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“The Tradition Lives On” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Amakhala Quatermain's Camp

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Amakhala Quatermain's Camp
3.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Paterson, Amakhala Game Reserve 6130, South Africa   |  
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Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“The Tradition Lives On”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 21, 2013

This is a place for connoisseurs of African wildlife. It was recommended to us by someone with a game ranger background. Julie and Riaan have literally built up this part of the Amakhala reserve with their own hands. They decided to offer a different experience from most of the surrounding reserves by going for the traditional tented accommodation popular in the early 20th century. The result is an experience where the visitor feels more like one of the family on a visit to relatives than a paying guest. The closeness to nature felt while staying in a tent with a clever mix of modern facilities like hot water on tap, a shower and flush toilet combined with the lack of electricity and siting of the tents a little way apart from the main complex is a delight. On offer is a mix of game drives and a guided walk through a safe part of the reserve. The walk is not to be missed. It reinforces the experience of the ecosystem as a whole. You do not just look passively at the animals as you sit on the truck but learn how they integrate into the environment as a whole. There are many who come to Africa to do a game drive to "tick off" the "big 5" (which you can do at Amakhala) and go home after a stay in some luxury accommodation. Those who do this are missing so much of the wildlife. If you merely want to look at lions, rhino and elephants, you can see them in a zoo, but you will miss the antelope, other mammals, reptiles, insects and birds as well as the plant life in context which forms the backdrop to their lifestyle. It is so much more rewarding to see these animals "in the wild" and Quatermain's Camp is a perfect place to do this.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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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140 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    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 (17)
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English first
Brizzie
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 31, 2013

This place was definitely the highlight of our South Africa portion of the trip and the best game reserves we went to in south Africa. It also has the benefit of being able to do safari drives in Amakhala game reserve which has white rhinos, elephants, lots of antelope species etc as well as the Shamwari game reserve which has lion and cheetah etc. Basically you get to cover everything that you want to see! The other benefit being a private game reserve is that the rangers can drive off-road to get much closer to the animals and there are limited vehicles. Unlike Kruger national park where you have to stay on road and there are usually 4+ vehicles surrounding an animal sighting. We had absolutely beautiful, private up-close sightings of elephants, loads of white rhinos, cheetahs and lions. It really was spectacular animal viewing. Ive attached some photos that we took to show exactly how close-up you get!

On top of that the camp is great. The tents are beautiful and the outdoor bathroom was fantastic with some of the best hot water pressure we had the entire trip! The food is homely, delicious and plentiful and the hosts - Rhiaan and Julie are the friendliest couple and have a beautiful family. They frequently eat breakfast with you which is a really special touch. The two rangers, Dwayne and Craig are very knowledgeable and know exactly where to get the good animal sightings and the perfect sunset spots for a cheeky wine and cheese mid safari drive!

Overall it was a very special experience and I wish we had spent a little bit longer there!

Room Tip: Stay for at least 3 nights, if not four!
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  • Stayed April 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Bristol, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 24, 2013

Forget the game lodges, this is a place where you feel part of something really special. There are three wonderful canvas tents kitted out in true safari style but situated privately leaving you with a sense of adventure and connection. Rhiaan and Julie had a unique vision and we wish them well. We saw everything apart from leopard and with only six in a group, it made it just perfect. Staff felt like friends and were passionate about the wild life, the place and wanted you to leave with that passion too.Thankyou.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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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London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
164 reviews 164 reviews
49 hotel reviews
Reviews in 74 cities Reviews in 74 cities
118 helpful votes 118 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 17, 2013

It is hard to add to what other reviewers have written because Julie, Rhiaan and Sam have developed something very, very special at Quartermain's Camp which will stay in hearts for ever.

We wanted an authentic taste of Africa and we got exactly that. The tented accommodation is extremely comfortable and inviting with fantastic hot powerful en-suite showers and toilets so no traipsing to shower blocks required. The feeling of showering in the African bush is truly exhilarating. The decor is authentic all around camp and you really feel you have stepped back to another time . Every little detail has been thought of with heaters for the tents and hurricane lanterns to light your way at night. As there are only 6 tents you always feel like you are totally on your own which is how we wanted it to feel, but if you want company then there is normally one of your guides about for a chat.

Food on camp is first class and all produced by the 2 cooks from within a tent with no electricity...my husband wishes I could produce food like that at home! Breakfasts are taken with the owners and evening meals are hosted by your game driver. The kudu in white wine was one of our favourite meals in the whole of our 2 week holiday.

Moving on to the game drives , they were just amazing, fantastic, informative and fun and our guides Yvonne and Craig knew about everything and anything we asked them. My husband, myself and 2 sons learnt so much from them. We built up a good friendship with them and were sad to say goodbye at the end of our 3 night stay. My younger son was so inspired by them both that he has seriously decided to study Zoology and follow a career as a Game Ranger!! The abundance of animals is incredible and we saw everything we could have wished to within the 2 reserves of Amakhala and Shamwari . My husband loved his 10 o clock morning stop of coffee and rusks usually while looking over a fantastic view point and then at around 6 o clock sundowners were given with cheese and crackers while the sun set. Idyllic. We also did the Flora and Fauna walk with Craig which shouldn't be missed, it is so interesting.

