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“Trip of a Lifetime!!”

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Ulusaba Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Level Contributor
34 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Trip of a Lifetime!!”
Reviewed 21 April 2014

As part of a 3 week trip through Africa this was an amazing stop! This game preserve is owned by Richard Branson and is in the northern part of Kruger National Park. It is very dry with lots of bush and we stayed at the Safari part of the Ulusaba compound. We were met on the outskirts of the lodge (where the bush planes land) by 2 friendly young men who would be our rangers all week. They gave us damp cloths for our faces and champagne or other cool drinks while we sat down to sign forms and fill out necessary paperwork and listen to their introductions about themselves and the place. After this they drove in to the compound where we were taken to our individual houses. Ours happened to have a salt water plunge pool off of our balcony. The units (houses) are tree house style and connected by rope bridges that are 20 feet above the ground and a dry creek bed and they swing as you walk on them! Our unit looked at nothing but land and many, many elephants that roam through the area! One elephant came up to drink out of our plunge pool which is 12 feet off the ground attached to our porch. The room inside is amazing with a beautiful sheer white netting around the poster bed and a door less shower in the bathroom. Air conditioning too. It was an unbelievable experience as we went out on game drives in the cool early morning and then again at night. Our guides and trackers were very knowledgeable and we ended up seeing the big 5 and then some! It was almost Disney like as each day I would ask if we could try and find a particular animal--say a leopard--and then before the 3 hour drive was done we usually would have found it! The rangers do communicate to each other from different parts of the park if they see something and let each other know locations. We even saw a pack of wild African "painted" dogs--very rare! The food at the lodge was great especially the morning breakfast local specialty. This place is expensive but worth every penny. I wonder how it is in other months when maybe the creek beds are not dry, etc.?? We were even lucky enough to have been there when Richard Branson was there himself and he and his friends drove up next to our vehicle and said hello!

Room Tip: Ask for River room #4 if you want a plunge pool (small) and the chance that an elephant might walk u...
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  • Stayed October 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank thistrip
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
VLELondon, General Manager at Ulusaba Safari Lodge, responded to this review, 12 May 2014
We’re delighted to read all your comments from your recent stay at Ulusaba. We love reading all our guests feedback and were thrilled to read your detailed feedback especially about the elephant sightings from your River Room. Thanks again and we’d love to welcome you back to Ulusaba in the near future.

Best wishes
Karl Langdon
General Manager
Ulusaba Private Game Reserve
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378 reviews from our community

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English first
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 April 2014

We spent four nights at Ulusaba as the first stop on our first safari vacation and we didn't want to leave! We kept trying to think of what we could suggest to improve it and came up with nothing. Everything was outstanding here but the staff and incredible service really made our stay extra special.

We stayed in a safari room, which is the least expensive room category. It was very nice and had a great view of a watering hole from our deck. The bed was extremely comfortable and our room was just a short walk to the main lodge - which we found to be very convenient. Our room had creature comforts such as a mini-bar, wifi, toiletries, and a hairdryer.

The game viewing was absolutely amazing! Our ranger, Ryan, and our tracker, Kaizer, were the best out of everyone on our trip! We saw the big 5, plus 2 Cheetah sightings, within our first two game drives. We also saw numerous baby animals, which I was really hoping to see, and witnessed lions roaring and leopards mating. It was unbelievable how close we could get to the animals! Ryan was a wealth of information and we learned so much during our game drives. Also, Ryan and Kaizer clearly care about and respect the animals and their environment which was very important to us. We are already planning a return trip and will be requesting Ryan and Kaizer as our ranger/tracker team.

Robin, who provided us with our orientation and functioned as the hostess at the lodge, was very witty and conscientious about making sure everyone was having a great time. We saw her from morning till evening every day and she always made us feel right at home. She appears to thoroughly enjoy her job and really added to our enjoyment during our stay.

