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“Great Game Reserve” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Lalibela Game Reserve

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Lalibela Game Reserve
4.0 of 5 Lodge   |   90km from Port Elizabeth | on the N2 towards Grahamstown, 6045, South Africa   |  
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Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Top Contributor
56 reviews 56 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
“Great Game Reserve”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 17, 2013

We stayed three nights at Treetops and had a great time. Brian, Julie and the team took great care of us and the food was excellent. They laid on a particularly fantastic meal for my birthday.

Our Ranger, Siya, was top notch - his enthusiasm really makes the game drives. We saw many of the Big Five and were lucky enough to see the male cheetah on a fresh kill. Our encounters with a large herd of elephant were unbelievable - we may or may not have seen rhino. Sitting amongst the elephants and within 10 feet of other large animals is an experience we'll never forget. The buffalo are particularly daunting. Siya introduced us to a huge variety of animals, birds, insects and plants - fantastic. Great to also meet and have dinner with the Head Ranger, Kelly - lovely lady.

The room we had was very spacious and comfortable. The only problem we had at Lalibela was an uninvited 'guest' to our room at 02:00 in the morning. Turned out not to be anything dangerous but was a tad unsettling to hear it running around on the roof beams and above the bed and to see two VERY large eyes staring back at the torch! Lalibela give you an air horn in case of concerns at any time. We sounded the air horn as we didn't know what our 'guest' was. Brian came out to check around the 'villa' but didn't let us know he was out there so we had thought nobody had come. I think this arrangement needs reviewing.

If you decide to stay at Lalibela I doubt you will regret the decision.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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312 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    250
    42
    10
    6
    4
See reviews for
79
163
5
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (60)
Date | Rating
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English first
Cape Town Central, South Africa
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2013

We stayed three nights at Mark’s camp and what an awesome experience we had from the staff at the lodge to our game ranger ( Juan ) he was supper awesome . He was so knowledgeable on the animals ,birds and plants in the bush and was so enthusiastic about everything we saw from the smallest thing to the big giants . Thanks to all at Lalibela for making our visit so memorable

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Bristol, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2013 via mobile

Lalibela was recommended to us by a friend and booked through Travel Exclusively African, our incredibly helpful travel agency. The Reserve exceeded all our expectations and lived up to all the highly praised reviews. From the minute we arrived to the time we had to leave, we received the best of service, every member of staff was attentive, friendly and full of stories. The game drives were excellent, Craig is a true asset to the reserve, I've never met anyone so passionate about their job and so genuinely excited to get on the road to track down the animals - a special thank you to Craig! The food was incredible and plentiful, we certainly didn't have time between meals to think about feeling hungry! The lodges were comfortable and large; waking up to the lions roaring was an experience I won't forget in a long time. Thanks to the team for the perfect end to our time in SA - we will be back!

Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Pittsford, New York
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
113 helpful votes 113 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 2, 2013

We stayed two nights at the Tree Tops and were actually the only two guests for one night. We had the awesome Ranger to ourselves who was so knowledgeable about all animal/bird/plant life. The room was clean and comfortable with heated bed toppers in case you got cold. The staff was amazing and the food great. Being our 33rd anniversary, we were surprised by a picnic lunch during one of the drives, with a table set for 2 with a white table cloth, quiche, fruit, breads, cheese and wine. The owner and staff went above and beyond to find the perfect spot. We'll never forget it or be able to thank them enough for making our visit so memorable. Thanks so much Brian, Julie, Siya and Netty.

Room Tip: Tree Tops Lodge is wonderful.
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  • Stayed September 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

Review collected in partnership with this hotel

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WIndsor, Berks, UK
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2013

