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“Great Safari Experience”

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Garonga Safari Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 16 September 2013

We stayed at Garonga for 2 nights and loved every second of our visit. Bernie and his team are absolutely wonderful and made the trip unforgettable. The main lodge area and tents are luxurious. Our ranger and tracker were excellent. We loved the picnic in the tree and the bush bath. We will definitely make a plan to get to this magical place again.

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Kerry209
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 18 September 2013

Thanks indeed,
Great to see you back, and a pleasure having you here to stay.
Hope to see you again sometime when you manage to escape from the Glorious Cape.
All the best
Bernie

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189 - 195 of 379 reviews

Reviewed 12 September 2013

We rented Little Garonga from August 21 to August 28. There were six of us from Canada (after spending our first five nights in Cape Town) - my wife and I shared the largest cottage, our two girls (ages 19 and 22) and my wife's parents (ages 77 and 78) shared the other two cottages. Our family had exclusive use of Little Garonga for a week - we have all travelled extensively together (by the end of this year we will have visited six continents and many cities and attractions) - we collectively agreed that this was the best family vacation yet.

The facilities are as good as any we have experienced. We had a private pool at our private lodge as well as a private pool at our cottage. We ate all our meals, napped, read books, played games and went on 13 game drives - together and without the distractions of TV or computers. The staff (we must have had 10 exclusive staff for the six of us) were amazing and looked after every need. The cottages and bedrooms were incredibly comfortable and even the bathroom had an amazing view with a wonderful outdoor shower. The meals were first class (Our chef was Sylvia) and different from typical five star hotels. Hefric and Lauren took care of our every need and Patric (our tracker) and Josiah (our guide) gave us a great thrill on every game drive - it was no problem for all of us to wake up at 6am every morning for our chilly morning game drive (they started out chilly but by breakfast time it was warm). We felt completely safe in the lovely Land Rover Game Drive Jeeps that were exclusively for the eight of us (our family of six and Patric and Josiah). We saw every possible breed of animal more than once over the week and got some incredible pictures - from some beautiful birds to the Lions, Elephants, Cheetahs, Leopards, Rhinos, Giraffes, Zebras, Wildebeest and at least a half dozen of the antelope family (with the most amazing horns). The on-site masseuse gave us some great massages and Deon took three of us on a 20 minute each thrilling micro-flite (something I highly recommend but make sure you go on a day where the wind blows at 10km an hour or less). I am not a small man so I asked Deon what the weight limit was and he replied - "well, if you can get in, then you are under the weight limit" - and I just fit in so I'm glad I wasn't any larger. Four of us also went to the tree house for a sleep out under the stars - an experience we will also never forget - just wonderful.

Bernie arranged for our pickup in Johannesburg and even the six hour drive was very interesting. Bernie (the owner) has a lot to be proud of at Garonga - the testimonials speak for themselves but words can't truly describe what a special place this is. Thank you Bernie - from the bottom of our heart - thanks to you and to all of your terrific staff.

If you are looking for a family vacation that you will never forget - this is the place for you...and if there just happens to be six of you - I highly recommend renting Little Garonga exclusively for your use - it will be a togetherness that will stay with you for the rest of your life. I hope to get back one day with my wife so that we can experience a romantic Garonga holiday but if we get really lucky, maybe our family will get back together again. Until then - we always have our amazing memories.

Room Tip: All the cottages are amazing - whether at the main lodge or at Little Garonga but the Hambledeen cot...
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  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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Thank Mojo030
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 14 September 2013

Thanks indeed for your very positive feedback. It was a pleasure hosting you and your family. Staying for an extended period enables you to try all these activities you experienced and also to see such great game viewing. The staff at LG are indeed fantastic and I will certainly pass on your comments. We hope to see you back.
Best regards
Bernie

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Reviewed 1 September 2013

We spent 2 nights in Garonga Safari Camp and we had a truly fabulous time.
The entire staff was friendly and gracious and it was impressive to see/feel the familiarly atmosphere between all and Bernie was a dream. That made us feels to be at home from the first moment on.
The tented-houses were superb and comfortable with a stunning view over the riverbed watching elephants and enjoying the nature.
The game drives were fantastic and Josiah and Patric went out of their way to spot animals for us.
We spotted…..Cheetah’s, Lion with cubs and much more.