The food was excellent and abundant, as were the drinks. Someone who is only minimally interested in the game drives could still have an excellent time here if they enjoyed eating delicious food and drinking top shelf drinks in a beautiful environment surrounded by nature. We ate, on average, seven times per day with the highlight being the evening meal. Every night after the game drive the guests would collect and socialize around the bar area for snacks and drinks. At about 8:00 the chef would come out and announce the menu for the evening to the group, which always included both meat and vegetarian items.The group sat at a communal table for dinner and there was always plenty of lively conversation. Because we were celebrating our wedding anniversary, we did request one private dinner at the wine cellar which was very romantic.

Although it was a five star lodge, the environment was casual so there is no need to bring any clothing other than your safari gear. In addition, they provide laundry service every day so there is no need to over-pack on clothes but make sure you bring good binoculars, cameras and sunglasses.

At the far end of the property is a watering hole called "Hippo Dam" that has an observation deck. We really enjoyed spending time there watching the hippos and viewing any other wildlife that was in the area. You can even have your lunch served there if you'd like but we always went there as part of our afternoon stroll between lunch and high tea.

We did have high tea at the Rock Lodge one afternoon and it was very beautiful. We were still happy we stayed at the Safari Lodge though since it is so close to nature. We had animals right outside our room every day.

We would definitely recommend Ulusaba to anyone who wants a safari experience that includes excellent game viewing combined with five-star amenities!

Room Tip: Safari rooms are smaller but less expensive and close to main lodge.
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Lkkaves
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
VLELondon, General Manager at Ulusaba Safari Lodge, responded to this review, 12 May 2014
We’re incredibly proud to read your comments from your recent stay at Safari Lodge. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience, especially about our team who will be thrilled to hear about your experience. We’re glad you had the chance to appreciate the Treehouse viewing deck as it is truly a special place.

Best wishes
Karl Langdon
General Manager
Ulusaba Private Game Reserve
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Woodbridge, Connecticut
Level Contributor
3 reviews
Reviewed 15 April 2014

Phenomenal ! From the minute you arrive you are welcomed by your Guide with a glass of champagne and an overview of what to expect while you are a guest at Ulusaba. The adventure begins with your ride to the main lodge. The entire staff is EXCEPTIONAL ! They are Warm, Friendly , professional and very patient. They are the happiest staff I have even encountered. They all truley love their jobs and it shows. We were lucky enough to have Ryan and Kieser as our guide and tracker. We saw the "Big Five" within 2 drives ! Ryan's knowlege of the park and the animals was astonishing. If anyone asked if we would see a certain animal, Ryan made sure that they did. Just as you thought you had seen the most fascinating animal sighting and nothing could be better, you were awstruck by another sighting. We stayed in the Safari Lodge in a river room and could not have been happier with our choice. Though both lodges are special in their own ways. In the Safari Lodge you felt like you were a part of your surroundings. One night while we finished dinner, and adult elephant walked right up to the lodge! Prior to our trip, we were very worried and apprehensive about the whole safari vacation, HOWEVER, as we were leaving Ulusaba, we were already talking about returning ! Great job to everyone at Ulusaba for making our vacation one that we will never forget! Don't miss this very special place

Room Tip: River Rooms - Very private, at night you need to be escorted to your room by security because you ar...
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Scott A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
VLELondon, General Manager at Ulusaba Safari Lodge, responded to this review, 12 May 2014
Dear Scott,

We’re absolutely delighted to read about your stay at Safari Lodge. Thank you so much for all the comments about our team; I know everyone will truly appreciate all your feedback. We’re glad you were able to experience both lodges and very much look forward to your next stay.

Best wishes
Karl Langdon
General Manager
Ulusaba Private Game Reserve
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
17 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 April 2014

