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“Welcome to our little paradise” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Kurhula Wildlife Lodge

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Kurhula Wildlife Lodge
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Parsons Nature Reserve 155KT | Plotnumber 25, Kruger National Park 1380, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Frankfurt, Germany
1 review
“Welcome to our little paradise”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 30, 2013

Already whilst writing emails backwards and forwards to Kim & Sander whilst booking the accommodation beforehand, Sander wrote back "welcome to our little paradise". Kurhula really lived up to every word we were promised...and even more. From the moment we set foot on the Parsons Reserve, we were magically transformed into what I call "real" and "authentic" nature in South Africa ....every wish being catered to on a very personal level, without the marketing frills of the luxury lodges on the Kruger. Just by being there, one is right in the middle and on the pulse of the Kruger. It´s the whole experience which makes up the Kruger and that is exactly what Kim and Sander offered. The hearty & warm hospitality, the flexibility, the friendship and genuine interest in our time there and all we experienced both on the Kruger alone as well as on our drive out with Sander in the Parsons Reserve - on the greater Kruger. Amazing! Kim and Sander made us feel part of "their paradise and their home" which they shared so generously with us. Kim´s cooking is second to none and the fact that they both spent time with us, ate meals with us and shared all their experiences and stories with us made us feel so welcomed and part of their personal lifestyle there. Simple, stylistic with incredible luxury touches, friendly, hospitable, this littlle paradise is more than excellent value for money. I shed a tear when we had to leave but we will definately be back!!!

Room Tip: There is no fitness centre but then, this was not on our list of priority so we cannot mark it as po...
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  • Stayed May 2013, 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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108 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    88
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (11)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 28, 2013

We stayed at Kurhula for 6 nights whilst visiting our son. Kim & Sander were excellent hosts and went out of their way to ensure that our stay was an enjoyable one. The home cooked food was very good and we liked the fact that they both joined us for dinner in the evening. The rooms were simple but very comfortable and clean. There is a small swimming pool with sunbeds which provided an opportunity to relax, enjoy the weather whilst also keeping an eye out for wildlife. You can arrange a game drive on the Parsons reserve with Sander but we particularly enjoyed the sundowners in the bush a short drive from the lodge. Kurhula also provides an excellent base from which to visit Kruger Park and also the wider area around Hoedspruit such as Blyde River Canyon. I would recommend that if hiring a car that you book a 4x4 or at least a vehicle with high clearance as the track from the main road to Kurhula is a bumpy one and takes about 35 to 40mins but dont let that put you off as you can actually see quite a lot of animals whilst you drive to and from the lodge.

I can highly recommend Kurhula for those visitors who want to have a relaxing stay in a beautiful setting whilst experiencing the bush and with the flexibility to do things other than spend 7 to 8 hours each day on organised game drives.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
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Vienna, Austria
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 27, 2013

Thanks to Kim and Sander we had an unforgetable wedding -anniversary and Holiday. We were treated like friends and had a very welcoming stay and were great taken care of. We can highly recommend a stay at Kurhula lodge a breathtaking and very welcomeing place.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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.
Oakville, Canada
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2013

If you want a marvellous safari lodge experience at an extremely reasonable price, look no further. My wife and I stayed with friends at Kurhula Lodge for six nights...and loved every minute. The positive experience starts with the proprietors Sander and Kim. They are so friendly and helpful; nothing is too much for them. If you have any needs, just ask and they will do their best to oblige. Would you like ostrich meat or kudu steak or soya milk? Kim will make a special trip to Hoesdpruit or Phalaborwa (both a good distance away, and especially so on the roughish dirt road to the highway) to get them for you. We loved the fact that Sander always (always) came out to greet us with a smile and a warm welcome when we returned from a trip to Kruger or the Panorama route or wherever. He always wanted to know whether we had had an enjoyable time. Such a personal touch; I can't imagine these big ultra-luxury outfits that dot the periphery of Kruger NP being so personally attentive.

And talking about luxury, Kurhula Lodge offers plenty of it! The only difference is that it is not reflected in the price. I asked Sander how Kurhula managed to top the price/luxury ratio; his response was that the Kurhula owed nothing to the banks so did not have a need charge a loan premium. Amen to that! We guests benefit! The rooms are lovely and clean. The beds are very comfortable. We sank into them and slept very soundly. The bathroom was spotless (although I wish ours had a curtain to stop the shower spray --- but then curtain-less showers seem to be very popular these days). Soap, shampoo, conditioner; all these are provided (although we brought our own). Two friendly ladies come to tidy up and clean your room every day. Although the Lodge is in a supposedly malarial zone, we noticed a mosquito (not necessarily malarial) only once in six days. The bed nets gave the room an exotic ambience.

