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“Superb Savanna!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Savanna Private Game Reserve

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Savanna Private Game Reserve
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5.0 of 5 Lodge   |   R536, Sabi Sand Game Reserve, Kruger National Park 1242, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
England
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
64 helpful votes 64 helpful votes
“Superb Savanna!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 23, 2007

We stayed here for 3 nights as part of our honeymoon after having had it recommended to us and we weren't dissapointed!

The lodge is run very much on a "family" basis and everybody from the manager and his partner, through the rangers, trackers, cooks and cleaners are the most freindly, professional and passionate people you could ever wish to be looking after you for your safari experience.

Unlike the previous reviewer we found the food to be out of this world at every sitting and we have stayed at plenty of 5 star hotels as you can see from my reviews! Breakfast (served after the morning game drive) had everything you could have wished for and a daily "special" which was always something local. This was repeated for lunch and dinner where the emphasis was definately on local although very palatable cuisine. I'm a VERY fussy eater but even I found something to eat every day and LOVED almost everything I tried. I think we may have stayed at the same time as the previous reviewer as there was also an American family with 3 kids but I cannot understand why catering specifically for a child is a bad thing for a 5 star lodge?!?! Surely this is to applauded? Meals are run in the same "family" way as the rest of the lodge with everybody including the rangers and other members of staff sitting down together with the same menu (although it is usually served buffet style). We never saw any FORCED conversation, indeed it was very light hearted and made a change to be abe to talk to people from all over the world about a wide range of subjects. Of course this may not be some peoples cup of tea but being the kind of people who are quite insular on our vacations, even we found it refreshing and good fun!

The viewing is superb and we managed to see the "Big 5" on the first day. Having said that I would NOT say that it's like a zoo and that you don't have to search to find the animals.....we had a couple of drives where we'd see nothing for a couple of hours and then maybe see something interesting when found by some of the other lodges (they all share sightings over the radio). In all instances, although you can get very close to the animals they were definately in their natutral habitat and behaved accordingly. Maybe if you don't want to see animals then go elsewhere but for us the whole reason for being there was to actually SEE animals!!!!

The lodge is situated right in the bottom corner of the Sabi Sands area and therefore you aren't centrally located to enable getting to all sighting quickly but having said that it also means you get to see a lot which others maybe don't as they won't venture in the "corners" of the reserve. Like I said this didn't make a difference to our viewing as we saw the Big 5 most days and were even lucky enough to witness a lion kill on our last day!

The little touches at this lodge....bath run with two glasses of wine waiting on return from your cold evening drive, hot water bottles for your morning drive, the "family" nature of the team....make this lodge stand out head and shoudlers above the bigger, more commercial properites in Sabi Sands.

The ONLY slight negative for me was that the pool in our executive suite was way to cold to use and I expect will continue to be so throughout the winter thus making the extra expense a bit of a false economy in the winter.

We would definatley return if the opportunity arose!

  • Liked — Staff, game veiwing, bathroom
  • Disliked — Cold pool...it was winter!
  • Stayed June 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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206 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
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English first
Herts
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 21, 2007

We stayed for three nights at the Savanna Lodge and thought it was just fabulous. Paddy and Jane who manage the lodge are wonderful people who make you feel really at home and they are both clearly passionate about the lodge and the reserve. The food was delicious and always varied each day. The wines were great too! You dine with fellow guests which we felt worked really well as you could talk about what you'd seen each day and recount your adventures.

The accomodation was beautiful. We stayed in the tented suite for the first two nights which was beautiful and 'tent' really doesn't do it justice. The bathroom was out of this world. We then upgraded to the thatched cottage on the final night which was spectacular. They all had private plunge pools but my one criticism would be that the water was icy cold so you couldn't actually use them.

The safari itself was amazing. All of the rangers and trackers were great and we learnt so much, not just about the animals but about the birds, flowers and trees. For the most part the animals don't seen at all bothered by the jeeps and it was facinating to watch a leapard actually use the noise of the jeep to enable her to stalk her prey better! We never got the sense that the animals were tame in any way though and there was still a certain amount of tracking involved in finding the animals. Also, unlike other safari's the animals were never crowded by the jeeps and they strictly enforced the rule that only 2 jeeps could be near the animals at any one time.

