We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Our stay at Toro Yaka was flawless” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Toro Yaka Bush Lodge

We can't find prices for this hotel
Our online travel partners don't provide prices for this hotel, but we can search other options in Balule Private Game Reserve
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Toro Yaka Bush Lodge
Sable Road, Kruger National Park, South Africa   |  
Hotel website
  |  
  |  
  |  
Hotel amenities
Panama City, Panama
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Our stay at Toro Yaka was flawless”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2013

We stayed at Toro Yaka from Dec. 26 to Dec. 30, 2012 and the service was impeccable. Nicole cooked gluten-free food for one guest and veggie for us. The food was delicious and very generous! The rooms were elegant and tasteful and staff were all friendly and helpful. And on the game drives, Steve doesn't just take you to the animals, he also educates you about the ecosystem and rhythms of life for everything that creeps, crawls, stalks, gallops, and prowls through the Balule. We did eight game drives and we could have done more. We saw lions (4 times!), rhinos, cape buffalo, elephants, giraffe, zebras, hippos and much, much more! There is a watering hole about 100 meters in front of the infinity pool, so you can also see game while relaxing in the pool! We saw warthogs a few times and other guests saw rhinos.

  • Stayed December 2012, 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

167 people have reviewed this hotel

Traveler rating
    163
    4
    0
    0
    0
See reviews for
22
108
14
1
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 (32)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Detroit, Michigan
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2013

My husband and I booked Toro Yaka after reading the wonderful reviews here on Tripadvisor. As our November vacation neared I began to worry that the lodge wouldn't meet our expectations...boy was I wrong. Toro Yaka exceeded our expectations and provided us with the experience of a life time! Toro Yaka is set in the beautiful Balule Nature Reserve. This reserve is open to Kruger and has a diversity of animals. Since you are staying in a nature reserve animals are all around. One night during dinner a herd of Cape Buffalo paid us a visit. We could also hear lions roaring many evenings and mornings. Being in a nature reserve means that you may see native creepy crawlers - but it's just a part of the experience. Toro Yaka gives you the feel of really being in the bush while at the same time providing a luxury resort feeling. We loved tracking animals on our daily game drives- watching Stacey, Victor, and Steve track animals was incredible and exciting. Each morning and evening we would set out and spend our time learning about the ecosystem and each of the animals we saw. The guides focus beyond just seeing the big five and instead teach you about how animals big and small co-exist. We loved that. We also went on an excellent game walk with Steve. HIs passion and knowledge is unparalleled. We did see the big five - but we also saw a host of other beautiful animals and birds. We came home with stories of lions, black and white rhinos, leopards, and many many other animals and birds! Nicole was also kind enough to arrange a day trip to Kruger for us. We spent the day with a wonderful private guide - who educated us about Kruger and the animals we observed. While we enjoyed our day in Kruger we were glad we stayed in Toro Yaka.

Toro Yaka felt like a home away from home to us. The staff is outstanding - kind and attentive. Steve and Nicole are wonderful hosts! The food is beyond delicious (and healthy too). The property itself is beautiful and relaxing. The rooms are well appointed but manage a simple charm. When we were not on game drives we spent time relaxing at the lodge and swimming in the pool - so wonderful!

As my husband and I boarded the plane to head to Cape Town we realized that we both felt sort of sad. We realized that we were sad to leave Toro Yaka and the wonderful experience we had there. We both admitted that never before had we felt sad to leave a place. We both hope one day to be able to visit again!

Room Tip: All of the rooms are wonderful. They all have private desks and indoor and outdoor showers. The outd...
See more room tips
  • Stayed November 2012, 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 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mumbai
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2012

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.

Strongly recommended!

  • Stayed December 2012, 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 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 22, 2012

We didn't stay at the lodge, but we were lucky enough to go on several drives with Steve. He is an absolutely amazing individual and we had the time of our lives with him.

He and his amazing tracker brought us face to face with lions, rhinos, and hippos...as well as lots of other wonderful critters.

Steve's work with hyena's and his knowledge and expertise in African ecology and conservation made our game drives fantastic learning experiences in between very exciting chases. Steve doesn't hold back a bit when the chase gets interesting!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 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.
Tonbridge, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 21, 2012 via mobile

We have stayed at a number of the top SA lodges and at lodges owned by friends but TY is definitely the best lodge that we have stayed in as a total package and we are already recommending it to our friends. The thought that has gone into then
food, rooms, layout including pool and BOMA is extensive with the result that our four night stay was an absolute delight.
The game is not as extensive as in the Kruger ( which is only an hour away and day trips can be organised) but we saw some
incredible sightings of a python kill of an impala and three youngish lion cubs playing. We shall be staying at TY in 2013. John H

Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, UK
Senior Contributor
49 reviews 49 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 18, 2012

There is little that I can add to the previous reviews except to say that we stayed here for longer than most people do and still had a fabulous experience. The raves about Nicole's cooking, Steve's ability to find the wildlife and the rest of the staff are all true.

This was our first trip to South Africa and were treated with some spectacular game sightings during our stay. I know that most people stay within the Kruger park and there it is a different scene. We did take a day and go into Kruger and that was nice but I felt that the quality of the sightings that we had in the Balule were much better. And if you can have such quality sightings combined with great dining and a casual atmosphere at a small lodge what's not to like?

Steve and Nicole have carved out a unique niche with Toro Yaka and have set the bar awfully high. I look forward to the next time we stay there as we will most certainly be back.

  • Stayed December 2012, 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2012

Nicole's loving attention to details and Steve's articulated knowledge make for a winning combination. That and the fact that they surround themselves with wonderfully capable and attentive staff (from The Tracker to The Cook) make the experience at Toro Yaka memorable and complete. I went 3 years ago with a group of friends ... and ... after all this time there are images and moments that are still vivid in my head. Toro Yaka is a place where you can get inspired (Nicole and Steve's passion for what they do is contagious) ... you can truly unwind and relax ... and, you can create wonderful memories. It goes beyond hospitatlity ... you feel taken care of and cared for! Toro Yaka is cozy ... low key .... perfect.

  • Stayed January 2012, 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.

Been to Toro Yaka Bush Lodge? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

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 Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 hotels in Balule Private Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
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

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Toro Yaka Bush Lodge, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.

Bookmark for later
Save Saved
You added Toro Yaka Bush Lodge to your Saves list