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“Best Safari in all of Africa”
Review of Rukiya Safari Camp

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Rukiya Safari Camp
Reviewed 27 August 2017

The thing that makes this place the best safari in all of Africa are the people that own and run the place. Well maybe its the private game preserves that they have EXCLUSIVE access to. No its got to be the most amazing chef in all the lands. But it could be the best tent I have ever stayed in in my life. Actually it is the tranquil peace of paradise right on the Blythe River where the hippos live that is the setting for the camp. However, it could be the completely open Land Rover that carries no more than 9 people. The more I think about it, it is the incredible ability and determination of the tracker/guides to find you the best experience with animals in the world. The reality of it is there is not a single negative thing to say about this place.

We stayed 9 nights with a Discover Corps tour, which to be honest I thought was going to be way too long to stay in one place in Africa, but it turned out that I really wanted to stay longer. Conraad and Lilly (who own the lodge/camp) make a perfect host combination. Conraad is the most talented tracker/guide in the world and Lilly greats you when you come back from game drives and makes you feel like you are at home. They have hired two other Tracker/guides in Donovan and Elliot that help and run many of the game drives. These guys bring an amazing experience to the trip. They are knowledgeable and funny and really fit in with everyone on the trip. Then when you come back Lilly has hired Gemma to help with the hosting duties and she is the most amazing cutest little lady that is an incredible hostess that really gives you the feeling that you are part of their little family.
I would highly recommend staying at Rukiya camp when in Africa and I would highly recommend staying for several nights. The more the better because these guys are the absolute best.

Room Tip: All tents are luxurious excellence
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  • Stayed: August 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
2  Thank Stephen S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lily J, Owner at Rukiya Safari Camp, responded to this reviewResponded 9 September 2017

Stephen & Cindy, thank you so much for your review. We miss having you guys around, but everytime we make a Gintail and are preparing the ingredients with the pestle and motar that you kindly gave us we think of you. We hope you guys are okay at the moment and that Hurricane Irma doesn't cause you any damage and that you all stay safe. Everyone sends their regards! Until next time... Thank you. Lily

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32 - 36 of 76 reviews

Reviewed 22 August 2017

Hard to know where to start...
First the people: I will start with that because Lily and Conraad have set up an incredible example that is reflected in the dedication of their staff to make your stay at Rukiya perfect. Perfection is not easy so there is large effort of coordination to make things flow efficiently. It started when we set the foot in the lodge, we felt welcome instantly and attention was paid to every detail during our stay to make sure that the service delivered was flawless. During our stay we felt at ease with all the staff members and part of the Rukiya family. The schedule was laid out for us: a perfect balance between activities and time for relaxing undisturbed. We were greeted after each drive, we never had to wait, Lily shared our first meal at camp. The tent was always immaculate.
The setting: the setting by the Blyde river is pristine, an oasis. Close detail again has been paid to minimize the negative impact of the lodge and the materials used blend with the environment. No sacrifice has been made to comfort though. The tents and their furnishings offer all you need and the efforts of the staff to prepare your bed at night do not go unnoticed: warm hot water bottle in bed is a great touch. The tents have a porch overlooking the river and at night you can hear the sounds of the jungle.
The drives: we had a great time during our drives and Donavan, Conraad and Elliott put an immense effort to track game for us. The guides were very knowledgeable, informative and fun. The land rovers were is perfect state nad half of the fun is actually riding in them with the guides' commentary.
In summary: oh yes anytime we would go back! You will love your stay at Rukiya.

Room Tip: we loved our tents with a view on the river
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  • Stayed: July 2017, travelled with family
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    • Sleep Quality
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3  Thank Cristina T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lily J, Owner at Rukiya Safari Camp, responded to this reviewResponded 9 September 2017

Thank you for your review. It is great that you enjoyed your stay with us; in particular the setting on the river, the eco-friendly ethos of our camp and the experience that our guides provided you in the bush. I have passed your kind words onto the team and they also send their regards. We hope to see you back again! Thank you, Lily