All in all we had an amazing experience and would definitely like to return one day.

  • Liked — Beautiful bathrooms
  • Disliked — Cold plunge pool
  • Stayed June 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 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.
Bavaria/South Africa
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 27, 2007

The lodge is very looked after. Everybody takes care of you and there is nothing that you miss in the bush. Savanna lodge is really a luxury lodge, I must say, however I would not go there for a second time, to be honest.

The “only” thing I have to complain about, was the food. I went to lodges, which had less “stars” and with better food.

From the animal viewing perspective, it was indeed very spectacular. The regions is obviously very well-known for spotting leopards. However, I also must say there it´s like a zoo. The animals are so much used to the human-beings and the cars that they give a [---] if people are watching them. You can see there that the mass tourism already stepped in the nature n a way, which is not good. There were some people with us, who did a safari for their first time, and they even mentioned /joked that they think that the rangers gave the animals some sleeping tablets in the morning so that they are quiet when the tourists come in droves. Where ever you looked, the animals were standing next to the way you passed by. It was not that you have to FIND them. You almost could have fed them. I would recommend Savanna to people, who only have limited time for a safari and do their first safari, and won´t probably come back for another safari in the near future. I think especially in this area you are able to see all big fives very "easily".

The tents at Savanna are all very nice furnitured , you really have a non-plus-ultra good quality-standard.

From the stuff including the rangers, I must say they were very kind and considerate. However, I had sometimes the feeling that they ar like this because we tourists pay a [---] load of money. The rangers were sometimes like a DVD record” playing all day the same dvd for the tourists. I think they do not have that much fun there. I went to Gomo Gomo (which is a 3star accomodation safari spot with very nice stuff and great food) and the rangers did their job because of their full passion (and yes for sure also for the money, but it was not that obvious).

Similar to Savanna, was Bongani Mountian lodge also same procedure. I feel sorry in a way for them as they have to put up with the [---] of the people but the manager of the Savanna lodge should not have let go through all the things from the tourists. For example there was this American family, a couple with 3 children. The couple was relatively ok but the children were very spoilt. Every single lunch, the smallest of the boys got his fresh made pasta. I mean can I really buy everything with money? I would like to remind you that you are in the bush and not in a restaurant.

Also I found that the conversation was “forced”at the table . I do not like long table were all the guests sit. I love tables with 6 or 8 people each, where you can start a real conversation. Also I had the impression that the general manager forced the rangers to sit and start stupid conversations about the weather with the guests. I am not saying that it´s their fault (the stuff) , I am sure they only adopted to the bloody requirements to the people from overseas. It´s a pity, really.

  • Liked — The bathroom in the tents
  • Disliked — quality of food
  • Stayed January 2007, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
scotland
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 9, 2006

We spent the last 3 days of our honeymoon at Savanna and it was the most wonderful experience. The lodges are absolute luxury, food is fabulous and you are treated like a member of family. There are so many little surprises, gorgeous little touches that make your stay. The staff are fantastic, friendly, knowledgable and will do absolutely anything for you. I cannot recommend this place any more highly.We had 6 game drives in all and saw all of "Big 5" and lots more besides. Time between drives was spent sunbathing by our personal plunge pool. Despite it being July and mid winter we had daytime temps of 27-29. My only regret is that we didn't have longer.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Savanna Private Game Reserve

Address: R536, Sabi Sand Game Reserve, Kruger National Park 1242, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 40 Specialty Lodging in Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Savanna Private Game Reserve 5*
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Savanna Private Game Reserve is a luxury five star Game Reserve in the Sabi Sands South Africa. The Sabi Sands is acknowledged as the best area in the world for leopard viewing. Our object at Savanna is to give our guests the best wildlife experience possible. See guest comments on Trip Advisor to see just how our guests are blown away by the Savanna Experience. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Savanna Private Game Reserve Hotel Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Savanna Private Game Reserve South Africa/Sabi Sand Game Reserve

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