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“Lion and leopard within touching distance....every drive.” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Inyati Game Lodge

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Inyati Game Lodge
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4.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Sabi Sand Game Reserve | Greater Kruger National Park, Kruger National Park 1350, South Africa   |  
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glasgow
Top Contributor
202 reviews 202 reviews
39 hotel reviews
Reviews in 109 cities Reviews in 109 cities
230 helpful votes 230 helpful votes
“Lion and leopard within touching distance....every drive.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2012

I didn’t think anywhere could match Arathusa, our safari lodge of 3 years ago but Inyati managed to surpass it on several fronts.
(The access by car to the Lodge is pretty horrific, please see my separate posting about self-drive to Newington Gate).
We had the rooms furthest from the main building - 8/9 - shaded by trees overlooking the river, though not perhaps brilliant for game viewing as we didn’t have a clear view of the open areas where game tended to appear and the bush is quite thick there. In fact the game tends to be much further away from the Lodge than we expected, given the Sand River frontage. Game viewing from our own terrace at Arathusa was better.However, we did have some lovely Nyala grazing around the lawns outside our chalet and a leopard at night seems to regularly make its way through the open Lodge grounds. We also had a baboon trying the door handle the first morning – thankfully we’d heeded staff warnings and kept it locked at all times. Never saw it again thankfully, as it’s the only animal I just don’t like.

Food was generally excellent – decent homemade food, tasty and plenty of it. Maybe desserts were a bit stodgy and often the same but some nice baking/muffins etc. The Boma meals were buffet style and were excellent.

Game viewing with our Ranger Kimbini was just out of this world. Mating lions…hurtling after a hunting leopard on several occasions.....sitting feet away from a leopard on its kill…a roaming male leopard calling beside our vehicle at night for a female, which then appeared. We were within feet – touching distance almost - of the big predators every game drive. These guys know their ‘beat’ so well, they know where the animals are likely to be and of course a kill - and mating - can keep the big cats going for days. If it’s lion and leopard you want to see, this is the place.
Yes, there are a few other vehicles (from more expensive Lodges) but I think this is an advantage –they all share by radio ( no matter how much you’re paying) what’s happening and take turns to check out different sections of the huge area they all traverse to maximize sightings for us all. Otherwise it would be like looking for a needle in a haystack I suspect.

I just don’t know how you could go back to self-driving in Kruger and not be a bit frustrated at that experience. The fact you are in an open, super comfy vehicle and can fully see, smell and hear - and almost touch! - what’s happening and there are no walls between you and the wildlife, is all part of it instead of being locked inside a car. It makes photo opportunities incredible.

The bush in this part of Sabi Sand is very beautiful, more so than what we saw further north. Staff were all very friendly and the local dancing display they put on several times was just fantastic. It seemed so real somehow, as it was the local staff singing songs close to their hearts – I was moved to tears by it, the sounds were so evocative of Africa. Very special.
My only slight criticisms (apart from the drive in and that’s a big one!) is the way they divvy up the day, which wasn’t as good as we’d experienced before. There is quite a gap between brunch at 10.30am and dinner at 8pm (albeit tea/cakes mid-afternoon) but a small point really. I did think too that perhaps the game walks and other activities could have been promoted as being available more often. There was a sense that everything shut down activity –wise after brunch until the 3pm game drive. When we asked about a walk it happened I think the last day of our holiday, so only that one opportunity and I didn’t get the impression it was something that was offered often. At Arathusa every game drive in the morning was followed by an opportunity to go for a different walk in addition to the drive. Our walk was done instead of having the last hour of our drive when we were dropped off near the lodge and walked in. It was great but more limited than we’d had 3 years ago.
We’d go back in a minute to Inyati though….a few tears shed on leaving, it was just so good I wished we’d been able to stay the whole week instead of 4 nights. A world-class experience in terms of game viewing. Yes, it’s expensive but we’re only here on this earth once so I’d say….do it….save up… and you’ll never forget the experiences that money pays for.

Room Tip: Chalets 1/2 though close to the public area, look like they have the ebst views over the lawns and o...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
InyatiHO, Marketing at Inyati Game Lodge, responded to this review, November 6, 2012
I am pleased that you have enjoyed your first experience at Inyati and hopefully it won’t be the last one.
As speaking on behalf of the Inyati team, we all look forward to welcoming you back soon.
In the interim, we will endeavour to find a solution to the signage and access roads via Newington.

