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“Going through changes” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Shishangeni Private Lodge

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Shishangeni Private Lodge
3.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Southern Kruger Park | south-eastern section, bordering Crocodile River to the south and Mozambique in the east, Kruger National Park 1340, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Kimberley
1 review
“Going through changes”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2012

Shishangeni is busy going through changes and for the better. Rooms are been revamped and even management has changed.
With great game drives you can nearly be sure to see the Big 5. Also the Restaurant has a new Head Chef and the food has improved to a Sumptious Meal, you would not think you are in a Lodge miles away from any Cities.
Effort is made by all to ensure you have a Great stay.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled solo
    • 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
KeyChainHospitality, Management at Shishangeni Private Lodge, responded to this review, June 20, 2013
Thank you for you positive comment.

We are glad you enjoyed your stay at Shishangeni.

Keychain Hospitality has recently taken over the management of Shishangeni. As you mentioned we are currently going through a big refurbishment project. A photographer is coming in next week, we will post new images shortly.
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152 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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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
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (14)
Date | Rating
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English first
Maputo
Level Contributor
24 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2012

We stayed in Camp Shonga and what a treat! The tented accomodation was superb, as was the quality of the food and the welcome. On our game drives the ranger was exceptionally knowledgeable and was able to take us off road (not possible in the main park) to get up close to the cats. His skill at reading the tracks and behaviours of other animals led us to the king of the jungle that would have otherwise remained well out of sight.
The only reason tha this is not getting an excellent rating is the location of the camp...having been taken to the other tented camp (Camp Shawu) for sundowners, the location here (on the side of a hippo and croc filled lake) is definitely worth the slightly higer price tag.
You will need a 2 night stay to make the most of the game viewing and appreciate the surroundings. And for those with any reservations about staying in atent - well this is most certainly what they mean by GLAMPING !!!! Looking forward to a return visit.

Room Tip: Avoid the main lodge for that genuine Bush Experience....and if you can afford to pay that little bi...
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 22, 2012

We stayed at the Tent Camp in and found it to be everything that we had hoped. We were greeted by a ranger (at a late check in) and taken directly to the main lodge for a glass of wine and then on to our tent camp. Because we came in after dark, our first experience was a night drive and even though the ranger's goal was to get us to the camp, he excitedly pointed out elephants, giraffe, and hippo along the way! The Tents are rustic, but very nice with wood floors, leather furniture, and an outdoor shower with an amazing view. The main gathering area and mess hall is a thatched building, again with simple but nice furnishings that provide the perfect Safari chic atmosphere. We found our guide to be very attentive, and concerned about finding as many animals as possible for us to view. All of the staff had a great sense of humour and were very friendly and fun to be with. The thing that really stands out for us is that we had a mix up with our transportation arrangements on the final day; the Shishangeni staff went above and beyond to help us track down a new driver, called our hotel at the next location we were traveling to, sat with as at the gate to ensure that we did in fact get on our way. We know that the day we were leaving was the start of their days off, so it is very possible that the staff member helping us was not being paid for his kindness. I would recommend this place to anyone wanting a mid-range private lodge.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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.
Johannesburg
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2012

This markets itself as a luxury private lodge in Kruger Park. While the game viewing was good, the place was run as a three star hotel. Most staff seemed very new and struggled both with language and concept of service. Our entourage was allocated two game vehicles (Finally after some confusion). While one vehicle had a knowledgeable guide, the other was a very uninterested chauffeur who had no interest in engaging with the guests, give information or searching for or spotting game.

The food was similar to what you get at a 3 star hotel buffet and the service was dismal.

This was not worth the money

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
KeyChainHospitality, Marketing Company at Shishangeni Private Lodge, responded to this review, June 20, 2013
We are glad you enjoyed the game viewing at Shishangeni.

Keychain Hospitality has recently taken over the management of Shishangeni. We assure you that our Staff have been properly trained now. It is disappointing to hear that you had an uninterested guide, as they can make or break your entire experience. We have three fantastic guides to lead the game drives now, and we will be conducting guided game walks soon.
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London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2012

