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“Highly recommend, top notch luxury coupled with authentic African experience” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Lukimbi Safari Lodge

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Lukimbi Safari Lodge
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5.0 of 5 Lodge   |   North Cliff, Kruger National Park 2115, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
UK
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Highly recommend, top notch luxury coupled with authentic African experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2013

We spent a fantastic 4 days at Lukimbi with my parents and brother and girlfriend and our 3 children (aged 12, 8 and 4). Everything about the place was completely perfect. Our thatched roof chalet with private plunge pool, the food, the incredible wine, the swimming pool and of course the animals! Everything far exceeded all my expectations. We don't think we will ever go on safari again because what we have experienced could not be beaten. We saw so many animals at close quarters with our fantastic guide Zane and tracker KK. They were brilliant. Zane is so experienced but more importantly has a great way of educating us on all things wildlife. He was great with the children too. The highlight of our trip was zooming along to find the leopard that had been spotted but which was an hour away. We flew along the roads and got there in time to see her up in her tree spying on the Impala below. She then got out of the tree and strolled across the road right in front of us. It was amazing. All thanks to Zane and KK. They were as excited as us. Then back to the lodge for a fantastic meal and bed.

Thank you Lukimbi for being fabulous on every level. You cleverly create a fantastic experience for us all. Special thanks to Zane. We all felt sad to leave you as we spent quite a lot of time together and you made it all special for us.

Room Tip: We had a chalet that had one room with big double bed and another living area with 3 single beds in...
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  • Stayed April 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
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166 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    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 (40)
Date | Rating
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English first
Dalton MA
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 April 21, 2013

In only two full days at Lukimbi, we had excellent sightings of all the Big 5 save leopards, which we told our Ranger we had already seen. They made a special effort to find lions early Sunday morning for us - the wildlife was thrilling. Zane was also very knowledgeable about birds, trees and plants, so there was always something to learn about. Also, kudos to Norman our spotter, who was able to spot a dropped iPod in the tall grass at dusk - amazing! There was no hesitation in backtracking 2 k. to search. Although you go to Kruger to see game, the lodge and the food were exceptional - I know there are more expensive places, but I cannot imagine what more you could enjoy. And the service was perfect. The trip of a lifetime!

Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Arlington, Virginia, United States
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2013

This was our third trip to Kruger and the first with kids in tow. We spent a great deal of time considering various safari lodges and settled on Lukimbi based on a combination of factors, including its (relatively) reasonable price for luxury and the ability to bunk our whole family in one room. We wanted good food and nice lodgings, but we also wanted what most people want -- to see lots of animals. In addition, we wanted to be connected to Kruger for the children's first visit to South Africa (vs. inside a fenced private reserve that is stocked with set numbers of game). If you want an authentic safari experience at Kruger with a higher level of service and amenities, Lukimbi is the place.

From the moment we arrived until our reluctant departure the entire staff made us feel welcome and relaxed. You are truly bunking in the bush, and the only fence separating you from the rest of Kruger is an electrified wire about 10 feet in the air to keep elephants from flattening the place. The first thing you do when you arrive, after cooling off with a fresh towel and homemade lemonade, is to review some rules and sign a waiver. A key rule: don't leave your room at dark. Wildlife guides escort you to/from your room before and after dinner. We saw an African Civet Cat next to the walk on our way back from dinner one night, in case you are wondering if the rule is important.

Upon arrival you are assigned to a wildlife guide/tracker pair who spend your entire stay taking care of you (with help from many other able staff). They take you on the bush drives, of course, but they also check on you at dinner, freshen your cocktails, call you to wake you up for the morning drive and generally take the time to get to know you and make sure you are having a great time.

We were assigned to Andrew and James and we loved them. Andrew's passion for wildlife is infectious -- a South African Steve Irwin. The man truly loves his job, and it was wonderful to listen to him share his knowledge and share in his joy when we found something truly spectacular (like a pair of lionesses hunting, and then dining on impala). Andrew is also a bit of a snake whisperer -- watching him wrangle a couple of wild and venomous snakes in the bush will be forever etched in my memory. James is a hawk-eyed tracker who spotted a tiny chameleon on a tiny green leaf in a tiny roadside bush. In the dark. At night. From the front of our moving vehicle. The man clearly has bionic eyes.

We visited at the end of a summer with plentiful rain, so the bush was thick -- very thick. Without excellent guides, our timing could have been disastrous but we spotted some truly amazing animals. Of the big 5, only the beautiful leopard eluded us on this trip (although we did find fresh tracks outside the lodge gate one morning, proving the importance of that rule above). And finding a cheetah with his kill was an extraordinary consolation prize. Oh yea, and we had sundowners (cocktails) in the bush. With rhinos. That's going to be an awesome Christmas card.

Two days wandering in the bush with these two guides was the experience of a lifetime and being assigned to the same vehicle with the same guests each day provides a more intimate experience -- you have the chance to get to know your fellow travelers a bit over coffee or sundowners in the bush. And speaking of intimate, when we tracked down the wildlife we were seeking we were often the only vehicle with the animal in the bush, or at most in the company of one other group of Lukimibi guests. Nothing like jockeying for position with 20 vehicles in other areas in and out of Kruger. You feel like you and your handful of Land Rover mates are the only ones out there in the bush. With lions.

