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“Great accommodation but still some way to go with game viewing” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Buffelsdrift Game Lodge

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Buffelsdrift Game Lodge
4.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Cango Caves Road | P.O.Box 268, Oudtshoorn 6620, South Africa   |  
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Petersfield, United Kingdom
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233 reviews 233 reviews
131 hotel reviews
Reviews in 135 cities Reviews in 135 cities
449 helpful votes 449 helpful votes
“Great accommodation but still some way to go with game viewing”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2009

We stayed for just one night having booked direct with the property. We spent 3 weeks touring the Cape and Klein Karoo and were looking for somewhere as a special treat where we could be guaranteed to see some of South Africa's amazing wildlife up close.

However by the time we reached Buffelsdrift, we'd already had 2 amazing nights at Addo Elephant Park, where we stayed in superb (and inexpensive) cottages, and saw literally hundreds of animals from the comfort of our own rented truck in superb weather (see my other reviews on this subject).

On arrival we were warmly welcomed and given a complementary welcome drink while our luggage was taken to our tent on a golf buggy. This was a nice touch as it meant we could go to the tent when we were ready without struggling with the luggage. We had a superior tent down by the water's edge and were very impressed by the standard of the accommodation - I've stayed in many expensive hotels that were less well presented than our tent! The reception staff were also most helpful in finding and lending me an electrical plug adaptor suitable for charging my camera.

Our evening game drive was a bit of a let-down, but probably because we'd seen so much more at Addo. I guess it's all relative: anyone who'd not done a safari in the past would probably be pretty impressed. The vehicle used for the tour was a very large and noisy army-style truck that took about 20 people at a time. I've done safari type activities before in East Africa in much smaller landrovers and found these to offer a much better experience. At one point the truck actually broke down and could only be re-started by several people giving it a push! OK, it's Africa, but I really think that for the money they are charging they should do the drives in smaller vehicles - - they'd probably be able to get closer to some of the more nervous species (like the giraffes) as well. We did see 3 rhinos and a couple of buffalos, but as the guide freely admitted, Buffelsdrift is still a very new reserve and is still establishing itself. Apparently they plan to introduce some lions in a year or so, but need to build up animal stocks significantly before then.

Our overnight package included a second game drive in the morning, but we'd arranged to see the meerkats with Grant McIlwrath, the meerkat man (a long-standing ambition we had been unable to fulfil a week earlier when bad weather in the Oudtshoorn area had led to cancellations). The reception people at Buffelsdrift were happy to arrange a swap of the morning's game drive for an elephant esperience (more later), and assured me that the gates would be open at 04:30 in the morning so we could reach the meerkat rendezvous point in time.

In fact the gates were closed when we drove down the entrance road bleary-eyed the next morning. The security guard was nowhere to be seen, and it was only luck that we were able to manually push the electric gate open so we could "escape"! I really recommedn the meetkat magic experience, but suggest this is better done from a hotel or B&B (as we had originally planned before the weather got in the way) rather from Buffelsdrift.

After returning we had a nice shower followed by a pleasant cooked breakfast. Te promised elephant experience was fun, although the 3 "babies" are getting big now! I did feel a little uncomforatble that the eles have been trained to perform tricks for visitors (playing football, various poses etc). I'm not suggesting for a minute they are not well looked after, but it just seemed a bit unnecessary to see these magnificant animals doing the sort of thing we used to see in circuses in the UK many years ago. Not also that the eles are not free to roam around the reserve as they are kept near the main building so that they are readily available for visitors to see.

  • Liked — Enthusiastic, eager to help staff
  • Disliked — Game drives a bit "tame" compared to other places
  • Stayed November 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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UK
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 4, 2008

I stayed at Buffelsdrift for 3 days and 2 nights with 4 friends in November 2007.

We arrived a little late on the first day so we had to go on our game drive straight away, not time to check into out tent. We were very lucky during the game drive and saw just about all of the animals they had including the rhino, giraffes, wildebeast, springbok and we were even lucky enough to see the baby hippo's playing with each other in the lagoon.

After our game drive, we went to our tents, we booked the tents right next to the lagoon and they were heavenly !!! The bed was the comfiest bed ever. And you can't put a price having a bath and looking out onto the lagoon and watching baby hippos !!!
It also had a fab outdoor shower which i didn't try out as there was a huge spider out there and i HATE them and was too scared. :( Even the minibar was very reasonably priced.

We went to dinner the first night and there was a power cut but hey, its South Africa, these things happen !!! We were served out meal and it was gorgeous although the menu was very limited. If you stayed any more than 2 nights you would be very sick of it as its the same menu for lunch.

