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“Fantastic!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Toro Yaka Bush Lodge

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Toro Yaka Bush Lodge
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Sable Road, Kruger National Park, South Africa   |  
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West Sussex, UK
Level Contributor
15 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Fantastic!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 6, 2012

Kruger and the surrounding area had just had very heavy rains and flooding when we arrived at Toro Yaka, but it did not dampen our stay at all. We went on several safari drives and a walk with Steve and his co-guide Vusi, whom considering they could only operate in around 20% of their usual patch, due the floods, did a superb job. We saw lions almost every drive. It was incredible to be able to see the lions at different points in their day and observe their behaviour. Steve is clearly very knowledgeable and passionate about wildlife, the landscape and its conservation. Going on foot thru' the bush was an amazing, new experience, giving a different perspective on Balule. Because of the rains, we did get stuck in the mud a couple of times, with everyone rallying round to get the landrover out. We never felt in any danger at all, in fact you could say it added to the whole experience! Back at the lodge itself, Nicole is a great host and fab cook....we ate well! The dinning highlight was the braai, with everyone sat around the open fire. A sociable and atmospheric setting. Other times, we ate on the deck, or by lamp light beside the pool. The rooms are spacious and nicely done, with outdoor seating and "bush shower" a bonus. Although the rooms have air con, we found despite the heat, the breeze thru' the mossie screen kept the room at a decent temperature. Nicole's extra touches, such as African animal folk tales left on the pillow at night and a local welcome gift add an extra personal touch. The pool is great for cooling off in the heat of the day and affords a good view towards the water hole. We saw wart hogs here one day.Nicole and Steve are great hosts, we highly recommend Toro Yaka. We had sad faces at breakfast on our departure day.

  • Stayed January 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
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224 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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (41)
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Bruxelles
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2012

My wife and I had a very good time at Toro Yaka in September 2009, having received the contact details from friends who recommended the place, after having spent two weeks travelling through South-Africa. It was just great for the following reasons:

1. You can relax there as you would in a luxury hotel elsewhere but, on top of what you would expect from a nice hotel, you enjoy excellent facilities with the benefits of a small very charming structure and, more importantly, excellent contacts with the owners, Steve and Nicole, who really welcome their guests as friends.

2. You have no time to get bored as you would if lying for five days on a beach as you enjoy up to two game drives a day where you can see the wild nature (incredible for me, as it was my first safari holidays and had the chance to see so many species) and take all pictures you want, the birds (Steve is an expert in bird-watching), the reserve, and perhaps even some walks through the reserve. And you will never forget Steve who has an immense knowledge and so much to tell about the animals, the reserve and the eco-system.

3. You are really pampered by the owners and their staff. Just as an example, you enjoy a cup of tea or any other drink of your choice with a few excellent snacks in the middle of the reserve, during a pause, in the Land Rover, in the very original British style. And Nicole is always there to ensure you are fine and that everything is well with you. And your room will be refreshed during days by the very discrete staff. And the meals are just terrific. And...

4. To the contrary of what I initially thought, it is absolutely not hard to wake up early in the morning around 5am for the first game drive as you can expect an excellent breakfast when you return from the game drive and then have a full day to rest before next game drive in the second half of the afternoon.

In addition, it is worth mentioning that you would pay much more in another private reserve and that Toro Yaka offers an incredible value for money.

My conclusion: I was recommended the place a few years ago and now definitely want to recommend the place to others. Do not hesitate in case you look for accomodation around the Kruger and contact Tora Yaka!

  • Stayed February 2011, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brussels, Belgium
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2012

Denis and I were with our 2 oldest grown-ups, Delphine & Emilie; and ours dearest friends, Anca & Mihai were with us. (we're from Belgium, Emilie, Anca & Mihai live in Canada). This place had been advised by Aude & Xavier : thank you so much for this. We traveled in October 2010 (we had to select a period underneath but 2010 wasn't an option anymore) We were so happy and relaxed with everything:
- the good & firm advises on how to behave with the presence of wild animals;
- the marvelous food, accommodation and service;
- the relaxing massage
- the game drives where we have seen so many animals, been taught about their habits and the bush, and approached on foot a herd of elephants and of buffalo's so close : unforgettable! I felt totally secure with the two rangers, both so experienced
- the found kindness of everyone : they really do care for you
Thus, THE place to go to if some day you plan a trip to SA. And to go back if you have the opportunity.

