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“Simply put: You have to go” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Sabi Sabi Selati Camp

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Sabi Sabi Selati Camp
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Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, Kruger National Park 1350, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
New York City, New York
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Simply put: You have to go”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2014

1. The Camp itself
Selati camp, which was the third of three(the other two being Little Bush and Bush Lodge) which we stayed at was, in my opinion, the nicest of the three. Situated deep in Sabi Sands, the lodge has accommodation of 8 lodges. Even the 'bare bones' rooms, at the low end of the scale, were simply fantastic.

The rooms are equipped with a heavy duty air conditioning unit(much appreciated), comfortable sized beds, bed netting, safe, mini-bar, bath tub, and both indoor and outdoor showers. I didn't use the outdoor shower since bugs at night are a bit of an issue, but the indoor showers were incredibly powerful and spacious. Easily among the top showering experiences I've had on my vast worldly travels. The rooms are also very big and lead right to the plains. Animals regularly came into the camp and it was awesome to be so close to nature.

The Camp itself housed a community pool(or separate pool if you decide to pay for the Ivory Presidential Suite), dining area overlooking a watering hole, indoor room for a bar/common area, fire-pit and 'special' dining area which was used to celebrate my sister's birthday while we were there.

The best thing was eating breakfast and lunch and seeing animals near the watering hole. Every day a new group of animals would pass by(lions on day 2!). The rush of excitement was tangible throughout our stay. You could tell people were really having a good time.

The food was also excellent, freshly cooked every day and adapted to meet any food restrictions or requirements. While Selati does not have a buffet style system(unlike Bush Lodge) service was timely and my cup was always full with more coffee or soda instantly. I'd like to thank our server Ephraim for going out of his way and actually learning some phrases in German(we are German) to greet my family in the morning! Little things like this really meant a lot to my family and me.

Special mention and thanks to Brett, the lodge manager of Selati, who was extremely accommodating and courteous throughout our entire stay. Every day he would pop around and ask us how we were, chat with us(he is a former ranger so knows the ins and outs of the business) and was quick with a joke. He really made the stay just that much better and helped feed the positive vibe of the entire lodge.

2. The Safari/Game Drives

(Note: To really get the best experience, I would recommend staying at Sabi Sabi for at least 5 days)

As the one writing this review, I have never been on Safari before and this was my first time in South Africa. I was floored. Every day you are taken on two safari trips; one in the morning(6-9) and one in the afternoon(1630-1930). There is no pre-set game plan, although I would highly suggest telling the rangers what you have not seen yet and if there has been a sighting earlier they will normally drive to that area first.

We encountered both amazingly hot weather and terrible rain(but only for 2 days) and despite this we always went driving and always got to see really cool things. The Range Rovers the Rangers use are quite beastly, although I never felt unsafe or nervous about driving anywhere. The jeeps act as a sort of camouflage and animals don't really pay much heed to you allowing you to get up RIGHT close. I was literally 5 feet from a fully grown male lion who was looking for a fight. The pictures you will get will make even your most stoic friend jealous.

During the afternoon safari, the last hour was done during the night which offered a chance to see the nocturnal animals emerge from their hiding spots. However at night is when the bugs came out to play so bug spray is highly recommended! (I wasn't bit once thanks to mine).

While luck does play a factor, the assortment of animals I saw in my 8 days was extremely wide. I knocked down the 'big 5' (Lions, Leopards, Elephants, Rhinos, and Buffalo) in the first 2 days and things just kept on getting better and better. Some of my highlights(I took over 5000 pictures) were:

- A lion fight near the end of our stay,
- A hearding pack of Wild Dogs on the hunt,
- Elephant pack surrounds our truck suddenly and silently to eat,
- Lion cubs and their mother with them crying,
- Leopard returns to its kill with its cub and drags the kill up a tree,
- Rhino fight between two males over female,
(and many, MANY, more)

We went on 14 drives all together and I can't think of one that I didn't see or encounter something new and fascinating. As a pretty mellow man, I was even completely shocked by how awe inspiring Sabi Sabi was. The fact that you can get so close and see so much is really second to none. Patience is key however, and you are often rewarded with following an animal for a good 40 minutes (such as the Leopard with her kill and the tree)

Walking tours(after breakfast) are also available on request and let you truly experience what it would be like to be among the animals walking around with predators at every turn. Again, highly recommend you go on at least one of these. Prepare to sweat though, as the cool breeze of the car movement isn't there!

Lastly, a huge thank you and above 5 star rating for our second ranger Francois who really should be praised as one of the best rangers in the entire Sabi Sabi establishment. His enthusiasm for his work, bridled with his friendly and happy-go-lucky spirit easily turned even a 'meh' drive into an 'omg' one. He regularly went way above the call of duty, and went where others had turned back. I learned so much from him(both on the road and during our walking tours). In our 3 days with him, we were often the first car out and last car in. He conducted himself extremely professionally but you could really tell how passionate he was about nature and the animals, and it was impossible not to let that kind of energy rub off on you. His should be the example set to new rangers to live up to.

Conclusion:
While there were some hiccups along the way, not to mention the travel time to get to the actual camp is quite long from just about anywhere you would travel from, the actual experience once you are there is truly beyond incredible. I cannot thank the staff and rangers enough for just being an all around awesome group of people. I was sad to leave but am looking forward to returning sometime in the future! To anyone reading this and contemplating it, book your flights now!!!

