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“Fantastic experience!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Cheetah Plains

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Cheetah Plains
Sabi Sand Game Reserve | Sabi Sand Game Reserve, Kruger National Park, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Fantastic experience!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 15, 2014

We visited Cheetah Plains in January after 3 days of self-drive safari in Kruger. We had a bit of a nightmare drive in getting there, this was our fault for not checking directions from Kruger beforehand. Our map showed a gate into Sabi sands next to Paul Kruger gate, however you cannot use this gate and you must drive to Gowrie gate, which is a good 3 hour drive away. This unexpected additional mileage (combined with getting lost en route and stopped by the police!) meant that we arrived very stressed and late for the evening game drive. Luckily the lodge more than made up for our stressful journey, they even arranged for us to join the game drive that had already departed. We had a fantastic couple of nights; our room was beautiful, all the staff were delightful and the meals were delicious.
We stayed 2 nights in total and had 4 game drives on which we saw some incredible up-close wildlife. We hadn't managed to see any leopards or cheetah on our self-drive trip, so I was thrilled that our brilliant guide Ephraim was able to find us 2 leopard brothers and a cheetah! It is a very different experience from self-drive in Kruger, where you are in a closed vehicle on roads to being in an open sided vehicle and being able to go off road to track the animals. I loved the stop on each game drive for coffee and biscuits or a glass of wine and snacks.
If I was being very picky, I would say that afternoon tea was a little disappointing - just a couple of mini quiche bites and a couple of mini cake bites, but maybe this was due to the fact that there was only us and one other couple in the lodge. Also, I had emailed several days prior to our trip to let the lodge know where we were travelling from and so some prior advice on the best route from Kruger would also have been appreciated, as the directions on the website are not that clear.
However, I would not hesitate to recommend this lodge and I hope we will be able to return some day!

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 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
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WillemCP, General Manager at Cheetah Plains, responded to this review, March 9, 2014
Dear Hannah

Thank you for your review! glad that you enjoyed your stay with us.

Although the Kruger Park is a fantastic reserve, nothing much beats the Sabi Sand pvt Game Reserve, and with Cheetah Plains being up in the northern section of the park, we surely are blessed with amazing wildlife, especially with Leopards :)
As with your experience at Cheetah Plains, being accomponied and guided by a professional, knowledgable guide, is the way to go..and Ephriam's knowledge and enthusiasm exceeds any expectations, having 25 years + experience within the reserve.

Due to the ongoing 'slaugher' of our beautiful Rhino's, and the Sabi Sand Reserve being a private reserve and therefore individual privately owned land, some measurements re anti pouching decisions has been put in place to fight the plea...whereby the guests and reserve staff alike, has to enter and exit at the same, nearest to their destination Lodge, gate...our's being Gowrie Gate.Our map on the Cheetah Plains website states that clearly.

Thank you for your recomendation, and indeed it would be great to have you visit us agian!

Ps, love your pictures, especially the 'South African' road block! :)

Wild wishes
Willem
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113 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 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 (29)
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English first
Pretoria, South Africa
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 10, 2014

Sabi Sands had been on our bucket list for some time, mainly due to the frequent and close-up leopard sightings. Although nothing is given in the bush we were not disappointed. 45 minutes into our first game drive we already had two great leopard sightings. At the end of our 3 days we had ticked the Big 5, cheetah plus a multitude of antelopes and other small things. Our ranger Andrew was great, informative, helpful and catered perfectly for everyones needs and interests.

Lodge is beautiful, with a lounge area, couple sundecks and plungepool, and with only 8 rooms/chalets, it will not be too busy even if full. Food was plentiful and delicious without trying to pretend to be more than that. Surely there are more luxurious lodges out there, but besides a big and fancy room they add little more in our experience. Also thanks to Justin for a great chat about the bush in general and to the young couple on honeymoon for not being too disappointed with they company of our group of 7.

Room Tip: The deluxe rooms are slightly bigger and have an outdoor shower which makes it well worth a little e...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Willemdutoitgm, General Manager at Cheetah Plains, responded to this review, April 29, 2014
Hi Great Dane :)

Thank you for your lovely review! Glad you all enjoyed your stay with us! Even happier that the Northern Sabi Sands lived up to its reputation regarding quality Leopard etc. sightings. The fact that you got to see Cheetah, whilst at Cheetah Plains...is just awesome! to say the least.

With the abundance of wildlife surrounding our Lodge, and a great relaxation pool area overlooking the waterhole, the amount of time you spend in your chalets, is minimal. Therefore, with comfortable beds and airconditioning provided for the Lowveld summer days, there is really no need for big 'fancy' rooms, as you indicated..

Looking forward to your next visit to Cheetah Plains.