Our second day at Buffelsdrift was spent goingt o Kango Caves which i wasn't looking forward to, who wants to walk through caves on holiday ??? But it was really good, we did the adventure tour.

We then headed to an Ostrich Farm where i fell in love with these birds. You learn all about their breeding programme and get to meet the birds. The bird we met was called Betsy, we got to cuddle her and them myself and my friend even got a massage from around 8 ostriches. Don't ask, just join in !!!

We then returned to Buffelsdrift where the weather went downhill and it just didn't stop raining. Our game drive the morning we were due to leave was cancelled and we didn;t mind. For safety reasons, i would prefer that !!!

On the last day i was looking forward to feeding elephants but was told that i couldn't because it was raining !?!?! The last i had heard, elephants didn't mind the rain !!!

All in all, i would definitely recommend Buffelsdrift, the accomodation is stunning and we had a great time, just make sure you don't miss out on feeding the elephants.

  • Liked — The bath, the bed, everything
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed November 2007, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Sydney, Australia
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 4, 2008

You can visit Buffelsdrift without having to stay overnight. My husband and I stayed in Oudtshoorn for 5 days and our day trip here was the highlight of our visit to Sth Africa.

We did a morning safari, and then afterwards fed the baby elephants, a truly wonderful experience.

Breakfast - We arrived about an hour before the safari started as we didn’t realise how long it would take us to get to Buffelsdrift, but boy we were glad we did arrive early. WE were able to take advantage of the wonderful & very reasonably priced buffet breakfast on offer.

We sat out on the deck overlooking the hippo lagoon, and although we didn’t see any hippos whilst eating, it was just a lovely way to start the day off.

Game Drive - Our guide Tim was very knowledgeable and very friendly and really made us feel welcome. The scenery around Buffelsdrift is truly spectacular, so even if you don’t see all of the animals, you will enjoy the ride.

It’s worth remembering that there’s a lot of luck involved in actually ‘seeing’ the animals. The game reserve is very large, covered in scrub and unless you go to a zoo, you are not guaranteed to see animals!

However, we managed to see a large group of giraffes feeding together, wildebeest, mongoose, zebra, springboks and kudu just to name a few of the animals we saw. We didn’t see the Rhino unfortunately, but the enthusiasm of our guide Tim and his knowledge of the animals we did see, still made it a very worthwhile experience.

The game drive includes a drink, which is taken at one of the many lovely spots around the site. We went up to the top of some magnificent hills (passing a large group of Giraffes on the way!) and admired the view from the top.

Baby elephant feeding – A MUST TO DO!!! For 120ZAR you can feed the three large baby elephants. This is a truly magical experience, and my husband & I couldn’t wipe the smiles off our faces the whole time.

The elephants are all orphans and are looked after by mahouts who are encyclopaedia’s on elephants and share their extensive knowledge with you whilst you feed the babies cut-up bits of food.
We were lucky that after our feeding experience, the elephants were taken down to the lagoon for a drink and we got to see them play. A magical experience not only for adults, but would be wonderful for people with kids.

Customer service – in my opinion, the best customer service we experienced in the whole of Sth Africa! From the lovely welcoming smiles of the reception staff when you first arrive, to the friendly waiting staff in the restaurant & wonderful guides, you cannot fault the customer service at Buffelsdrift.

As we left, people were waving and saying ‘goodbye’ and wishing us a safe journey onwards.

A fantastic day, with the baby elephants being the highlight of our trip to Sth Africa. I hope I get the opportunity to go back and stay in one of the tents!

  • Stayed April 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 Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 1, 2008

We came back a couple of weeks ago from a wonderful holiday in South Africa. Stayed two nights at Buffesldrift as the highlight of our holiday and it did not disappoint. We chose a tent on the lagoon. I have to say tent is an understatement as it was one of the most luxurious rooms I have ever stayed in - with a wooden deck on the water. The staff there are absolutely first rate - incredibly friendly and helpful.
We went on some great trips - the Kangol Caves and Ostrich Farm - both of which I recommend highly. Our best trips were the two bush Safaris we went on - a truly unforgettable experience! We saw a wonderful selection of animals rhinos, wildebeest, zebras, springbok, hippos- as well as 8 giraffes (3 babies - so cute!). The tours were thorough and we even stopped at the top for a coffee. The Bush is 3000 hectares so plenty big enough for a two hour Bush trip.
The only downside was the food which we did not rate. Having experienced the culinary delights of South Africa, the food was quite disappointing here - not as fresh or well thought out as we would have expected. We went to Jemima's in Oudtshoorn one evening which was great.
All in all a fab experience - this place is a real gem - it manages to be both relaxing and adventurous.