What should have been a trip of a life time for my Mother and I at Lalibela turned into a nightmare only a few hours after arriving. We were staying in one of the “Tree Top” lodges, which are accessed by a raised wooden walkway. After some very light rain that afternoon we found the wooden deck of the walkway very slippery, even though we were taking the greatest of care as it was dusk, to my horror my mother slipped and fell more than 6 feet into the bush below. Although there is a wooden handrail, the gap between the hand rail and walkway is open! My mother sustained head injuries, a broken nose and various abrasions to her face and body. If this was not enough, no management staff were available or willing to attend to the incident!! I had to insist that my mother be taken to hospital, it took nearly 30 minutes before anyone arrived with keys to vehicles. When we arrived at hospital it was left to me to negotiate my way around an African hospital late at night to get medical help for my mother. It is a miracle she survived a fall from that height, I can only put it down to the fact that she is extremely fit and robust, my worry is this could and probably will happen again and could result in a fatality. I have been in contact with Lee Philips who is one of the Directors at Lalibela who seems totally disinterested and sends emails from her lawyers with veiled implications that my mother fell deliberately and friendly warnings not to contact the media . Numerous emails have been batted back and forth, but Lalibela are not interested, they have offered us a complimentary 2 nights stay to be taken later in the year, this is totally inappropriate given the circumstances and the fact that we live in the UK. We have never asked for compensation, simply for our stay to be refunded and the safety of these walkways to be looked into before there is a fatality, Lee Philips seems happy that they comply with SA regulations even though the majority of their visitors are European and would expect their safety to be of paramount importance. The staff at Lalibela are great and can’t do enough to make your stay comfortable however, there is a total lack of care on behalf of the management, and my real fear is that this will happened to someone else.
My recommendation is to stay in any of the other game reserves and give this one a miss!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vernon W, Part-owner at Lalibela Game Reserve, responded to this review, October 11, 2013
It is natural to be disappointed when holidays don't go according to plan and the guest's mother falling was obviously one of these. Whilst we were, and remain, sympathetic to the lady who fell, it is regrettable that the guest chose words in her description that do not accurately reflect the events and actions and which therefore show Lalibela in a bad light. We do not believe this is a forum to engage in tit-for-tat. This is a forum to give readers the other side of the story so that Tripadvisor readers can make up their own minds about a product.

Tree Tops Lodge opened in 2004 and this incident is the first of its kind. The guests had been on evening game drive and had had alcoholic drinks on their return. The guests then walked on the raised wooden walkways to their room and the lady (in her 80's) fell through the railings. Our staff were present at the time of the incident but management decided to bring in a person qualified in First Aid to take the lady to hospital. This took some time.

It is entirely untrue to write that Lee Phillips was disinterested - Mrs Phillips took the matter both seriously and personally. Mrs Phillips reported the incident to our insurers, as we are obliged to do if an incident like this occurs. Mrs Phillips had no option but to take instructions from our insurers. They arranged for an independent assessment of the Tree Tops and its walkways and the findings were that Tree Tops is 100% compliant with all health & safety and building regulations. Accordingly, the finding was that Lalibela was in no way negligent and our insurers prevented us even from making a goodwill gesture of a refund. We are able to maintain our offer of a free stay for the guests.

Should anyone have concerns at all about Tree Tops, I encourage them to contact me directly via the Lalibela phone number.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hong Kong
Top Contributor
88 reviews 88 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 22, 2013

Stayed two nights at Marks Camp, and loved every second of it. The room was very spacious and comfortable, and the shower was much better than i imagined, although dark and with some insects around.

The staff and the food were amazing (make sure to try hot cocoa with Amarula after a night drive), and the game drives were very exciting and informative, thanks to the incredibly knowledgeable rangers. I'm so impressed just thinking about how much they know about all the different species, and how they have such a heart for the animals.

I couldn't get enough of the game drives, and after my time there have picked up a love for birds, wild animals, and animal conservation that i never had before. This was largely due to the unfortunate incident of the rhino poaching that happened at Lalibela only a week or so after my visit.

My love for Africa has been awakened after experiencing Lalibela, and my life will never be the same.

Visited in Sep 2012

  • Stayed October 2012, 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Somerset West, South Africa
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 17, 2013

We spent 3 nights at Mark's Camp during which 2 of our party had birthdays. Brian & Julie put on a magnificent celebratory evening for us, with Xhosa dancers as we sat around the 'boma' fire followed by a wonderful feast and birthday cakes for the two birthday individuals. This was our 2nd stay at Mark's Camp and the hospitality is incredible, the accommodation very comfortable and the game drives fascinating with knowledgeable game rangers who found a huge variety of animals, insects and plants which they told us about in great detail.
If you haven't stayed at Lalibela you have a great experience in store for you when you do go!

  • Stayed August 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

Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Lalibela Game Reserve

Address: 90km from Port Elizabeth | on the N2 towards Grahamstown, 6045, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > Eastern Cape
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #12 of 384 Specialty Lodging in Eastern Cape
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Lalibela Game Reserve 4*
Number of rooms: 22
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This private game reserve's location in the Eastern Cape means it is not only malaria free, but spans 5 ecosystems, resulting in a breath-taking diversity of flora and fauna. Lalibela has 3 lodges, all offering decor that is infused with the essence of Africa, as well as warm and friendly service and unforgettable game viewing. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Lalibela Game Reserve Hotel Eastern Cape

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