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Reviewed 20 August 2017

Conraad and Lily have created an idyllic camp on the banks of the Blyde river.
The camp is professionally run but has a real feeling of being a home away from home.
The behind the scenes staff ensure that the camp runs smoothly, sorting out the tents including a hot water bottle in the beds to fend of the cold winter nights. The food served is exceedingly tasty.
Lily and Gemma make a great front of house team and then you have the guides! We were lucky enough to go out on drives with all 3, Conraad, Elliott and Donovan. On the drives they worked really hard to get us some good game sightings but also some of the smaller things and the ways of the bush. It was interesting to see how they went about reading the various tracks to try and make sense of what the animals were getting up to.
In the evenings it was good to share the meal with other guests and to discuss the day with the guides or Lily and Gemma.
We were stopping as part of an On Track 14 day safari and so it was good to see the INGWE Leopard research including setting our own camera trap.
If we are ever in the area again we will have no reservations about stopping here again, it will be like visiting old friends.

  • Stayed: July 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Mark P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lily J, Owner at Rukiya Safari Camp, responded to this reviewResponded 9 September 2017

Hi Mark, Thank you so much for your review. I have just received stock of the t-shirts so I will be sending yours back to the UK when my family return from their trip out here early next month. We are pleased that you enjoyed the food, camp, staff and game drives. It was a pleasure having you to stay and look forward to welcoming you home next time you visit us. Thanks, Lily

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Reviewed 11 August 2017

This was my second stay at Rukiya and it was better than the first! We were delayed in arriving as our flight in Johannesburg was delayed by a couple of hours. But upon arrival, the entire team came out to greet and welcome us. It was so great to see Lily, Conraad, and Elliott again and to meet Donovan and Gemma. I was shown my tent - which happened to be the same tent I stayed in last year! I'd like to think they remembered and assigned it to me for that reason ;)

The camp was just as perfect as I remembered. Each guest was treated as if they were the only guest in camp. Game drives were always informative as Donovan and Elliott took their time in explaining everything - flora and fauna - and made the drives extremely interactive. Lily and Gemma were the greatest hostesses - always there to greet us when returning from game drives and to have a fun chat.

I almost don't want to recommend this camp to anyone as I'd like to keep it my little secret. But it's an incredible place to stay and enjoy the South African bush. I'm looking forward to returning in 2018!

  • Stayed: July 2017, travelled with friends
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Kim Van N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lily J, Owner at Rukiya Safari Camp, responded to this reviewResponded 10 September 2017

Hi Kim, Sorry I am only getting round to replying now! Thank you for another great review. It was great welcoming you back home again and we are looking forward to your trip next year. We have just finished up the marshmallows and Graham Crackers with some other Americans in camp. We toasted to you round the fire! See you in 2018!

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Reviewed 3 August 2017

Rukiya Safari Camp is a wonderful lodge located on a private nature reserve, just a short drive from the Greater Kruger National Park. I was lucky enough to spend 8 nights with the great staff; experiencing multiple game drives, local highlights, and volunteering in the community. Lily, Gemma, and staff go above and beyond to make sure you feel welcome.
The guides are extremely knowledgeable and willing to answer any questions during the game drives. We got to see all of the BIG 5 and more, with some amazing sightings that were only possible due to their expert tracking and love for the Bush. Conraad, Elliott, and Donovan even took the time to explain animal tracks and how they were tracking them. It was educational and fun.
The food is delicious. Chef Constance would walk through what she made for us every evening; cooking everything from South African specialties to comfort food.
The rooms are very comfortable and roomy. Each has a private deck and beautiful view. Housekeeping was sure to ask if we needed anything and was very accommodating to every request. Thank you again for the extra hot water bottle.
Thank you for making my first visit to South Africa unforgettable. I’m already planning when I’ll be back.

  • Stayed: July 2017, travelled solo
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
2  Thank shar0nK74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lily J, Owner at Rukiya Safari Camp, responded to this reviewResponded 10 September 2017

Hi Sharon, Thank you so much for your review. It was a pleasure having you to stay. We are pleased that you enjoyed the variety of activities and thank you for helping us hold the conservation class with the kids at the orphanage. It is great thank you got the full bush experience, seeing so much wildlife, learning about it and the tracking adventure! I have passed on your message to the team here and everyone sends their regards. See you next time! Thanks, Lily

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Additional Information about Rukiya Safari Camp

Address: Wild Rivers Private Nature Reserve #21, Kruger National Park 1380, South Africa
Region: South Africa > Kruger National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #79 of 178 Speciality Lodging in Kruger National Park
Price Range: HK$1,798 - HK$4,605 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 6
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