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“Exceptional and magical safari experience!” 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
Tel Aviv, Israel
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Exceptional and magical safari experience!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2013

We stayed 4 nights at Elephant Plains game lodge in mid march 2013. We travelled with our 3 teenage kids and stayed in 2 Rondavels, 1 double and 1 triple. All the wonderful reviews on tripadvisor contributed to our decision to book EP and pushed our expectations to a level where it was very easy to be disappointed. Fortunately, Not only EP did not disappoint, but managed to surpass our already high expectations.

THE GAME DRIVES
Absolutely amazing!! Our ranger Morné and our tracker Derrick were very professional and service oriented, making sure we do not miss any action. Together, they have more than 30 years experience of the bush and their insight into animal behavior was fascinating.
We saw the big 5 after 3 game drives. We saw leopards on 5 out of 7 game drives, including a female and her cub with their kill. We saw elephants, and on one occasion, spent 45 minutes with a herd of 30 + elephants around us practically touching the jeep.
We saw lions on 3 out of the 7 game drives including a pride of 9-10 lions on 1 occasion, and a lioness with her kill, a month old giraffe.
We saw hippos, rhino, buffalos, many giraffes, a crocodile, hyenas, zebras, wilderbeast, warthogs, impalas...etc. A special treat was seeing a female cheetah with her 2 cubs, walking in front of our jeep for almost half an hour. A black mamba resting on the dirt road and fleeing after being surprised by our jeep was another unexpected and exciting moment. No wonder our kids and us looked foward for the 5 am wake up knock!

THE LODGE
The natural setting is beautiful, bordering on a dry riverbed and overlooking a waterhole around which gather many animals, including on 1 occasion a herd of 10 elephants.
The grounds are very nice , clean and luxurious, without being over the top.
The rondavels were very spacious, clean and comfortable. The bathroom was huge. They were as good as new.

THE MEALS
Dinners were very good, whether in the main dinning room or around the boma, under the stars of the African sky.
Breakfast and lunch were excellent.

THE STAFF
Professional and kind, without exception. Our waitress , Lindy, asked for our names the first day and remembered them for 4 days, always addressing us by our first names. This kind of personal attention felt wonderful and should not be taken for granted, despite the fact that the lodge caters for a maximum of only 24-25 guests.

IN CONCLUSION
Everything at EP makes you wish you never have to leave. Our morning of departure was the only 'bad ' moment we had during our stay.
We will surely come back, but this time we'll try to stay longer.

  • Stayed March 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 3
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, April 18, 2013
Hi Erez, thank you for your very kind feedback. We are glad to read that you and your family enjoyed your stay with us and that the only "bad" thing during your holiday here was having to leave us. Please do come and visit us again in the near future. Regards, Marlet Swart
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508 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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5
Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (124)
Date | Rating
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English first
North Dorset, England
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 31, 2013

My wife and I stayed at EP early March 2013 for 4 nights and if I was to sum it up in one word it would be "amazing".
However that really does not do the Lodge justice. We were welcomed by a couple of the rangers fairly late in the afternoon and told that they had kept some lunch back for us as they weren't sure if we would have eaten or not, a really nice touch. We were shown to our room and had just enough time to grab a quick change of clothes before going out on our first game drive. Our Ranger was Louis with Fanuti his tracker and their knowledge and good humour was evident throughout. We saw all of the "Big 5" and much more, but not just saw them; we were so close we could almost touch them! Having done a trip to the main Kruger Park several years before, where we drove ourselves and did a couple of Ranger led drives from the Numbi Gate we expected this to be similar, it couldn't have been further from it. Being a private reserve the rangers take the vehicles off the tracks and follow the animals wherever the animals go. There are a few exceptions and it does get slightly frustrating when you get to an area that belongs to a Lodge that they don't have an agreement with and you have to stop but that only happened once in the 4 days we were there.
If you want to see wildlife up close and personal this is the way to do it. The highlights of our sightings were a leopard and her 8 month old cub feeding on an impala up a tree while a hungry hyena circled below, a cheetah and her 3 cubs playing and grooming on an airstrip, a herd of elephants including several calves and a huge white rhino. All of these were so close and completely at ease with the vehicles and acted just as if we weren't there, truly memorable experiences. Another really nice touch was the coffee and rusks in the morning and sundowners in the evening, the Ranger stops for 15 minutes or so in a clearing and you stand in the bush drinking your drink and either watching the bush wake up or the sun go down, very nice indeed. Finally the opportunity to go for a walk in the bush with a Ranger was great, this gave the chance to see some of the smaller creatures and a close up encounter with a herd of giraffe was great.
On to the lodge itself, we stayed in one of the Luxury Suites (Buffalo) and it was excellent. The room was huge with a king sized bed complete with mosquito net that was draped for you when the room was turned down for the night. A very comfortable sitting area, a writing desk and a very large bathroom with a shower that you could open a door to the outside and have your shower in the open air if you wished. We also had a huge deck/balcony overlooking a waterhole (with its own webcam at http://www.africam.com/wildlife/elephant_plains_webcam), the only thing to remember is to keep your door shut or the monkeys will wreak havoc! The food was excellent and special mention must go to the head chef Linda. While the choice isn’t huge, bear in mind they are only catering for a maximum number of 24 guests, the quality and variety was outstanding. Every other night dinner was a braai (barbecue) but done almost on a fine dining level, with several choice of meats and a great selection of accompaniments. This like normal dinner was served in the boma area around an open log fire and was finished off with toasted marshmallows over the fire if you wished. The waiting staff were also excellent, one lady, Lindy, asked our names on the first evening and never forgot for the rest of the week and was really nice and friendly. And that sums up all the staff; they really couldn’t do enough for you and made every effort to make the stay magical. This was even more commendable as while we were there the owners and the Manager were away and the remaining staff were holding the fort. They did themselves and the owners proud.
We stayed full board and that included everything except your drinks from the bar and laundry; the bar prices were very reasonable and we were pleasantly surprised by our bill on checkout.
Some people have commented on here about the lack of internet facilities, if you really need to keep up with the outside world it is available in the business suite but as a self-confessed internet junky I didn’t miss it one bit and to be perfectly honest with 5am starts and 10pm finishes after dinner there wasn’t any time to “log on” and check emails and it was nice to be able to switch off and relax for several days without it.
To finish, would we go back? Without hesitation. Would we recommend it? Most definitely. Is it good value for money? Exceptional.
Thank you Elephant Plains for one of the best holidays we have ever had.

