We spent 4 nights at Toro Yaka while honeymooning in South Africa. It was the last part of our trip, and we kept saying that if we had gone there first we never would have left. We added an extra night at the end just because we didn't want to leave.
The rooms are large and comfortable, with indoor and outdoor showers and private decks. There are only 6 rooms. The bed with the mosquito netting was incredibly romantic. The common areas are comfortable and the pool looks out onto a watering hole. The staff of the lodge is incredible; they are warm and kind and you can tell they love where they work. Every night there is a different chocolate on the pillow and a different bedtime fable. It's small details like this that make Toro Yaka stand out. It is not only as good as you want it to be- it's consistently better.
Nicole and Steve are wonderful hosts. The food that Nicole prepares is just delicious. And they really think about the guest experience- some meals we took just the two of us, one dinner we spent with everyone at a large table, and one dinner was done around a firepit where everyone had their own individual table. It would be so easy to serve meals the same way every day and the guest would never know the difference, but we really noticed these details and appreciated them.
Steve and JB are both fabulous field guides. Absolutely go on a bush walk with Steve. The combination of the two- Steve is very experienced and an encyclopedia of knowledge and JB is so enthusiastic and filled with energy. Steve is so interesting- he is so clearly passionate about conservation and has amazing stories. The game drives are so exciting- you never know what you will see that day.
We would recommend Toro Yaka without reservation to anyone who is looking for a more intimate experience in the South African bush. We are so glad we stayed here. We didn't want a big-box game reserve with 20 trucks out every day and 250 other guests. The experience at Toro Yaka was so lovely and romantic. And it was an amazingly good value. We simply don't have one negative thing to say about it. If it sounds like the kind of thing you're looking for, then don't hesitate. We're already dreaming about going back and bringing our family.
- 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