For years I'd wanted to do a safari and had done endless research on countries, regions and bases and Ulusaba topped all I could wish for. The staff make every visitor welcome, and nothing is too much trouble. As an all inclusive resort you hope for quality and Ulusaba delivers big time. From the second you are collected at the airport by your cheery faced tracker to the moment you leave, delivered back to the airport you feel totally at one and part of the team.
Having spent a week in Cape Town we flew to Jo'burg for a connection on a Fed Air flight. They were very helpful and the their little lounge is small and relaxed. The flight to Ulusaba had me and other passengers straining to see any sign of wildlife on the short flight. Upon landing at UlusabA we were greeted to a glass or two of champagne and an introduction to our Tracker, in our case David. We were then taken by one of the open Land Rovers to the lodge itself. We were met by Kim the Lodge manager, who outlined the daily running and process, all with a big smiley face, a feature of all staff. We'd hired a river room which was reached by connecting walkways including the swinging platforms so beloved of I'm a Celebrity.
Our room was spotless, with bags of space, a massive bed, deep bath and walk in shower. We also had a fridge that magically refreshed itself with wines and peanuts etc.
The daily pattern was 5.00 am tel call and quick up and about for a hot beverage and muffin in the mail lodge where you hooked up with your Ranger, we had Phil, a very amiable and knowledgeable guide. We were on the road by 6.00 am latest and would head out on the dusty roads to look for game. On our first morning drive we saw up close and personal 4 of the big 5 being Lion, Leopard, Elephant and Rhino. About 9.15 we'd stop in a safe spot for a cuppa and than back on the road ending up at the lodge by about 10.30 am fro breakfast. Full English fry up if you wished and cooked how you liked it. Whilst sitting on the dining platform overlooking a small dried river bed you'd often spot kudu, nyala, babaoon etc. After breakfast we'd retire to our lodge to chill out, sit on the porch and read or just watch the kingfishers and other birds drift by. Lunch is set at 13.00 to 15.00 but sometimes we'd load up on breakfast to give us more self time. The walkways connecting the rooms also took you to a viewing platform overlooking a small reservoir replete with hippos and crocs, kingfishers etc and you could while away a few hours just observing. We'd meet back in the main lodge for 16.00 before heading out on the afternoon drive. It got dark about 18.00 and then strong torches would be used to locate nocturnal animals, including lions. Whilst out we would stop for a sun downer, a gin and tonic in the setting African sun is something special.
We'd be back at the lodge by 20.00 and time for a rapid shower, and a swift change for dinner. I can't over emphasise that some people changed for dinner, some didn't, it was left to what you felt comfortable in. The dinners were group affairs with most people starting at the bar with the days safari stories, before the head chef would come out and tell all the guests the evening menu with some witty asides, then Robin, the wine connoisseur would describe the background to the evenings wines, but again, you could choose what you wanted.
After everyone had eaten smaller groups tended to occur as everyone chatted amiably over a tipple of their favourite. Not many stayed late or drank too much as the swaying walkways and early alarm call were a solid deterrent.
Unlike the public reserves the game here tended to be quality not quantity but even so we witnessed herds of elephant and buffalo on separate occasions. We saw leopards copulating, cheetahs stalking impala, lions assaulting buffalo and also a pride war as two separate sets of male lions were determining dominance via tooth and claw. On one occasion we were woken by a lion roaring his presence, Ranger search showed he was approx 100 yards from our lodge.

MAGNIFICENT

Room Tip: We liked the River Rooms as they afforded good locations.
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank roymcp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
VLELondon, General Manager at Ulusaba Safari Lodge, responded to this review, 9 April 2014
Thanks for sharing your experience. We are delighted to read your comments about your first safari and was happy you chose Ulusaba. The River Rooms are a favourite with many of our guests as they’re so close to all the action! We hope you’ve got the safari bug now and look forward to welcoming back to Ulusaba soon.

Best wishes
Karl Langdon
General Manager
Ulusaba Private Game Reserve
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jersey, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
277 reviews
76 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 March 2014

We stayed at rock lodge first and moved to Safari part way through our week. So I'm going to try and avoid repeating everything I wrote on that review.

Safari Lodge has a few more guests than rock lodge, at something like 12 rooms, but they are much more spaced out.

We stayed in River 4 which is about 5 minutes from the main lodge, which you did know about when it was raining hard.

The treehouse is an amazing spot and I'd certainly think about spending some time in that room when we go back, it's a fair walk from the lodge, and you do have to cross a number of swing bridges but the views and wildlife were simply stunning.

The staff were amazing, Rico and Orange our tracker and guide made the holiday for us. Everyone else was great too, we had a couple of issues with the room when we arrived, you come to realise these things happen and go with the flow, but they were sorted our quickly and with no fuss.

