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“i'm still pinching myself” 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
Montreal, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“i'm still pinching myself”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 19, 2012

from the moment we set foot onto the grounds of the reserve we were transported to another time and place. from the accommodations, to the f&b, to the service staff to the property, we have never had as incredible a travel experience. go with &Beyond and Karen and you wont go wrong. the dream of a lifetime became the reality of a lifetime. special shout out to "difference" our f&b server, the trackers and rangers who took us for the ride of our lives, and to the big 5 that accommodated us by just "showing up" when we least expected them to! wow!!!!!!!!!!!

Room Tip: every room is a great room
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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.
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186 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 (45)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
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English first
San Diego, California
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 5, 2012

My partner and I just returned to San Diego, Calif., USA after a three week trip to S. Africa, where we ended up with our last 3 nights at the Exeter River Lodge (after spending 3 days in Kruger doing our own game viewing at 3 camps there).

I am an Area General Manager for two Marriott hotels in San Diego, California, USA and have worked for Marriott properties for 24 years. I was totally impresed with the Exeter staff and property--it was such a welcoming change from the relatively "trashy" compounds of Kruger Park. The service and the quality of the lodge was spectacular! The Front Desk agent welcomed us and elegantly hand walked us through the property and guest suite, explaining all the amenities and the aspects of the meals, butler service etc. The room was immaculate, as well--and I always look where no other type of guest looks! We felt like we had died and gone to heaven, I'm not kidding. We had room #6 and again, it was incredible with a private deck overlooking the river and a plunge pool even! They have thought of every convenience from the in-room full bar (included!) to the multitude of bath amenities to the safes, robes, luxury bedding, glass shower overlooking river and an outside shower too! One small critique, the plunge pool was unheated as they all are. (it was 85'C for their "Winter" when we were there!). I suggest they heat them.

The staff "made" this trip so memorable. First and formost, "William the Ranger" was our daily game drive guide into the bush and he was simply incredible! He was so nice and friendly and informative! My partner and I are wildlife enthusiasts so we asked him a lot of questions and he went above and beyond to answer them, coming up with additional facts and information, showing us pictures from his bird guides for us to refer to when we saw one--hethoroughly enhance the total experience for us! And, I can't tell you what a rush it was to forge ahead into the bush tracking the lions, leopards, rhinos etc that we did daily. He and his awesome tracker, Isaac, found everything we wanted (The Big 5) and got us so close and "in front" of the animals--it was just mind blowing! The last night ride we took with him was the best--he should get a medal! We tracked a male leopard on to the sand bar island accross from the lodge with 2 other groups and William expertly plowed ahead in the jeep thru the river and sand, with elephants all around us and a tracker on foot to find the male leopard! What a rush!!!!!!!

The rest of the staff, especially Diference, our Butler, server and every other position he played, was superb! Such a warm and caring individual--we felt like we were their only guests! Jim, Security, Judy and Patricia Front Desk and Dean the superb Chef made our stay so customized for our needs--we didn't want to leave!

The impact the staff has made on our life is undescribable--we will truly "never be the same". We came back home after 30 hours of travel, crawled into bed and turned on the Discover Channel and it was hippos and other animals and it looked "tame" compared to what we got to experience first hand! We will certainly come back someday soon!!!

Room Tip: Get suite # 6 or #7--they are the best! Pass on the "dinner on your private patio"--too m...
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  • Stayed April 2012, 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.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 24, 2012

This was our first safari ever and it could not have gone any better.

The accommodations are fantastic. Beautiful! Nice shower, bathtub, bed, beverages, everything we needed. The bed was wonderful. The view of the river and the fact we were greeted by an elephant outside our room was beyond compare.

The safari itself was amazing. We saw everything we could want and our guide and tracker were fantastic. If you can request, I highly recommend Chris and Richard "Cooper".

The food at the lodge was delish. Great service and ambiance. We were always being fed it seemed like.

Now a few words about the overall experience. First, you need to realize that this is not a "relaxing excursion". They have you up at 5:30 am and on your drive by 6 am. When you return from your safari, you have breakfast and then you have a couple hours of down time and then back up and going at 3 pm for your next safari. Then you return and have dinner. Then of course back to sleep because you have to be up at 5:30 am again.

However, well worth every moment! This should be on every person's bucket list! And doing your safari with &Beyond is highly recommended.

Room Tip: All the rooms are good. However, we were in room 2 and had a limited view, but felt more private (m...
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  • Stayed April 2012, 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.
New York City, New York
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 17, 2012

we stayed here for the 1st 4 nights of our honeymoon and loved every second of it. captain jack and guide Craig took great care of us on safari, but the accommodations and food were above "&beyond" expectations. great way to start a honeymoon.
loved - outdoor shower, private plunge pool, river view from back terrace, guides, and of course the animals

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 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.
Sydney
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 16, 2012

We spent four nights at Exeter as part of our honeymoon and we loved it. Our room was out of this world, with a huge outdoor area with own outdoor shower and plunge pool. The rooms were always clean and the mini bar always stocked with a variety of wines and spirits. The food was exceptional and there was plenty of it. As you are not exercising very much the choices of food available were very healthy which was great! The staff very friendly and always smiling and everyone knew you by name.

The Safari was amazing, both our ranger and tracker were extremely knowledgable on the surrounding area and every animal and bird imaginable. Our ranger was so enthusiastic which made the whole experience so exciting - we were lucky enough to see all of the big 5 - what beautiful animals.

Both my husband and I hope to return one day - such an idyllic spot.

Thank you to everyone at Exeter!

  • Stayed April 2012, 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.
London
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 9, 2012

We had no idea what to expect, but suffice to say Exeter River Lodge was fantastic. Now I may be being slightly biased here as we kept tripping over gorgeous animals on our game drives, but honestly, the food was great, our private lodge (number 8) was excellent and all the staff were friendly, helpful and went out of their way to make us feel at home.
Nothing beats sitting at lunch in the main lodge eating a superb lunch, drinking a nice cold glass of wine and watching a huge bull Elephant casually wander across the scenery, memories we ill cherish forever!
Probably worth noting there's not much to do between game drives except eat and drink, but that just makes it more relaxing and the early start, 5am, is a bit brutal but so worth it....!!
Photos of the whole trip can be found at http://www.dd1961.com/southafrica

Room Tip: Keep the doors and bug screens closed :-)
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  • Stayed March 2012, 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.
Mumbai (Bombay), India
1 review
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2012

Everything was fine until we checked out and left. We were stopped at the Kruger park gates and the lodge staff asked the guard to check all our bags ! A figment of their imagination... They said we had stolen stuff from the room.. I loved the shampoo they had so I took two bottles presuming it was fine to take consumables such as shampoos along..

They claimed we had taken a tissue box from the room. We were 5 people and had booked rooms that cost nearly 50,000 zar.. Why would someone who can pay that kind of money be interested in stealing a tissue box???

Further, there were many lizards in the dining area and all over the couches. Not a very pleasant experience. The rooms had bugs.

We have been to forests and wildlife reserves but never had to deal with lizards and bugs crawling all around the couches and rooms.

The food was good, butler and chef served us well.

The safari experience was mediocre considering that our ranger relied heavily on other vehicles to radio message him when they spotted an animal. Enthusiasm was low and they considered their job done once they had spotted one each of the big five.

Not worth the money spent especially when we left with such a bitter experience for shampoos which were not worth more than 100 zar !!

I would recommend malamala or singita lodges. They seemed much better !!

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
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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