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“Very good but not excellent” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Imbali Safari Lodge

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Imbali Safari Lodge
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Imbali Concession, Kruger Park, Skukuza, 1350 | Skukuza, Kruger National Park 1350, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Harare
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Very good but not excellent”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 14, 2014

Accommodations: beautiful room with more than king size canopy bed. some rooms have own jacuzzi others have own pool. stylish bathroom.
When booking: although a private concession you can book either directly through Imbali or through the National Parks website. Attention: special requests made through parks website might not be well relayed to the hotel. It helps to double check with the hotel directly to avoid ungranted wishes.
Game drives: So so. Yes, it's nature so no guarantees right? However, your luck also depends on which guide you get. Some are passionate about their work and communicate lots of interesting information about animals as well as being able to track them well. Some are drivers who claim to be guides. They have limited knowledge about the animals and therefore do not understand their behavior much less be able to track them. if you happen to get this latter category your safari car will end up trailing after other cars who have sighted the game. the cars communicate through radio. unfortunately a guide is assigned to you upon arrival. you cannot choose.
Food: Good. More complex than the usual grub you can get at bush restaurants but don't expect a michelin star. wine list okay but best bring your own if you are celebrating a special occasion. they charge a corkage fee of R50.

Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LBucceri, Marketing representative at Imbali Safari Lodge, responded to this review, March 14, 2014
Dear Mugg L,

Thank you for your review. We appreciate any opportunity to improve our service, so we are grateful for your feedback. We are glad that overall you enjoyed your stay at Imbali Safari Lodge and we hope to welcome you back soon.

Regards,
The Imbali team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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141 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 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 (26)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
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English first
UK
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2014 via mobile

We stayed here for four nights in January.

The rooms were beautiful and I recommend you ask for one with a jacuzzi overlooking the riverbed.

The staff are charming with a good sense of humour and went out of their way to make sure we had a wonderful time. Special thanks to Winston, Mary, Cronwell, Torrence, Antoinette and the lovely ladies from housekeeping.

It was our first time to Kruger and we were blown away by the beautiful lodge and the abundance of animals and birds. The safari drives were excellent and our guide James was very friendly, knowledgeable and really went the extra mile. We could not have been happier. It was terrific being able to get to know the other members of our truck and twice we ate dinner with them and with James like one big family which we really enjoyed.

There is plenty of food and plenty of choice. The wines were lovely and reasonably priced.

My only thoughts for improvement would be that there be a bar area in the main lodge where people could socialise around a central point however saying that, we were always offered drinks and were never left standing around. Also we recommend you ask for the bill ahead of departure as we experienced some accounting errors which took a little bit of time to resolve.

I would definitely return to Imbali and cannot recommend it more highly.

Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LBucceri, Marketing representative at Imbali Safari Lodge, responded to this review, March 14, 2014
Dear E G,

Thank you for your lovely feedback. We are delighted that you had a great time and so glad that we made you feel like part of the Imbali family... this is exactly how we want our guests to feel!

We hope to welcome you back to Imbali very soon.

Regards,
The Imbali Team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2014

My husband and I had a wonderful stay at Imbali as part of our honeymoon and would highly recommend this once in a lifetime experience! We stayed a total of 4 nights and all our expectations were exceeded by a mile (or kilometer).
We landed at the small Hoedspruit airport and were immediately greeted by Stefan and bottles of cold water. The drive from the airport to the Lodge is approximately 2 hours but feels like 20 minutes and is basically a mini safari in itself. The ride is comfortable and Stefan is hilarious, not to mention extremely knowledgeable about all things Kruger.
The lodge is beautiful and rooms are private and surprisingly luxurious considering you're in the middle of Kruger. There were a number of times that I would see elephants grazing across the riverbed while I was reading on our deck. My favorite part were the baboons who seemed to think our deck was party central one day - the adults were tossing one another into the hot tub and while the babies pulled each other's tails. This may not be everyone's cup of tea but we thought it was hilarious. Also, to note - the staff was quick to clean the deck and drain/clean the hot tub without us even mentioning it.
Our guide was James who put his heart and soul into the drives. Within the first 48 hours we had seen the big 5, as well as, hyenas, giraffes and a few dozen other birds/animals. We really enjoyed our time on the drives with James - he's knowledgeable, entertaining, professional, intuitive and patient. Everything a good guide should be.
I could go on and on about Imbali, the grounds and staff. Honestly, this is a very special place and I'm not sure how anyone could leave here feeling anything less than satisfied. Every member of the staff goes out of their way to care for you and you can tell they take great pride in their lodge.

  • 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
    • 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.
LBucceri, Marketing representative at Imbali Safari Lodge, responded to this review, March 14, 2014
Dear M F,

Thank you so much for your lovely review! We are thrilled to hear that you had such a wonderful experience with us, and we hope to welcome you back for your anniversary.