Wild wishes
Willem du Toit
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Stellenbosch, South Africa
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2014

We visited the greater Kruger National Park over December 2013 / January 2014 and visited four lodges. We stayed 4 nights at Cheetah Plains.

Our compliments to the management and particularly to the chef, who went out of his way to satisfy our gluten free dietary requests.

Our experience was, however, somewhat dampened by the cramped rooms, especially the bathroom, which was seriously below standard. The Cheetah Plains facilities, in this regard, were disappointing, to say the least - very small, a single wash basin, no hooks to hang anything and no outside shower.

Our experience was further diminished because, being avid birders, we specifically asked (during the reservation process) to be placed at the perimeter of the camp. Instead, we were placed in the worst position, in the middle of everything, despite having booked more than a year in advance and confirming shortly before our stay.

The lodge is situated in a good game area and we saw lost of game, including the big five and cheetah. The birding was so-so, but could have been better if our guide was more of a birder. Also, we learned the guides work six weeks on and two weeks of - he was at the end of his six weeks working cycle and, unfortunately, this was reflected in his attitude.

The four lodges we visited were all in the same price bracket. Cheetah Plains rank last as number four.

Room Tip: For a little extra, you can book the two "family rooms", which are much better.
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
WillemCP, General Manager at Cheetah Plains, responded to this review, January 22, 2014
Good day Martin

Thank you for your review and compliments given to our Management team and Chefs alike. It was only but a pleasure.
Your complaints regarding the Standard Chalets being 'cramped' and the bathrooms being below standard and no outside shower, comes as a bit of a dissapointed if i may say. You mentioned that you have made your reservation more than a year prior to your visit, which would have given you plenty of time to book one of our Luxury rooms which are both situated on the perimeters of the Lodge, has got big spacious bedrooms, bathrooms and outside showers.

On numerous occasions during your stay, i personally asked you if you happy with your rooms and enjoying yourselves, and you never had a complaint? It also does'nt really matter whether you on the perimeters of the Lodge, or in one of the Chalets in the middle, as the Lodge is set up in such a manner that where ever you situated, you surrounded by trees and lush bush, therefore birdlife is all over the show. There is in actual fact a breeding pair of Barred Owls in one of the trees, right behind the Chalet you stayed in, and the Woodland Kingfishers is in abundance all over the Lodge :)

We don't advertise ourselves as a luxurious Lodge, but rather as a small authentic Bush Lodge, with comfortable airconditioned thatched Chalets, scrumptious fresh cuisine, sincere happy staff and very knowledgeble and experienced guides.
Regarding the dissapointment with your guide, you possibly have got him confused with another guide from a different Lodge you have visited? as our guides work on a 28 days on and 8 days off cycle, and not as you've mentioned six weeks on.

Please bear in mind that your comments on the birding is a very sensitive topic and especially when other guests are on the vechile aswell, the guide has to be carefull and sensitive to all the guests game viewing expectations.
As for anybody, like yourselves, that are keen birders, please take note that we offer specialised Birding and Photographic Safaris.

For more on our Birding safaris, please visit: http://bit.ly/1cZgptt and for Photograhic safaris : http://bit.ly/1kbVV60

Again, thank you for taking the time to write a review, and although you felt dissapointed, feel free to follow us on our Cheetah Plains, Sabi Sand Face Book page, as we on a regular basis post birding tips and advertise dates on our specialised Birding and Photographic Safaris.

Regards
Willem
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St. Gallen, Switzerland
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2014

A lovely, small and therefore very personal safari lodge. We, 2 adults and 9 year-old child, spent 3 nights there over Christmas hoping to see a good range of animals while enjoying a more individual experience than we had had at a big lodge in the previous 3 days. All expectations were met and exceeded. Although our son was the only child it was a child-friendly place. Sensible restrictions applied that he couldn't run within the grounds (too tempting a target for any passing predator) and like us all we had to wait to be accompanied to and from our room after dark. Our ranger, Justin, lent him a scorpion torch so he could seek out any hidden scorpions in the trees and other hiding places. They glow under the light of the torch and several ladies sitting around the evening fireside were alarmed to be told a scorpion was asleep in the tree behind them. He loved it. We learnt so much from Justin who was a fount of knowledge and a great guide. We saw everything on our list and often in huge numbers. If there was a downside it was only that the room was a bit too small of 3 - but there was nothing to be done about that and that the dirt tracks that led to the lodge are long and very rough. But again, it's understandable when you want an authentic safari experience. I had a great massage too - unexpected in the bush!

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WillemCP, General Manager at Cheetah Plains, responded to this review, January 7, 2014
Good day Greg.

