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“Amazing place” 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
Newcastle, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
“Amazing place”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013

Wow about sums it up with regards to Elephant Plains, what an amazing week I spent there. The accommodation was perfect I would not have changed a thing or maybe I would to stay longer. I stayed in Number 4 which had a great situation very close to the sun deck and pool and a great view over the plain (only number 5 has a better view). The rooms were perfect with everything I needed. I was traveling alone for a photography workshop based at the lodge and when not with the group of fellow photographers (I arrived a day early and stayed an extra day) my ranger would join me for meals Monte was excellent so much knowledge about the bush and its creatures all of which he loved to share....thank you Monte for making the stay even more special. The dining experiences were also great, especially breakfast, however dinner was made that little bit more special by sitting around the bona each evening and each night was round off with toasting marshmallows over the fire, perfect ends to perfect days. The lodge also has a great selection of wines to go with the meals. Let’s not forget the Spa I had a lovely massage in the spa where it looks out over the watering hole not many places could create a more relaxing atmosphere. All of the staff at |elephant plan could not have been more helpful and pleasant, Walter the barman was super tell him, your room once and you were sorted for ordering drinks. The waiters Mohammed and Remember looked after us so well, with Remember having his own special greeting each time you saw him. I cannot begin to name all the staff but every single one of them was excellent.
Now for the main event the game drives, I cannot put into words the quality of these. I arrived 15 mins before the first drive from my flight and dashed to make the vehicle, and boy I'm so pleased I did. We drove out of the gates onto a small plain where Impala, warthog and wildebeest played, amazing. That evening was brilliant with elephant, leopard, Buffalo all part of the sighting, 3 of the big 5 in one drives, within 3 days I had seen all 5 including not just lions but male lions and leopards with cubs (on all but one of my drives we saw leopards which was wonderful. Monte our ranger and derrick our tracker worked hard to make sure we saw every animal we wanted to see and would make sure if there had been a sighting of something we wanted to see he was quickly off the find the animal whilst at the same time making sure we were comfortable and safe, even down to ensuring branches and twigs cleared us if we were going off road. On one of our sightings we found Shadow one of the leopards with her cubs we pulled the vehicle so we could all see her but she moved as she was not happy with us being so close to her cubs, however she moved very close to Derrick snarling at him, It was unbelievable how he just sat still until it was safe to move the vehicle, all the time the guessed felt totally safe but I’m not sure about poor Derrick up front.
The purpose of my trip was for a photography workshop run by Natural Exposure, again this was excellent and I would recommend this workshop to not just advanced photographers but beginners as well Sean Patrick the guide and photographer whilst an amazing photographer also has the skills to share his knowledge of both photography and the bush, the passion for both very apparent and his skills second to none.
In summary a five star holiday and experience that will remain with me forever, thank you Elephant Plains for a truly wonderful experience, I will be back that’s for sure.

Room Tip: room 4 or 5 for the best views if not booking a luxury suite
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled solo
    • 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.
EP2, Owner at Elephant Plains Game Lodge, responded to this review, May 12, 2013
Hi Mandy, thank you for your wonderful feedback! We are glad that you enjoyed your stay with us. It's good to read that you had some great photographic opportunities with Sean Patrick. Thanks for calling us a 5 star holiday! Please visit us again some time. Regards, Marlet Swart
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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 (116)
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Helsinki
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
34 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 3, 2013

The lodge is beautiful, people are very friendly with guests.
Thanks to our guide "Morné" who is able to communicate with lions ..... Didn't work so much last week ;)
If you want to see Leopards, that's the right place to be.... Sometimes you do not even need to do the game drive, they are coming in the camp to visit you :)
The only negatif point is the food, nothing special, basic European food (we are in Africa !!).
2 swimming pools ....
Wake up at 5:20 AM, game drive at 6AM, breakfast at 9AM, lunch at 2PM, second game drive at 4PM and dinner at 8PM, possibility to have a walk in the bush at 10AM.
Please enjoy.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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.
EP2, Owner at Elephant Plains Game Lodge, responded to this review, May 12, 2013
Thank you for your review. We are glad hat you enjoyed your stay with us. Concerning our menu selection, we do have a variety of South African dishes, including game meat, leg fo lamb, traditional braaivleis, baboti and even milk tart. But we also try to provide a wider selection of different food styles, in order to please a wide variety of tastes... Do visit us again one day! Regards, Marlet Swart
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goxhill
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 26, 2013

My wife and I had our second visit to this wonderful game lodge a few weeks ago. The experience was excellent and we were lucky enough to see the Big Five for the second time. In every repect this is a wonderful place to visit. The game drives were great, the food was of a high standard and the staff (especially Louis the ranger who drove our vehicle) were so accommodating and friendly. I highly recommend this place.