My family recently spent two nights at this private lodge. We were 7 people and were travelling with 13 friends in a group of 20. We paid for a 5-star accommodation and experience, but sadly in reality this is truly only a 3-star lodge. The decor in the rooms is tired, some door posts were rotten and though we paid a lot the kids had to sleep on mattresses on the floor.... We occupied two jeeps from the lodges for the game drives, and my family were lucky to have a great ranger/driver, whereas the other group was very disappointed with theirs. Our driver, Victor, told us things, pointed at animals and stopped every time there was something to see. The other driver was just driving around..... The area and the game we saw were amazing; it is nice to be so close to a river for crocodile and hippo spotting! The food was ok, but the eating area very dirty. Some of the staff were friendly, others plain uninterested in the guests. The level of service was very low - we ordered a wine bottle and it came without glasses.... When I pointed out that there were no glasses at the buffet, I was told to go and look for some in the kitchen. The pool area was dirty and the sun loungers broken and dirty.
This lodge can keep overcharging because mosts guests are from oversees and haven't experienced any other lodges. We live in South Africa and know that there are many more, and better, lodges to choose from.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 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.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
118 reviews
106 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 138 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2011

This was my second time at Shishangeni Lodge within the last 18 months, and I enjoyed it both times. Our group decided to leave Maputo (Mozambique) for a weekend to do this two-hour drive across the border to Kruger NP. Shishangeni's major advantage to us was its proximity to Crocodile Gate, which is right after the border. Already when we drove toward the lodge from the Gate were we able to see an abundance of wildlife. This was topped during the evening and morning safaris when our guide (Simon) went out of his way to spot exciting animals and made it possible for us to see them close up, such as several lions, cheetahs, rhinos, hippos, and crocodiles.

We also enjoyed the accommodation in very stylish bungalows, as well as the excellent meals; the dinner around a fire was an atmospheric highlight. I would have awarded Shishangeni with a "5" rating were it not for some strange incidents that occurred during our safaris. Somebody went through my backpack in my bungalow (the backpack has a strange zipper and only closes in a particular way, which the intruder could not manage to do--although nothing was stolen) and another group member's room (she missed a bracelet). We informed the reception and do not know if anything happened afterward. But we do not allow these incidents to take away the overall good memories of our time at Shishangeni.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Level Contributor
114 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 9, 2011

We arrived to a friendly welcome, and were shown to a lovely room - all living up to expectation. Our ranger, Leonard, was friendly and made us feel at home as soon as we departed on our first game drive.
To our surprise there was no tracker with the vehicle - and no rifle. Recent poaching in Kruger has apparently necessitated this change - but we felt this totally changed the experience - unfortunately for the worse.
I've experienced private lodges at Sabi Sand before, and the tracker plays a huge role in identifying spoor, and tracking game. So much is lost without his services, and the night drive is an impossibility for the poor ranger who has to drive in the dark, pan a torch left and right, and try to spot game. It just wasn't going to happen - and it didn't. We saw almost nothing in the dark apart from the odd game a guest spotted.
During the daylight drives we did see Cheetah - which were awesome - and plenty of rhino, elephant, hippo, crocs, buffalo, giraffe, impala, etc.
But, in 3 days, no lion and no leopard. But it's the wild - and that's how it goes.
The service at the lodge was great - friendly assistance and nothing was too much trouble.
However, the food was aweful. I'm not fussy - but it was really terrible, with some dishes being inedible - and the deserts being a joke.
Other guests we shared a vehicle with from Europe and the USA also complained that the food was diabolical. Sorry Shishangeni - for a private game lodge you should be ashamed.
Even the Boma dinner, which was a lovely setting, was a disappointment as the meat was tough, the salads plain, and the desert inedible.
I would not recommend Shishangeni to others, and even though I paid a last minute discounted rate I felt I didn't get value. I felt sorry for the international visitors for whom this experience was that first, and possibly their last safari experience. There is so much other choice out there that knocks the socks off Shishangeni.
Pick one of the private lodges at Sabi Sand - the game is incredible, the lodges are world-class, and the food is something special.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
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Additional Information about Shishangeni Private Lodge

Address: Southern Kruger Park | south-eastern section, bordering Crocodile River to the south and Mozambique in the east, Kruger National Park 1340, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #100 of 147 Specialty Lodging in Kruger National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Shishangeni Private Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 22
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
There is a place in Africa where legends are bornShishangeni comprises of three camps to choose from Shishangeni Private Lodge, Camp Shonga and Camp Shawu. Each of the three adding a different experience to the visitor. The Lodge offers big five game viewing, superior service, excellent cuisine, and the best accommodation in Southern Africa. The emphasis of all three of our camps is on nature without losing the luxury and superior service our guests are accustomed to. We are striving to create the optimum balance between people and their environments, while having an absolute minimal impact on the neighbouring habitat. ... more   less 
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