We cannot recommend Motswari highly enough & we will definitely be returning...

Thanks a lot for the warm and heartily welcome and for making our stay so unforgettable and special.
Eileen & Anke
Germany

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank Eileen H
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 indeed for your feedback Eileen. It was a pleasure hosting you for the two days. I know you meant to say Garonga and not Motswari. You went to Motswari after Garonga, and am sure they got great feedback from you as well.
Josai and Patric are indeed quite a team and extremely entertaining as well as being a Great Guiding Team.
best Wishes
Bernie

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Reviewed 26 August 2013

I just returned from a 12 night safari trip to South Africa where I spent two wonderful nights at Garonga Safari Camp.
I loved the large tents Garonga uses, spacious and quite luxurious. You feel like you're in the middle of the wilderness. I was in tent #6 and really enjoyed the remote location, the peaceful deck with the hammock under a shade tree.
The game drives with Jeff and Rebel, the ranger and tracker, were excellent. The range rovers were spacious with usually only 4-5 people per car.
The highlight of my stay was the second night, which I spent on their sleep-out platform. This "treehouse" has multiple levels (sleep, dining, and bathroom) with good views of a water hole and simply amazing views of the southern skies. My night on the platform was crisp and clear at the peak of the Perseid meteor shower, an experience I will never forget.
Compared to the other camps I used on this trip Garonga puts more of an emphasis on wellness with a massage therapist on site. The food was excellent.
The only mild criticism I have are that, for someone who is primarily interested in the wildlife, Garonga puts maybe too much of an emphasis on the wellness aspect and I prefer open reserves to fenced reserves. On one hand, fenced reserves provide reliable sightings, on the other hand there is sometimes the impression of being in a very large game park instead of being in the open wilderness when the ranger explains how the cheetah you're watching was purchased and brought to the reserve.
Still, my experience at the camp was very good and I would recommend it to anyone, especially if you're interested in the wellness angle.

Room Tip: Tent number 6, furthest away from the dining area. Very remote, lots of wildlife around the tent at...
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  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled solo
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Thank joe64331
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 indeed for your feedback. I am glad you had a great time.
Garonga started as more of a Holistic Lodge which we have tried to maintain over the years; the wellness aspect is becoming more recognised especially nowadays with people more concerned about their health.
Unfortunately in South Africa Private Game Reserves were established historically with Fences due to a large farming industry in the country.
A number of Game Reserves were established removing the Cattle and getting the farms back to a Wilderness Area; this is very positive.
As a result some Game is Purchased to fulfil the reserve, and this also helps in conservation as some of these Animals are hunted by farmers, so it is good that we take the animals in rather than them being shot. 60,000 acres is quite a sizeable area to traverse across.
Best Wishes
Bernie

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Reviewed 19 August 2013

We went as a family ( 2 adults & 2 teenage kids) for 5 nights at the start of our holiday. We booked two tented rooms - one for the 'girls' and one for the 'boys'. Right from the start it was breathtaking, from the elephant ambling past our ( high up) tented room to the monkeys dropping onto the verandah. The game drives were fabulous, we saw: lions, cheetah, leopards, hyena, elephants, rhinos, hippos, girafe, zebra, eagles and many more...the food was great and everything was taken care of....you can go up in a microlight too if you want to too. Laundry is done as a complimentary service so you don't need too much stuff with you, just a jacket for morning game drives as it is chilly then.
It was just absolutely fabulous and the best start to a holiday in South Africa that we could possibly hope for.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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Thank Sarah 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 3 September 2013

Thanks indeed for your very favourable comments. What has been really exceptional over this winter has been the Game Viewing; and more especially the Leopard sightings which are becoming more frequent.
All the best
Bernie

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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
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  • 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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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: £409 - £821 (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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