Toro Yaka was our first African Safari experience (we've done some in India) and exceeded our expectations on every front. From the warmth of the hosts and staff, the quality of the rooms, meals and types of guests we felt right at home and would be back for more soon.
Here's a little more detail:
The hosts: Steve is extremely passionate about wildlife (and conservation) & serves as a solid example for the rest of his team. Nicole ensures that Toro Yaka is run more like a home than a resort and this is evident in every detail from the quality of the rooms & food to the bedtime fable placed on your bed at night. Also, her massages are phenomenal.
The rooms: Room quality is phenomenal with large french windows/sliding doors on two sides ensuring a nice panoramic view of the bush. Our room had a deck with comfortable chairs to lounge about. All rooms have outdoor and indoor showers.
The food: One of the best places we ate at in South Africa, Toro Yaka rightly believes that food doesn't have to be unhealthy to be tasty. All meals included fresh fruit and veggies and quality was top notch. Don't miss Nicole's muesli at breakfast. Lunch was typically a light affair with a phenomenal salad (we were there 4 days and nothing was repeated). The bar had a great selection of wines and good selection of other alcoholic beverages at very reasonable prices.
The game drives: We got lucky on our first day and saw a pride of 7 lions including 4 cubs. Steve & Stacey's tremendous knowledge and passion for wildlife are evident and whats interesting is that they take smaller sightings as seriously as the big 5. Sun-downers and tea breaks were always at scenic stops (tip: don't miss the muffins with your tea).
The team: Everyone from Benedict, Victor (who also doubles up as a ranger), Debra and Stacey were polite and a treat to be around. The environment is very warm and when we left we felt like we were leaving 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