  • Stayed April 2008
    • 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
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Washington U.K
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
33 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 27, 2008

We stayed 2 nights at Buffelsdrift and had the most amazing stay at this lodge, watched hippo while sat in the bath! Saw springbok, wildebeest, blackbacked jakal, zebra and other buck on the evening/morning drives. Also Hippo from our verander. The game was not as prolific as in other game parks so if you are going just for the game/Big 5 then you will be disappointed. However buffelsdrift is a wonderful place to stay for a relaxing break or a special occassion. It was my birthday and it is one birthday that i will never forget - it was so special.

The service was personal and the staff first class. The food was excellent with a great selection of dishes to choose from. We felt very special and spoilt. The accommodation was luxurious but the one regret that i have is that we did not book a tent right next to the lagoon.

One of the highlights of our stay was to hand feed the 3 resident orphan elephants. They were so friendly I fell in love with them.
Buffelsdrift far exceeded our expectations - and would highly recommend the Lodge to anyone.

  • Liked — The luxury
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed March 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Middlesex
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2008

We spent one night here and wished we had booked for two. The staff could not do enough to help, the superior tent was out of this world and we were also lucky enough to see plenty of animals. As other people of said it's not the big 5 but they don't advertise it as such. We walked with the elephants, got a close up encounter with the rhino's when doing so! On the drive saw springbok, wilderbeast and a family of girrafe's along with the smaller animals such as kudu and springbok etc. The hippo's are always in hearing distance, they can make a noise and if you have some binnoculars (we didn't but worth it) you will be able to see them across the dam. They do venture nearer the accomodation too though, one was nearing the tents as we were leaving.

As we were so lucky with all the animals viewing we didn't do the morning drive, opting to have an early brekkie and sit in the sun on our viewing deck before we had to check out.

Can't fault the food, service was a little slow at dinner but it was a beautiful night and the moon was full, why rush? Breakfast was plentiful and had everything you could want.

I would go back tomorrow.

  • Liked — Everything
  • Disliked — That I had to leave
  • Stayed February 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
    • 4 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.
LONDON
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 17, 2007

Many people were quite down on this place for not being a "proper safari" and i have to say having done a "proper safari" in Botswana I was sceptical so I was delighted to be so plesantly surprised. This one night stay probably was the best of our trip. We saw plenty of animals and ok it doesnt compare to Kruger but you get close to the animals they do have and the scenery is magnificent. The staff are wonderful and the a la carte menu provided as part of the package was also surprisingly good. Nothing to fault here, could they do with more animals - of course, was it well worth the time and the money anyway - absolutely....highly recommended.

  • Liked — charm and quality
  • Disliked — cost of internet access
  • Stayed November 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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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 Buffelsdrift Game Lodge

Address: Cango Caves Road | P.O.Box 268, Oudtshoorn 6620, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > Western Cape > Oudtshoorn
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 37 Specialty Lodging in Oudtshoorn
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Buffelsdrift Game Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 29
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Buffelsdrift Game Lodge is a sprawling game farm situated in the foothills of the Swartberg Mountains in the Cango Valley, Oudtshoorn. Only 5 hours drive from Cape Town and less than an hour's drive from George Airport. This game farm is located 6.5 Km outside of Oudtshoorn, en-route to the Cango Caves. Pristine bushveld, lush vegetation and a 5 hectare dam provide a haven for twenty-two game species and more than 217 bird species. In May 2004 this beautiful Nature Reserve became part of the 6th South African World Heritage Sites offering a wealth of endemic plant species. It is our aim to bring the highest quality of service to our guests and to this end we try to anticipate their every need.Buffelsdrift Game Lodge offers 9 waterfront, 16 luxury and 4 family tents each one with en-suite bathroom and private outdoor shower, air-conditioning, mini-bar, digital safe, tea / coffee making facilities and a game viewing deck. We can accommodate a total of 50 guests (50 beds) in our 25 tents either with twin or king size beds. A lookout lounge is situated next to the reception with a large round stone fireplace in the middle, overlooking our dam with the Swartberg Mountain Range in the distance. A charming wedding chapel is situated on the edge of a natural water hole with a wide wooden deck as entrance. The deck is an extension to the A la carte restaurant which creates a beautiful space for wedding guests to take their seats and witness the couple exchanging their wedding vows. Conferencing at Buffelsdrift Game Lodge is quite unique. Our fully equipped conference hall is situated right next to the dam, and also extends onto the deck connecting to the restaurant. Activities offered are Bush Safaris (game drive), Meerkat Safaris and Elephant Excursions. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Buffelsdrift Game Hotel Oudtshoorn

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