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Garonga Safari Camp
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Reviews (394)
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Reviewed 4 August 2013

My wife, Katie, and I spent our honeymoon at the Garonga Safari Camp this June. We were there for six nights, and we truly had a wonderful time!

The camp's location is very exotic and exciting, while at the same time, the staff and owner spare no expense in creating a wonderfully comfortable environment for all of their guests. Guests sleep in their own private tent in the heart of the African bush, and yet there is never a question of safety or comfort.

Each day, there were morning and evening game drives that all guests had the opportunity to go on. Katie and I went on all of them–not wanting to miss any sight-seeing opportunities, but you may choose to opt out of any them if you wish. We had an awesome guide/tracker team–Musa and Thulani. They were with us all week, and they did an excellent job! Their tracking skills and their knowledge of the African wildlife impressed us both. And their great personalities made each game drive fun and exciting! It was a pleasure to get to know them both.

The food prepared each day was truly excellent. Garonga has talented chefs that prepare each meal with passion and creativity–making each meal exciting.

The staff provided superb service, and Bernie, the camp's owner, went to great lengths to be sure that we had an unforgettable time–arranging special activities for us each day. The best part of Garonga is the personal, friendly nature of the service you receive. Everyone there seems to genuinely enjoy the work that they do... They appear to have a passion for providing you with a unique and exiting experience, and this passion really does show in their product.

We had a wonderfully romantic trip and we would recommend Garonga to anyone who is up for something exciting and adventurous.

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Joseph_L_Pearman
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 3 September 2013

Thanks so much for your very positive comments. It was a pleasure hosting you. We are extremely fortunate to have such a great staff; most have been with us since inception.
WE hope to see you back.
best Wishes
Bernie

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Reviewed 9 July 2013

It is hard to write a review that contains any more relevant information that everyone else has contributed. This was our first safari experience and it has set a bar so high it will be hard to surpass. We stayed at Garonga (cabins 1 and 4) in June of 2013. We had our two sons (ages 13 and 9) and my mother with us. Our guide was Jaf and Rebel was our tracker - the first ride they found a pride of lions (2 mothers, 3 cubs and a junior male). We parked along side of them and sat 2 feet away from the junior lion for 30 minutes in awe. Then they started to wake up for their evening hunt and we followed them a short way - and watched them kill and eat a Wildebeest! Jaf and Rebel took us on a long hunt for White Rhinos the next morning (Rebel got off the jeep and tracked for an hour at one point) and we went off the tracks into the woods and found 4 of them. We saw elephants and giraffes (one came and ate right outside my outdoor shower) and tracked down 11 Hippos my son had been intent on seeing. We spent one night in the sleep-out (think Swiss Family Robinson style tree platform) and that was a fabulous night - Leopard tracks all around us in the morning. Bernie was a fabulous host, and the cooking and accommodations were amazing. The cooks (Maria and others) were fabulous. My son and I took a bush bath one night and had Hyenas on both sides calling to each other over a kill. My mother and boys took a micro flight over the reserve and got great pictures.
This was positively the best trip we have ever taken as a family and Garonga was a wonderful spot.

Room Tip: Room/tent 1 is by the waterhole and very quiet - great viewing
  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled with family
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Thank Mindy M
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 3 September 2013

Thanks so much for your kind feedback. You certainly had quite an active time here doing all the activities, and also such great game viewing with Jaff and Rebel.
Apologies for the delayed response but IT difficulties over the last few weeks.
best Wishes
Bernie

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Reviewed 16 June 2013

We stayed at Garonga (main Garonga cabins) at the start of June 2013 and we had a truly fabulous time. The attention to detail is second to none from the staff and everyone is just so friendly, they made us feel at home from the moment we arrived. The cabin/tent is very well presented with a large (very large!) bed, indoor and outdoor shower and a big deck overlooking the watering hole, which saw plenty of activity when we were there. Our cabin was no. 4 which looked straight onto the permanent watering hole. We had some wonderful views of the elephants and giraffe that came for a drink during our 5 night stay.

Our guide and tracker were Josia and Patric but we also drove for some game drives with Moosa and Tulani and they were all fantastic. We saw some amazing game over those 5 days with my highlight the sighting of a cheetah with her 3 cubs and the lions mating right in front of us. We had a great time with Josia and Patric and if you're lucky enough to be paired with them on your stay, get Patric to tell you his stories. They are very entertaining.

We also slept at the sleep out in the middle of the bush which was a great experience. We didn't see any animals (ok, 1 bird when we woke up) but the animal sounds at night and the starry night made up for that in spades. Within 10 minutes of leaving the sleep out Moosa and Tulani had found us a pair of cheetah brothers which was so exciting. We had a number of Cheetah and lion sightings and enjoyed all the other game the reserve has to offer (elephants, giraffe, antelopes and much, much more). We even saw a leopard, albeit very briefly.

The food was excellent. We dined at different spots every night and there were choices for mains and desserts every night as well so you should find something you like. As it was winter, the main boma and the personal ones that were placed near our dinner table were much needed but it meant that we were comfortable whilst dining on the deck. The bar is very well stocked and if you're unfamiliar with the South African shots, ask Liz for a springbokkie. You won't be disappointed!

