Pondoro is amazing. The lodge is beautiful, the food is INCREDIBLE (best I've ever had at a small accommodation like this) - absolutely restaurant quality. There is no sense that they are cooking for a large amount of people (and they are not - only 12 people can stay here at a time). Service is unbelievable, I had a problem with work and had to check email and Lize helped me resolve the problem.
The game drives are amazing. They grew on me more and more every day and by the time we left I was a wreck b/c I wanted to stay longer. Robbie (owner of lodge) was our ranger and his love for what he does really rubs off on the guests. We met great people as well - obviously Pondoro attracts a good crowd. The property is unique, the chalets are really classy, with personal touch decorating. The deck is beautiful, the view of the river (and occasional monkey in the trees) fabulous.
Isaac was our tracker and he was great. A little scary when he gets out of the jeep for 1/2 hour ! We had great sightings of elephants, lions, and buffalo - there was a better sense of adventure here than in the other lodge we stayed in where there were more jeeps rushing to each sighting.
I can't recommend this place enough. If you want a zoo experience and 'guaranteed' big five sightings, this is not for you. If you want relaxation, immersion in learning about the animals and appreciating nature and the bush, along with great food and a wine list that I couldn't possibly afford to really take advantage of, then this is the lodge for you.
- 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