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“Luxury in the Bush”

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Garonga Safari Camp
Certificate of Excellence
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
25 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Luxury in the Bush”
Reviewed 22 May 2014

Enjoyed 3 nights at Garonga with 2 safaris each day. The staff seemed to care about our experience and went out of their way to make sure we had a memorable trip.

The accommodations were impeccable. I was a little disappointed in the food, but maybe they weren't used to vegetarians?

A true 5-star experience.

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled with friends
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank MSpence09
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 review, 24 May 2014
Thanks indeed for your feedback. Am so glad you enjoyed your stay and sorry I could not have met you. I apologise regarding the vegetarian option; our chefs are very used to doing these and so have taken this up with the Head Chef on this to ensure all options are excellent.
Best Regards
Bernie
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352 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (94)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Poole, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
51 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 May 2014

This is the only safari to do 'per se' because having done the Massai Mara and the Serengetti Garonga is head and shoulders above. From the game on the reserve, the trackers showing the visitors what they're using to track down the animals, the rooms, food and total relaxing ambience of Garonga is pure heaven. This was our 2nd trip there and another couples 3rd time this just goes to show what guests enjoy and the proprietor Bernardo Smith is the 'host of hosts' ably supported by his staff at dinners. The sundowners in the evening just as the sunset happens is just amazing. Thanks for making our holiday so amazing, we are planning our next visit even though we just got back from SA this morning.

Room Tip: The rooms are as good as one another.
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank BillyH6190
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 review, 6 May 2014
It was a pleasure hosting you and glad you enjoyed all the activities and the A Team!
We hope to see you back one day.
Best wishes
Bernie
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Level Contributor
12 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 May 2014

Beautiful location overlooking bend in dry river bed with waterhole, these six separate chalets are extremely comfortable. Patrick and Josiah were our excellent, friendly guides who tracked lions, white rhino and elephant for us with great skill. Bernie has his little army of staff highly trained and every time we returned to our chalets they had been tidied perfectly and candles lit in the evening. The food was a delight, with local delicacies and unusual meats the order of the day. Breakfast after the 3hour morning safari was as big as you wanted especially if you went with the 'Truckers' option. We went for a lovely picnic in a tree top overlooking the waterhole and several of us spent the night under the stars in a tree top miles from camp! All dining was al fresco and a great experience and the pool was a treat. Thanks Bernie, a wonderful experience.

Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
Helpful?
1 Thank Championo
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 review, 6 May 2014
Always a pleasure to see guests return. Am so chuffed you enjoyed your stay. I will pass on to the staff your thanks.
Sundowners are the vest part of the day and something I will concentrate on once I return from these trade shows.
Best regards
Bernie
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Kingston-upon-Hull, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 April 2014

What can we say, we had such an amazing holiday and wedding, Staying at Garonga Safari Park. Bernie, the owner and host was a delight from start to finish with himself and all his team making those extra touches along the way. Making our holiday as memorable and as special as possible. We couldn't recommend this place enough.
We choose to marry at Garonga, due to the amazing reviews we had read, but we cannot put into words how magical our wedding day was. Every part of our day was made so personal from Bernie, his awesome G-team, George our marriage officer and Louise our photographer all locals to the area and totally professional.
We booked the site exclusively for our family, Bernie and his team filled our bellies with amazing food and our glasses were never empty, they made us feel totally at home. I still keep dreaming about the amazing dishes Rose the chef cooked.
The Guides Elliot, Patrick, Jaffat to name a few were fab, so knowledgeable and constantly answering our questions, they made every effort to make sure we saw as much as possible always going that extra mile. The animals we saw brought Africa to life for all of us.
The pool, the dining area, the tent all so luxurious and if you get the chance to sleep in the tree house make sure to do so, the sounds we heard were unreal and watching the sunrise from the tree house was just incredible.
We could not recommend this place enough, we had the holiday of a lifetime and the wedding of dreams, we could not be happier with our venture to Garonga and hope to return one day.
Thank you Bernie and the Awesome G-Team. Much Love Gemma & Pete x :0)

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank sparkiegem
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 review, 25 April 2014
It was a great honour and pleasure hosting you and Family for such a great occasion. I am so glad things went smoothly for you and you had a great wedding day.I will pass on to all the team your very kind feedback.
We certainly hope to see you back one day on an anniversary.
Best Regards
Bernie
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Pretoria, South Africa
Level Contributor
83 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 April 2014

My husband and I grew up in the Limpopo Region and have been on many safaris previously. So when we decided to go on safari for our honeymoon we researched it thoroughly to make sure that we found a place that was really something special and out of the ordinary. We used Tripadvisor as a vital research tool to find a lodge that was good value for money (as a lot of the lodges are usually out of South African’s price range) but still offered all the luxuries. Garonga immediately stood out from the rest from all the positive feedback.

