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.
- 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