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“Pampered Living in the Bush”

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Garonga Safari Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 4 May 2017

This was a remarkable experience, combining a stylish, creative ambiance with a true sense of the freedom of living and sleeping in an environment close to the outdoors and the animals we came to see. We started with the Hambleden suite to celebrate our anniversary with private pool, champagne and exquisitely decorated dining on our personal verandah . We then moved to the Safari Camp and the luxury tent (and luxurious it was!) which set us in the mood for serious animal spotting and we saw them all. The beautiful countryside certainly enhanced the wildlife sightings, together with information from our knowledgeable guide who willing answered all of our questions and then made us cocktails in the bush!
Dining at night was sometimes romantically alone, sometimes in a group, with memorable food and wine, an open bar and drinks around the fire.
Animals wandered by during the day: an elephant; a group of kudu, suddenly startled by a wild dog barking; marauding monkeys (so much fun). and at night we had the ever present symphony of life in the jungle.
This is a truly magical spot.

Room Tip: They are all wonderful. If you want added luxury and less contact with the outdoors choose the Hambl...
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  • Stayed: April 2017, travelled as a couple
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Thank Marilyn 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 reviewResponded 11 July 2017

So glad you enjoyed your stay. The Hambleden Suite is very luxurious and has fantastic views, so great that you experienced both Camps; both very different in style.
It was a pleasure hosting you.
best Regards
Bernie

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35 - 39 of 379 reviews

Reviewed 29 April 2017

As a first-time Safari-an, I had high expectations when arriving at the Camp. But this team managed to even exceed those by far.
Of course, the stay is not cheap but the experience, new acquaintances and the culinary highlights more than just compensate you for the expense.
We landed in Phalaborwa, got picked up and brought to the Camp.
For those of you who get motion sick: Might be good to pop a pill when leaving the airport. After 30min on asphalt you go off-road. During the rainy season this could mean 1h of bone rattling fun.
Arriving slightly late we got a short intro to the premises by the charming manager, a quick lunch and immediately started with our first tour.
Our guide Jeff and his spotter Stuart were the best. Very knowledgeable about the wildlife, talented trackers and always urged to make each tour a special experience, these guys made our trip unforgettable.
I can also highly recommend to book the 'sleep-out' immediately upon arrival. We are quite germophobic, so we thought long and hard if we want to spend a night on a tree. But the facilities there were extremely luxurious. And on top of that we spotted a big leopard strolling by in the early morning.
The tents at the camp are very luxurious as well. Only when the wind blows or the rain falls you notice that it's actually a tent.
Have not seen such great and genuinely friendly service at any hotel. Even the guards were open for any kind of topic to talk about.
As if the 2 daily tours were not exciting enough, the staff puts a lot of effort into providing an eventful frame around those tours. The 'sleep-out' is certainly the coolest one but they also change the dinner localities and menu daily. Any dietary constraints are no issue for their skilled kitchen team. A lady next to me refused a main dish due to her diet and did not wait more than 10min until she got a super tasty replacement.
Although you can have a blast here while travelling alone, the camp seems to be a hot spot for honeymooners and romantic couples. However, you have a full bar for free and easy-going staff to chat with, should those in love be pre-occupied with each other.

Room Tip: Rooms 3 and 4 are closer to the main area, 1 and 6 a bit quieter
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  • Stayed: February 2017, travelled as a couple
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Thank Pascal O
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 July 2017

Thanks indeed for your feedback and so glad you enjoyed your stay. We are actually doing the road up now and so although still a long drive through the bush, it will be more comfortable. We do get a number of |Guests on Honeymoon because the Camp is so small and intimate but it still becomes good fun with a great mix of Guests.
Best Regards
Bernie

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Reviewed 25 April 2017

We stayed at Little Goranga in a family suite with our family of 4. The lodge is amazing you cannot fault it. Our suite had a little plunge pool which was an added bonus to our children. The rooms very very comfortable and the staff attended and catered to our every need. We loved the personalized service and attention which comes as part of being owner run lodge who is very engaging and hands on. We had a lovely Bombay dinner one night where we met with other guests and on other days we ate at Little Goranga. They were happy to accommodate whatever our dining preferences were.
It was a lovely viewing deck where we could enjoy our drinks during the day and watch herds of elephants or other animals pass by.
The food was very good. Our favorite was a bush breakfast served during a early morning game drive on a dry river bank. We had a giraffe visit us at bfast which was a highlight for our children.
The game viewing was very good we saw a pride of lions feeding on a waterbuck and got a good glimpse of the elusive leopard.
My personal highlight was spending the night in a sleep out post. Very few lodges give this option and it is definitely a worthwhile experience.
We hope to go back to Little Goranga someday.

