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“Safari for the Soul”

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Garonga Safari Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 6 March 2017 via mobile

Garonga certainly lives up to its ethos of 'Safari for the Soul'. Peaceful, luxurious tented camp in beautiful surroundings. Convivial company, delicious food & wine. Fantastic game drives - thank you Loderick, Stuart and Kaiser. Charlotte so gentle, friendly and welcoming. Beautiful, smiley spa lady (sorry I couldn't pronounce your name!) with her relaxing outside/inside massage and the plinky, plonky water flowing underneath. All the staff really. So kind, friendly and welcoming. Could have stayed longer...much longer!

Stayed: February 2017, travelled as a couple
Thank hazydays
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 11 April 2017

Thats very kind of you. Am so glad that even after 20 years we can still achieve a "safari for the Soul"; this was our Motto from day 1.
The Staff are indeed a delight. Buhle, the Therapist is fantastic with those majical fingers!
Thanks again.
best Wishes
Bernie

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45 - 49 of 379 reviews

Reviewed 6 March 2017

My tour company booked my trip to South Africa, including this game camp. I have never been camping, am close to 60 years old and was traveling alone. The road to this place is 70km from the paved road and in really bad shape. When out on the game drives the roads they use are worse but you are in a specialized vehicle so it is a little better. I had no idea that the only thing separating me from wild animals would be mesh. I thought I would either have real windows and doors or an electrified fence between me and the animals. My first night I got 30 mins sleep because my mind thought the worse of all of the noises outside. My second night I used earplugs as recommended by other ladies staying here, it helped tremendously, I highly recommend it. You will not have a phone, tv or wifi in your tent, you WILL have a bathroom, indoor and outdoor shower, a mosquito net around your bed and electricity. There is plenty of liquor to drink but they ran out of bottled water my first night here. The meals were great. The first night everything was a curry, which I cannot eat. The chef was very kind to prepare something I COULD eat. The service was great. My first night all of the guests (all couples except me) sat around a very large table to have dinner together. My second night I was seated alone but another couple I met on the drives asked me to join them. My first breakfast was served after my morning game drive (5:30am wake up and 6:00am departure with a 9:00am return), it was very good. The second day we had a surprise breakfast waiting for us on a dried up river bed. It was great! We were offered to ride to the camp or walk back, I chose the walk and was very glad I did. We walked the dried river bed back and had a great view of the camp. Because my flight was late arriving and my driver brought me to the wrong game camp I had to rush for my first drive which was supposed to depart at 3:30pm but left closer to 4:00pm, we returned in the dark. Something very nice the camp does is offer you either tea and coffee and snacks if a morning drive or liquor and snacks if it is the afternoon drive, REALLY NICE. This happens half way during your drive. The driver and tracker stop somewhere with a nice view and set everything up. If you are traveling with someone or have been camping a bunch you will probably love this. Everyone I spoke with at the camp loved it and the people working here are wonderful.

  • Stayed: March 2017, travelled solo
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank newflyer
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 8 March 2017

Thanks so much for your feedback. I'm glad you enjoyed your stay although maybe the tented camp was not for you. Agents are aware of what we offer and so am surprised they didn't check with you first. The outside Transfer company did indeed go to the wrong camp which obviously affected your arrival and a bit of a rush to get you on Safari. I hope you enjoyed the Safari experience and saw what you expected.
The staff are indeed very accommodating which is so important in a remote location.
Apologies regarding the water; it was actually the filter system that broke down and so we had to get in plastic bottled water the next day.
The dirt road in from the tar road is 20kms, although it seems further. The road is fine, albeit a dirt road. The tracks on the Reserve are bush tracks and so some can be a little bumpy.
Best regards
Bernie

