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“As long as you know what to expect it's excellent” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Ivory Tree Game Lodge

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Ivory Tree Game Lodge
5.0 of 5 Lodge   |   | Bakgatla Gate, Pilanesberg National Park 318, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Dubai
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“As long as you know what to expect it's excellent”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 31, 2012

Only a few hours drive from Johannesburg but you enter another world. The lodge itself comprise some 30 individual lodges which are very clean with comfy beds and reasonably well equipped. Some of the outside verandas offer no views as they back onto a hill but several have far reaching views (our friends stayed in no 20 and had a fab view unlike our suite no 23). Staff were all very friendly and obliging food in the restaurant was buffet style but quality was good (French chef?). Shadow took us out on a quad bike tour of the local area which was both fun and interesting as we drove through some local village areas (don't expect mud huts we are talking corrugated iron) and he also arranged an archery competition for the teenagers.
I think our main disappointment was with the game drives. We accept that we did not see any of the big cats, that was just our bad luck as they are there but what disappointed us was the number of private cars that are let into the reserve. We had an interesting situation when one rather grumpy extremely large elephant came bearing down on a jumble of some ten cars. All ok but several drivers of private cars were not particularly sensitive to the animals. Also we had an image of stopping somewhere quiet to enjoy our sunset drink but were in a gated area (understand that part!!) which we shared with dozens of others and the gin that I had requested had already been opened and half polished off - not a major problem but when you are miles away from a replacement was slightly disappointing.
All in all for a quick weekend with a difference it was lovely but for a real safari experience you probably have to go farther afield.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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342 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (75)
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Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2012

We stayed for 2 nights in the ivory tree. It is a very nice resort with excellent lodges which are right on the pilanesberg park's border. Excellent king size bed, a great bathroom and an outdoor shower.

The food is buffet style and actually quite good, but not to be compared to the a la carte dinners we had in other game lodges. The staff is very friendly and always happy to help.

The Pilanesberg nature is breathtaking. The collapsed volcano landscape gives this park a view with hillsides, stretched plains and bush that is unrivalled. The downside is that the game drives are not allowed to go offroad and it is a public park. This means that you have to be lucky to see the animals from closeby and you will likely share the view with a lot of other cars.

But: our ranger, Janco, made our first safari experience an unforgettable one. His extensive knowledge on the wildlife, nature, birds and anything else you can imagine was a bliss and made our stay in the ivory tree one we will remember.

Tip: go on the quad bike trip. This will take you through the villages where you would normally not come. This way you can get a flavour of the locals and their way of living. Beware that the terrain is rough so handling the quad is not easy at first.

Room Tip: If you don't like an uphill walk, choose a lodge close to the main building.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 22, 2012

We desperately wanted to have a special night away out of Johannesburg but were slightly disappointed to find a lack of attention to detail at Ivory Tree Lodge. After ordering our game drive drinks they were not in the cooler box. At dinner my husband asked for an Amstel beer in a bottle, nothing. Then he asked for a glass Sauvigon Blanc, nothing. The bar fridges in both or our units had no beverages, maybe some fresh milk for early morning coffee or tea. High tea selection of teas not good, and also high tea food not good, doughnuts for the children were stale.
A pity that these little things have to be complained about, but it is those little things that make a break awesome to average.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ChrisFerr, General Manager at Ivory Tree Game Lodge, responded to this review, October 28, 2012
Thank you very much for your feedback. It is much appreciated and can only assist us in continually striving to improve our guest experience at Ivory Tree Game Lodge.

I would like to apologise most sincerely for the experience you recently had at Ivory Tree and would like to assure you that this is most certainly not the norm.

The points you have raised are altogether relevant and constructive and I must agree that we should have handled things somewhat differently.

I am pleased to advise that after investigating the points you have raised, we are satisfied that the necessary measures have subsequently been put in place to avoid a repeat of this.

Regarding the issues you have mentioned, I would like to offer the following explanation from our side.

• Game drive drinks. This was a complete misunderstanding from our side and instead of the staff adding the second order for the children’s drinks to your first order, they replaced the original order entirely. I have implemented measures to ensure this does not occur again.

• We normally stock bottled beer. Unfortunately, as a result of the recent transport strikes in South Africa, our deliveries were influenced and we were left short stocked on some of our line items. In your case, Amstel beer in a bottle. We definitely had stock of Sauvignon Blanc wines, but unfortunately only had stock of 750mm bottles during your visit. The fault here was ours entirely as the barman should have made a plan and opened any one of the 750mm bottles of Sauvignon Blanc to accommodate your request. We have addressed these issues with the waiters and bar service staff and apologise for this.

• We have also started labelling the ice cream with immediate effect in the same way we are already labelling the other food items on our buffet.

• Unfortunately, the afternoon tea snacks were not up to scratch during your stay. I have addressed this with our recently appointed Executive Chef who will personally oversee the quality of all of these items in future.

• Unfortunately our mini-bar fridges in the rooms are only stocked on request. Guests are more than welcome to request in advance that these be stocked for their consumption and we are more than happy to oblige. I am sorry that this was apparently not brought to your attention more clearly when your booking was confirmed. This point is clearly stressed on the guest pro-forma invoice which is sent to guests prior to their arrival. We also post notices in the rooms indicating the procedure for our guests regarding requests for the stocking of the mini-bar fridges.

I appreciate how the points you have brought to our attention have caused you irritation and possibly spoilt your stay with us. I would like to assure you that we sincerely regret those issues which we should have handled differently and I would like to assure you that we would like to make it up to you should you ever choose to holiday with us again in the future.