  • Stayed October 2011, 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senlis, France
Level Contributor
53 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2012

This is probably our 6th visit to ToroYaka.... and if we keep on going there it is because of the amazing experience and good value for money...
- Game Viewing is great and Steve is our best SA ranger ever! Going on foot, 10 meter from game is just the adrenaline kick we enjoy!
- The lodge is so nice and cosy... I love the bush shower...
- Nicole's food is amazing... nothing can beat her Amarula sauce...
- The Toroyaka family is friendly and caring... ideal to spend a great and relaxing time!
We will come again!!!

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
Hamburg, Germany
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2012

We have stayed at Toro Yaka Bush Lodge three times so far, and we will defenitely go there again! The lodge is surrounded by african wildlife, the Balule Reserve is Big5 country and if you take your time you will probably see them all. Lok at the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sc6esYYv2Hc . Nicole, Steve and all their staff members are perfectly friendly and make the lodge a second home.

Room Tip: The front rooms have a seperate terrace overlooking the waterhole!
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  • Stayed October 2011, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Isle of Wight, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
30 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2012

This is a smaller establishment run by a couple who are passionate in everything they do. If, like me you don't just want to go on a camera safari and want to learn about the habitat of the animals and the flora, and stay in a small and intimate venue, then this is the place for you.

Great standards, terrific food, and the warmest hospitality. A definite place to go back to again and again.

Room Tip: A small selection of rooms, nicely presented and very comfortable.
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  • Stayed December 2011, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2012

My wife and I stayed at the lodge for 5 magical nights in this amazing lodge on our honeymoon. We could not have asked for better hospitality. It was just pure luxury with a genuine homely feel. The attention to detail was magnificent as were the hosts, Steve and Nicole and their amazing staff lead by Vusi. We were treated to amazing game drives, superb dining and just good old fashion South African charm. We were very lucky to have been treated so well and we definitely plan to return as soon as we can. This time for alot longer. Thank you all for making our dream honeymoon come true.

  • Stayed December 2011, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Toro Yaka Bush Lodge

Address: Sable Road, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Balule Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Balule Private Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Owner/Manager team Steve & Nicole Baillie would like to invite you to visit Toro Yaka Bush Lodge. This special lodge is nestled in the heart of the Balule Nature Reserve, a 38 000 hectare conservancy, which forms part of the Greater Kruger National Park area. ToroYaka means “My Dream” in Northern Sotho, one of South Africa’s local languages, and the creation of Toro Yaka Bush Lodge has fulfilled the dreams of Steve and Nicole, by establishing a haven of peace and tranquility from which to share their passion for nature. The lodge has been designed in a modern elegant style, with a relaxed atmosphere, allowing guests to sit back, relax and feel at home. The six en-suite double rooms ensure tranquility and comfort at all times. Steve has spent more than a decade sharing his knowledge and love for the bush with clients from all over the world at luxury game lodges throughout South Africa. Nicole is a qualified holistic massage therapist and takes care of all the tiny details. Together with the Toro Yaka Staff, they will ensure your stay to be a memorable one. Balule is home to a large variety of plants and animals. From the smallest spider to the largest elephant, from the tiniest flower to a 1000 year old Leadwood tree, owls at night and eagles by day, every aspect of the ecosystem is explored. The Olifants River, which flows year round through the Balule, is home to hippos and crocodiles, and the whole area is one of scenic splendor, with the northern tip of the Drakensberg mountain range being visible from many points. Together with all of this, Toro Yaka Bush Lodge offers you good home cooked food, friendly service, warm South African Hospitality and loads of enthusiasm. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Toro Yaka Bush Lodge South Africa/Balule Private Game Reserve

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