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“Relaxing at Nkorho” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Nkorho Bush Lodge

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Nkorho Bush Lodge
Hluvukani, Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, Kruger National Park 1363, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
New Jersey
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
“Relaxing at Nkorho”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 1, 2008

We returned to South Africa to again stay at Nkorho after first spending a few days in Kruger Park. Many wonderful changes were made to the facility since our stay five years earlier. There is now a large deck overlooking their watering hole along with a swimming pool. We watched jackels, velvet monkeys, kudu, giraffe, and zebra frequent the waterhole. (Nkorho has a webcam positioned there that you can access via Africam). Attached to this deck is a beautiful, large bar with a nice wine cellar located below.

There are seven chalets available, each with their own large deck. When sitting on the deck you’ll enjoy watching the abundance of Nkorho birds (southern yellow-billed hornbill) found on the property. Our room was nicely sized with quite a large bathroom.

Each day starts with a morning drive lasting three hours. You will always have the same Ranger and Spotter for each drive. In fact, the Ranger basically stays with you through the day – taking meal and drink requests as well as chatting with you during meals. We were lucky to once again have Frankie as a spotter. What he can track and see at night is incredible. He spotted some kind of chameleon one evening that was about 50 yards away in a bush. Phenomenal eyes!!

A mid-morning walk is offered daily, which largely focuses on the local fauna, etc. After the evening ride dinner is served. Most evenings dinner is served in their boma. However, we were fortunate to be there on a Saturday night when dinner is served in the bush. Aside from the game drives, this was one of my favorite experiences there. During dinner we were surrounded by hyenas, which didn’t bother us, but their sounds certainly added to the atmosphere.

As for game, we saw plenty, leopards on just about every drive, rhinos, buffalo, elephants, and of course lions – including a mating pair and a mom with her young male and an even younger cub. But on our last morning drive we were lucky to be in perfect light as three lions walked to a watering hole, allowing us to get some of our best shots.

We'll undoubtedly return again.

  • Stayed May 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (19)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
London, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2008

We stayed at Nkorho for 3 nights this March, and this was probably the best vacation we have ever taken. We saw every animal that we had ever dreamed of seeing in Africa, almost all of them at extremely close range. We relaxed with good food, comfortable lodging, and friendly people - all at a reasonable price!

We saw (all at close range) rhinos, elephants, leopards, Cape buffalo, lions, jackals, hyenas, zebras, impala, kudu, waterbuck, baboons, vervet monkeys, mongoose, warthogs, giraffe, wildebeests, hippo, steenbok, lots of birds (eagles, ground warblers, rollers, franklins), spiders, snakes... We also got to see the animals in action, including bull elephants tussling with each other, a leopard cub calling for its mother, lionesses hunting at night, a pride of male lions roaring together for 5 minutes straight, lions mating. It was just spectacular, and an experience we will never forget.

The rangers are extremely knowledgeable, and have lots of amazing stories that they are more than willing to share with the guests. Andre was our ranger for our stay, and he was excellent. You could tell how passionate he is about the bush and wildlife, and we felt lucky to have him as a guide. Our tracker was Freeman, who was excellent at helping us find game.

The setting was lovely, with individual cabins for the guests. High ceilings, thatched roofs, simple wooden furniture, big bathtub and shower. The housekeeping is excellent - rooms are made up while you are on the morning game drive, and while you are on the evening game drive. There's no air conditioning, but we did not need it. The fan kept the room very comfortable.

The pace of the day at Nkorho makes your time really relaxing. It is awesome to be up at 5:30, and on your game drive by 6am. You feel you have accomplished something by the time you get back to the lodge around 9:15 or 9:30. Then a delicious, full breakfast, with lots of fruit, cheese, yogurt, granola, fresh breads/pastries, eggs, bacon, etc. Then a quick change so you can go on a bush walk with the ranger. Then back to your room to relax...lay by the pool, read a magazine, nap in your room or on one of the lounge chairs.... There are no phones, no TV's, so you can really let go. Then lunch around 2:15, followed by some more rest, and off of your evening game drive from 4:15-7:15 or so. Then a big dinner around 8pm, and off to bed, to be ready for the early wakeup call. WE LOVED IT.

The food was very good and plentiful. There were always lots of vegetable and fruit choices, and the meats and starches were good. It was a nice treat to eat in the boma by firelight, with a lovely buffet laid out for us.

Finally, we found Nkorho incredibly well-priced. It is MUCH cheaper than most of the other private game lodges, and we thought it was excellent value for money. If you need ultimate luxury (e.g, private butler, private plunge pool, or cooked-to-order meals), Nkorho may not be for you, but if you are going to see wildlife, relax, and be comfortable, then you cannot do better than Nkorho. We would love to return for a week-long stay, and to share this place with our family and friends.