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Reviewed 5 March 2017

I spent 3 nights at Garonga with my wife at the start of our honeymoon and have thoroughly enjoyed it despite the jet lag and changeable weather!
- Lodges:
The camp has 6 spacious lodges, each with queen sized bed, en suite (including his & hers sinks, inside and outside showers) and a veranda. Lodges face "out", so when you open (unzip) the "door" you face the forest and not other lodges. The camp is open, so we frequently saw animals (mostly macaques and bushbucks) going through the camp. The lodges are spaced out so we never heard other people from our lodge.
- Amenities:
The camp has an outdoor pool, restaurant / bar / common lounge area, "spa" (masseuse's hut), and a gift shop. The free bar is well stocked with soft drinks, local beer, basic cocktail ingredients and house wine (which is very decent!). Premium alcohol and a wide selection of wines is available as optional extra, however we actually didn't get bored of house wine in 3 days that we were there. Wifi is available in the common area but expectedly the signal is pretty weak (OK for email but struggled with facetime). Laundry is free and gets magically done during the day by the same fairies who clean the rooms and do the turn downs. I say magically because everything is timed so well that we never bumped into cleaners.
- Game drives:
Two game drives, one in the early morning before breakfast and one in the afternoon before dinner. You are served tea / coffee / fruit juice / biscuits before the morning drive, but actually we weren't that hungry at 5.30am. The camp has 3 safari cars, but one is normally reserved for bush experiences (bush walk / bush bath / sleep out), so normally 2 cars go out on a drive 6 people / 3 couples in each. Both the guide and the tracker know the park like the back of their hand and have an established network of information sharing with other guides in the reserve. As a result over 3 days we saw the big 5 and even managed to be in the middle of parade of elephants. I've just been through 500 or so photos i made and I still can't believe how close we were to the animals. Game drives are 3 hours each, but the time flies by. Normally during the 3rd hour we had a picnic with tea/coffee in the morning and optional (much appreciated) alcohol in the afternoon.
-Meals:
Food is amazing and plenty. I normally eat lots, but i was never hungry. Even breakfast menu changes from day to day. As mentioned above the complimentary alcohol is very good too.

Overall we really enjoyed the 3 days at Garonga and would highly recommend it!

  • Stayed: February 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank Roma G
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 11 April 2017

Thank-You. That's a very detailed description of our Operations and very useful for Guests about to come.
We are so glad you enjoyed your stay.
Many Thanks.
bernie

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Reviewed 5 March 2017 via mobile

We have just finished our stay at Little Garonga and cannot praise this safari park enough. Our Hambledon Suite was pure luxury with its own pool overlooking the park. Every need is catered for and the staff, especially Robert, were superb - we did not want for anything. The game drives were also great and we managed to see the 'big 5'.
My only negative would be the drive in. The information does say that a 4 wheel drive is preferable, I would say that it is essential! The road is very poor and it does take about 50 minutes in a car from the main road to the camp - however that is all forgotten once you arrive in this little oasis of luxury! Thank you.

Stayed: March 2017, travelled as a couple
1  Thank Dedebopper
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 11 April 2017

I am so glad you enjoyed your stay. Robert indeed runs a great operation up at Little Garonga; it is so nice and intimate. The Hambleden Suite has just been redone (Floors etc) and so looking really great.
The drive in - It is a slightly problematic road in a few places, but I would hasten to add an SUV is quite appropriate.
Thanks again.
best Regards
Bernie

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Reviewed 3 March 2017

The location is superb. Perfect for peace. tranquillity and viewing big fives.
The games drives are the biggest highlite and saw all big fives 2/3 times over.
The food is good and drinks are respectable. In particular evening dinner with other guests and some staff is a welcome relief after all the drives in the forest. Well organised too. Credit goes to Charlotte, the manager.
Rooms are luxurious considering it is the middle of jungle/no where. Facilities are great
Staff are very helpful. kind, considerate and understanding.
The Trackers and Drivers and guides have all requisite knowledge and depth of the area so as to ensure we have the best possible views of all animals. To name some. CJ, Jossehia, Richard, Pheebies ( sorry if I have spelt the names wrong )
Manager Charlotte great. Excellent in all co-ordination and deserves 5 star.
The biggest draw back is it is fully inclusive. If this being the case not sure why guest are required to write down and account for any drinks that they take from the bar cupboard. Feel that is very mean and shame on owner.Mr Smith, who insists on this.

Room Tip: All rooms are the same. Have only 6 rooms and are well furnished, good facilities.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: February 2017, travelled with family
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank jayp3332017
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 4 March 2017

Dear Jay,
Thanks indeed for your very positive review. We are very happy that you enjoyed your Safari experience seeing the Big 5, and quite rightly as you say, all credit to CJ and Phineas.
Charlotte is indeed a star who manages all very capably in a friendly manner.
Regarding your last criticism, it is the norm in Safari Camps ( those that include drinks), for what we call an Honesty Bar where guests are asked to record their drinks purely for our own stock controls.
No meanness or shame is intended, and apologies for it being perceived in this way.
Regards
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: HK$4,369 - HK$8,603 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Garonga Safari Camp 4*
Number of rooms: 9
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Garonga Safari Camp Hotel Makalali Private Game Reserve

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