- The Brammen Family

Room Tip: They're all good
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  • Stayed December 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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102 reviews from our community

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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 (27)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
York, Pennsylvania
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 4, 2013

My wife and I had a wonderful time at Selati Lodge. Brett and Ashleigh and there entire team provided a wonderful and relaxing time at the camp. We loved that is was a smaller camp and the accommodations were first class. The food and service was excellent. We wanted to take the chef home with us. Some of the best meals we have ever had. The safaris and our guide, Francoise and our tracker ,Donald, did a wonderful job of driving us in the bush , seeing the animals and answering all of our questions. We saw the big five and some unbelievable sights..we didn't want to leave and would recommend Selati Lodge to anyone! A truly great experience!!

  • Stayed November 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
    • 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.
Herefordshire
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2013

Brett and Ashleigh you run a damn find establishment ! Selati was the icing on the cake for us during our month in SA.I feel emotional when I think about it and what a great time we had.I will never moan about being woken at 4.30 am again if it's to see the wonderful sights you showed us.Kosie and Donald our guides were amazing,their tracking skills awesome and Kosie could get a job on TopGear with his driving skills.Brought a whole new meaning to off road!but so exciting when your following a Leopard!
Our lodge was spectacular,over looking the waterhole,huge and furnished beautifully to a very high standard.Having an outside bath whilst watching the wildlife one on the highlights.
Food was also first class and the little ritual of Grace the chef explaining the menu each evening was charming,especially as she got the giggles when it came to the "highlight of the night" which was always her desserts.
We met some lovely people there and some will remain friends for life.I can't think of a single negative regarding this holiday.
I came away better informed about wildlife and hugely admiring of all those trying to protect it.I will never forget the sights we saw and especially the poor male dung beetle with his lady friend cadging a lift on his dung ball whilst he pushes it for miles! Thanks guys x

Room Tip: Lorenzo Marks suite if you want the best.
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Rio de Janeiro, RJ
Top Contributor
153 reviews 153 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
60 helpful votes 60 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2013

Wonderful experience ! The service provided by all the staff is great!
The safari was a great and unforgetable experience.
Me and my husband were in honeymoon and one night , after a great dinner, our room was filled with petals and there was a champagne for us.

  • Stayed November 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Orlando
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 24, 2013 via mobile

Unmatched atmosphere in this secluded, intimate safari lodging. There are 8 individual huts/cottages with thatched roofs. Inside you'll find South African railroad themed rooms, beautiful furniture, claw foot tubs, an even an outdoor shower.

The food is incredible. The produce and meat is all local, delivered twice each week. Our chef and food staff created a master piece at every meal and high tea. Fresh, unique, with some ever my day favorites with an upscale twist paired with local South African dishes. Meals under the stars at night in traditional boma style or overlooking a watering hole where you'll see buffalo, storks and elephants visit.

There are no gift shops or spas at this location, which in my opinion made it refreshing. It was about enjoying wildlife and the people you are with.

During safari, our driver was Lee and the guide was Mike. We had on one late occasion gotten to ride with Craig to spot a male leopard during dinner. We came within a few feet of families of elephants, giraffes, rhinos, lions, cheetah, kudu, buffalo, impala, baboons, zebra and even saw leopard with their kill and a hyena tracking a leopard. Our guides and trackers were not only accomdating, but extremely knowledgable.

After having recently returned, we are already planning a second trip!

  • Stayed November 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.
Fort Lauderdale
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 20, 2013

6 of us stayed at Selati as a group. Two rooms had requested King Size beds and one twin size beds. When making the reservations we were told none of the rooms had twin size beds however, an extra bed could be brought in. Upon arrival and check in at Selati the two rooms that had requested King Size beds were assigned rooms with Twin beds pushed together AND the room that wanted twin size bed were upgraded to the one suite that has a built in KING size bed. An extra bed was brought in but for the price of this resort these are in my opinion details that are not acceptable to be overlooked.

Otherwise this is probably my favorite Safari Lodge.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Vancouver, Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2013

We stayed at Selati Camp for our honeymoon last month and I have to say that this is a really magical place. It's the type of place that gets into your bones and you will really miss it after your stay. We met a lot of great people at Selati.

It's very exclusive and only can accommodate 16 people so you feel that everyone is family. The staff is extra sweet and caring. Even the rangers would stick around and socialize after the long working day.

Food was amazing - still dreaming about their SOUPS and heavenly desserts. Each course was a masterpiece.

The rooms are great. I was apprehensive that it would be dark and gloomy but the rooms were the opposite. They were well-appointed and very warm and comfortable.

  • 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.
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Additional Information about Sabi Sabi Selati Camp

Address: Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, Kruger National Park 1350, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #18 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):
Selati CampRomance, intimacy, luxury and 5-Star service epitomise Selati Camp. A late 1800’s railway theme with authentic memorabilia evokes images of a time when life moved more slowly, more gently. Eight beautiful suites feature handmade beds draped with mosquito nets, soft linens and antiques. En-suite bathrooms (recently refurbished) have indoor and outdoor showers. Excellent cuisine is enjoyed in the small farmhouse kitchen or intimate outdoor boma and viewing decks overlook a riverbed. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Selati Camp Hotel Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve
Sabi Sabi Selati Camp South Africa/Sabi Sand Game Reserve

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