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“African Safari at Its Best -” 5 of 5 stars
Review of andBeyond Exeter River Lodge

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andBeyond Exeter River Lodge
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P.O. Box 2060, Kruger National Park, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Denver, Colorado
Top Contributor
116 reviews 116 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 53 cities Reviews in 53 cities
84 helpful votes 84 helpful votes
“African Safari at Its Best -”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 17, 2011

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.

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  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 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.
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186 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 (45)
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English first
travel agent, San Francisco, CA
Top Contributor
101 reviews 101 reviews
75 hotel reviews
Reviews in 72 cities Reviews in 72 cities
197 helpful votes 197 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2011

i loved this property and staff. Everything is run smoothly and no request goes unanswered. The rooms are extremely large and the view from the shower cannot be beat. Food is very good and nice choices. Andrew and Phicksen (sp) were excellent and very friendly. We saw everything we wanted to see. I wouldnt hesitate to recommend or return to this property. In fact, I am already planning next year.
oh, and the spa treatment in the room was excellent and a good value.

  • Stayed March 2011, 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.
New York City, New York
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2011

My husband and I recently stayed at &Beyond Exeter River Lodge for 4 nights (as part of a 2 week honeymoon) and we cannot say enough wonderful things about this lodge. The rooms are stunning. They are spacious, clean, very private. The food is delicious. The staff is UNBELIEVABLE! They are warm, hospitable, eager to please & perform their jobs with integrity & excellence. Our ranger, Craig and tracker, Martin were fantastic. My husband and I had no idea prior to the trip of the knowledge and training required to become a ranger. We were very impressed.

While staying in the Sabi Sands region we saw lions, cheetahs, leopards & hippos in abundance, as well as elephants, impalas, buffalos, monkeys, etc.

We had stayed at &beyond Ngala for 4 days prior, and we are looking forward to staying at one of their other locations in the future. It is comforting to know there is a company of high end lodges that you can trust when traveling to Africa.

It was TRULY A TRIP OF A LIFETIME AND WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND VISITING SOUTH AFRICA SAFARI and STAYING AT &BEYOND EXETER RIVER LODGE.

  • Stayed February 2011, 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2011

We stayed here for 2 nights at the end of our holiday and we loved it!

I hadnt done a safari before so didnt know what to expect but from the moment you arrive at the lodge you are made to feel very welcome. The rooms are lovely and very comfortable and the food was fantastic with choices at every meal. Every meal the food was fresh and lovely and healthy with lots of fresh veggies and salads. I loved the special pink lemonade they served also - very refreshing

Our butler was Christopher who was lovely, funny and really helpful during our stay and our guides Craig and Jack were brilliant and very knowledgable. In 2 nights stay we managed to fit in 4 safari drives which was more than enough and we managed to see the big 5 and more. There were only two other people staying at the lodge during our stay so the safaris were even better.

It rained the 1st night and the staff put on a private dinner in our lodge with rose petals and a bubble bath ready for when we entered which was a perfect end to the 1st night.

The 5am starts are a killer!! But worth it to see the animals. Driving through spiders webs was probably the worst bit for me. But Craig removed the spiders and made sure they didnt land on me which i was very grateful for!!!

I opted for a massage during one afternoon and it was perfectly relaxing way to spend the afternoon the masseuse was very skilled and i felt brilliant after.

The only downside to the experience was the check out time of 11am even though our flight wasnt until 1.30pm so even though the lodge was empty there were a couple of hrs sat waiting with nothing to do and we were sooo tired from the early start i would have preferred to be able to sleep as we had a full day of travelling home ahead of us

All in all a fantastic experience and i would defo recommend anyone to stay at this lodge

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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.
Markham, Ontario
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
31 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
64 helpful votes 64 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2011

Book yourself into Exeter River and enjoy what will likely turn out to be your trip of a lifetime... Exeter River Lodge is absolutely phenominal... from the wonderful accomodations - you get your own very large cottage, outdoor shoplunge pool, etc etc... to the attentive service... the great food... and well... I could go on and on...

A couple of things that we thought made Exeter special were:
- the staff are genuinely interested in ensuring that you are enjoying yourself... shortly after arrival, you'll meet your butler who is assigned to look after you while you are there... and if there's anything your butler or other staff can do, it's no problem at all...
- the safari vehicles carry a max of 7 guests... usually two people per row plus one beside the driver... which makes for a much more comfortable experience compared to the pour souls that we saw crammed into other lodge vehicles (3 per row plus one)...
- if it rains, the safari vehicles have a canvas roof that can quickly be deployed - again much better than other lodge's vehicles that didn't have this...
- your guide and ranger make a BIG difference... we had Richard and Eric who were absolutely phenominal... if you aren't happy, see if you can switch to another team...
- right behind the guide and ranger are the other people assigned to your vehicle... we had a great group of people the four days we were there...
- laundry service is good (and included)... also a hint, my wife had put a wool sweater out on a shelf and a moth got at it... if you have similar items, keep them in your suitcase!
- we weren't sure how good the spa service would be in the middle of Sabi Sands.... we shouldn't have worried... my wife decided to try a massage and it was wonderful.

Things to bring... a hat (that provides back of the neck protection) - that sun is stronger than you think.... sunscreen.... and (depending on time of year) clothes that you can layer... the early morning drives can be cool to start....

We'd give Exeter 6 stars if we could... if you are interested, you may want to check availability and if needed - book early!

  • Stayed November 2010, 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.
Palm Beach, Florida
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2011

Before going i was amazed at all the positive reviews on TA about the safari lodges. But, wow the experience was awesome and i am happy to recommend Exeter as the best of the 5 lodges we visited during a 2 week visit to lower Africa in November. Go and enjoy and worry about nothing. & Beyond is an excellent operator. Our ranger Richard and tracker Eric were wonderful, kind, professional hosts to the park. We saw more then the big five and enjoyed every part of the experience. We do think that getting up at 5 in the morning is a big over rated, but we made it anyway. 6:30 would be better!!!

  • Stayed January 2011, 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manhattan Beach, California
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2010

We spent 4 nights of our honeymoon at Exeter River Lodge. The staff is amazing, our tracker Jack and guide Andrew took such great care of us to make sure we saw all the game we came to see. Out butler Christopher was awesome and made sure whatever we needed we got. My husband did not really want to go on Safari but after being at Exeter he said it was the best part of our trip. This place is 5 star service, the food is amazing and the rooms are spacious and so nice. The ONLY complaint our group had is we got really close to people in our vehicle and we wanted to use the community pool. It needs some work and was not usable so I would like to see that get fixed. But, it was still a 5 star experience for us.

  • Stayed December 2010, 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 andBeyond Exeter River Lodge

Address: P.O. Box 2060, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #16 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):
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

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