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“Fantastic Family Holiday!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Ndaka Safari Lodge

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Ndaka Safari Lodge
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Memorial Gate, Nambiti Game Reserve | D45, Ladysmith 3370, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Fantastic Family Holiday!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2014

We recently decided to take our two little girls on a trip to experience their first safari. After lots of research, we booked Ndaka Game Lodge. It was without a doubt the best possible game experience we could have wished for our 6- and 7-year old as well as for us.

Child-friendly game lodges tend to be extremely pricey. Besides that, the most luxurious lodges often whisk the kids away for separate game drives. And although they offer the most spectacular options for kids, we really wanted to be there when the girls experienced their first encounter with wild animals. Ndaka didn’t disappoint.

The game ranger was extremely child-friendly. He involved our girls in every aspect of the game drive and asked them about which animals they really wanted to see. He had lengthy conversations with my 7-year old about poaching, as she had learned about it at school. We saw almost all of the big five. Unfortunately, the lions didn’t want to make an appearance. However, we saw lots of baby animals, from elephants to giraffes.

The accommodation in the tents was absolutely mind-blowing. It was one of the most luxurious stays I’ve experienced in a long time. The views from the tent are also out of this world. The hosts at Ndaka were friendly, the service was impeccable, the food was delicious. I truly can’t fault this lodge on anything. I really wished I could have stayed longer and I will definitely be back!!

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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49 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (15)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 14, 2013

My husband and I stayed at Ndaka to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. From the moment we arrived we were greeted by warm smiles by friendly staff who make you feel so welcome. The guides are incredibly knowledgeable which makes the game drives so interesting and enjoyable. I loved the relaxed atmosphere of Ndaka and being able to just read a book under the trees next to the pool.
My favourite part of our trip was the food!! The chef went above and beyond by creating a dish especially for my husband and I, for our anniversary.
I can't wait to head back to Ndaka and plan on returning each time I head back to South Africa!

  • Stayed November 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 6, 2013 via mobile

I had the privilege of staying at Ndaka Safari Lodge with a group of ladies who get together for an annual getaway to re-charge and re-connect at the end of each busy year. What a brilliant choice Ndaka was for this! Everything, from the food to the accommodation, game drives, brilliant personal attention, relaxing atmosphere and beautiful surrounds was fantastic! I would highly recommend this lodge. Our game viewing did not disappoint either and included close-up views of hippo, lion, elephant, giraffe, serval, many buck and bird species and rhino. The Kwa-Cheetah Breeding Project is also close by and provided another unforgettable experience, interacting with the beautiful cats. Thank you to the very generous Mark and Tracey Marshall and their excellent staff (Brett, Ruan, Barney, Gugu and others) - I look forward to another visit!

Stayed December 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hilton
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 6, 2013

If you are looking for a place to go to where you can feed your soul and get away from it all, then Ndaka is a good choice! Excellent value, great food and service, as well as happy and helpful staff all add up to a truely memorable experience. Go there. You won't regret it!

  • Stayed December 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Duban North, South Africa
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 6, 2013

Our family stayed at Ndaka for 2 nights - our group consisted of our family and my mom who was visiting from the US. Our kids (ages 3 and 5) loved the "hotel" as they called it and especially the special attention they received from the moment we arrived. The service was personal and excellent, just like the accommodation and food (yum!!). Such a peaceful spot and very family friendly.

The kids loved their stuffed toys and even commented after we arrived back home how lucky they were! We've been on many self-drive trips to the game reserve as a family but this weekend we kept hearing the comment "this is the best game reserve ever" from the kids.

The game drives were one of the highlights of the trip and our ranger Brad went above and beyond to give us all a great experience. We saw elephants playing in the water, lions lazing in the sun, rhinos and many, many species of buck and birds. He was so patient with the kids' questions and answered them all.

Thanks to everyone at Ndaka for giving us great memories!

