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“As good as ever!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Elephant Plains Game Lodge

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Elephant Plains Game Lodge
4.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Kruger National Park 1380, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
St. John's, Canada
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
“As good as ever!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2013

This was our second trip to EP in two years, both times were for over a week, and we still loved every minute of it.

The Lodging: We stayed in Rondavel #5, great room that looks over the riverbed.

The Drives: We had Willie and Conny, they both worked very hard at finding the animals. We saw the big five the first day and the sightings just got better as the week went on. Leopards on two kills, three leopard cubs, lots of baby elephants, hippos out of the water, carmine bee eaters.

The Food: Some of the food was great, however, there were a few misses in the food prep. Some of the dishes at lunch would be hot around the edges but still cold in the middle, dishes like the Game Keepers Pie had a large number of bone chips and fragments, the fish still had a large amount of bones and all the steaks were done medium regardless of what you asked for. Maybe this was because the regular Chef didn't return until part way through the week. I had more concerns with the food this year than I did last year. The serving staff are all great, one server ironically named "Remember", rememberd me visiting 12 months prior and my drink order. Quite a feat when you consider the turnover in guests they see!

The Spa: Atasja was fantastic, I went twice as did most of the people in our group. Over the course of our stay everyone on our truck went at least once and everyone found her great!

The Gym: In spite of my earlier review the gym needs some heavier weights, a 25lb free weight doesn't really cut it (I think 30-50 lbs is needed for any regular sized guy working out), also the cable machine needs maintance the resistance is way off on it (it just needs some silicone spray). The gym, while small is very clean, towels provided and AirConed.

The pools: The lodge has three pools, one attached to the honeymoon suite, the other by the lodge and the larger one by the rondavels. The one by the rondavels was broken again this year.

The skinny:

1. If you stay in Rondavel #5, the flashlight is in the desk and "Do Not Disturb" sign is in the closet (it took us a week to find both :) ).
2. There is a power adapter in the room which is handy even if you bring your own to charge multiple things at the same time.
3. If you read at night and want a higher wattage bulb ask and they will switch them out for you.
4. This should be Tip 1: Ask. Ask. Ask. The staff aren't mind readers and honestly want you to enjoy yourself. If you have a special request, ask. We had four request before we arrived and two while we were there and they were able to accommodate all of them. The manager, Wayne was there day and night during our entire week and both owners were there for the last half of the week.
5. Don't panic when the ranger and tracker leave the truck. They are gone to find animals that may be a few hundred feet off the path. If you prefer the ranger stay in the truck and just drive around you won't see nearly as much.
6. Tell the ranger and tracker what you want to see. Some people don't want to see birds, reptiles or insects so if you do give them a list and I bet they can find them. I had wanted to photograph bee eaters and Willie found both Carmine and European bee eaters.
7. The lounge chairs by both pools (and the honeymoon suite) are too slippery to sit on with the back up so if you want to read slide you chair up against the rail you can brace yourself in with your feet. Odd but effective!

  • Stayed February 2013, 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EP2, Owner at Elephant Plains Game Lodge, responded to this review, February 17, 2013
Thank you for your kind and thorough feedback. We love return guests and I see that you also visited in Feb 2012. We will definitely look into your reccommendations. Concerning the free weights, we have never had complaints about them before, but I guess the more serious gymmers would like a bigger selection. We'll see what we can do. Thanks also for your tip to future travellers, telling them to ask for any extras they might need while here. We will always try and cater for any special requests. We would love to welcome you back to the lodge again - maybe February 2014? :-) Regards, Marlet Swart
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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
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 10, 2013

The games drive are great. In the first five hours of our trip we had already seen the big 5 and we managed to see them again a second time during our 4 days of stay. Every time we went out with the car we saw something different so we could have stayed there for two weeks and we wouldn't have had enough! The ranger was great, personal service and the rooms were very big and clean. Best value for your money! Safari is a great experience but just having done it at elephant plains made it even much more enjoyable! Definitely the best part of our incredible trip to south africa!

  • Stayed January 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.
EP2, Owner at Elephant Plains Game Lodge, responded to this review, February 13, 2013
Thank you so much for your very kind feedback! We are delighted that you enjoyed your stay with us. Please do visit us again in the future. Regards, Marlet Swart
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Maryland USA
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 8, 2013

Ok - I read all the likes and dislikes in the other reviews before coming here and agree with the likes and not with the dislikes at all;

First the drives were excellent. We saw 4 of the Big 5 (missed the lions - but have a reason to return). Our Ranger/Guide Willie was excellent. He was the farthest from lazy and was an excellent tracker and really good at finding the all animal. We found lots of Leopard and got within a few feet of a mother, cub and their kill. Add on to that the Elephants, Antelope, Rhino, Zebra, Hippos, Giraffe, Birds etc .......... It was a fabulous time. These lodges have trans-versing agreements with the surrounding lodges so the land they can roam is huge. Of course you see some of the same land over and over but the animals move about.