So I would say if you want to experience a "real" African safari then stay here. Forget the commercialised resorts with their swimming pools, butlers and set dining hours but instead get ready for the most memorable time of your life at Quartermain's Camp where the the passion and vision of Julie and Rhiaan have allowed others to share a little slice of their Africa with them and we hope that one day (God willing) we will be able to return and do it all again.

Our motto for this trip would be "Arrive as Strangers and Leave as Friends" and that is just how we were made to feel.

  • Stayed April 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cambridge, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2013

We have just returned from two nights at Quatermain's camp which as so many others have said was a highlight of our holiday near Cape Town. We had researched options for visiting a game reserve and were frustrated by the range of interchangeable 5-star hotels where you look out at the bush rather than experiencing it. The whole idea of Quartermain's is different, with its intimate 1920s style added to modern luxuries that don't cost the earth in either sense of the phrase.
The tents are charming, placed in little clearings in the bush around the central boma and its fire, offering privacy or sociability just as you want. There is a friendly/family atmosphere with owners, rangers and guests sharing meals and stories, not to mention the dog, cat and orphan bushbuck. There is no electricity or internet and our teenage son happily took the opportunity between drives to read, eat and laze. The game drives were excellent, covering both Amakhala and Shamwari. We were always offered the choice of what animals to look for and learnt huge amounts from Yvonne, Craig, Rhionn and the new ranger Dwayne. The morning bush walk in the 'soft game' area around the camp is superb for seeing birds, plants and insects, and we ventured out for ourselves in the daytime break to take in the views.
We'd have happily stayed longer. Although winter was just starting so mornings and evenings were chilly, we were well supplied with blankets and ponchos during the drives, wood fire at night, and extra covers on the comfortable beds. There is a little heater if you need it to take off the morning chill in the bathroom. The clear nights also brought beautiful stars and sent us to the shady areas when the sun got hot. As one reviewer says, you do pay for extra 'bar' drinks but this is at reasonable SA rates, and fits in with the down-to-earth attitude. Come here if you enjoy the fresh air and a sense of old-time freedom.

  • Stayed April 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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guildford
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 April 13, 2013

Had two nights in Quatermain's with my wife at the end of March. Everything about the stay was wonderful! Very knowledgeable guides (thanks Craig and Yvonne!), lovely food (they really took care of my wife's dietary requirements) and great company around the camp fire in the evening. The owners are lovely too, really making us welcome and feel at home. Saw plenty of game, even when the thunderstorm hit! The tents are great, very comfortable while still feeling like a camp experience. Thoroughly recommended!!

Room Tip: Only three tents to choose from and I think they are all the same!
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Miami Beach, Florida
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 6, 2013 via mobile

Just spent four lovely nights at Quatermain's in Amakhala. In short, it totally exceeded my expectations and was truly the adventure of a lifetime I'd hoped for.

First, Quatermain's is very intimate: there are three tents in total accommodating six guests. It boasts a lovely outdoor fire and dining area and dedicated game trucks leave directly from the camp. You really get to know your fellow guests and the wonderful guides (in our case Yvonne and Craig who are level 2+ guides and extremely dedicated to wildlife and made our trip incredibly special) as well as the owners, Riaan and Julie who are extremely hands on.

Second - this is one of the best locations in the Eastern Cape. The camp itself is situated in a walk-safe area of Amakhala. Twice I took unguided jogs to the main road (5 miles round trip), alongside wildebeest, giraffes and hartebeest. It was epic!!! And the game drives were even more amazing: the camp has access to both Amakhala and Shamwari, meaning you get to see an incredible diversity of terrain and animals. We were just feet from countless hippos (my favorite), lions, cheetahs, rhinos and elephants. If you stay a few days you can also take a morning day self-guided day drive to Addo (which we did) and still make the afternoon drive. It's hard to put into works how awesome these places are.

A typical day starts early with coffee and a musk -- basically a hard biscuit, followed by a three hour game drive and a full breakfast. You then lounge about for a few hours, have a light lunch and head out on a second drive. You come home to a roaring fire, a glass of sherry and memories and friendships that will last a lifetime.

Go into your trip with a sense of adventure. You have hot water in the camp, it's extremely safe and clean, and enjoy the firelight and your disconnection from the modern world. You'll be glad you did -- as I am.

  • Stayed April 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Amakhala Quatermain's Camp

Address: Paterson, Amakhala Game Reserve 6130, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > Eastern Cape > Amakhala Game Reserve
Amenities:
Free Parking
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 6 Specialty Lodging in Amakhala Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Amakhala Quatermain's Camp 3*
Number of rooms: 3
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Quatermain's Camp is an intimate 6 bed tented safari camp situated on the beautiful Amakhala "Big 5" Game Reserve. We offer two four hour game activities per day, with knowledgeable and qualified rangers, fantastic South African bush cuisine and a friendly and personal experience. Come and let Julie and Riaan show you the delights of the African bush. ... more   less 
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