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“Spoiled us silly!”

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Garonga Safari Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

My husband and I spent 5 nights at Little Garonga in September for our anniversary. We really can't speak highly enough about the people, the camp, the food and the accommodations. First and most importantly, the people, as without their level of kindness, intelligence and attention, accommodations mean nothing. They could not be kinder, more helpful or more skilled. This is the real deal and your safety and enjoyment is their top priority and you will never find yourself in doubt of that.

We saw all the animals we hoped to see (prides of lions with cubs, rhino, hippos, giraffe, elephant and even the elusive leopard snacking on a baboon) and much closer than we ever imagined. We never felt that our safety wasn't the top priority and spending time with the guides and trackers like Jaff, Samantha, Stewart and Kaiser was an absolute pleasure.

The camp runs like a finely oiled machine with game drives in the morning and afternoon with amazing food before, after and in between. You won't go hungry and it is impossible not to be impressed with the variety and quality of food. Thank you, Chef Sylvia! At each meal we were cared for with the highest level of quality. Thank you Robert, Herfric and Eric! It was an experience we will not soon forget but are in great danger of annoying others with our safari tales of amazement and joy.

The only missed opportunity was to meet the owner, affectionately referred to by others as "Bernie". He proved more elusive than a leopard during daylight and we would have loved the chance to tell him that he really got it right as everyone and everything was better than we ever could have dreamed. Hey Bernie! THANK YOU...

  • Stayed: September 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank TheCains
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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3 - 7 of 371 reviews

Reviewed 2 September 2017

We spent 5 nights at Garonga for part of our honeymoon. After arriving tired but excited, we were greeted by the brilliant Charlotte, the manager, with cold cocktail drinks and taken to a fantastic "tent". The lodges are incredible - stylish, comfortable, clean and yet retaining a rustic feel so that you could be sleeping out. The rangers and trackers are brilliant (Jaff and Stuart - you rock!), finding every animal with their knowledge and sharing as much as they can with you. Don't be surprised if your tracker wanders off for a while to find the cheetahs! We can highly recommend the "sleep out" - a bed on a platform in a tree, but the luxury is amazing, the waterhole brings all the animals (to the yard) and the stars - good grief, there are so many. It's simply wonderful. Big thanks to all the backstage workers, keeping us safe, clean, and superbly well fed. If we were to go on safari in South Africa again, we would DEFINITELY go back to Garonga. There's no point going anywhere else when you've stayed with the best. THANK YOU!!!

Room Tip: Mobility issues should ask for a lodge close to the main camp area. But every lodge is spectacular.
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  • Stayed: August 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
2  Thank lottiC191
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 August 2017

We spent 5 nights at Garonga ( 1st to 6th August) - my wife and I in one 'tent' and our children ( 15 and 17) in another. It was without doubt one of the best weeks of our lives! The accommodation and rest of the camp is superb, and the staff cannot do enough for you to make your stay a total joy.
During our stay we did 9 safari drives with CJ and Phineas as our guide and tracker : both of them were extremely knowledgeable and friendly. We managed to see elephants, lions ( including cubs), hippos, cheetahs, zebras, giraffes, rhino, and on our final drive a leopard.
The time back at the camp between drives was extremely relaxing - my children even braved the pool which is unheated and was rather 'cool'. The food was delicious, especially the breakfasts and lunches. We also enjoyed the mixing of the evening meals between 'communal' with the other guests ( there are only a max of 12) or separate tables by family/group.
We spent one night on the sleep out option. This is very comfortable and seems quite safe - but if you were only staying 2 or 3 nights I wouldn't suggest sacrificing a night in the camp. Also the meal provided for the sleep out was our only very tiny suggestion re what could be improved - there is absolutely nothing else that could be believe me!!
We really cannot recommend Garonga highly enough - both for the safari but also just for the all round comfort and relaxation of the camp, and the superb and friendly staff. We absolutely want to return someday ( and by the way August seemed just about perfect).
Finally, I would also like to thank Charlotte via this review for averting a family crises. When we were dropped off at the airport for our onward flight to Cape Town my daughter realised after about 10 minutes she had left her laptop in the taxi! We only had 30 minutes until we had to catch our flight, but after a few calls to Charlotte she tracked down the taxi and it got back to us with 5 minutes to spare! Thank you Charlotte!!

  • Stayed: August 2017, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Thank 471MarkM
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 yesterday

A pleasure to have you and your family stay, and so glad you enjoyed your holiday at Garonga.
The winter months are indeed the best time to come; clear evenings with fantastic stars, especially if you are on the sleepout deck, no bugs, no rains; warm to hot days and cool to cold nights.
Thanks so much for your kind words.
Bernie

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Reviewed 30 August 2017

We married at Garonga 15 years ago, and waited until our children are old enough to appreciate it before we returned. Once again, it did not disappoint. The drives were excellent, as was the service and the overall experience. Unfortunately, sleeping out on the deck where we were married was somewhat impacted by heavy winds, but we tied ourselves together and laughed our way through the night whilst staying warm under many blankets. It didn't ruin anything though. The kids loved their first experience of safari, and are already asking when we can return. Hopefully, not it another 15 years. Thanks again to all who made our stay special again. We cannot recommend it highly enough - it is a proper, luxury safari experience.

  • Stayed: August 2017, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank AnimalDiver
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 yesterday

It was so nice to have you back and with your children to show where you "Tied the Knot".
The sleepout is an amazing experience but sometimes "Mother Nature" plays games.
We hope to see you back.
Best Wishes
Bernie

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Reviewed 28 August 2017

Garonga Safari Camp is on the edge of Kruger Park and can be reached by an all-terrain vehicle in a 1 1/2 hours drive through wilderness. At the end of the journey, travelers find themselves surrounded by raw nature, a large water hole occupied at various times by elephants, antelopes, warthogs and other animals. The tents are open to the crisp, clean air, exotic birds and stealthy baboons during the day but extremely comfortable and attractive inside. The sitting and eating lodge, consisting of several terraced levels, is beautiful and invites guests to mingle and socialize over delicious food and beverages. Game drives start at sun rise every morning and are led by local experts whose skills at finding lions, leopards, rhinos, cheetahs, etc. are simply astounding. They are part of the multi-tasking staff of exceptionally well trained and friendly people of all ages. It may be in the middle of nowhere but Garonga Safari Camp feels like a piece of heaven on Earth- a place to return to someday

Stayed: July 2017
Thank Fred K
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 yesterday

Very kind of you with your very positive feedback. Thanks.
We hope indeed to see you back one day.
Best Wishes
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$2,334 - HK$8,660 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Garonga Safari Camp 4*
Number of rooms: 9
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Also Known As:
Garonga Safari Camp Hotel Makalali Private Game Reserve

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