As for the food, my wife and I thought the food was excellent. Whether it be the sit down course or buffet it was prepared well and very tasty.

Finally the accommodation where excellent. The property is kept up nicely. The staff is totally service oriented. We stayed in the Luxury room but the Rondavels though smaller looked just as nice.

Finally we had great massages by Natasha.

Overall I would highly recommend anyone coming here. We will be back !

  • Stayed February 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EP2, Owner at Elephant Plains Game Lodge, responded to this review, February 11, 2013
Thank you so much for your kind feedback! We are delighted that you enjoyed your stay with us. Please do visit us again one day, for the lions... Regards, Marlet Swart
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Penticton, Canada
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2013

The lodge & its surrounds are so beautiful. We stayed in the honeymoon suite and it was as depicted on their website-gorgeous! We saw monkeys and other animals from our deck. The safaris were fabulous with Villie and Conny. They were so knowledgable and accommodating. One lady in our safari vehicle fell ill & she had to be rushed back toward the lodge to meet with another vehicle they had sent out to get her. As that cut our safari adventure short, Villie provided us with the "Ferrari Safari" and we were able to see a cheetah after it had taken down a young zebra.
I had an amazing massage by Natasha. Book your spa appts. when you arrive as they are very busy!
The food was okay. We found several dishes were either over-seasoned or quite under. The marshmallow roast around the boma was a nice touch after dinner.

  • Stayed January 2013, 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EP2, Owner at Elephant Plains Game Lodge, responded to this review, February 17, 2013
Thank you very much for your kind review and calling us the highlight of your trip. We are delighted that you enjoyed your stay with us and would love to welcome you back to the lodge one day. Regards, Marlet Swart
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. John's, Canada
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 5, 2013

We had a wonderful week on Safari , Willie , Conny found us all the big five early in the week , great up close experiences with many animals. The people at the lodge could not do enough to provide whatever we requested.
Would like to have had wifi or a way to get news papers over Internet.

Room Tip: We had the honeymoon suite which was outstanding , some of the furniture could be updated. Also had...
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  • Stayed January 2013, 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
    • 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.
EP2, Owner at Elephant Plains Game Lodge, responded to this review, February 11, 2013
Hi Robert. Thanks for your kind feedback, we are glad that you enjoyed your stay! Concerning the wifi, as I've mentioned in a few other replies, we are really trying our best to get this up and running at the lodge, but so far we are still struggling with various factors. Pease be assured that we are putting all the effort we can into this and that we are hopeful to have it sorted out before the end of this year. Please do come and visit us again! Regards, Marlet Swart
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 1, 2013

the guides are absolutely fantastic! the hotel is fantastic and rooms are very spacious with huge bathrooms with both a shower and bath. i recommend staying at a rustic camp first and then staying here to finish the trip in comfort. the help is great and very friendly. the made special food for me since i'm a vegetarian. just tell them before you arrive and they will be all set. i felt the guests were friendly, but much more standoffish than the primitive camp. the drives were spectacular. saw the big five and more!

  • Stayed November 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EP2, Owner at Elephant Plains Game Lodge, responded to this review, February 5, 2013
Thank you for your kind review! We are delighted that you enjoyed your stay with us and also that you were happy with the vegetarian options we prepared for you. Please do visit us again one day! Regards,Marlet Swart
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Essex, England
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2013

Amazing to wake up and run out on the balcony to see in excess of 30 elephants eating in front of us..... Amazing home cooked food freshly prepared...really lovely surroundings the chalet was private, comfortable and well stocked...never wanted for anything....saw the big five....wayne and connie looked after us....sometimes lingered on some animals a bit too long....but couldn't wish for more.didnt use spa as booked up....small gym but didn't use that was too exhausted from the early morning drives!

Room Tip: Buffalo room was great!
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EP2, Owner at Elephant Plains Game Lodge, responded to this review, January 29, 2013
Thank you very much for your kind feedback. We are delighted that you enjoyed your stay with us. Please do come and visit us again one day. Regards, Marlet Swart
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Elephant Plains Game Lodge

Address: Kruger National Park 1380, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #15 of 41 Specialty lodging in Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Elephant Plains Game Lodge 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Elephant Plains Game Lodge is situated in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, which forms part of the Greater Kruger National Park. This owner-run lodge caters for the discerning traveller, with a variety of accommodation options including 5 Rondavels, 6 Luxury Suites and a Honeymoon Suite. Activities include two daily game drives and a bush walk. The lodge also offers a spa, gym, conference facility / TV room, games room, small library and two swimming pools. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Elephant Plains Game Hotel Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Elephant Plains Game Nelspruit
Elephant Plains Game Lodge South Africa/Sabi Sand Game Reserve

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