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“What a great experience” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Kuname River Lodge

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Kuname River Lodge
5.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Karongwe Game Reserve, Tzaneen, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“What a great experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 12, 2012 via mobile

Well what can I not say about our stay ...... nothing!! We were made to feel like family from the moment we arrived until the moment we left. Whatever you have read in other reviews about Kuname, it's all so very true. We saw 'the big 5' within the first four drives we were on (thanks to Peter and Sandy). I didn't think getting up at 5.00 am every day would be so exciting and thrilling, not knowing what animals or birds we were going to see, but it was so worth it. We were very lucky to see the pride of lions on nearly every drive we went on, and I mean up close, not a few hundred yards away. As for the cheetah 'brothers', it was a thrill to see them so close, both 'chilling out', with a kill and then sleeping it off. We were also very lucky to see, not one, but two leopards.

As for the food and the staff back at the Lodge, we were looked after so well, it was home cooked food that was above fabulous, we must have put on so much weight, but that's what holidays are for. Our room was decorated by the staff, as we were on honeymoon and it was much appreciated by us both. We cannot recommend Kuname enough and look forward to going back there. Jan & Allan West

Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
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92 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (14)
Date | Rating
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English first
Wigan, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 31, 2012

Had five nights at Kuname and were treated as old friends by every one from the moment we arrived to the drop off at the airport. This was our first safari and we could not have picked a better choice - the rooms were spotless, beautifully made up morning and evening. Good air conditioning and a ceiling fan too. Think there was also a heater, but we certainly didn't need it! The weather was lovely. The room had a nice view of the river. There was a balcony with four chairs and two tables and also a mini bar with a special lock so the monkeys can't get it in! Basically everything you could need. Kuname provide bath robes, a hairdryer, adaptor plugs and mosquito repellant - wish we'd known this before - we wasted quite a lot of luggage allowance on 6 cans of Jungle Formula! Kuname's repellant defintely works, as we didn't get bitten.

Our guide was Peter and Sandy our tracker. What Peter doesn't know about the animals and the bush is not worth knowing and his knowledge on the birds was astounding. This, along with his buoyant personality and wicked laugh, made the drives truly memorable. As other reviewers have already said, the lodge is situated overlooking the river which the animals cross daily. On the day we arrived the full pride of lions spent the day outside the lodge. Your stay includes two game drives a day, and bush walks can be arranged too. We did one bush walk, but the weather was just toooo hot! It was very interesting to see the small creatures of the bush, and to learn about the plants and their uses.

Whilst we've got nothing to compare it to game drive wise, we certainly weren't disappointed. We saw Rhinos on almost every drive, elephants, cheetahs, lions, buffalo and leopards together with numerous other animals. The leopard sightings were particularly special, and a big thnumbs up to Sandy for spotting the leopard from quite some distance on our last evening drive, giving us the best leopard sighting of our stay. Peter always took time to talk to us about the animals, explaining about their habits and habitat. The animals were never crowed by jeeps - indeed, there was normally only one jeep at a sighting, two at the absolute most - and even then, when the second jeep arrived, the first would normally leave. The jeeps are great - open topped and open sided - great for people like me who are travel sick, and also fantastic for sightings and taking photographs. We did see some other jeeps on the reserve with canvas roofs on, which seemed to really restrict the views of the animals, in particular any birds. However, both of Kuname's jeeps are topless! We were told that if the lodge has 8 guests or more (it only has 5 rooms and sleeps a total of 10 people) that they will take two jeeps out, thus ensuring that all guests have an excellent viewpoint. In the evening game drive you stop for sundowners (the cost of the drinks is added to your bill, which you settle on departure) and nibbles. We were surprised at just how close we got to some of the animals (particularly our close encounters with the elephants and rhinos!). One thing we didn't realise before booking the trip is that the vehicles in the Karongwe Private Game Reserve, where Kuname is situated, can go "off road" whereas vehicles are not allowed to go off road in Kruger. We think we made the right decision.

The lodge has a small bar and a large lounge with two sofas. There is also an outdoor deck, part under cover, part not. The under cover part has three large sofas with a fantastic view of the river and the Drakensberg Escarpment in the distance. The open deck has a small swimming pool and some sunbeds set out over two levels - perfect for an afternoon nap.

The food is absolutely fantastic. No buffet meals, all served to your table. Breakfast is served on your return from the morning game drive with juices, tea, coffee, cereal and home made muesli, yoghurt and fresh fruit, followed by a hot dish and toast. You then have high tea - sweet and savoury nibbles - before going out on the evening game drive. On your return it's time for the evening meal - soup, then salad, followed by a choice of main meal and then dessert. If there is anything you don't like, then the staff at Kuname will make something to your taste instead. Main meals were fillet steak (the best ever!), lamb shank, fish, ostrich, duck etc. all beautifully cooked and presented. The drinks are very reasonable at about 20 rand for beer and soft drinks (330ml cans).

