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“A perfect honeymoon safari” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Jock Safari Lodge

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Jock Safari Lodge
5.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Nearest Town Skukuza | Inside Kruger National Park, Kruger National Park 2060, South Africa   |  
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Glasgow, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“A perfect honeymoon safari”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 16, 2009

Stayed at the Jock Safari Lodge for the first three nights of our honeymoon in September '08, and it was just fantastic. Location was stunning, staff were all very friendly and helpful, food was delicious and level of service was excellent. I can't really fault anything during our stay.

(Note: one of the other review mentions Little Jock - we stayed in Big Jock so can't really comment on the difference.)

We flew directly into Kruger from Johannesburg to an airstrip about an hour's drive from the lodge. Picked up by Edgar, who turned out to be our driver for the duration, in a car with cold drinks in an ice box, so good start. Between the airstrip and the lodge itself we saw a leopard, hippo, a few rhinos and a herd of elephants, so the big five was well on its way before we'd even started.

As we got to the lodge just before the afternoon game drive we just dumped our kit and went straight out, so although we were only there for the three nights we managed to get six game drives out of the trip, and yes we say all the "Big 5" and so much more.

I can't guarantee that all lodge rooms are the same, but ours had its own plunge pool, a raised and covered deck looking out across the river bed (plenty of wildlife to see there too) and best of all an outside shower. With the sun beating down the outside shower was a beautiful thing.

The morning game drive starts at 6am, and you're back by 9am for breakfast, which is large and very tasty. The rest of the morning and early afternoon (lunch is available but wew were stuffed from breakfast) is left to yourself to chill out by the plunge pool or take advantage of the spa facilities.

At 3.30 you go up to the bar for afternoon tea - a drink and sandwiches - where you can watch the lodge's monkey residents attempt to steal any bit of cake/sandwich they can get their hands on.

4.00pm is the evening game drive until ~6pm where our Land Rover met up with one of the other group's Landcruiser, the picnic tables come out and you stand in the veld, sipping gin & tonic and watching the sun go down over the bush. Truly magical.

Back to the lodge by 7pm, a quick change for dinner then over to the restauarant to site with your group and your driver and sample some of the local wild life with copious amounts of local wine.

Things you need to know:

- it gets *very* cold in the morning. Everyone in our group had heard all the warning and assumed that, coming from the UK (Scotland for us) this was all an exaggeration. It's not. You start the morning with 3 or 4 layers, a hat and a blanket over your knees, but by 9am you're down to t-shirt. The temperature gradient really is that severe.

- your experience could depend on the group you end up with. We were very lucky that we were in a group of three couples, all honeymooners who got married the weekend before and all around the same age and we had an absolute ball. This may not hold true depending on the company you keep.

- Edgar is a fantastic game ranger, with eyesight that seems unbelievable when spotting things. Would definitely recommend him.

- while the whole trip was an amazing experience, I don't know that going for any longer would have been beneficial. Being up at five each morning for the morning game drive then up till 11pm each night enjoying the local produce does take it out of you, even with the break in the middle of the day. We were shattered by the time we got back to Jo'burg (in a good way), so the relaxing part of the honeymoon in Mauritius was most welcome.

  • Stayed September 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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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318 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (65)
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English first
Glasgow, Scotland
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2009

I am sorry I only stayed here for one night, but for my first safari experience this was perfect. Loved the food and wine, and as a veggie (not through choice) there was loads of things for me to eat, and like everywhere else in Africa i was treated like royalty from the chef, even with my strict diet, nothing was too much for him. The lodges are excellent, ours had a fantastic view over the bush. So theres the chance to see plenty of animals before you even go out on a game drive. Lazarus the ranger was fantastic, he was very knowledgable, funny and enthausiastic about his job, he made the game drives what they were. Its a shame that you cant go off road while on game drive here (at least thats what it was like when i was there two years ago)
Special thanks to the manager who kindly came to our rescue when we couldnt open the bottle of wine at an ungodly hour!