  • Stayed April 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.
EP2, Owner at Elephant Plains Game Lodge, responded to this review, April 29, 2013
Thank you so much for your kind feedback! We are delighted that you once again enjoyed your stay with us. It is always the best compliment to have return guests at the lodge and I hope that in the very near future, we welcome you back for your third visit. Kind regards, Marlet Swart
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Bremen
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2013

My wife and me just wanted to relax on a decent lodge! We stayed 3 nights in February 2013 an we surely didn´t regret! We stayed in one of these nice rondavels with a big sized bed with a large mosquito net and a decent bathroom for shower, bathing tub and anything else. Everything well equipped and clean. Wonderful view into the valley. We hard working people love to sleep long. Wakeup call at 4:30h am, a mug of coffee and safari begins at 5:00h. Very competed rangers in well maintained rovers drive You around. They know a lot and seem to figure out every movement of any animal around. You will have breaks on the trips with coffee, tea and a little snack. At 8:30h they bring You back and You will face an opulent breakfast. Later they will take You out for another safari, than again break and lunch. Later the big afternoon- safari and so forth.... unbelievable!, You will make the big five in less than one day and still you can enjoy the lounge with all the convenience. The dinner is a very special event. You sit in an big round around an open log fire place and enjoy most excellent barbecue (braai). The wine list covers good to very good reds. The staff is always very busy and kind. The only negative aspect gave the abundantly presented tip- envelopes on check out. So we gave tip in between for good service but I think it is a bad habit to urge the guest. Superfluously the bill on check out was not correct. The same happened to others check outs the same morning! So You should be aware.

  • 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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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 Louis, thank you for your feedback. We are glad that you enjoyed your stay. I would like to respond to your comment of "abundantly presented tip envelopes" at check-out. Our guests usually ask for tip envelopes to leave their tips in. Therefore we place them on the counter just before check-out starts so that guests can fetch it themselves before check-out, if they would like to leave a tip. We have never urged any guest to leave a tip and as a norm tips are only meant for services offered above your expectation. Not as a given. Concerning your bar bill, I am unsure what happened there as I wasn't called to sort it out, but I am sure that whatever you did not have was removed from your bill before you paid. Please be ensured of our best and honest intentions at all times and that an incident like this would never be intentional. Regards, Marlet Swart
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San Francisco, California
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 7, 2013 via mobile

My husband and I just left EP after staying 3 nights/4days. We feel so blessed to have had such an amazing experience. This was our first destination in Africa and our first safari experience, so we arrived not only jet lagged (30 hour flight), but also a little nervous of the unknown. Our nerves were completely put at ease by the welcoming reception we received by the EP staff. We were greeted with a refreshing drink and help with our bags by Walter. Due to a flight delay we arrived right as the evening game drive was departing. Our ranger Louis and his tracker Fanuti offered to come back for us in 30 minutes to give us an opportunity to check-in and change. We were so appreciative that they accommodated out late arrival and this set the tone for the rest of our stay.

Safari: there are two game drives per day. You have a 4:50am wake up call for the morning game drive the departs at 5:30am returning back to the lodge at 8:00am for breakfast. The evening drive leaves at 4:00pm and returns at 7:00pm giving you plenty of time to change and grab a drink at the bar before the 8:00pm dinner. Dress in layers, it's cold when the sun is down. If you have a choice go with Louis and Fanuti. They both seem to be the most experienced and always were the ones to track and locate animals. We saw the big 5 and more thanks to their great skills. Plus they were not stuck on getting us back to the lodge if the 3 hours passed. If they were tracking they would go until they found the animal. FYI - All of the rangers were in constant communication with each other and location of animals was always shared!

Length of Stay: We stayed 3nights/4 days and participated in 6 game drives. I think this should be the minimum stay if you want time to soak it all in and see a variety of Animals.

Helpful Tips: 1.) rest in between drives. Take advantage of the spa and pool. I had the stress reliever massage and it was amazing! 2.) go to every game drive. You don't want to be that person that misses a huge sighting just because you chose to sleep in. 3.) the water is filtered and drinkable 4.) each room has mosquito repellent. We didn't see many Mosquitos but didn't miss the opportunity to take precautions. 5.) participate in the bush walk. Wear long pants and closed shoes. 6.) gratuity is appreciated. We tipped out tracker and ranger after our last drive. We tipped out ranger 100 Rand per drive and our tracker 50 Rand per drive. There are Envelopes At the reception desk for gratuities.

Food: my husband and I are vegetarians and they accommodated our diets during every meal. It was fantastic!

Accommodation: We stayed in the Rhino luxury suite and enjoyed it! The room was luxurious and very clean and comfortable. We didn't see any bugs and enjoyed our balcony view of the waterhole. At night we found the noises of the animals to be very relaxing!

I can't wait to return!

  • Stayed April 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
EP2, Owner at Elephant Plains Game Lodge, responded to this review, April 18, 2013
Hi AJ, thank you for your kind and thorough feedback. 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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Tel Aviv, Israel
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
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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North Dorset, England
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
4 helpful votes 4 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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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 #17 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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