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“65 'Excellent' reviews to date says it all !!!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Shiduli Private Game Lodge

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Shiduli Private Game Lodge
4.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Fringing the Big Five Karongwe Game Reserve, Tzaneen 1380, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Battle, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“65 'Excellent' reviews to date says it all !!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 27, 2013

THANK YOU ELLEN FOR MAKING THIS SUCH A MEMORABLE STAY.
My wife and I stayed at Shiduli Private Game Lodge from 17th to 24th September 2013, on a Saga arranged holiday, (which followed some extensive research into the best available South African Safaris, and also the best time of year to visit this area), and I think we got it right on both counts.

WEATHER: For my money, September was perfect timing for a number of reasons –
1. It’s spring – the early morning game drive conditions were quite mild, (up at 5.00am, a quick coffee in the lodge, and out on the Land Rover by 5.30am), so we certainly didn’t need gloves and hot water bottles!! Likewise, the evening game drives were also pleasantly warm, but it’s still worth taking a fleece when you’re out in the bush, because it can be cooler before the sun rises and after the sun sets.
2. Being spring, the vegetation is sparse, so you stand the best chance of seeing the animals.
3. The weather is generally good but not yet TOO hot – (the ‘Rains’ start about mid October!!)
4. The mosquitoes are dormant – we didn’t have a single insect bite, and didn’t need to use the mosquito nets around the beds, nor was there a need to apply insect repellent (although it’s probably a good idea to do so – better safe than sorry).

GAME DRIVES: The game drives are truly memorable. The purpose fitted out/ open top Land Rovers can take up to 9 or 10 guests, (although generally there were only about 6 guests on board), and they are reasonably easy to get in and out of. One of our ‘group’ had significant mobility problems, but he was still able to get in and out of the vehicle with minimal aid.
We had the same ‘Ranger’, Ellen – (who was also our driver), and ‘Tracker’ Joel (who sits on a seat over the bonnet), throughout our stay. Ellen was simply superb – knowledgeable, enthusiastic and attentive to everyone’s needs – her communication skills were second to none. Joel was also very knowledgeable and had the biggest smile in the world (when he wanted to!).
During each 3 hour morning drive, we would stop off at a lake or watering hole where we could alight from the vehicle and where Joel and Ellen would produce a table covered in a perfectly pressed white table cloth, and then serve hot coffee or chocolate and wonderfully fresh Muffins!! (see photo!). On the Evening drives, coffee was replaced by alcoholic or soft drinks of your choice along with ‘nibbles’ such as dried Mango.... Mmmmmm! (These stops are also the opportunity to use the ‘Bush Toilet’).
Each drive was full of surprises around every corner. How Ellen & Joel knew where to find the animals is beyond me, but they made sure that we saw every one of the ‘Big 5’, and so much more.
A good compact digital SLR camera is highly recommended, although you get SO close to the animals, a simple point and shoot camera can often be effective. There’s plenty of room to take all you need with you in the Land Rovers, with huge elasticated pockets behind every seat.

ACCOMODATION: Shiduli Lodge comprises 24 ‘guest rooms’ surrounded by well maintained gardens, where the local monkeys, baboons and Kudu (deer) can often be seen playing or grazing in the grounds – (keep the windows and doors shut in your room.... the monkeys can be in and out in the blink of an eye, and take whatever they fancy).
The air conditioned rooms have lovely showers, comfortable beds, mini-bar, hairdryer, ample toiletries/towels, and a telephone. The best rooms are Nos 1-5 or 21-24 as these are furthest away from the main road which can be a little noisy at times.
The Dining area serves a fairly wide range of food. (I’m a fussy eater, but there was only ONE meal where I couldn’t find something I enjoyed). My favourite meal was breakfast.... fruit juices, cereals, yoghurts, fried eggs, bacon etc. etc. You really can’t go wrong with the breakfast at Shiduli!
TIP: Look out for Petra.... with her 24 inch high head gear!! – She’s a crack up and she has the most genuine smile and laugh that we’ve ever come across.
The bar is open most of the day/evening, and if you sit out in the grounds, the drinks often come to you, thanks to Patrick and Timothy our fun loving barmen! If you happen to be a smoker, there are plenty of outside areas where you can do so without affecting other guests.
For a very small fee, (about £3), W-Fi is available around the main lodge, (but not any further away), or there is a guest computer available in the main Lodge building.
ALL the staff are friendly and they really seem to enjoy talking to guests. They may take a bit of time to understand a joke but, once they get it, just see the room light up with their beaming smiles. The one thing that we, and some other guests, found missing was some background African music in the the bar and dining area. Some local music would have had provided a little more ambiance.