Stayed June 2007, traveled on business
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 20, 2009

We stayed at Jocks for 5 nights during our honeymoon. What a wonderful place. The Safari Lodge is within the Kruger National Park and is set in its own secure grounds. The rooms are mini lodges and completely private with a covered viewing platform, where you can sit on the soft furniture, overlooking the Kruger watching a variety of animals pass along the river bank. Alternatively you can cool off in the small private pool after a foot safari.

The Lodge runs two vehicle safaris a day but as on all safaris prepare to be up early before the heat rises. Take warm clothes as it can be quite cold early morning and late at night .The vehicles are comfortable but quite a high climb if you are a little unsteady on your feet. The Lodge does have steps to assist if necessary. Our guide Raymond was incredibly enthusiastic and ensured that we saw a variety of animals.The guides remain with the same guests and even eat with them during dinner which is a nice idea.

The rooms are comfortable, and have huge patio duel aspect windows. Keep the doors shut as small monkeys will swing down from the overhead trees and peer in. Im sure many a guest has returned to find a monkey tucked up in bed having fed itself on shortbread biscuits and nursing a hangover from the complementary wine!

The food is excellent , plentiful with a good variation. Its a well organised Lodge ensuring new guests are welcomed by everyone meeting prior to the evening safari for afternoon tea.

A fantastic place to stay.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wales
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2009

We stayed here for 3 nights as part of our African honeymoon. The location of Jock really made you feel as if you were in the middle of nowhere and in amongst all of the wildlife. Our first game drive was within an hour of arriving and we teamed up with two other couples who had also just arrived - within minutes of exiting the main entrance of the lodge we saw a rhino in the distance and then 3 lionesses hunting impala - just amazing ! We watched them for a while and then, after giving up, they wandered down the road and called for their young. They were suddenly joined by 7 gorgoeus cubs ! We sat for nearly an hour watching them play and feed....

We saw all of the big five and a host of other animals.. our guide - Edgar was truly excellent at spotting animals from a huge distance and even spotted a leopard which must have been half a mile away, asleep in a tree.

The food at Jock was good and very plentiful. In fact you could eat 7 times a day if you wished ... (1) coffee, juice and pastries at wake up call, (2) coffee and biscuits on the morning drive stop, (3) full english and continental breakfast on return (4) 3 course lunch at your leisure, (5) cakes and drinks at high tea before the evening drive, (6) sundowners and biltong, nuts, dried fruit and cheese biscuits on the evening drive, (7) 3 course dinner on return !!!

My highlight (other than the lion cubs) was a sundowner stop with a spectacular sunset, sipping cold wine and watching a herd of elephants grazing nearby. A truly unforgettable experience.

Accommodation was good too - it felt like we were in Africa, but with a bit of luxury thrown in. We used the plunge pool to cool down - not finding any problems with it like other reviewers did, and enjoyed the cool bottles of inclusive South African wine in our mini bar whist lounging on the deck or in the bath with gorgoeus views of the river and surrounding bush. The local monkeys were cute and friendly but they will steal anything edible and will try and get into your room if you leave the door open at all - and they are quite partial to the bread rolls that go with lunch and dinner so keep your wits about you !

All in all - a fantastic experience which we would highly recommend...!

  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
los angeles
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 February 23, 2009

We just returned from a two week South African honeymoon and we enjoyed five nights at the Jock Safari Lodge. The lodge is stunning, our room was impeccable with an amazing outdoor shower, clawfoot tub, huge comfortable king size bed, and a great viewing deck where we spent many an afternoon reading and watching various animals pass by. The staff is incredibly attentive and the food was amazing. The game drives are done in very comfortable land rovers with only 6 guests in each vehicle. We passed many other safari companies, and each one made us happy we were at jock's. Our ranger, Raymond, was very knowledgeable and we saw all the big five in our first day there. The animals are amazing to behold, and each day was an adventure. Now, a few things we didn't know in advance and wish we had: First, Kruger is a national park and not a private game reserve. As such, the vehicles cannot leave the road and follow the animals. The park is a spiderwed of dirt roads, so that wasn't a problem for spotting game. However, often the game would walk away, and in private reserves you're allowed to follow them through the bush with your vehicle where you might spot lions making a kill, for example. We had an amazing time and saw lions mating, elephants trumpeting, and many other fantastic sights. But because it is a national park, the rules are strict on what the safaris can do. Second, you eat your dinners with your game ranger and the other members of your vehicle. This means that if you're put in a group of people who's company you don't enjoy, that could be a problem. Our fellow travelers were fine, but there were a few evenings we wished we could dine alone. Third, we stayed five nights which was probably 1-2 nights too many. There is nothing to do during the day between game drives other than reading, napping, and staying out of the heat. It was wonderfully relaxing. But by the end, we were getting a bit restless. FInally, we're both in our mid thirties and were the youngest guests at the lodge by a good twenty years. Again, we had an amazing time, but it should be noted. Overall, we cannot imagine a nice place to stay, with a more friendly staff or beautiful location, and we would recommend it without reservation!