Kim is an excellent chef and comes up with all sorts of pleasing surprises for her guests. Kudu carpaccio, anyone? Ostrich meat pie? Super-tasty pasta (my wife Fiona asked Kim for the recipe)? Chicken satay? Crunchy vegetables? These are a miniscule sample of Kim's creations inspired by a good set of cookbooks that's handy on a shelf. Sander does not appear to be a major player in the kitchen (although he does whip up a mean sandwich for lunch) but, at 'braai' time down in the barbecue area below the pool, there is no one to challenge him. The nice thing is, Sander and Kim sit down to dinner with you, so it becomes almost a family affair. A nice but loquacious Italian lady who was there during our stay audaciously took over the kitchen to prepare a Genovese speciality (tuna?); as I said, Kurhula is like home.

You can see from the above that Kurhula Lodge is a lovely place to stay. The Olifants River flows by; when we were there in mid-Feb. 2013 it was in spate, so the sandbanks were gone and the resident crocs were not in evidence. And the local elephant population dared not cross the fast-flowing river. But you could see waterbuck, impala, and baboons gambolling on the far shore. On the Kurhula side you have the resident warthogs and the ever-curious vervet monkeys; bushbuck make an appearance almost daily and elephant and lion are not unknown within (yes, within) the compound (we did not see either, though). So it pays to be a bit cautious and take Sander's advice seriously! No wondering about at night! For other wildlife, Sander or Kim will take you on a game drive to the Parson's Nature Reserve that surrounds Kurhula Lodge. Parson's is a far more authentic game experience than some of the other 'private' reserves west of Kruger NP. There is no barrier between Parson's and the NP whereas the private reserves, with their electric fencing, are basically big zoos. Sander will also arrange trips to Kruger. One problem is that the national park is 2 - 3 hours away from Kurhula, so you've got to be off at 4.30 a,m. or so (ouch!) to get to the park when wildlife is most active (Advice: Stay a few days at Kurhula to relax and a few days within the park, say at Satara).

All in all, then, Kurhula Lodge is Highly Recommended. Check Kurhula out before you go anywhere else. A friendlier reception you will not get at any of those fancy US$750+/night game lodges that exist more in the imagination than in Africa. No better food, either. As Himanshu W mentions, yes, the road access is a bit of a problem for city folks used to smooth tarmac although we were assured that it is being improved (make sure your vehicle has a decent clearance although 4x4 is not needed). The distance to Kruger NP is also an issue but, as I said, ideally, you should spend a few days at Kurhula Lodge and then proceed to Satara or Skukuza within the park. Say hi to Sander and Kim and, ah yes, Colin at the gate. All friendly and welcoming people!

Room Tip: We were in the excellent Marula Room. However, in this small place, any room is fine.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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.
Chevilly Larue, France
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 7, 2013

We stayed two nights at the Kurhula lodge and we enjoyed it a lot. Kim and Sander are so nice and welcoming. They took time to explain everything to us and make us feel at home. The room was fantastic and the place and the garden beautiful. We wish we could have stay longer. The afternoon game drive was terrific, Sander stopped everytime we wanted to watch animals. This is really a place to go and a place to say.

  • Stayed February 2013, 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

Review collected in partnership with this hotel

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San Marino, California, Usa
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2013

My stay at Kurhula was truly memorable. Kim and Sander were excellent and gracious hosts and took care of all our needs. The lodge is very comfortable and clean and located in a beautiful setting with a river at the bottom of the property. Wild life visit the property and the banks across the river. It is an ideal setting for relaxation. The only criticism I have is regarding the access road, but I have been informed that this is going to be fixed soon.

  • Stayed February 2013, 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

Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Copenhagen, Denmark
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2013

My wife and I stayed at Kurhula Wildlife Lodge in feb. 2013 for a week, and loved every second of it. The owners Sander and Kim are absolutely lovely and the perfect hosts. We had the pleasure of getting married by the Olifants river at their lodge, and Sander and Kim had arranged the perfect wedding day for us.
The rooms are clean, comfortable and well furnished, and we really liked that it is a small lodge which makes you feel at home, far from home.
The reserve around the lodge is big 5 country, and on the very informative game drives with Sander we saw elephants, giraffes, impalas, zebras, waterbuck, kudu and lots of other animals. Unfortunately we didn't spot any lions or leopards, but im sure if we come back in winter time we will see them.
In the evening Kim had arranged a delicious 3 course dinner, cooked to perfection. 5 Michelin stars from us.
We were advised to rent a car with some ground clearance, since the road leading to the lodge is really bumpy. I'm glad we did that, since it made our day trips around the area much more comfortable. But keep your eyes open when driving on the bumpy road, there are lots of animals along the way. Even a young rhino,
If we ever come back to SA, and we will, there is no doubt we will come back to Kurhula Lodge.

  • Stayed February 2013, 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

Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kurhula Wildlife Lodge

Address: Parsons Nature Reserve 155KT | Plotnumber 25, Kruger National Park 1380, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Balule Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( Wi-Fi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Balule Private Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Kurhula Wildlife Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Enjoy our unique intimate lodge on the banks of the Olifants river. Unique in its way because you can walk freely in an area of 80 by 50 near the river. Situated in the Balule Reserve we offer you excellent personal service. We have four double rooms, accessible via its own entrance and from the porch you have an exquisite view of the river. All accommodation is on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kurhula Wildlife Lodge South Africa/Balule Private Game Reserve

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