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“Fantastic stay - the highlight of our trip” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Pondoro Game Lodge

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Pondoro Game Lodge
5.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Balule Private Nature Reserve, Kruger National Park 1380, South Africa   |  
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UK
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
“Fantastic stay - the highlight of our trip”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2010

We visited SA for the first time starting in Cape Town and the garden route before flying to Kruger and staying around Blyde #River and then Pondoro to finish our trip. We certainly saved the best experience until last. The care and attention at Pondoro are excellent with special thanks to Shaun , Lize and Andrais for making it so special. Pondoro was recommended to us from someone who told we had to go as it was fabulous and we were not disappointed. Our game drives and the food and accommondation all top class. If you get a chance to go you wont regret it.

  • Stayed March 2010, 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
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439 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
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UK
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2010

A most memorable stay and the highlight of our recent trip to South Africa. Robbie and Lize were excellent hosts and nothing was too much trouble. The game drives were fantastic and the accommodation and catering were superb. We would love to return in the future.

  • Stayed February 2010, 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
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Salisbury
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 7, 2010

We stayed at Pondoro as part of our honeymoon in August (also went to Capetown and Mauritius- although the whole trip was fantastic, Pondoro exceeded all expectations and was by far the best part of the trip).
We stayed in one of the luxury chalets and were amazed by the size, quality and cleanliness. The balcony overlooking the river was incredibly relaxing and we thoroughly enjoyed spending the daytime sitting in the sun.
Each of our game drives were a unique experience and we were very lucky to see the big 5 and cheetah (this being our first safari!) Our ranger and tracker had a wealth of experience and were very friendly, approachable and funny!
The food was truly amazing (both in quality and quantity). We ate on the riverbed one night around a large communal table by candlelight and it was lovely to share the experience with other people. On our final night we were served our meal in the candlelit wine cellar as a special treat for our honeymoon. We had not requested anything special and we were very touched that everyone had gone to such an effort.
We could not imagine a more enjoyable safari experience and can't wait to return (and recommend to anyone else thinking of travelling to South Africa).

  • Stayed August 2009, 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
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Silverthorne, Colorado
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2010

I visited the Pondoro game reserve when I was first 13 years old, and even at that temperamental age, I was in love with it there. The food pleased everyone in my family from the parents, to my vegitarian sister, to my self who is quite picky with food. The night and morning drives were something that I will never forget and the guides are most willing to make sure that you see the best of South African big game. Add the beautiful rooms and the wonderful views and you've got yourself a perfect paradise for family trips or honeymoons.

Stayed July 2007, traveled with family
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UK
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2009

We stayed here for three nights in this lodge on the Olifants River. Lodge is down 15 k of dirt road some pretty rough. Allow 40-50 mins for this.
Warmly greeted by staff and taken to splendid lodge with in room bath etc,air con,mosquito net over bed and deck with view of river. This is outside the electric fence around the lodge so you have to have an escort after dark.Excellent food on deck overlooking river with monkeys and banded mongoose around and hippo, crocodile and waterbuck in river.
Excellent ranger in Shawn and his tracker Eric. They found most things including a pride of around 19 lions who put on a show for us.Long game drives early and late as Shawn is very keen! Caracal, wild cat and genet sightings were particularly special.
One night dined on riverbank with flares, wood fires and oil lamps guarded by tracker in case anything turned up.It didn't!
They have opened fences with the Kruger so have rich game unless it walks out.
Good value compared with some older private reserves on the edge of kruger

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Sydney
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2009

There is a reason this Lodge was just voted into the top 100 spots in Africa to stay..

I really can't rave enough, this was our last stop on a 3 week tour and we finished it in style. Pondoro is located in the Balule Private Reserve just outside of the Kruger gates, on the banks of the Olifants River, the setting is amazing.

We stopped here for 3 nights, and enjoyed the best service and food of our whole trip by far. Lize's cooking is just incredible, the staff are all amazing giving us the perfect way to finish our trip. Robbie gave us 3 days of game drives that were fantastic. Some of the animals we were lucky to see included:

The pride of 19 lions
A Caracoul kill (amazing site)
Heard of 30+ Elephants
African Wild Cat
Cheetahs (about 4 of them together)
Hippo's on the bank of the River
Buffallo
Plenty of Girrafe, Impala and Zebra
Loads of bird life!

As a travel agent, this place is more than value for money as several of the close by lodges charge extroadinary prices, and I will have no problems in recommending this beautiful lodge to all of my clients travelling to Africa, its a must see place!

Thank you again to all the staff for looking after us, we will definately be returning in the near future lets hope!

Steve & Renae
Sydney, Australia

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Wimbledon england
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2009

You can't fault the location! Right by the Olifants river. The room was awesome and we voted it "best view from the shower". Food was generally good: deserts/cakes rather stodgy;l but decent! Shaun the ranger was the best member of staff there along with Sibongile the waitress! Some of the other members of staff were rather abrupt: but hey you cant have everything

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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 Pondoro Game Lodge

Address: Balule Private Nature Reserve, Kruger National Park 1380, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Balule Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 12 Specialty Lodging in Balule Private Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Pondoro Game Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set on the cool riverine banks of the Olifants River (largest in Kruger) in the 40 000 ha Big 5 Balule Private Game Reserve inside the greater Kruger National Park, Pondoro offers its visitors comfort, sophistication, elegance and a canvas on which to create a truly unforgettable African safari.In this small, very exclusive 16-bed lodge ( owner managed ) you will discover the only way to experience the African bush. In addition to luxurious accommodation and the caring attention from trained professionals, our visitors are lavished upon with international fare and humble African hospitality.Meals are an extraordinary culinary experience where Traditional African Cuisine fuse effortlessly with modern European trends.To compliment the food, select any of our fine wines from our extensive wine cellar. Vegetarians are specially catered for. All meals are served on a wooden deck high up in the tree canopy overlooking the Olifants River (weather permitting).Between game drives in open safari cruisers, nature walks and peaceful afternoon naps, enjoy a dip in the sparkling rock pool, a spot of sun bathing or browse through the library. The Pondoro bar is the ideal spot to quench your thirst and grab a snack. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Pondoro Game Hotel Balule Private Game Reserve
Pondoro Game Lodge South Africa/Balule Private Game Reserve

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