able to dodge spiky vegetation whilst travelling at speed!

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank awk152
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BERNARDO S, Owner at Garonga Safari Camp, responded to this reviewResponded 20 May 2013

Thanks indeed for your very poisitive feedback. Yes, the landrovers are best, especially now that we have 2 new ones.
We hope to see you again.
Best Regards
Bernie

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Reviewed 4 May 2013

Having met at Garonga eight years ago on a student gap year project we couldn't have imagined getting married anywhere else and we were certainly not disappointed!!
Arranging the wedding with Garonga reception staff and Bernie was a dream, they could not have been more helpful and thought of every last detail. All suggestions and requests were accommodated without any hesitation which resulted in a wedding that was simply out of this world. We really cant thank the staff enough, every element was perfect and so much more than we even imagined. The choir were fantastic, the food was amazing and the whole experience was phenomenal!!
Really cant say enough about how much we enjoyed our stay, CJ provided the best safari experience that we could have hoped for and Herfrick looked after us so well in Little Garonga.
I know all of our family and friends staying in the camp also had the trip of a lifetime so again thank you so much, we're already planned our anniversary trip!!!!

Hayley & Piers

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank 0Hayley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BERNARDO S, Owner at Garonga Safari Camp, responded to this reviewResponded 20 May 2013

Dear Hayley and Piers,
What a pleasure and honour it was to host you both and your Families for such an occassion! Such a great story as well - to begin at Garonga as students and visit again to be married.
We certainly hope to see you again.
We all wish you the best of luck.
Bernie

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Additional Information about Garonga Safari Camp

Address: Selati Portion 12, KT 143, Phalaborwa, 1390, Makalali Private Game Reserve 1380, South Africa
Region: South Africa > Limpopo Province > Makalali Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Makalali Private Game Reserve
Price Range: £244 - £900 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Garonga Safari Camp 4*
Number of rooms: 9
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Also Known As:
Garonga Safari Camp Hotel Makalali Private Game Reserve
Garonga Safari Camp South Africa/Makalali Private Game Reserve

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