It's all about value for money, isn't it? And Mantobeni is in my opinion great value for money. It was my third time at that camp, over the last 12 years. Overall, a very good experience, we loved the cooking and the game drives were good. I remembered it to be excellent, that's all. I remembered our sundowners to be in amazing locations, having our dinner near the fire, having a hot water bottle in my bed at night, having a ranger transparent about what we were about to see. This time it was different for me. The fire every night was minimal, we had to fan it to get something going. Our guide was somewhat resistant to share what was going on on the radio. Sundowners were just where we happened to be except one night where we were near a lake. One out of three.
The first night, we heard on the radio galagalagala, a very excited other guide was yelling. I then did not know that gala was lion in shangaan. Guide ignored it, we finished our drinks and then, rushed to where the lion was. We caught it as it was leaving, We did see it and we did rush to go see it. My preference would have been for the guide to ask us if we preferred having a glass of wine or going to see a lion. I think we would have said lion. I think the other two times I was there, our guide would have asked what our preference was.
To be fair, we did see a lot of animals, up close. But everyone wants to see lions, don't they?
The other point I would make, is that they asked the guide to sit with guests at meals. Our guide was not engaging at all, and I knew he would have preferred to be just about anywhere else, we would ask him a question and he would answer yes or no, which left us with talking among ourselves in English to be polite, as English is not our first language. I felt uncomfortable at meals because of the lack of conversational skills our guide had. Then on the last day, he perked up and wanted to talk. It would have been much better to be among ourselves in this case. What I remembered were great dinners with our guides - both times - them telling us stories of past drives etc. But his very guarded attitude did not allow him to share maybe because he thought we would require the same.
We had a good time, and since I got back I looked at other lodges and Mantobeni is definitely cheaper than most. If I was on a budget and wanted to see animals, I would go back. If I was a little bit more relaxed about money, I would try something else.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Thank you for your feedback on your recent stay at Honeyguide Mantobeni Camp.We were delighted that you chose to return to the camp for another visit, that you saw a large amount of animals and that you still found the camp to be value for money. We regret however that you found the guide Vestment did not interact sufficiently with your group. Vestment has been with us for many years and is generally great with the guests and has many stories to tell of his guiding days as well as his earlier days as a tracker in the Manyeleti. One of the good things about Honeyguide is having the camp manager and the guides all sit around one table at dinners and also around the fireplace after game drives.We have discussed your comments with him and he appreciates that he was found wanting on this occasion. He also understands the need to let guests know if another vehicle has spotted one of the more elusive animals and to let the guests participate in the decision on whether to join the search or continue with sun-downers. The sundowner spots he pre-selected, namely a water pan, then skybeds dam with some hippos and then main dam should have been good spots. Please would you let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org where you feel he could have done better as we need to discuss this with him and the other guides.
I understand that the wet weather put a damper on the wood and we have found a way of resolving this. As winter has arrived early, hot-water-bottles should have been placed in the tents during dinner to provide warmth on your return. I understand from the manager that this was not done and apologize sincerely for this omission - we have a full stock of hot-water-bottles so there was no excuse!
We have looked at your comments in detail and discussed them with the managers and the guide. We appreciate the distance you have to travel for your South African safari and it is important to us to see that you return with fond memories of your time with us We will learn from your comments and work with the guide and managers to improving this experience. With warmest regards, Peter Aucamp
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.