We were not disappointed when we got there – Garonga is really a very special place! We stayed for 5 nights and felt that this was a good period of time as it was not so short that you feel obligated to go on every game drive so that you can sleep in one morning to be woken up by lion roaring or use the evening time to watch a sunset from the bush bath.

The great part about the semi-permanent structures at Garonga Safari Camp means that you have the luxury of a permanent structure, but the ‘doors’ and windows are canvas which allows all the sounds and smells of the wild into your room. The rooms are extremely comfortable and there are many additional touches and finer attention to detail to make your experience even more enjoyable.

In terms of food, there is definitely no chance of you ever going hungry at Garonga! Before the drive in the morning you are given tea and biscuits, then again on the drive. When you return back to the drive you are given a full continental buffet which consists of cereals, fruit, cold meats and cheese. There is also freshly squeezed orange juice and a different smoothie each day. This is then followed by a hot breakfast of your choice. Lunch is a ‘light’ lunch but with a great variety. There were usually 3 salads on offer, homemade bread and a cheese board. At every meal we ended up eating way too much! Dinners were always special and the team made an effort to set the tables differently each evening. I particularly enjoyed the chance to sample different varieties of meat such as springbok and eland.

At Garonga the game drives are not the only activity available to you. The game drives are obviously the main attraction and the guides are not only extremely knowledgeable but also dedicated to finding animals for you to see. We had some really great sightings, particularly of elephant, lion and cheetah. We also went on a bush walk, had a bush bath and picnic (unfortunately the sleep out deck was under maintenance). I recommend that any one does as many of these other activities as possible as it just enhances the bush experience and is something that you don’t find at other lodges. Lastly, there is Faye with her amazing neuromuscular massages and reflexology treatments. Her ‘sala’ is one of a kind and I highly recommend you give it a try – you might even be lucky enough to have an elephant pop in while you’re there!

We will definitely be coming back again!

Room Tip: There are only 6 tents and all have a superb view of the riverbed.
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Monique 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 review, 17 April 2014
It was a great pleasure hosting you on your Honeymoon. Am so glad you tried most of the activities as it really does enhance the experience. A pity about the sleepout indeed.
Wishing you all the best
Bernie
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Nanaimo, Canada
Level Contributor
253 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 117 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 April 2014

Although I have not been to this specific "camp" I read with incredulity a review about 'breathing cold air" in the tent, and getting a heater. It IS a tent! That is what a Safari camp is for goodness sake!
We have been to Makalali twice - the twice says it all. One does not order up animals. If you see leopards - even two, or lions, even two - awesome.
In my opinion everyone who has property in this area tries his absolute best to ensure the safety and comfort of clients.
Take layers, take a toque and mitts; strip down to a singlet by mid morning. The respect for nature, environment, the animals is what one should learn while travelling in this area; leave your expectations of city luxury at home and you will have a fabulous adventure.

Stayed August 2013, travelled with friends
Helpful?
1 Thank ELES ESCAPE B a... 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 review, 17 April 2014
Thanks indeed for your support! Very much appreciate what you have said.
Please do come and visit Garonga one day.
best Regards
Bernie
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london
Level Contributor
21 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 February 2014

we enjoyed our stay at garonga,the staff were all brilliant and food and drink in the main of a very high standard[we loved breakfast after the drive]and lunch was delicious.our safari boys patrick and josia[ the A team ]were fantastic and tracked a great selection of amazing animals]loved the bush bath and sleep out in the tree house,go!

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank sandyruth
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 review, 17 April 2014
So chuffed you enjoyed the experience. The sleepout is always a great adventure.
Keep well and all the best
Bernie
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Garonga Safari Camp

Property: 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 (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:4 star — Garonga Safari Camp 4*
Number of rooms: 9
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, South African Hotels, Agoda and Priceline so you can book your Garonga Safari Camp reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Garonga Safari Camp Hotel Makalali Private Game Reserve
Garonga Safari Camp South Africa/Makalali Private Game Reserve

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