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“Breathtaking”
Review of Ulusaba Rock Lodge

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Ulusaba Rock Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 5 November 2012

What a wonderful time. The food was great-odd to be the first thing to write but Chef Ian was incredible and even took a cooking lesson. The views from Rock lodge were breathtaking and the accommodations were spotless and comfortable. Daily plunging in the private pool overlooking the land below was a wonderful way to spend between drives. The guides and the teamwork among them were superb. I sent a night at safari lodge and that was quite increible too. Thanks go out to Carl Kim and James-camp managers who made sure my stay was all I hoped it to be. My guide Sean and tracker James. Many leopards, male lions-awesome with one male lion beside the vehicle in the dead of night contact calling for his brothers...Overall just a wonderful pampered experience!

  • Stayed: October 2012, travelled solo
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Thank beanie2664
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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132 - 138 of 193 reviews

Reviewed 29 September 2012

You must go on safari in your life time. Ulusaba's facilities are spectacular. The staff treated us like family. Our ranger Johnny and tracker Dan were wonderful. They always ensured the animals were in abundance especially the leopards and lions. We saw 4 out of the big 5 the first night.
We were teamed up with two couples who also made it a great experience.
We will never forget Ulusaba and we can't wait to return.

Room Tip: You can't go wrong with any room.
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  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank MustTravel88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 September 2012

Cliff Lodge (2 separate units can be combined) is the ultimate experience, attached to Sir Richard Branston's Rock Lodge. Perfect for two couples plus a room for 2 children. 2 more children can be accommodated in the main living area. A large (huge) suite with outdoor whirlpool on a private balcony, connects to a large bedroom suite with large living room, kitchen and a small bedroom for kids; private pool; private butler, chef. Great food to your selection, Fully stocked bar for your complimentary use (black label JW, all spirits, top local wines, Veuve, every possible soft drink: full). Great game drives, amazing team - look out and ask for James (your Butler) Ayrton (Chef) and Phillip is the best Tour guide with Sam the best tracker! We have done 6 game reserves and this one is the best. Not as much volume of the big 5 as in Zambia or Botswana, but the very best and most face to face encounters. Lions (males), a kill, leopards, black & white rhino, elephants, zebra, giraffe, hyena, buffalo, hippos, owl, all within 2 days. This is deluxe in every way.

Room Tip: Cliff Lodge for the ultimate
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  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled with family
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Thank Rod L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 August 2012

We LOVED our visit here. It was so over-the-top great, that we just had to giggle when we got into bed & discovered that the bed was heated. It was just one more thing that they thought of that we never would have. We enjoyed the Rock Lodge because we had a great view from our room overlooking the watering hole below. Even though it says we were there in Sept. 2011, we were there in July 2011. I was just slow posting my comments.

  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank Aimee8268
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 July 2012

With the words “location, location, location” Sir Richard Branson’s Ulusaba Rock Lodge has got it all. Wonderful and friendly staff, amazing views of the bushveld, exceptional food and wine, accommodation second to none and wildlife in abundance. The experience is extraordinary unique, from the moment you arrive, to be met with a glass of champagne at the reception, until you leave with a tear in your eye. But I’m running ahead of myself now.
This was a special birthday/anniversary trip for my wife and we stayed for four nights, our first time at Ulusaba, but not the first for Sabi Sands and the Kruger. Ulusaba's facilities and staff are superb; everything is done with calm professionalism and quiet confidence.
We were met at the Reception by Phillip our Ranger and taken to the Rock Lodge perched high on a koppie, as you drive up the road you get the start of an amazing view over the bushveld, which just gets better as you get higher up to the lodge. We were met by Richard the lodge manger and given a full tour of the facilities available, along with more outstanding views. The hospitality from all the staff was really great, going out of their way to make you feel at home and part of an extended family. Richard was an amazing host, and his staff backed him up 100% in all departments.
Our accommodation was excellent; we stayed in The Master Suite and were thrilled with it. Luxurious, clean and spacious split on 3 levels. First the superb bathroom, followed by the second level bedroom and its plunge pool outside. The lower level is an elegantly decorated sitting room with a balcony. The balcony gave us an easterly view over the bush, adjoining koppies and the dam below, we were already crossing off wildlife sightings as we unpacked. We saw 3 of the Big 5 from here and on the last morning a pair of mating Lions just below us.
Food was of a high standard with a good choice at all meals. Breakfast after the morning drive is just right, as we still had lunch, tea snacks and evening meal to come. The evening meal is perhaps the culmination of culinary skill, an a la carte experience not to be missed. The chef personally explaining her menu choices for the night, how they were prepared and included some amazing variations. The wine choices also complement the food and are normally chosen by Richard. If you are not a wine drinker, then there is a bar that covers the remainder from beer and spirits to some outstanding cocktails and champagne. All food and drink is included and after our first meal at Ulusaba we understood why the well equipped gym is close by.
The pinnacle of our stay was of course the game viewing and this was exceptional. The big five in abundance, as well Hyena, Giraffe, Hippo, Zebra and the numerous buck species, that appear out of the bush. My wife’s favorite is leopard, which on our last safari in the Sabi Sands we missed, on mentioning this to Richard on arrival, he was quick to assure us that at Ulusaba we would see one every day. To his credit Phillip our Ranger backed him up, and we did. In fact on our first drive, the very first sighting was a female leopard (Mitzi) hunting Impala near the airstrip. (could it get any better)? Well it did – Following lions as they hunted buffalo at night, 3 pairs of mating lions, rare black rhino, the young bull elephant with his mock charges to his ultimate threat, two white rhino mesmerized for over 10 minutes 50cm from the front of our land rover and the leopard with a kill in a tree.
However the ultimate sighting had to be the mating leopards in a tree with their kill, along with four hungry lions below them looking up longingly for the scraps that fell.
Thanks to Phillip and Kaizer for a truly amazing four days of game viewing, with so many “firsts”, even after +20yrs of visiting game reserves. Also the game walk and the close encounter with those old dagga boys at the foot of Rock Lodge, truly exciting, but never in danger thanks to your skills.
A must do is the visit to the telescope on a clear African night, lions roaring not too far away, for a truly out of this world experience. Again Phillip excelled with his knowledge of the planets, stars and galaxies above.
The highlight of our stay, even with all the amazing firsts in the game viewing had to be the very special last night, Richard and his team laid on for us. Dinner for two on a balcony overlooking the bush, with the moon rising and a delicious chocolate birthday cake for my wife (it was as if by magic you knew it was her favorite). Many thanks Kathryn and Richard .
I do however have a small complaint to make, Richard you and your staff at Ulusaba have spoilt any other safari trips for us, having set the bar so high. All other trips in the future are going to find it difficult to match up against those outstanding 4 days at Ulusaba. I suppose the next trip will have to be the Safari Lodge.
We will definitely be coming back.
To those of you who are thinking about a Safari trip of a lifetime, look no further!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Karrst
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 July 2012