We highly recommend going to a private game lodge that allows off road driving. We would not have seen half as much (or gotten half as close to game) if we had done a self-drive safari in Kruger instead of going to Nkorho. Do NOT do a private lodge safari followed by a self-drive safari, or you will be highly disappointed. The off-roading is what puts the safari experience over the top.

Also, we drove from Johannesburg following an overnight flight. Don't recommend this - the drive was long (6.5 hours), and stressful. Lots of people walking on the roads, especially from Hazyview to Acornhoek.

On the way back to Hazyview from Nkorho, we got stopped by the police at a speed trap. (We weren't speeding.) We ended up experiencing some of the rampant corruption in the South African police force, when they made my husband get out of the car, and told him he had to pay 800 rand ($100) to the cop on the spot based on going 5 mile per hour over the speed limit. The cop did not collect any information from my husband or issue him a written ticket. He made us feel like we had no choice but to pay him the money, or bear unknown and likely scary consequences (all the police were very visibly armed, and there were 4 police cars together at a random spot miles from the nearest town). This made us very nervous driving during the rest of the trip.

Thus, we would recommend taking a private flight directly to Nkorho (there is a landing strip for small planes), or flying to Hoedspruit and having someone drive you to Nkorho. This would eliminate the driving stress, and make for a pretty much perfect vacation.

We do have a few suggestions for the owners, which would make things perfect from our perspective:

1) Give a guideline on what average tips are for the rangers, guides, and staff. We asked but were told it was purely up to us. We had no idea what was appropriate, so left wondering if we had been ridiculously generous or embarrassingly cheap. Not a good feeling when you leave, and easily remedied by telling guests a suggested range for average and excellent service.

2) Offer a drinks-inclusive price option. All meals are included in the rate, but alcoholic beverages, bottled water, sodas, etc, are all charged separately. It would be even more relaxing for guests if they could get these beverages without considering the tab. You could offer an option with alcohol or without.

Happy to answer questions from fellow travelers on this!

  • Liked — Location, game viewing, knowledgeable rangers, comfortable accommodation, tasty food
  • Disliked — Having to pay for drinks individually and not getting guidance from management on appropriate gratuity
  • Stayed March 2008, 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charleston, SC
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 25, 2008

WOW! That should sum it up, however, we want to elaborate. This was our first bush camp during a 2.5 week trip to SA and this set the bar very high. From the moment we arrived, we felt welcomed and comfortable. The lodge itself is incredibly warm - as if you have walked into a close friend's home. Milo and Spotty, the resident Jack Russells, only added to this feeling.

The people - everyone, and we mean everyone, were terrific. Greg, our ranger, was witty, knowledgeable and had the energy and enthusiasm of the Energizer Bunny. He obviously loves his job as does all of the other staff. Birthdays are very special occasions here and one that won't soon be forgotten with Happy Birthday being sung in Shangaan and English!

We saw the Big 5 on the first day and saw leopard 7 times including a mom and her 2 cubs. The ability to go "off road" takes on a whole new meaning here and you will not be disappointed, if not a little concerned, with how close you get to the king of the jungle. Absolutely do not miss a single game drive!

The food was fabulous and innovative. The braai we enjoyed was complete with traditional SA foods and dinner in the large boma - not to be missed. The entertainment by the Shangaan ladies is a treat so make sure you stay at least (if not more) 2 nights to be treated to this experience! We were there 5 nights and it was hard to leave!

We will never forget the people and experiences that we had at Nkorho. It is a must for any SA trip if you want personalized attention, great company, super food and memories to share for years to come.

  • Stayed January 2008
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2007

Top -class for safari, Andre a top-class ranger. However, I did not really like the use of rangers as waiting staff, although it was very nice to get to know them over meals. Their constant attention yielded extra benefit when animals were spotted nearby so that an impromptu drive occurred mid-afternoon. We saw the big 5 and also a cheetah kill whilst there for two days. We had a poor room with broken window, faulty toilet and no mosquito screening. Staff were delightful and very willing to resolve the problems but why did we need to ask at a place of this price level? Food was indifferent. The pool-bar and open area with water-hole in front of the lodge were fantastic. We saw an abundance of animals within 2 minutes of leaving the lodge. The safari experience was fantastic but my recommendation is to ensure a refurbished room. Lack of air-con may bother some people.
Check the web-site with web-cam - www.nkorho.com

Stayed January 2007
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Nkorho Bush Lodge

Address: Hluvukani, Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, Kruger National Park 1363, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Sabi Sand Game Reserve > Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 7 Specialty lodging in Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Nestled near the unfenced borders of the Kruger National Park this luxury four star Sabi Sand lodge offers a diverse abundance of classic African Wildlife. Nkorho Bush Lodge offers a comfortable environment in which to become one with nature, whether it be bird watching or game viewing from an open vehicle we offer a bushveld experience extraordinaire. Nkorho Bush Lodge creates and atmosphere of relaxation, sheer contentment a feeling of unity. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Nkorho Bush Hotel Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Nkorho Bush Lodge South Africa/Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve

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