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“Amazing place, motivated staff” 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
New York City, New York
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Amazing place, motivated staff”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 9, 2013

My parents and I stayed at Elephant Plains for two nights in April. I've been working in Malawi this year, and my parents flew from the West Coast of the US to meet me in South Africa for a vacation. It was very important to me that they have a wonderful time. I had been advised that we should spend a couple days at a private game reserve for the best safari experience, and after reading a lot of reviews I settled on Elephant Plains. It was probably my parents' favorite part of our vacation, so I'm very happy we came!

I think that what makes Elephant Plains stand out is the dedication of the staff. From the waiters to the guides, people take pride in their work and making sure guests have the best experience possible. It shows.

Although we only stayed two nights, we were lucky to see a large variety of game. The guides can't control the animals' movements on and off the the reserve, but if they are on the reserve they work very hard to find them. Our guide Dawie knowledgeably and patiently answered all of our questions, and he seemed just as excited as we were to see and photograph the animals. Patrick was incredibly focused and alert at 5am in a way I can barely muster after 5 cups of black coffee. We were lucky to see a mother leopard and cub (the cub was stalking a giraffe!), a coalition of male lions, elephants and rhino in close proximity, and many other incredible creatures (fighting zebras, fighting impala, mating waterbuck...). Yes, we checked off the big 5, but we saw so much more.

The accommodations and food were also lovely. I think my only request would be for an elliptical trainer in the gym--but how ridiculously picky is that?

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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, May 12, 2013
Hi Jean, thank you very much for your kind and detailed feedback. We are glad that you enjoyed your stay and that your parents also thought we were the best part of their vacation. Thank you also for highlighting our staff's dedication. They're an integral part of our business and one of our biggest assets! I will be sure to let them know you noticed their dedication and passion. Please do visit us again one day! Regards, Marlet Swart
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509 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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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 (124)
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English first
Saskatoon, Canada
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 9, 2013

My friend and I stayed here on our first week of our African adventure. We were welcomed by the manager, and greeted by our game guide when we arrived, and even though it was pouring rain, our guide, Dawie and his tracker Patrick, were as enthusiastic as us about heading on a drive in the rain. My friend fell ill on her stay, and the staff was exceedingly helpful in helping her recover from her bout of stomach flu, and I was more than entertained on the game drives and bush walks. An absolutely lovely place to stay, with some of the friendliest staff I have ever met. Food was amazing too. I would recommend this place to anyone.

Room Tip: The luxury suites are a must. We had the leopard suite and could see game from our balcony.
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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
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 kind review. We are glad that you enjoyed your stay with us. Luckily your friend recovered quickly from her illness. I will make sure that the staff also receive your nice compliment on their friendliness. Please do visit us again one day! Regards, Marlet Swart
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Durham, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 9, 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.

  • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newcastle, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
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
See more room tips
  • 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
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, 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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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Helsinki
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
35 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
37 helpful votes 37 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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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bremen
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
12 helpful votes 12 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
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, 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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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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