During our Kruger trip we passed a couple of lodges, all very nice, we ended in Ulusaba rock lodge (Richard Branson place) and this was the best, quality guests, rangers and trackers and a beautifull appartement/house, nice plunge pool, i needed it. My wife and i drunk a beer, then there was no beer anymore in the fridge, we phoned for another beer and they arrived within 3 minutes with a huge bowl with ice and ten bottels of beer. Yess, it was hot, i really appreciated this move. If you visit Kruger do not forget to visit this place, of cource it is expensive, but what the hack you only live once.

  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank bernardvanommeren
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 June 2012

As with most reviewers, I completely agree that Ulusaba's facilities, accommodation, food, staff and overall experience are nothing short of superb. From the greeting until departure, your every wish is fulfilled with grace, professionalism and confidence. I stayed purposefully 2 nights at the Rock lodge and 3 nites at Safari lodge to have both experiences and that was worth it.

With all the praise, I must share honestly that as a solo traveler I was disappointed. The single supplement is extraordinary (about 85% of double occupancy) which I support with the understanding that the lodges are full. However, when I arrived, there were only two rooms taken the first nite and the next three nites were half full. It was only the 5th night that the Lodge "almost" filled up.

Before booking, I enquired as to whether solo guests had positive experiences and was assured the staff "are highly attuned" to making your stay enjoyable. I also mentioned that I was coming during Valentine's Day and would that bring any issues.. again I was told that all meals are "group". On my first nite, because the lodge had only one other party who wanted to dine separately, I was asked to dine alone...so I took my meal in my room. On valentine's nite, the tables were all set up for couple's so I sat alone at a table among the other four separate couples tables. By the second course, they brought a traveling Minister to sit at my table...odd.

I completed the feedback form on my departure on 19 Feb and received a response on 30 May with a 5% credit. I found this resolution to be incompatible with trying to restore my confidence and address the reality of my disappointing experience as a solo traveler.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled solo
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1  Thank shandmade
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 26 June 2012

Dear Susan,

Thank you for your recent feedback on Tripadvisor.

Following my initial letter to you at the end of May, I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely apologise again for the shortcomings you experienced during your stay at Ulusaba. I realise I addressed certain aspects of your stay in my previous letter but clearly we fell down on other aspects too and therefore I would like to contact you directly to discuss this matter further. I have your details and will be in touch very soon.

Kind regards
Jon Brown

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Ulusaba Rock Lodge

Address: Sabi Sand, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Region: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Sabi Sand Game Reserve > Ulusaba Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 Speciality Lodging in Ulusaba Private Game Reserve
Price Range: £11,500 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
With panoramic views overlooking the miles of African bush, there are 8 rooms at Rock Lodge, including the Master Suite, Makwela Suites, Rock Cliff rooms and the two bedroom Rock Suite, some of which have private plunge pools. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Ulusaba Rock Hotel Ulusaba Private Game Reserve

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