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“Fantastic lodge with a magnificent view over the river” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Olifants Rest Camp

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Olifants Rest Camp
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2.0 of 5 Cabin/Campground   |   83 km from Phalaborwa Gate | Olifants River, Kruger National Park, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Berlin
Top Contributor
57 reviews 57 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
“Fantastic lodge with a magnificent view over the river”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 31, 2014

We stayed at Olifants during our trip through the Kruger Park and it was one of the nicest camps - expecially caused by the incredible view over the river...
Unfortunately it was very rainy,so we could not enjoy the camp so much, but the chalet was cery nice and tidy (like all of SAN's camps).
Unfortunately the food at the restaurant during dinner were not very good - a pity because the terrace has also a fantastic view...

Room Tip: The chalets at the border with a view to the river are a must !
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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372 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
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Whipsnade, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2014

Wonderful views set high on a bluff above a great bend in the Olifants river which joins the Limpopo before spilling into the Indian Ocean. Perfectly comfortable accommodation. Simple but adequate. Close to the Mozambique border with a very good chance of seeing the Big Five provided you're persistent. Service was fine. Staff a little sleepy but helpful. You have to remember that SanParks is a state-run organisation so you won't get bells and whistles. If you want luxury and pampering go to a private game lodge and pay upwards of US$500 a night for the privilege. But as a good value alternative and part of a 4-5 tour of the Kruger, driving and mostly catering for yourself it's great.

Room Tip: Try and get chalet 9 or if not 8 or 10.These have great views for miles and miles and miles.
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Sydney, Australia
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2014

This is simple accommodation. The views over the river where great. This was part of a self drive through the kruger. Need to make sure that you are inside prior to gates close time. Driving through Kruger was good. Very different experience to a private game reserve. The key difference is that you had to keep to the roads and wait for the animals to come to you.

Good time of year to travel. Warm to hot days but cool evenings and mornings.

Stayed May 2013, traveled solo
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Toronto, Canada
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
34 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
438 helpful votes 438 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2014

Let me start by saying I've read the recent reviews and am surprised to see some negative comments. Our experience was purely positive.

Oliphants is one of a number of rest camps in Kruger National Park run by the South African National Parks administration (SANparks). Never having been to Africa before, we did our research and were lucky in securing a river view cottage reservation two months before our arrival. Book ahead!

Go to the SANparks website and find the camp map (it takes a little work to find it.) You need this map when making a reservation. Despite what the website says, Units 1 to 13 have clear river views, Units 14-16, partly obstructed river views, and to see the river from Unit 17 is a bit of a stretch. Really, the closer you are to Unit 1 the better the panoramic view.

Another factor is parking. All the units have designated parking spaces but some are better. Only Units 1 & 2 offer full shade all day for your vehicle - a factor when the temp is 36C as it was during our January (summer) stay. Partially shaded parking is offered in Units 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, and 13.

All the Units are Rondavels, a name for traditional dwelling in which the outer wall is a circular and the roof traditional thatch. Our unit came with two single beds, clean and newer linens, pillows, blankets, a bathroom consisting of toilet and shower, and a sink in the room. Toilet paper, and towels were provided. Closet space was adequate and an older but fully functional air con unit provided needed cooling. There was also a ceiling fan and screened windows at opposite ends of the unit as well as a large screen door. The unit is secured by key. The units facing the river have their own braai (barbeque) on a small grassed terrace. The Unit itself has an outdoor terrace/living area with a table, two chairs, full sized refrigerator, kitchen counter, cupboards, sink, kettle, good microwave, and all the kitchen utensils, cutlery, dishes and pots one would need.

The on-site grocery store was reasonably well stocked and offered toiletries like sunscreen, simple medications, basic clothing and footwear and the like. Prices are higher than in the large supermarkets in places like Phalaborwa so I would recommend importing your groceries and drinks. The cleaning staff are cheery and do a good job. The Units are not Sabie Sands luxurious but they are remarkable clean and well maintained. Staying here is not "roughing it" but it is, foremost, a camp, so expect of a bit of a camping experience and you will not be disappointed.

Our Unit had a running toilet which we reported and in minutes maintenance was dispatched to save precious water. Following our stay we were contacted by email and asked to complete a survey for feedback. SANparks clearly is working hard to respond to its clients' needs.

The Units by the river are on a high ridge, a cliff really, overlooking the Oliphants River far below. The nicest part of the outdoor living area is that it somehow was shaded at all times of the day, and a pleasant breeze crossed the landscape pushing upward along the cliff face. This brought the added bonus of seeing all manner of raptors (birds) riding the upwind currents circling to gain altitude. There were raptors at times mere meters from us and the view was extraordinary. Spotting hippos down by the river is a task best done with binoculars. Siting a hippo leaving the river in the evening means you are viewing wildlife 1-2 kilometers from your location. Also check the view from the restaurant and from the designated viewing point - it is worth the effort.

The check in was quick and friendly. All manner of guided game drives are on offer as well as items like a river walking safari. All cost extra but are reasonably priced. We had already done three game drives and a walking safari in Pilanesberg Private Reserve (see my hotel reviews for more info.) Pilanesberg is a seven hour drive from Kruger but having the experience of more than one game park is certainly worth the effort.