Was amazing to see how everything changes when there's a lot of rain, the difference in animals behaviour, the roads become a bit of a challenge and the 4x4 experience becomes part of the holiday, we rescued 2 other vehicles stuck in the mud.
Seeing the river in flood and where the bank we watched hippo's from the day before was amazing to see.

I have so many pictures I'm so pleased.

Perhaps the most difficult question is is rock lodge or safari lodge better.
The elephant just across the river from our room at safari was certainly a factor. Safari lodge grew on me more an more the longer I stayed there. Yes there was a day the roof leaked over the table, baboons and thatch without much rain can make for some interesting experiences. But that was part of it.

They are both great places to stay, and would I stay at both again maybe, but at the end of the day safari lodge probably just won the day due to it's amazing close to nature location.

Room Tip: Treehouse is a way out but you'll see hippo's every day ply anything coming to the lake for...
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank CHR1515
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
VLELondon, General Manager at Ulusaba Safari Lodge, responded to this review, 31 March 2014
Thank you very much for sharing your Ulusaba experience. We’re delighted to read feedback and I’ve passed on your comments to Rico and Orange. I’m glad you managed to sneak in a spa treatment during your stay! We hope to welcome you back to our Ulusaba family soon.

Have a magic day!
Karl Langdon
General Manager
Ulusaba Private Game Reserve
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 2 March 2014

This was our second trip to Ulusaba within 4 months - loved it so much the first time couldn't wait to go back! Everything about the place is simply superb, especially the staff. Kim and Blair (just to name a couple of the front of house staff) were so welcoming, and nothing was a problem! Then there are the game drives - Wow! You get so incredibly close to the animals it really is quite unbelievable, our ranger Brandon and tracker David were so knowledgeable - and so much fun - many laughs were had! I unfortunately injured my knee whilst out on drive, but the treatment, care and attention shown by all staff was wonderful. The third visit is already booked - and the countdown is on till our return!

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Kat B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
VLELondon, General Manager at Ulusaba Safari Lodge, responded to this review, 31 March 2014
Two trips to Ulusaba within four months! We are thrilled to hear that you enjoy Ulusaba so much and thank you for sharing your wonderful comments. The entire team looks forward to welcoming you back for your third visit very soon.

Have a magic day!
Karl Langdon
General Manager
Ulusaba Private Game Reserve
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
13 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 March 2014

4 weeks ago we arrived at Ulusaba safari lodge...we absolutely loved it. Everything was fantastic and first class. The staff could not be more helpful;.....our Ranger, Sean,was so knowledgeable about every type of animal and bird we saw as well as being great fun. He and James our tracker,made sure we got to see what we went there for and the Amarula hot chocolates were the best on the early morning safari drives!!
We will definitely be back to visit Ulusaba Safari Lodge.

Room Tip: We stayed in the Elephant rooms which we really liked. Some of the other rooms at Ulusaba are a bit...
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank ARoberts10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
VLELondon, General Manager at Ulusaba Safari Lodge, responded to this review, 31 March 2014
We really appreciate all the feedback we receive from our guests especially regarding our staff. Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback with us. We’re delighted that you loved your safari experience at Ulusaba and that the Amarula hot chocolate every morning was a welcome treat, a must for every visit. We hope to you see you again very soon.

Have a magic day!
Karl Langdon
General Manager
Ulusaba Private Game Reserve
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Additional Information about Ulusaba Safari Lodge

Property: Ulusaba Safari 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 #1 of 2 Speciality Lodging in Ulusaba Private Game Reserve
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Ulusaba Safari Lodge 4.5*
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Safari Lodge is built along the banks of the dry Mabrak riverbed. The 11 rooms at Safari Lodge include a Treehouse Suite overlooking the nearby Xikwenga Dam as well as three other room types: Safari, Elephant and River Rooms, some of which have private plunge pools. Kids over the age of 12 are welcome to stay at Safari Lodge. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Ulusaba Safari Hotel Ulusaba Private Game Reserve

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