SUMMARY: All in all, I would describe this as an ‘In yer Face’ holiday... very little time to read a book, have a swim or sit at the bar, so if you want a Relaxation Holiday this is probably not for you. Up at 5.00am, in bed by 10.30pm, (and believe me you’ll need that sleep), BUT, if you want African wildlife, fabulous game drives with fantastic Rangers and Trackers, three ‘all you can eat’ meals per day, endless drinks (if you can find time), extremely comfortable rooms, and with only a small number of guests staying at any one time, then GO FOR IT. Shiduli may not be located directly within the Kruger Park, (as a previous reviewer kept on about), but did that matter? Nah......... we visited Kruger Park, and for my money SHIDULI WAS BETTER.

Room Tip: In my view, the best rooms are Nos 1-5 or 21-24 as these are furthest away from the main road which...
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  • Stayed September 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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134 reviews from our community

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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
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (28)
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
133 reviews 133 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 52 cities Reviews in 52 cities
116 helpful votes 116 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 12, 2013

Having researched many safari holidays it was the SAGA promo dvd of Shiduli Game Lodge, sent with a brochure that finally persuaded me into booking this trip for my husband & myself.
I have just retired from teaching, aged 60 and pomised myself a holiday in September, as I've never been able to go away then.

Now Shiduli Lodge - is well laid out with beautiful kept gardens and friendly staff. There are many places to relax in the lodge & gardens, to sit and enjoy a driink from the free bar (open 10am-10pm). The room we had, no 5 was large, with a HUGE bed, plenty of storage space, and a beautiful bathroom in natural stone, with twin sinks and a big walk in shower with rainforest head. Toiletries were provided as were plenty of towels which were changed daily. Air con was available but we had no need of it. There was a mosquito net around the bed, but as end of August/beginning of September is a good time to visit, before the rains, we had no need of the net either.
The main reason to visit Shiduli is; of course, the the game drives. We had 5 included drives and 2 optional (which costs approx £13 each per person for 3 hours - very good value) and we went on all of them. Be warned you are up early - 5am wake up call, depart at 5;30am & return at 8:30am with breakfast at 9am. Coffee/tea is provided before you depart and there is also a refreshment stop halfway through the drive with hot chocolate and fresh baked muffins. There are also game drives from 4pm to 7pm, with dinner later at 8pm.
We saw some wonderful sights - a cheetah with 4 cubs, a lion & 2 females slowly strolling past us, so close we could have stroked them; tracking a leopared at night through the bush, giraffe & elephants crossing the road in front of us - all incredible & amazing experiences.
The SAGA rep Jen was also one of the rangers and was a fabulous person, animated & passionate about her job and making sure she chatted with all in the party. Our ranger Jacques, a young South African guy; was so motivated and lively, he inspired us to want to learn all about the flora & fauna in the area. It was like being with David Attenborough!
The food at the lodge is very good but be warned you will gain weight with 3 large meals a day!
We went on 3 other excursions - 2 free and 1 we paid for. The excursion to Kruger National Park was a long day and you are not allowed out of your minibus unless at a rest stop. We saw lots of animals but the park is huge and there were times when we travelled for 30 mins without seeing anything! Overall I'm glad we went but much prefer the smaller more intimate game drives on the Karongwe reserve at Shiduli. We also visited the Holy family Orphanage, which as an ex teacher was very interesting for me. The Panorama trip was also amazing as we got to see some fantastic scenery including the Rondavels, God's Window and several waterfalls.
One or two things might make a difference to you:
There are several sets of steps on at the game lodge, so bear this in mind if you have mobility problems - although we had a lady in her 80's in our party, who used a stick and she managed very well.
Early mornings! - this is not a particularly relaxing holiday although there are times planned in when you can swim & sunbath or just sit and read.
Do take gloves, scarf, woolly hats for early morning game drives - it can be extremely cold - luckily we wre forewarned and went with the right clothing.
There is a communal computer but wifi is flakey - you can buy a voucher for your device - phone of tablet for ablout £1.30, valid for the duration of your stay but it won't work in your room & again the connection is very patchy.
We have decided that we loved it so much we will book again for next September - please give this place a try, you won't regret it!