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 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.
UK
Top Contributor
71 reviews 71 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
74 helpful votes 74 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2009

We stayed here for 3 nights in May for our honeymoon. Although expensive (£500/night), it's a once in a lifetime experience. We saw every possible animal within 24 hours of being there, the food was absolutely excellent and the scenery, drives and lodge were breathtaking.

The staff were friendly enough but nothing too special. Our driver was absolutey nuts!! But very knowledgeable - with amazing eye-sight! He could see animals miles off and even in the night.

The best thing about this place is definately the atmosphere of having your own secluded hut in the middle of the African jungle and the meals! The chef was amazing. The only downside was the cleanliness of things like the private pool (too dirty to even dip your toes in) and they don't have basics like an iron - not what I would expect for £500/night. They also struggled with hot water on our first day and so we had to wait an hour for a shower!

If you have a dodgy ticker, stay clear as the animals are only a stone throw away and there are often deer in the complex. They do startle you.

Overall, the best holiday ever - but it's expensive (although you don't need any spending money while you are there). Also bear in mind that it's a good hour and a half drive from the airport to Jock - and it's not the most friendly of drives. Try to ensure that you are at least with 2 or more people.

P.S. they only have outdoor showers! Although uncomfortable at first, there was something really envigourating about standing naked in the jungle under a shower with wild monkeys watching you!!

  • Liked — Location, location, location
  • Disliked — Cleanliness and price
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Halifax
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 12, 2009

We stayed here in November for 4 nights at Little Jock. Our stay was luxurious from start to finish. The location is amazing, our room, bathroom and bed were huge. Our private balcony looked out across the shallow river bed, a rhino walked up the river bed in front of us as we sat enjoying a drink on our first afternoon there. It was fantastic.

The game drives were great. (The early morning wakeup call is a shock but always worth getting up for as that is why you are there.) We saw all the Big 5, and much more. My favourites were the giraffes, lovely animals. We also enjoyed stopping for a gin and tonic or beer on the evening game drives.

The quality and choice of food was excellent, the staff were also very good. Our chef was superb and very much a character, we would look forward to him coming out of the kitchen and presenting his choice of deserts. We could also hear lions calling in the evenings whilst we ate dinner - unforgettable!

  • Liked — The closeness to the animals.
  • Disliked — Nothing.
  • Stayed November 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 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 Jock Safari Lodge

Address: Nearest Town Skukuza | Inside Kruger National Park, Kruger National Park 2060, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #19 of 143 Specialty Lodging in Kruger National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Jock Safari Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Jock Safari Lodge is nestled where the Mitomeni and Biyamiti rivers flow as one, situated in the South-Western corner of the Kruger National Park. The lodge offers 6,000 hectares of exclusive traversing rights in an area of the park which is celebrated for its big five game viewing. Jock of the Bushveld, the legend that was, served as an inspiration for the aptly namely Jock Safari Lodge. The tale, linked to Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, highlights the canine devotion and stories of African adventures that have excited exploring travellers.Accommodation offered:Main Jock LodgeCarefully screened by lush trees and reed walls, the 12 individual thatched rooms at Jock Safari Lodge, impart a sense of aloneness and oneness with the landscape.Fitzpatrick’s Lodge, offers personal service in an intimate atmosphere. Perfect for small parties and families.The lodge is easily accessible by road, just over 5 hours drive from Johannesburg, or 1 hour Skukuza and 2 hours from Kruger International airports. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Jock Safari Hotel Kruger National Park

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