We went on a 4 nights, 3-day safari at Exeter River Lodge in South Africa, close to Kruger National Park.
First, the cabin is huge, as in H-U-G-E with thatched roof, a king size bed, a living room, an indoor and outdoor shower, a jacuzzi, his/hers vanity, and a plunge pool at the end of a full length deck, backing into the park where you can see antelopes grazing at any given time. The plush cabin came with a fully stocked bar (included in the price) and in this particular safari camp there is a phone (but no WIFI in the wild), lights and hot water 24/7. The cabin is tastefully decorated with African artifacts and framed photos of the wild.
We had a personal butler named Ronny-Ronny who was very attentive and sensitive to every thing we need. When my husband mentioned that we need more tonic water, we found extra cans in the bar when we get back from a game drive. The food was gourmet and the S. African wine is good. Each meal was presented with elegance and flair. Chris, the Chef was always around before each meal to tell us what he and his staff has prepared for us. Everyone was very friendly.
Safari is for people who find looking for and at animals exciting and worth the money spent. South Africa (and that continent as a whole) is very beautiful. The routine is as follows: they wake you up at 5:30 and you get a quick coffee. You ride a LandRover with a guide and a spotter for a game drive. Stop somewhere in the bush for a morning treat of coffee or tea and some goodies. Resume the game drive. Arrive in "camp." Downtime of a couple of hours then a sumptuous lunch presented by Chef and staff. 3pm is tea time and 4pm is the evening game drive. Sundowners consist of gin and tonics and munchies in a place in the savannah, where you can enjoy the spectacular African sunsets. After sundowner, you continue your game drive. Arrive at camp and get ready for an evening meal. Evening meals are the most splendid ones. However, safari is unlike a cruise where everyone gets dressed up for the dinner with the Captain. Safari is really casual; khakis, olives, beige is the color of the day.
I also had a Swedish massage outdoors, with a monkey watching! One evening, we saw an elephant waking at the back of our cabin. They prohibit guests by walking without a ranger with them. All in all, we had a thrilling safari, one involved a male lion stopping momentarily to sniff the legs of our spotter. No one dared to click their camera! Our spotter, named Eric, told us later that all he could do was close his eyes and pray. We also saw wild dogs with puppies, rhinos with their babies, lions (cubs, juvenile, adult), and antelopes like impala and Kudus. For those who would like to go on safari, I will be posting a review of two other camps we visited, which might cost lesser than Exeter Lodge. Safari is great that way- you can choose what level of comfort at the price you are comfortable with. Exeter is pricey and we also opted to fly into a nearby airport and we were picked up by their shuttle. The ride was bumpy from the main road to the reserve. We chartered a Cessna to go from one camp to another.
At Exeter River Lodge, we had a wonderful time; we got excellent service, awesome safari, friendly staff, great food and wine and memories that is priceless.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- In spite of the dry name of the river on which it is located, there is nothing arid about warm and welcoming andBeyond Exeter River Lodge. Perched on the edge of the Sand River, this tranquil lodge is the perfect safari retreat, boasting spacious riverside suites, Big Five game viewing with excellent leopard sightings and the perfect amount of privacy. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Exeter River Hotel Sabi Sand Game Reserve
- AndBeyond Exeter River Lodge South Africa/Sabi Sand Game Reserve