Warm bushveld regards

Leighanne
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187 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 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 (43)
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English first
San Jose
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 24, 2012

After visiting Sabi Sands private reserves two years ago, I had the opportunity to do it again and I do not regret it. Sabi Sands and in this case Inyati delivered on the special experience that is hard to describe till you experience it yourself. Sitting in the middle of breeding herd of elephants or following leopards or watching lions who are 5 meters away roar are amazing experinces. The most amazing of them was prior to our first ride when we saw from the dinning area a leopard crossing the lodge lawn and passing not too far from my room.

The rooms were excellent with all things expected ranging from fridge, high quality towels, good bed, etc. All this set in beautiful location. Our ranger was Piet; our tracker was Nelson, and both delivered on the big 5 multiple times during our 3 day stay. Piet was very knowledgeable about the animals and birds, making our drives not just amazing but also educational. The food was OK. I would like to thank them for making special effort to accomodate my sister in-law dietary requirements .

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
InyatiHO, Marketing at Inyati Game Lodge, responded to this review, November 6, 2012
Thank you so much for your review. I will personally pass this lovely comment to both Piet and Nelson as I am sure it will make their day.

We all look forward to welcoming you back to Inyati soon.

Warm bushveld regards

Leighanne Dawkins
Inyati Game Lodge
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HH
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 19, 2012

What a marvelous place!! Best safari we ever did! Great people and safari. Comfortable camp. Guest average age is pretty high (we went with teenagers), but didn't matter. Rangers and Trackers are EXCELLENT! Food is ok. We stayed 3 nights (shouldn't do less).

Room Tip: Had Room #1. Very good view and closely located to the main building.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 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.
Chennai (Madras), India
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 16, 2012

Everything about Inyati is first class and it is no wonder that people come there many times - we met people who have been coming each year for 5-10 years now. From Keith and Frances who run the place, to every single team member, it was a pleasure inteacting with them and seeing them try and meet your every requirement. The rooms were excellent, the food and drinks was great and the wildlife sighting out of this world. We certainly were delighted with our choice and the experience was far more than we expected.
There were 6 of us - two who had never been on a safari before and we were more than satisfied. Keith and Norman who took us around were special. Keith's passion for the fauna and flora came through in everything that he did and while being extra careful not to do anything to upset the wildlife/flora that we viewed, we still ended up having some amazing sighting: the only two we missed were the cheetah and the wild dogs. With great co-ordination between the lodges in that area, everyone gets to see so much more. We had a truly wonderful 3 nights stay here

Room Tip: All the rooms are great but those closer to the river are the ones that you must book
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  • Stayed September 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
InyatiHO, Marketing at Inyati Game Lodge, responded to this review, November 6, 2012
What a lovely review! Wow and thank you!

We are very happy that you enjoyed your stay and the amazing game viewing.

We all look forward to welcoming you back to Inyati soon.

Warm bushveld regards

Leighanne Dawkins
Inyati Game Lodge
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Lahaina, Hawaii
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 13, 2012

We recently visited Inyati Private Game Reserve as part of a tour we booked with Kanyezi Safaris. We had an unbelievably great experience at Inyati - though we cannot say the same for Kanyezi Safaris.

Our tour guide (Chris Cote' with Kanyezi Safaris) dropped us off at Inyati on the morning of our fifth day in our 19-day adventure in South Africa and Victoria falls and flew home to the US leaving us to handle the remainder of the trip ourselves. We did encounter a few issues at Inyati (caused by Chris), and the Inyati staff went above and beyond to remedy the problems and to confirm all of our remaining trip reservations, activities, etc. since we were left in South Africa without a tour guide. The staff at Inyati was great and made sure this was a trip of a lifetime for us. Based on our recent experience - we will return to Inyati again.

Inyati, the staff and game runs definitely made this an adventure of a lifetime! We spent 6 glorious days and watched the territory blossom from the brown colors of winter to beautiful green fields and the tale-tale signs of spring. The weather was great and we were very blessed to see all the wildlife we did. We saw most of the big five (cape buffalo, lions, elephants, rhinos and leopards) on a daily basis. It was magical to sit in the middle of an elephant herd and watch their interactions with each other, see a herd of probably 100 cape buffalo graze across a newly green field, watch a lioness at the bottom of a 40-foot tree with a large leopard sitting on the very top limb in the tree, seeing leopards mate and then basically hide in plain view in the grass on a termite mound. We even had two big male lions walk so close to the vehicle on our last day that we could have reached down and touched them. We saw a spotted wild dog twice and even watched him pursue an impala - which thankfully he missed; a jackal; buzzards, hundreds of beautiful birds; giraffes and zebras on multiple occasions and sat in the safari vehicle within a few feet of lions, lionesses, black and white rhinos, etc. Seeing the wildlife in their habitat with no fences between you and them is how it should be!! It was definitely a dream come true for me!!