Room Tip: Request a room with a shower as those with a bath only have a hand held shower.
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  • Stayed September 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 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
tamworth
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2013

Stayed for two nights. On arrival, ( 50 minute transfer from airport) we were given chilled drinks and shown to the dining area for lunch. 30 minutes later we were on our first safari. So exciting we were out for about 3 hours. The lodge has 10,000 hectares whereas Kruger has over 2 million but I feel Shiduli was big enough and fit for purpose.
When we returned we had about 30 minutes to get refreshed before dinner. Food was exceptional, buffet style so as much as you wanted.
Our room was clean and cosy with tea making facilities, the ceiling was thatched (and the highest one I have ever seen), clean bathroom with a huge ,stone floor shower. Couldn't find a U.K. socket this time but I managed to use our universal adaptor in the shaving socket.
The lodge has a swimming pool, outdoor and indoor lounge and bar and a barbecue area. There is Wi-Fi available for 25 rand that will last for 2 weeks.
Our next game drive was a 6.00am start with another after lunch. We had 4 drives in all seeing all the big 5 and many more animals. The highlight was finding the leopards on the last drive so hats off to mervan and joel (our driver and tracker).
Only one thing I picked up on at night as I lay in bed was the feeling of being in the wilderness then hearing a car or lorry go past in the distance.
Thank you Shiduli for making our stay so fantastic.
If you get the chance stay there.

  • Stayed August 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2013

The lodge is very very far away from the Kruger National park even though the address specifies that the lodge is in Kruger.The drives are OK but the park that its situated in does not have as many animals as Kruger and if you are travelling all this way to go to the Kruger national Park this is no where near the Kruger park.The food at shiduli is horrible and does not even live up to the standards of a bed and breakfast hotel.There is less than 5 items in the buffet.The service is horrible and the amenities available at the hotel is mediocre.There is nothing to do at the hotel in between your game drives.I would NOT recommend this lodge to anybody.Most importantly all online booking websites advertise it as a hotel within the Kruger park but IT IS NO WHERE near the park.If you travel all the way here to go the Kruger park my advice is DO NOT book this lodge.

Room Tip: Dont get a room at this lodge.
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Conegliano, Italy
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2013

We stayed at Shiduli for 3 nights during our South Africa tour. The lodge is very nicely decorated and it has a big reserve with the big 5! (we managed to see also a cheeta with 4 babies a 2 lionesses eating a zebra…. Absolutely priceless!). Rooms were very nice, new and well decorated, as well as the lodge itself, in particular the bar, the living area and the garden area. The only downside is the dining room, very simple compared to the rest. Also the food is very poor quality, for sure not in line with a 4 stars resort, and it is badly presented with limited choices. Sometimes it gave us the impression to be in a canteen rather than in a 4 stars hotel. However for the rest we had an amazing stay, lovely staff, special thank you to Morris, our fantastic ranger who managed to show us all the animals, and Sammy, at reception, who helped us with all our needs and allows us to have lovely private dinners in the bar twice! Location is only 1 hour away from the Kruger park so you can enjoy a day or half day tour in the Kruger as well! Good value for money compared to other resorts in the area however food must be improved. Recommended

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2013

We had a lovely 2 nights at this amazing, friendly and feeling like home lodge, the rooms were very cozy and very nice, the kids enjoyed their sleeping in their triplet room under the nets. Also the cleanliness level of this lodge is very great, its superb, to the smallest detail.
The manager responsible for the kitchen came to us many times to make sure that we are ok with the food, because we only eat Halal food and in fact they have made food for us and it was amazing, everybody were very friendly and very nice and they made us feel like home really.
The rangers were really great, especially Oliver "Oli" he was very sweet and very well informed of everything, along with the tracker "Remondo" they made sure that we see the Big Five, and we really saw them all, we even had the chance to see a lion having his meal lively... also we went on foot and got really close to a mammy Cheetah with her 4 cubs that was awsome.
Also the most amazing part was that my little daughter who is 5 years old was scared to go our for the safaris, so there this amazing lovely sweet lady " ELLA" who was the first one to greet us and to give us our rooms, she stayed with my daugher and in fact my daughter enjoyed her time with Ella and she stayed with her for all our 3 safaris, during that time she did some coloring, painting, story telling... so we felt that this was a very pleasant gesture from the people to take care of our little one.
I would highly recommend this lodge to everybody its amazing.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 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
    • 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.
Nottingham, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2013

I was lucky enough to spend three nights in this lodge and had amazing safari experiences. We had four included game drives which were unbelievable. The trackers and rangers were fantastic at finding the game and we were spotted the big 5 amongst many others. The highlight was getting out of our jeeps and being able to walk to within a few feet of a Cheetah.

The lodge itself was fantastic with a lovely pool area to relax by between game drives and comfortable rooms which were well furnished. I am not a massive fan of buffet meals and found the food to vary between meals but it was OK. I would certainly rate a private game reserve over the sprawling Kruger Park.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled solo
    • 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
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 Shiduli Private Game Lodge

Address: Fringing the Big Five Karongwe Game Reserve, Tzaneen 1380, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Limpopo Province > Tzaneen
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 13 Specialty Lodging in Tzaneen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Shiduli Private Game Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 24
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Also Known As:
Shiduli Private Game Hotel Tzaneen

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