  • Stayed: June 2016, travelled with family
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    • Sleep Quality
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1  Thank Zayzu
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 July 2017

So glad you enjoyed your family safari.
You seemed to have seen a lot of Game. The sleepout is always something to be remembered.
Best Regards
bernie

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Reviewed 15 April 2017 via mobile

My husband and I had a three night honeymoon here. The "tents" were amazing and spacious with enough amenities so you didn't feel like you were roughing it. Very clean. The view outside our tent was just as beautiful; we could often see giraffes from our balcony. The staff, especially Charlotte, were all amazing and ready to help with any detail. I have a very specific diet and they fully accommodated me, not once making me feel silly for being picky. The food was delicious and the alcohol selection was also very good. I honestly can't think of one negative. Our safari guide made sure to find whatever animal we were looking for that day. We saw lions, rhinos, giraffes, zebra, buffalo, elephants, hippos, just to name a few! The sundowners (or happy hour as we call it) during the evening game drive with snacks and drinks was always a nice way to end the day with a beautiful sunset. I would definitely recommend coming here!

Stayed: April 2017, travelled as a couple
Thank melelody
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 17 April 2017

That's very kind of you! Very positive feedback that the Staff, and myself will be thrilled.
Charlotte and her Team are indeed very special , and have a very careful balance of "Service" and when not to intrude.
You seemed to have seen a lot of Game, so all credit to the Safari team.
The Chefs do indeed accommodate without any fuss.
I'm so glad you enjoyed your Honeymoon here.
Best Wishes
Bernie

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Reviewed 10 April 2017

It was our first visit in South Africa and also our first safari/game experience.
We spent 3 wonderful days in March, far from civilization and in the middle of nature and animals, just as expected. Thank you to all the Staff !

Rooms:
In Garonga Safari camp is divided in 2 parts, the main camp (6 luxury tents) and Little Garonga (3 "suites"). This is important to know before booking.
We stayed in Little Garonga, in the Chiltern Suite, which offered a "real" house with air-conditioning, indoor bathroom and outdoor shower, wifi, as well as a platform deck.
Rooms are very nice, very clean and you feel safe even if animals can eventually come outside.
Maybe view is not so nice as the one you have from tents but you have others advantages.

Service:
Amazing also. Little Garonga has its own dedicated dining place and staff for breakfast, lunch and diner as well as a smaller but also dedicated swimming pool.
Food and drinks/alcohol are all inclusive. Of course you can pay for extra alcohol and wine but honestly the wine included is very fine. We did not buy additional ones.

Extras:
Not tested except the shop.
Otherwise you can have as extra the bush bath, massages...

Standard day:
- Wake up between 5am and 5:30am
- First game between 6am and 9:30am (quick coffee before if you want)
- Brunch at 9:30am
- Free time (usually we slept a little bit)
- Lunch at 2pm (light and refreshing)
- Game at 4pm until 7pm, including apero around 6pm to enjoy the sunset
- Diner around 7:30pm

The Games
We had 2 wonderful guide and tracker, CJ and Phineas that teached us a lot.
We saw almost all animals: lion, rhino, elephant, giraffe, hippos, cheetah, buffalos, kudu, zebras... except Leopard but it will be a good reason to come back
We really appreciated the place for the sunset break, with wonderful views, as well as the night game (~30 min) where you drive in darkness after the sunset.

Misc.advices:
- you need to drive around 45min from main road to the camp. Road is quite bad so avoid "city cars" even if city cars are adapted anyway
- don't forget hat for sun but also small jacket (can be cold in the morning) but also to protect you from spines when you leave the road during games
- after 7pm, you cannot leave your room alone. After last game someone goes to your room with you, catch you around 7:30pm to bring you to diner place. Very close (30meters) but for safety reason you cannot stay alone outside
- if you absolutely want air conditioning go to Little Garonga

Room Tip: Choose between main camp (6 luxurious tents) and Little Garonga (3 small individual buildings with a...
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  • Stayed: March 2017, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Ju_et_Steph_S
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

We are very chuffed you enjoyed your stay at Little Garonga; it is a Little Gem in the Bush. So glad you saw most of the Animals; as you say, worth keeping some back for next time.
I will certainly pass on your very kind words to the Staff.
WE look forward to welcoming you back to find that elusive Creature.
Best 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$4,190 - HK$8,568 (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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