I am glad to hear you safely back home and that you and your family had a really great time with us! Was only a pleasure to entertain your son, and those little scorpion torches makes for a lot of fun and education.
Thank you, Justin sure is a font of information indeed, and loves what he does for a living, hence guests build up life long relationships with our Guides, and always request them on returning trips.
Our standard rooms are designed for x2 guests mainly, and although we can put a 3rd bed in, it can get a bit tight. Unfortunately, as you'd mention, the luxury chalets were all booked over that period, and they lend for some more space. Hopefully we will have the pleasure of seeing you all here again in the near future, and that one of the luxury rooms is available..

Ps, glad that you enjoyed a revitalising massage whilst you were here :)

Wild wishes
Willem du Toit
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Budapest, Hungary
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 18, 2013

Cheetah Plains was the last stop of our two-week SA holiday and it was a great choice! It is a real authentic experience in the bush, you feel close to nature, yet very comfortable.
Doctor was our great guide, he is incredible. We loved his style and appreciated his knowledge, after quite a few safaris, we still learnt a lot. One of the afternoon drive started really quiet, when he spotted many vultures on trees. However first we did not see the hooded vulture that is a clear indication that there must have been a kill. Doctor was absolutely mad to figure out if there is anything, so he looked for the hooded vulture, and guess what? he found them! He drove into the bush and we found seven lions eating on an old buffalo bull. It was a unique experience to be part of his tracking and "expedition". I must also mention the great meals we had: beef lasagne, beans for brunch and mouth-watering steaks for dinner, all just perfect! Friendly people, always smile and help. It was just a perfect finish of our SA holiday!

Room Tip: The normal bungalow was a bit small for 3 of us, next time we go for the bigger ones. Nevertheless i...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
    • 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
African Secrets M, Team Member at Cheetah Plains, responded to this review, November 21, 2013
Dear Zsolt M,

Thank you very much for visiting Cheetah Plains and for taking the time post a review with such kind words. We hope that you will return to us when you visit South Africa again.

Until next time!
Team Cheetah Plains
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Skillman, New Jersey
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2013

Tour was put together by "The African Adventure Company". Outstanding hospitality including, but not limited to, Jackson, Willem, and Doctor! Exceptional, dawn and after tea game drives. Amazing meals and a beautifully appointed lodge and quarters . OUTSTANDING !!

  • Stayed October 2013, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
African Secrets M, Manager at Cheetah Plains, responded to this review, November 7, 2013
Thank you so much for the fantastic feedback Ed and for visiting us! We hope you return again soon.

Wild Wishes
Team Cheetah Plains
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warwickshire
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 27, 2013

What a great place to see the Big 5! We even saw them on our first drive!
If you want a relaxing stay, alongside fantastic drives then this is the place to stay - it had everything we wanted.
In the morning you are woken by a friendly member of staff at 5am. The morning drive is a bit chilly - so do take a coat (although they give you blankets as well). After this, there is a brunch at 10am which has a wonderful selection of food and you eat round a large table with all the other guests. This reserve has a very social and friendly feel to it.
You then have some time to relax by the pool watching animals graze - as you are only parted from them by a 1 wire electice fence.
In the afternoon there is an afternoon tea, followed immediately by the evening game drive.
At 8pm there is dinner outside overlooking the reserve, the guests told us that the night before we arrived a lion actually came into the dining area and the staff had to intimidate it to leave! That's just how close you are!!
The dinner was delicious and it was a nice touch to have our driver/tracker Andrew with us for dinner. He was great company.
Andrew was just fantastic on our drives and his knowledge was incredible. The nicest touch was the time he had to talk to us during the morning coffee or sundowner drinks. Hearing about the history of the area, and his town was so memorable. It was lovely to get to know him - he is a credit to Cheetah Plains.

Room Tip: Have a massage - although be careful...if you say hard it is quite painful!! We had a luxury room a...
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  • Stayed October 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
African Secrets M, Manager at Cheetah Plains, responded to this review, October 31, 2013
Thank you so much for staying with us slaird_215 ! We are so pleased that you enjoyed your experience with us and that we could make your visit a memorable one. We look forward to seeing you again soon.

Kind Regards
Team Cheetah Plains
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Additional Information about Cheetah Plains

Address: Sabi Sand Game Reserve | Sabi Sand Game Reserve, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Hotel Style:
Ranked #31 of 41 Specialty Lodging in Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Cheetah Plains is a small, authentic bush camp in the world renowned Sabi Sand Game Reserve, with 500 hectares of privately owned land & another 8000 hectares of additional traversing - you can be assured of exceptional game viewing - especially leopard and the rest of the "big 5". Cheetah Plains has only 8 traditionally thatched rooms - set amongst indigenous gardens - creating a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere.We focus on freshly produced meals in wonderful surroundings - complimenting the friendly and attentive service from all at Cheetah Plains. We look forward to welcoming you to our special bush home. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Cheetah Plains South Africa/Sabi Sand Game Reserve

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