We elected in Kruger to spend our two days on self drives and we were not disappointed. Both paved and dirt roads were no problem for our small five door hatchback rent-a-car - no need for off road vehicles here.

We saw lots of giraffe, elephant, zebra, waterbuck, wildebeest, hippo, warthog and impala, and were fortunate to see a leopard on the hunt which we followed as it stalked in a line parallel to our road some twenty meters from us. We saw a pack of buffalo. We saw some rhino. We saw a large turtle and small dung beetles. We also saw a pride of lions including a large male and plenty of birds, including many many raptors (birds like falcons or eagles)(including some with fresh kill) and vultures. And we saw game at all hours of the day. We saw it all in a one night
stay entering Kruger at the Phalaborwa gate at 5:30 a.m. and leaving at the Orphan Gate the next day around 3:00 p.m. No matter what they say about summer being the wrong time to go, we were fortunate to have sunny skies and despite the green vegetation, no problem seeing all manner of game. It is hard to believe it could actually get any better. An interesting quirk was the camp office posts each day a list of animals seen on the various game drives. If you self-drive, you can compare your sightings to the list. If you haven't done a guided drive, do it.

A few important notes. This is a malaria zone. We saw nary a bug, not a fly, not a mosquito and were not bitten. But you are a fool if you do not take anti-malarials and other precautions.

Buy a Kruger Souvenir Map at the gate when you enter. It costs R20 (US$2.00) It is invaluable for getting around though the roads are surprisingly well signed at important intersections. With the map and signs, you really can't get lost - which is important!

Also, do not under any circumstances leave your vehicle. We saw one idiot who walked some 20 meters to get a better shot of a hippo. The grass is full of predators (lions are hunters of opportunity mostly) and they are unseen most of the time. Also hippos kill more humans than any other animal in Africa.

Lastly, start your drives early but do not end late. Watch your gate times. The camp gate closing time is posted. If you are one minute late, that gate is closed and will not be opened for you. You will be fined and escorted from the park

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Room Tip: See my review. Get a Unit overlooking the river but you need to reserve well ahead. Find the camp ma...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
bunbury
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2014 via mobile

As with most camps we visited, there was construction taking place at Olifants while we were there. The administration was done from a temporary small building and still the service was great.
Our unit was on the edge of the hill on the perimeter and had a spectacular view over the Olifants river. The cons of this position was that the wind blew right into our verandah and the rain too - we experienced a frightening summer thunderstorm here and everything (that did not blow away - we had to go on a walk to gather clothes in the surroundings) on the open stoep was soaking!
The amount of insects that gathered around the lights at night were also extraordinary.
However, the lady that cleaned the unit was always on top of it and all was sparkling by the time we got back from our morning drives. On the mornings we slept in, she left us in peace. Fantastic service.
We saw many animals from the unit, but not on our drives - although we had an amazing leopard sighting one afternoon.
Go here for the view - it is second to none!

  • Stayed November 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
303 reviews 303 reviews
40 hotel reviews
Reviews in 118 cities Reviews in 118 cities
105 helpful votes 105 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2014

I have given this camp the highest rating as the views are exceptional! The camp overlooks the Olifants River, many animals come to the river to drink. You can sit at the terrace restaurant overlooking the river at sunset and watch all the wildlife - fantastic.

There is a shop which is well stocked and the aforementioned restaurant. We stayed in a perimeter view bungalow number 9. Definitely well worth the extra money,

Room Tip: Perimeter view bungalow number 9.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Zeist, The Netherlands
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 1, 2014

For our three week journey through South-Africa we argued if we should go to a private Game Reserve in stead of Kruger, but eventually chose for Kruger. Coming from Graskop and experiencing the Blyde River Canyon first we arrived in Kruger through the Phalaborwa Gate. From here you only need to take paved roads (so no need for a 4-W drive!) to the main Rest Camps of Kruger.

Our first was Olifants. Make sure to book well in advance (at least 3 months) in order to be able to pick an accommodation of your choice. When we booked (2 months in advance) we were only able to book the bungalow, which was ok but very basic. The food is also very basic, so prepare yourself on a lot of burgers and fries or bring your own food. You can find 'braai' areas all over the main camps. In our bungalow, the beds were old and the bathroom tiny. But it is great to experience that you're sleeping in a fenced area and the wildlife walks only 100 yards away.

The restaurant has a terrace with a stunning view! So make sure to go there for breakfast or arrive before sundown to enjoy a cold beer with the view.

Olifants is the only camp from where you can book a Mountainbike trail. Two rangers took us early morning with mountain bikes to a Hippo path and we had a great ride with a lot of details on the wildlife, their habits and explored footprints along the way. The guides are really good and trustworthy so do not fear to go with them. It's great fun and you have breakfast on the riverbed next to the hippo's. An experience never to forget!

Room Tip: - Book the Mountainbike trail from Olifants. It's the only Rest Camp where this is possible and...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
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Additional Information about Olifants Rest Camp

Address: 83 km from Phalaborwa Gate | Olifants River, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park
Hotel Style:
Ranked #104 of 144 Specialty Lodging in Kruger National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2 star — Olifants Rest Camp 2*
Number of rooms: 45
Also Known As:
Olifants Restcamp Hotel Kruger National Park

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