Room Tip: Luxury suite was excellent.
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  • Stayed March 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.
EP2, Owner at Elephant Plains Game Lodge, responded to this review, April 18, 2013
Hi Trevor, thanks again for yet another very kind feedback. We are delighted that you enjoyed your stay and sorry that we missed you, while not being at the lodge during your stay. Thank you though, for specifying what a great job our staff did in our absence. Good news is that we got the internet sorted out in the mean time and we now have wifi hotspots around the lodge for our guests. We hope to welcome you back again soon. Regards, Marlet Swart
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Rochester, New York
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2013

We were part of a group but we would select Elephant Plains on our next trip to a ZA game park, as a couple or with family. The luxury suites were fabulous in décor, space, cleanliness and function and sitting on the outdoor deck overlooking the veldt provided entertainment when the bushbuck and monkeys came through. All staff were very friendly and helpful. We went on every morning and evening game drive–6 total–and experienced something different each time with unforgettable highlights of a leopard feeding at night, a leopard cub playing with his mother and the 3 sister lionesses. The variety of animals and birds added to our life lists! The obvious love of animals was evident from our informative guide Louis and tracker Fan. The bushwalk was not too strenuous (even for us over-sixty who had to have a doctor prescription to ensure our health), even in the heat of summer, so enjoy “fishing” for scorpions or spiders as well as hear about the smaller treasures in the bush. The variety and quality of food each day, whether it be at the candlelit bomo at night, the breakfast and lunch buffets or the sundowners, met everyone’s carnivore, vegan, vegetarian and drinking needs. They have a fabulous concoction to settle rumbly stomachs as well. Even though we have been in game parks and drives before in Namibia and South Africa, Elephant Plains exceeded our dreams and expectations for another trip in the bush.

Room Tip: Try the suites or rondavels for luxurious quarters.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 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.
EP2, Owner at Elephant Plains Game Lodge, responded to this review, April 18, 2013
Hi Sandy, thank you so much for your very kind feedback. We are delighted to read that you enjoyed your stay and that you wouldn't hesitate to return one day. Thank you also for the compliments on the rooms, food and our guides. We would love to welcome you back again one day. Regards, Marlet Swart
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Valencia, Spain
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2013

We spent four fantastic days in this game lodge for our honeymoon.Everything we have to say about this place is really good.

LOCATION

The lodge is situated just in front of a watering hole, and most of its facilities (restaurant, swimming pool, most of the rooms, spa...) overlook it. We saw a lot of animals from there (impalas, elephants, buffalos...).

Sometimes there are animals inside the lodge as well, like a very friendly bush back who came to see us to our room or a lot of monkeys jumping in the trees.

The atmosphere of the lodge is very quiet, only altered with the sound of the nature. It was incredible hearing hyenas and lions during the night. Really magical!

ROOMS

We stayed in the buffalo suite. It was excellent, very spacious, with a big deck overlooking the watering hole, a fantastic bathroom with an enormous bathtub with views and inside and outside showers. It was amazing taking a shower looking the animals in front of you.

GAME DRIVES

Described with just one word: AMAZING! Every day is different, you never know what are you going to find this time. We saw everything we could imagine and more: Lions and lioness with cubs, leopards (one also with a cub), chetah with cubs, elephants of all sizes, buffalos, giraffes, white rhinos (one with really small cub), zebras, warthogs, millions of impalas :), hippos, tortoises, waterbucks, eagles a many of other birds, jackals, hyenas, mongooses, kudus, baboons, a crocodile, a big snake...WOW!