Kind Regards
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 3, 2012

Our experience at Ivory Tree Game Lodge was wonderful. The cabins are very comfortable, well-appointed and nicely designed. Each is air-conditioned, with a spacious bath and outdoor shower. The main lodge buildings are nicely designed and well-maintained. The staff are friendly and always happy to help. The food is good and nicely presented. But if you're visiting for the hotel experience, you're missing the point of coming to Pilanesberg. The game viewing is outstanding and the twice daily game drives were each unique and awe-inspiring. We had William as our ranger/driver for the 2 days we visited and were impressed with his knowledge of the park and animals. The diversity contained within the park means that you'll likely see a lot of different types of game within a short period.

Room Tip: Cabins on the perimeter fence line will be a longer walk to the main lodge buildings, but will affor...
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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
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India
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 3, 2012

A lovely lodge with all mod cons. Great location- almost shares a gate with the reserve. I wouldnt call this a serious wildlife destination but its a great place to have a break in a natural ambience near J'berg. The only two drawbacks, the walk uphill to some of the rooms can be a bit much for older guests ( of which we had a few in our group)...and the management arnt always keen to provide the carts all the time. And the second problem, is that even though there are lovely huge bathrooms with all the rooms- there is no option of an indoor shower. Since we visited in winter, it was definitly uncomfortable to HAVE to shower outdoors in the evening just to freshen up after the drive. Apart from that, the staff are really nice, especially the guides and drivers. The food is simple but tasty and the beds are comfortable. All in all a good experiance.

Room Tip: if you don't fancy a uphill hike, ask specifically for a room near the main reception.
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Arlington, VA
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 25, 2012

I just spent a long weekend at Ivory Tree and had a wonderful weekend. The lodge is an easy 2.5 hour drive from Jo'burg and once you're there you'll feel miles away from the city. I went out on 4 game drives, and on 2 of those drives I was on my own with the ranger as the rest of the people in my vehicle decided not to go. I offered to have them place me in another vehicle for that drive, but Erica, my ranger but also general manager, kindly took me out for my personal game drives.
The game viewing is good, but can't compare to the parks where you can go off-road (Sabi Sands etc.), however, once you accept that you won't get as close to the animals, the experience is excellent. The food was good, not excellent, but that's not what you go for. The staff were lovely, the rooms are very pleasant. I'd definitely go again and have already recommended it to friends.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Philadelphia
Top Contributor
67 reviews 67 reviews
51 hotel reviews
Reviews in 48 cities Reviews in 48 cities
89 helpful votes 89 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2012

It is hard to believe you are in the middle of a national safari park but Ivory Tree Game Lodge is one special lodge. It is really paradise. We stayed at one of the Executive Suites which has its own living room, TV, fireplace, refrigerator, modern bathroom, master bedroom with mosquito netting, an outdoor shower and a private backyard with boma and swimming pool. The rooms are up a hill from the main lodge where they have open buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food is beautifully prepared.

Between morning and evening safari runs, there are a host of activities that you can sign up for including quad biking (we loved this), archery, air rifle, drumming and visits to downtown.

The stars at night are spectacular and the resort is first class. To my delight, there weren't that many bugs in the winter. It is the perfect place to stay to visit Pilanesberg National Park.

Room Tip: splurge and get the Executive Suite
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  • Stayed August 2012, 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.
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Additional Information about Ivory Tree Game Lodge

Address: | Bakgatla Gate, Pilanesberg National Park 318, South Africa
Location: South Africa > North-West Province > Pilanesberg National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 11 Specialty Lodging in Pilanesberg National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Ivory Tree Game Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 64
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Within the northern region of the Pilanesberg National Park lies an ancient amphitheatre and its in this basin, surrounded by volcanic spires and rolling savannah grassland, that Ivory Tree Game Lodge has been beautifully crafted. The central guest areas include lounges, bar, a dining room and feature rock pool. Small intimate guest areas have been created to retain warmth and seclusion for the individual guests. Sweeping patios provide the ideal venue for delicious English breakfasts and light luncheons with the boma reserved for fire-side dinners. 60 Luxury chalets have been carefully positioned along foot-hills ensuring optimal views of either the mountainous surrounds or the central open area. Each chalet featuring an outside shower, air-conditioner, mini bar fridge, tea and coffee making facility, has been tastefully decorated in earthly tones. This theme is carried through to the spacious bathroom, and it is here that you may choose to relax in your bath beneath a panoramic window or step out for an invigorating shower. Ivory Tree boasts a new wellness experience presenting a wide variety of treatment options designed to relax mind, body and soul. The unique design and position of the treatment rooms ensure uninterrupted views of the reserve. Ivory Tree presents generous bed capacity and has been carefully designed to ensure optimal guest privacy whilst being able to create unique incentive experiences. Whilst our attention is focused around close and unrestricted encounters with Africa’s big game, incentive experiences also include bush dinners, our own version of the amazing race, and numerous additional activities. The lodge also boasts an equipped conference facility. Striving to maintain high levels of personal attention and guest comfort, game drive vehicles are custom built ensuring optimal panoramic visibility. Amongst the most experienced in the Pilanesberg, our rangers and hosts are committed to binging you close encounters with a wide variety of big game, including the big 5, cheetah and wild dog, during morning and evening game drives. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ivory Tree Game Hotel Pilanesberg National Park

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