We were very lucky as there were only the two of us on the last two evenings so we ate out at the boma one night and Rochelle set the tables out on the decking the second night followed by a few hours of amazing star gazing using Rochelle's i pad and the lodges telescope (yes Rochelle, we've now bought an ipad and are blaming you!).

Top tip would be to take a scarf with you - it wasn't actually cold in the mornings or evenings, but if the jeep got a bit of speed up, then your neck or ears could get a bit cold, even though the rest of you was fine. With this being our first trip to South Africa, we weren't sure what to take clothes-wise and so packed plenty. We needn't have bothered - Kuname provide an excellent, same day, laundry service with most items costing about £1.50, to £2 per item maximum.

Would we recommend Kuname? Yes, defintely - from someone who never even wanted to go on Safair! Would we go back? Yes, definitely - we hope to return next year and combine it with a few days in Cape Town.

Room Tip: Room 5 (Buffalo Weaver room) seemed to have the best view out over the river. The rooms themselves...
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  • Stayed March 2012, 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Virginia
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 29, 2012

Staying at Kuname made our South Africa trip definitely the trip of a lifetime. Rochelle, Peter, Sandy, and the entire staff at the lodge (14 staff to 4 guests when we were there!) made us feel so pampered and welcome. We went out on six safaris and Peter and Sandy made every experience feel brand new, and they and Rochelle shared their vast knowledge of the land and the animals. The lodge itself has a stunning view of the river, which, if you're as lucky as we were, you might see the herd of elephants cross. No detail was overlooked in the rooms, the common areas, and in the food. The night before we left for our trip we were switched to Kuname from another lodge in Kruger, which had suffered much damage during heavy rains. We didn't know what to expect, but Kuname exceeded all of our expectations. I can't imagine a nicer place, and would recommend Kuname to anyone.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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.
Worthing, United Kingdom
1 review
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 12, 2012

We went to kuname for our honeymoon for 12 days and we could not have picked a better lodge to relax and recharge our batteries from our very busy lives. Everything was just perfect, we don't think you could say much more about the place or the people. We will return time and time again and felt like we made friends for live in all the staff.

  • Stayed January 2012, 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.
USA
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 11, 2012

We had a fantastic time at Kuname and we could not have asked for a better experience. Bronson, Matthews, Rochelle, and the staff were terrific hosts who shared their vast knowledge of the land, the animals, and the culture in which we stayed. We saw everything we could have hoped for and some things we never expected. We were glad to have had as much time as we did, and would suggest to plan for at LEAST 4 days--more, if possible. Be careful: you will fall in love with Kuname and you will never want to leave.

Room Tip: We chose the Rinobeetle room. It was fabulous.
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  • Stayed February 2012, 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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london
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2012

This was the highlight of our trip to South Africa by a mile. A stunning location and beautiful lodge coupled with exhilarating game drives and attentive staff.
It was a really peaceful place to stay and I loved sitting in the pool overlooking the dry river bed. The lodge really feels like an exclusive getaway with a family-like atmosphere and the little details taken care of. these included fresh towels and liqueurs upon return from wonderful game viewing and the staff made a huge effort to keep the visitors happy. The meals were varied with choices each night and brilliantly cooked and presented.
The pool was also great. We would whole heartedly recommend 3-4 nights at Kuname to properly unwind and enjoy the reserve.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Southampton, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 20, 2011

Stayed at Kuname lodge for three nights, wished we had booked longer, felt quite teaful when it was time to leave as l felt l was leaving good friends behind. The safari experience of being driven into the middle of a pride of lions while they were eating lunch was an amazing adrenlin rush, walking with the cheetahs and sitting in an open jeep as a herd of elephants walked past us with their babies was the icing on the cake. This lodge is small and exclusive, and so the safari outings twice daily and the option to walk with the rangers was as close to nature that you could possibly get. Not only this on returning to the lodge the welcome, the food and the whole ambience of the place felt like l was sitting at home except here l was in the middle of the African bush. Attention to detail from Rochelle and the staff was second to none, they all seemed genuinely pleased to hear about your day, all in all it was just superb.

Room Tip: only five lodges all equally the same
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with friends
    • 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.
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Additional Information about Kuname River Lodge

Address: Karongwe Game Reserve, Tzaneen, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Limpopo Province > Tzaneen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 13 Specialty Lodging in Tzaneen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Kuname River Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Kuname River Lodge is an exclusive 5 star, 10 bed game lodge situated in the Karongwe Private Game Reserve in the Limpopo Province. Kuname which is 4.5 hours drive from Johannesburg and 45km from the Kruger National Park is easily accessible by both air and by road and offers some of the best big 5 game viewing and bird watching opportunities in Southern Africa. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kuname River Hotel Tzaneen

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