The rangers and trackers are fantastic. Our rangers (Richard and Davon) were very friendly and knew many many things about animals. You don't have to worry at all, because if there are animals around they are going to find them. Clement, our tracker, was incredibly good finding animals thanks to the footprints, and has a spectacular sense of vision, he was even able to find a chameleon in a tree in the middle of the night while going in the jeep. We couldn't believe it! And even they get you really near to the animals, they are also very respectful with them, trying not to disturb them too much, which really appreciated.

FOOD

The meals are fantastic. We cannot understand some of the bad comments about it. For us they were excellent, very tasty and well served. You can trust us, since my husband is a chef (he is usually quite picky about the food) and he was absolutely delighted. We miss the ranger's specials in the breakfasts and also the desserts!

STAFF

All the people we had the pleasure to deal with was really friendly and helpful. Receptionists, waiters and waitress (we liked our waiter Remember who was really charming), the chef, the housekeepers... They all make you feel like at home (a very pretty home!)

We had some little nice surprises that made even more enjoyable our stay in the lodge (we don't want to describe them for not revealing everything!).

CONCLUSION

We hope that nothing change in the future because everything is just perfect like it is now, and of course we are going to come back one day. Elephant Plains is now our home at Kruger Park :)

  • Stayed March 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.
EP2, Owner at Elephant Plains Game Lodge, responded to this review, April 18, 2013
Wow, thank you so much for the great feedback you gave EP. We are delighted that you enjoyed your stay with us and thanks also for the nice compliments concerning the food. We appreciate it and would love to welcome you back again one day. Regards, Marlet Swart
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Sydney, Aus
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2013

I can confirm that all the great things you've read about Elephant Plains in TA are true. We had a fantastic 2 nights in March and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We've stayed in other private lodges in Sabi Sand and for the money, Elephant Plains is excellent. The quality of the camp and its facilities are excellent and with very enthusiastic hotel staff it makes for a very relaxing holiday. There had been a lot of rain in preceding months and consequently game wasn't as prevalent as expected. However we did get a beautiful sighting of a cheetah mum with her 3 cubs, leopard up a tree, and one very scrawny looking lion. But that's the wild - you can't just roll out animals when you feel like.

From a value for money point of view, EP sits nicely at an affordable price and offers very little less than its much more expensive competitors, so if you don't want to break the bank, this isan excellent choice.

The only detractions are that its a little harder to access. We rented a car at Kruger airport and travelled the 160kms via Acornhoek. The road between Acornhoek and Gowrie gate is in poor condition and once in the Sabi Sand the 8 km or so to EP need to be navigated with care.

Our ranger and tracker were very nice and tried really hard to find that elusive lion pride, but nevertheless our sightings were really nice. I think to make best use of your opportunity you should make a point of telling the rangers what you'd most like to see. Our particular ranger didn't ask but nevertheless demonstrated a vast amount of knowledge.

Reading Daisy.Watfords review mirrored our experience.

Its only a minor remark this but at check out it would have taken very little effort to ask us how the stay was and would we recommend EP to a friend. But nevertheless, thanks to all personnel. You guys have done a great job. Keep it up.

  • Stayed March 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
    • 4 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, April 18, 2013
Thank you so much for your kind feedback! We are delighted that you enjoyed your stay with us. Just as a point of interest, we do have the "Did you enjoy your stay?" and "Would you reccommend us to your friends?" questions on our feedback forms, but I will also tell our staff to enquire during check-out. We would love to welcome you back to the lodge one day. Regards, Marlet Swart
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Napa, California
Top Contributor
89 reviews 89 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 47 cities Reviews in 47 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2013

Friends recommended Elephant Plains to us and we need to say it exceeded expectations. The rooms (rondavels) are great, the food is excellent and the daily excursions into the bush were absolutely magnificent. Our ranger, Louis, and our tracker, Fan, added immeasurably to our enjoyment. We saw the Big 5 and then some- including a Mother leopard and her cub as well as a cheetah and her 3 cubs. The wildlife was up-close and personal and everyone at Elephant Plains seemed committed to making our time there memorable. Highly Recommended!!!!!!

I only wish there was an outstanding box to tick on Trip Advisor.

  • Stayed March 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 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, March 27, 2013
Thank you very much for your kind feedback on Tripadvisor. We are glad that you enjoyed your stay with us. Please also reccommend us to your other friends - word of mouth from a trusted source is always the best marketing tool! Please visit us again one day. Regards, Marlet Swart
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sint niklaas
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2013

richie thanks for the drives.we saw some awsome things.
the wild dogs hunting was great, three diffrent leopards and the cheetah with the cubs.
on our sundeck we had elephants marching in front of us,a lioness came to visit and the hippo you hardly see out of the water marched right in front of us.
suites are comfy and up to level.breakfast was great never had so many different styles of eggs.
lunch could be a bit lighter and dessert to sweet.
dining out in the boma and looking at the stars great.

Room Tip: the suites give a better vieuw on the plaine in front of the lodge
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 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
    • 4 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, March 27, 2013
Thank you so much for your kind feedback. We are delighted that you enjoyed your stay with us. Please visit 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 #19 of 41 Specialty Lodging in Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Elephant Plains Game Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 12
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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