Regards,
The Imbali team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Perth, Australia
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2014

We sent four nights at Imbali at the end of a five week trip around Southern Africa. We wanted to have a bit of luxury, without having to pack bags and move at the end of a long trip. We got exactly what we wanted.
The villas were private with an enormous king size four poster bed. Game drives are included in the price. We got a very cheerful wake up call at 5:30 each morning so we were ready for our 6:00 am departure. Our ranger, Stefan, was very knowledgeable sharing his personal knowledge and experience, but also lending guidebooks so you could study the animals and birds in more detail. On the morning game drive you get to stop for a tea or coffee and then continue on for another hour or so until returning to the lodge for breakfast. During this time, your room is also cleaned so you never get interrupted or disturbed whilst you are there.
The evening game drive surprised us on the first night because you stop at sunset for a sundowner and Stefan sets up your drinks and nibbles. On the first night we watched a white rhino walk park us about 30m away - it was the first rhino we had seen on our whole trip - it was brilliant.
We saw plenty of lions during our numerous game drives, up close so fantastic photos were taken.
The food is all included and is fantastic, a huge variety and something different every day.
All the staff were very friendly. On our last night it was someone's birthday and the staff all sang songs and danced, it was a really nice touch and completely unexpected.
One of the afternoon game drives saw the manager organise to serve ice cream cones just outside the main gate - we only got that once whilst we were there. Again a nice touch on a warm afternoon, and a nice surprise.
The only small downside was that on the last day when we settled the account, it took about 30minutes as the lodge had to phone the bank(or card company?) to have payment authorised. It wasn't until we read the card number out again, and the person at the other end had in erred two of the numbers, did things get resolved. It could happen anywhere, but I recall reading about it another review, so it might be something to be aware of.

Room Tip: Room number 1 only has one neighbour so is particularly quiet.
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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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LBucceri, Marketing representative at Imbali Safari Lodge, responded to this review, March 14, 2014
Dear Hel-Cam12,

Thanks so much for your lovely review. We are so pleased that you had a wonderful holiday with us, and are delighted that our small touches made your stay extra-memorable.

We hope to see you again soon!

Regards,
The Imbali team
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London, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2014

We saw a lion cross the road as soon as we entered the Kruger. From then on it only got better, we saw all of the big 5 plus about 30 other species of animals and birds, the rangers were so helpful and knowledgeable. The lodge was great and the staff. The rooms are enormous and we had a sun deck and jacuzzi, every night you are escorted back to your room for safety.
This trip was everything we had hoped for and it was organised faultlessly by South Africa Holiday Architects.

  • 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
    • 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.
LBucceri, Marketing representative at Imbali Safari Lodge, responded to this review, March 14, 2014
Dear sunseekerCoDurham,

Thank you for your review. We are so pleased you enjoyed your stay with us, and hope to welcome you back to Imbali soon.

Regards,
The Imbali team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlottesville, Virginia
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2014

We stayed 4 nights at Imbali during our honeymoon trip to South Africa. We LOVED it! Everyone was so friendly and accommodating. Our room was fantastic. We enjoyed massages on our pool deck twice and both times there were elephants across the riverbed at the watering hole when we woke up! It was out of a movie! Our room was clean and spacious and we enjoyed using the pool. The food at the lodge was plentiful and delicious! We ate all sorts of fabulous local fare. The guides were knowledgeable and friendly. We saw the big 5 twice, thanks to our guide Twice! We also enjoyed an African Village Tour outside of Kruger and got to see some amazing tribal dances and listen to gospel choirs. It was truly amazing. Overall, we were really pleased with the staff, food, accommodation, spa and safari experience.

  • Stayed December 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LBucceri, Marketing representative at Imbali Safari Lodge, responded to this review, March 14, 2014
Dear Jen M,

Thank you for your feedback. We are so happy that you had a lovely honeymoon with us, and we hope to see you again for your first anniversary!

Regards,
The Imbali team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mumbai (Bombay), India
Top Contributor
77 reviews 77 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 10, 2013

The Resort is 3 to 4 hours by road from Nespruit Airport and you start wondering if it is worth it. But it was great! There are 12 lodges- 9 facing a river bed, 4 with outdoor jacuzzis- excellent rooms, great service and lovely safaris- saw all the big 5 - 5 hours of safari each day and chilled out in the balance time - a lot of wine! All in all a great experience. The Safari guides were great!

Room Tip: Ask for River facing rooms- If you stay for at least 3 nights - you should get them. 3 Nights are t...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 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
    • 4 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.
Leeanne d, Manager at Imbali Safari Lodge, responded to this review, November 13, 2013
Dear Traveller,

Thank you very much for the positive feedback. I’m glad to see that you enjoyed your Safari experience with us. We would love to host you again future.

The Imbali Safari Lodge Team
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Imbali Safari Lodge

Address: Imbali Concession, Kruger Park, Skukuza, 1350 | Skukuza, Kruger National Park 1350, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 14 hotels in Kruger National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Imbali Safari Lodge 5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
An exclusive lodge within the world-renowned Kruger National Park, Imbali Safari Lodge continues the safari tradition of a bygone era. Each private suite has exquisite views from the spacious wooden decks and private Jacuzzi overlooking the riverbed and the plains beyond. In the 1900's the African Safari was a journey of great danger and even greater luxury.All twelve private suites have either their own private Jacuzzi or plunge pool, large king size beds and a romantic antique-styled bath en-suite, timber walkways, telephones, mosquito nets and air conditioner.Spa treatments available in the privacy of your room, safaris in 4x4 vehicles, bird watching, guided safari walks by prior arrangement and self drive in the Kruger National Park. No cell phone reception and limited landlines. Children are welcome, but a minimum age of 6 years is applicable for game drives - at the discretion of management. Maximum of 2 children under 12 years of age may share with parents. Children 5 years and younger stay complimentary when sharing with parents.The Lodge is situated in a malaria area. Gate entry fees are applicable and are charged per person per day. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Imbali Safari Hotel Kruger National Park

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