The whole lodge provides a more intimate experience in general. Even at full capacity the number of guests feels cozy and personal. The tables are arranged at each meal to accommodate your individual group, but you see the same folks every meal so you can chat at the bar or join up your tables if you so desire. It was nice to have the option of private family time or more social time, and to feel like we were in a wider (but not too large) group sharing the same phenomenal experience with people from around the world.

The entire staff are friendly and helpful and willing to accommodate any request. You are greeted after a dusty bush drive with a fresh, cool washcloth. The bartender/sommelier is waiting to give you a tour of his beautiful wine cellar. The food: awesome. Ample selections of fresh, flavorful local food at each meal. So many great veggie options and the chef happily catered to the children's preferred palates (something their mother does not do). They were able to mix in some chicken tenders with their ostrich and impala.

The rooms are lovely, thatched chalets with ample space and gorgeous views into the bush. A private porch and a soaking tub -- both with unobstructed panoramic views -- were my favorites but the kids loved the mosquito netting over their beds. The huge bathroom was easy to share with a family of four. And we all loved climbing under the mosquito netting at night to read the African folk tale bedtime stories we found on our pillows.

My only complaint about Lukimbi is that I didn't book a longer stay. They are days full of game viewing, eating and falling into your net-shrouded bed, but I could have easily stayed longer and done more of the same. We loved it and would go back in a heartbeat.

  • Stayed March 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

I spent two outstanding nights at Lukimbi on my first ever Safari. From the moment I arrived at the lodge I was made to feel very special indeed with an amazing attention to detail provided throughout my stay that I will never forget! I will be back for sure.
I honestly could not find fault with one single thing, far from it! My accommodation was exceptional with a private pool overlooking the reserve. The food was superbly prepared and presented throughout my stay, the service was also fantastic and the game drives were truly awesome - Zane and KK thank you so much for your fantastic knowledge. Due to this I managed to see the big 5 in just two days, all of which were on Lukimbi's private estate. Extremely well run lodge, well done to all at Lukimbi. See you again soon!!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled solo
    • 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
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Somerset West, South Africa
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2013

This was our 4th visit in recent years, and we decided to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary at Lukimbi. From booking our trip with Sue & Sally, to the beautiful luxury suite attention to detail, awesome food, fabulous game drives with Justine & Stranger we definitely received 6 star quality service. Mariska at Reception, all the staff at the restaurant, including Lybon and Empress, and of course the wonderful management team of Sean and Shelley you made our trip unforgettable. May your lodge continue to grow from strength to strength and keep up the wonderful service.

Room Tip: the luxury suite with it's own pool.................awesome!!
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  • Stayed February 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.
johannesburg
Top Contributor
81 reviews 81 reviews
74 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
82 helpful votes 82 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 5, 2013

We spent two amazing nights at Lukimbi. The food and service were superb and we did not feel overwhelmed by the five stars as there was nothing ostentatious about the lodge, plus the staff members, from Sean and Shelly (who run the lodge) to our ranger and tracker (Gideon and KK) were all humble people. We felt relaxed and at home.

In two days we were entitled to 4 game drives but skipped the last one and slept in. 'Why' you may be wondering? Well, we saw lion, buffalo, elephant, rhino and leopard (the big five animals) plus wild dogs and not 1, but 3 caracal sightings - and all resulted in good photographs so there was simply no need for the 4th game drive!

Another huge benefit of staying at Lukimbi is the fact that the lodge is situated on a concession in the southern, game-rich area of the Kruger Park and other vehicles are not allowed to enter this concession. This means that at most of our sightings we were the only vehicle present or there was just one other Lukimbi vehicle - what a pleasure compared to the frustrating traffic jams at sightings outside this concession!

We also found a refreshing camaraderie amongst the rangers, as opposed to the 'everyone for themself' attitude that we have seen with many other safari guides. Let me give you an example - Zane, another ranger at Lukimbi, found a leopard in a tree close to the lodge and he immediately called us in but we were about 10 minutes away. When we arrived, Zane and his guests were parked in the road observing the leopard and only when we arrived did he drive off-road and closer to the tree. This was to ensure that the leopard did not get agitated and leave before we had arrived. This unselfish attitude is a rare occurrence, especially at big-five sightings!

Lastly, staying at a safari lodge in the middle of summer can be very hot and uncomfortable and we have stayed at other 5-star lodges that did not have air conditioners or bar fridges so it was bliss being able to switch on the air-conditioner in our chalet each night or to grab a cold beer! All the rooms, including the bathroom and outdoor shower have a view of the bush and river so you never miss out on any happenings. All of the above contributed to us having a wonderful photographic safari!

Room Tip: The western chalets are situated higher and provide panoramic views while the eastern chalets are lo...
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  • Stayed February 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.
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2013 via mobile

We had an accidental stay at Lukimbi. Rescued by Sean, Zane and stranger and taken to a 5* luxury lodge.
What can I say? Would we go back? Without a doubt! Accommodation was superior. Food was out of this world. The chefs went out of their way to prepare vegetarian for me. Shelly was fantastic. Made us feel at home and spoilt. The game drives provided us with everything that we'd gone to see. We'll never forget stranger going off to track lion for us. And thanks to Sean for making us feel safe.
Thanks to all at lukimbi. We will never forget our stay. And will recommend to all.

  • Stayed November 2012
    • 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Lukimbi Safari Lodge

Address: North Cliff, Kruger National Park 2115, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park
Amenities:
Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #34 of 144 Specialty Lodging in Kruger National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:5 star — Lukimbi Safari Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 14
Also Known As:
Lukimbi Safari Hotel Kruger National Park

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