You can't afford to take a nap at Garonga as there's a big chance you'll miss a great sighting at the watering hole which is directly beneath the main deck and visible from all cabins. We made the mistake to have an hour nap to shake off the long flight and we missed a pride of lions who came for a drink. There's a nice pool with several deck chairs where you can laze and look out over the watering hole. You can also go for a swim but I recommend you don't try that in winter (I did and it was C.O.L.D.!)

The staff and management are fantastic. We had the pleasure of being entertained by Bernie the owner a few times which was good fun. Liz, the lodge manager was around for the entire time we were there and she was fantastic. She looked after us and we enjoyed many casual conversations with her during our stay. The other staff were great too and our waiter, Robert, appeared to be working around the clock to look after our every need during meal times. The chefs are outstanding and if you love a dish, ask for the recipe. We did!

The lodge has a wifi connection at the main building but I recommend you only use it for emergencies. I really enjoyed the time away from all the modern technologies and relax and enjoy all that Garonga had to offer. If you're after an authentic safari experience with a personal touch you can't go wrong at Garonga and I highly recommend it for both the game viewing (best cheetah viewing in SA) and the lodge experience.

Room Tip: All cabins have a great view of the watering hole
  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank CeesvanGinkel
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 23 June 2013

Thanks very much for your positive comments which I will certainly pass on to the Staff.
It was a pleasure hosting you.
We hope to host you again one day.
Regards
Bernie

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Reviewed 16 June 2013

We stayed 5 nights at the main camp and enjoyed every minute. The accommodation was very clean and perfectly balanced between African bush "camping" with western expectations of comfort. The staff were lovely and looked after our every need with a smile. The food was delicious and most nights the chef gave diners a choice between game or "regular" meat for the main course. We usually opted for the game and had a culinary experience to make our foodie friends jealous. We can highly recommend the springbok, warthog and eland, although we weren't overexcited about the wildebeest. The entrees and desserts were also always delicious. We even asked for one of the entree recipes, which the chef was happy to provide. We hIghly recommended taking clothes that are loose at the start of your trip, because they'll be tight by the end (LOL!).

We had Josiah and Patrick and then Moosa and Tularni as our guides and feel very blessed to have had the wonderful animal sightings we did. In respect to the cats, we got to see a mother cheetah with 3 cubs, 2 adult cheetah brothers, 2 adolescent lion brothers, another lone lion male, a fleeting glimpse of a leopard and a pair of lions mating 3 metres from our vehicle! The sounds that the lions make during and after their mating session is incredible. We also saw heaps of elephants, (both at the watering hole in front of the camp and on safari), giraffe, 5 rhinos (including one that did a dance for us - or it could have been a mock charge!), hippos, warthog, monkeys and different species of antelope.

We did both the sleep out and the bush bath and can highly recommend both. There is something exhilarating and adventurous about being left alone in the African bush that makes your imagination run wild (even though you know that you are perfectly safe).

We would not hesitate to return to Garonga or recommend it to our family and friends.

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Essy K
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 23 June 2013

Your feedback is very much appreciated. Many thanks indeed.
It certainly sounds like the Game Experience was excellent; it is improving all the time especially now in Winter.
Thank-You for choosing Garonga, and we hope to see you back one day.
Regards
Bernie

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Reviewed 4 June 2013

This was to be our second experience on Safari and having had an excellent time on our last outing, I really didn't think it could get any better. Well, I was wrong.
Wow, what a time we had! There were four of us, we stayed at Little Garonga and it was absolutely fabulous in every way possible.
It had been a long journey, but after a most welcome drink, a refreshing towel, a tour of the camp with the most efficient Herfric, a quick shower and afternoon tea, we were off on our first safari with Josia and Patric our excellent guides. Then, enough time for a refreshing shower and a quick change before drinks and nibbles around the fire pit, the evening's menu choice from the lovely Maria, (our chef), and dinner under the stars.
I could go on endlessly about the sand messages in our little Zen garden, the handwritten notes, how lovely and clean it all was, never having the table set in the same place or at the same angle, generally, the attention to detail at Little Garonga knows no bounds.
We absolutely loved Josia and Patric, our guides, they were so knowledgeable and answered all our questions and we had lots of really funny moments with them that we will never forget. We also loved the "off road" moments as they followed the tracks to get us closer to the animals.
As many guests have commented before, we too spent a night on the sleep out deck. I was just a little nervous about not having a net, but there was no need for it at all. We listened to the lions roaring close by and watched the shooting stars which put on a really good show for us that night. Josia and Patric picked us up in the morning for another fabulous game drive followed by a picnic breakfast on a dried up river bed. It was beautifully laid out on bright blankets complete with attractively placed leaves and another great spread from Maria.
We will not forget our time at Little Garonga and would dearly like to return sometime in the future.
Our thanks go to absolutely everyone who made our stay so memorable.

  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank Ali L
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 23 June 2013

Thanks indeed for your very positive feedback.
The staff there are a true credit to Garonga.
Josia and Patric indeed are a very entertaining but very knowledgeable team.
I will pass on your feedback to them.
Regards
Bernie

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