Room Tip: The kudu lodge is ideal for families!
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paris, France
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2013

We stayed one day at Ndaka lodge mid october, along our roadtrip thourh SA, for our honeymoon.
On that day, we were alone in the lodge, so we experienced the whole place only for us! Our ranger, Roann, was a very nice guy, in love with nature, and respectfull of it.
We arrived at the beginning of the afternoon for the first game drive, which was really surprising.We spent the night at the lodge, enjoying the incredible diner made by the chef. It was such a surprise to get a really elaborated menu, and which tasted so good!
In our room, was displayed on the bed a gift for our honeymoon. This attention was really appreciated too.
The next morning, we went for the second game drive. Even if we saw less animal, that still was the purpose of the experience, the search for the wild life. And I think that as our first contact with wild life in South Africa, it was a great lesson that we had from Roann. (Especially with the further experiences we had later on our roadtrip)
The package, 2 game drive + night + breakfast + diner + lunch is really affordable and worth it!

Thanks again to all the team (Roann, Gugu, Pretty and all the others) which was really nice with us. On of our greatest moment in South Africa.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Emilia Romagna
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 30, 2013

I stayed at Ndaka in July with my wife and our 22 month old daughter.
We were looking for a child friendly lodge and we were absolutely NOT disappointed.
Ndaka wasn't the first bushlodge we were in with my daughter, but for sure it is the most child friendly I ever visited.
Since the first minute my daughter was handled like a princess, she got plenty of toys to play with in the beautiful and spacious garden and all the staff was happy to greet and smile at her.
Also the room was very child friendly with very useful accessories for children.
What I really appreciated was the easy going feeling of the lodge: they proposed me to put my baby in the vehicle to have a game drive with us (of course they put a baby seat for her) and when I looked a little bit surprised they told me "don't worry, we just try it, if she doesn't like it, we can come back".
With us there were also other small children and the game drive was just great, so we choosed to bring always our daughter with us for the rest of the stay (5 days, but next time we will try to stay even longer)).
Now stop with the comments of a very delighted family's father and let's see some other aspects.
The food was excellent and the garden is really nice and big.
The staff was really kind and helpful. The reserve has different landscapes, from the tipical eastern african savannah plains in the north to the more hilly and bushy south african bush in the south.
The view from the garden is really nice and being a savannah style environment around the lodge you can spot many animals from the reastaurant veranda.
Being accostumed to bigger south african Reserves and NPs (Kruger, Pilanesberg, Madikwe) I dind't expect too much game, but I was wrong.
There 's a lot of different game and the spotting chances are really good.
Of the Big 5 we didn't see the leopard (to be honest Nambiti isn't the right place for it at the moment) but we surely got some very interesting sightings: we saw lions on a daily basis, and not only sleeping but also feeding and mating.
The highlight was a funny mexican stand off of a young lioness (22 month old) and an adult giraffe and after that, we saw the same lioness (after giving up the stand off with the giraffe since the latter one was to big for her) bringing down and kill an eland (to be honest we missed the jump of the lioness, but when we arrived the eland was still alive and struggeling for his life).
Another good sighting was a very long scene of a serval hunting in the bush.
The sightings are never crowded (no more than 2 vehicles in the same spot) and even that, thanks to our very skilled ranger Dalson we were quite always the first to be on the spot and we saw many interesting scenes with no other vehicles around us.
We also got the chance to know Brad the head ranger, who was always very attentive to our needs.
The owners are a very nice couple with children and they were very helpful (they answered all my emails concernig the needs of my baby).
Since I live in Europe, I don't know when i will be back to South Africa, but, since July, it will be impossible for us to fly to South Africa and not to stay at Ndaka again.
Thank you very much Ndaka for giving me and my wife and above all for giving my baby an unforgettable vacation.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ndaka Safari Lodge

Address: Memorial Gate, Nambiti Game Reserve | D45, Ladysmith 3370, South Africa
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Ladysmith
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 13 Specialty Lodging in Ladysmith
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Tucked away in the centre of the picturesque Nambiti Private Game Reserve, a 21,000 acre, Big 5, malaria-free game reserve, lies Ndaka Safari Lodge. Located in central KwaZulu-Natal near Ladysmith, just 40 minutes from the Drakensberg and close to the Battlefields, in the heart of the wild, the lodge is the perfect halfway stop between Johannesburg (3,5 hours) and Durban (3 hours). Ndaka Safari Lodge features an African farmstead that has been converted into a family style "home from home" getaway. The Lodge has recently been refurbished and now has six safari-chic double en-suite bedrooms. The open plan lounge and dining room together with the lapa (entertainment area) with its built-in barbeque, the large fenced-in indigenous garden, swimming pool and open fire pit overlooking the bushveld make Ndaka Safari Lodge the ideal getaway for families and friends. ... more   less 

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