Our rangers and trackers (George & Khimbini; Solly & Richard) were great at locating anything we had not seen and sharing their wealth of knowledge about the animals with us.

The staff at the lodge was extremely friendly and always willing to assist you. We ate in the boma a few nights while we were there and the staff performed traditional songs and dance for us – which were great! They also prepared a special dinner setting for us on our last night and Khimbini joined us. It was a delight to have him tell us about his adventures, special things he had seen through the years and just to get to know a little about him.

A typical day was to get up at 5 am; a light breakfast at 5:30 am; game drive from 6-10 am; brunch at 10:30 am; free time till 3:30 pm, then high tea till 4 pm and an evening/night game run from 4-7 pm; dinner at 8 and then time to get a few hours sleep before you started your next adventure. :-)

I would recommend Inyati to anyone wanting an adventure of a lifetime. Our only advice is to book directly with Inyati. You can fly into Johannesburg (JNB) and then directly to the Greater Kruger area (just a few miles from Inyati) and then back to JNB at the end of your adventure. Another option is to drive 6 hours from Johannesburg to Inyati, but we recommend the direct flight – it is worth the extra cost not to have to endure the drive.

Room Tip: If you have a family or multiple family members traveling together and you want to share a chalet...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Harrow, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2012

We have just returned from South Africa; 2 families including 4 teenagers. We couldn't fault the accommodation; the food; the pool area; the whole experience was better than we expected - the rooms included a decanter of sherry and pringles; chocolate and water in the fridge; plenty of lovely toiletries in the bathrooms; towelling robes and hairdryers in the wardrobe and a beautiful location. Our guide was Piet; our tracker was Nelson, and both could not have been more accommodating or found more animals if they tried; in fact we were so lucky that it was almost as though it had all been staged - we usually were in exactly the right place at the right time and typically a few minutes ahead of the 'Richard Branson' game reserve jeep! Amazing; a great co-ordination between the other reserve trackers so we were assured of our 2.5 days being action packed and sightful, as were the other game reserve guests, whichever lodging they were guests of. The food was fabulous; we sat out around a fire and was so atmospheric. Perfect.

  • Stayed August 2012, 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
InyatiHO, Manager at Inyati Game Lodge, responded to this review, September 18, 2012
Hi Sue

Thank you very much for taking the time to post your review. I look forward to welcoming you back very soon.

Kind Regards

Leighanne Dawkins
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maastricht, The Netherlands
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2012

My son and I had a fantastic time at Inyati Game Lodge. Little did we know about what it would be like and so we were in for a number of surprises. To find such a well kept place in the middle of the bush where everything would be done to make our stay memorable was a real pleasure. Going on safari with Piet was such a delight. We came so close to so many animals that we had to remind ouselves that this was real and not a dream.
We enjoyed to see wildlife entering the grounds and to listen to lions and hippos at night.
We can strongly recommend Inyati to everyone.

Birgit and Eric
Germany/the Netherlands

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 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.
InyatiHO, Manager at Inyati Game Lodge, responded to this review, September 18, 2012
Thank you very much for your delightful comments. I am very pleased to know that you have enjoyed your safari experience with us. We hope to welcome you back soon.

Kind Regards,

Leighanne Dawkins
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Inyati Game Lodge

Address: Sabi Sand Game Reserve | Greater Kruger National Park, Kruger National Park 1350, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Sabi Sand Game Reserve > Inyati Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Inyati Private Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Inyati Game Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Inyati Game Lodge is situated in one of the world's largest and most prestigious private conservation areas, the Sabi Sand Reserve , adjoining the renowned Kruger National Park. View Africa's most impressive wildlife on morning and afternoon/evening game drives in open 4-wheel drive safari vehicles with expert guides and Shangaan trackers. The perennial Sand River with its golden African sunshine and cool, shady hideaways runs through Inyati. At night, wildlife sounds fill the star-studded sky. Lions roar, jackals howl and hyenas laugh. African drums respond. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Inyati Game Hotel Inyati Private Game Reserve

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