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“Unbelievable Experience!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of andBeyond Ngala Safari Lodge

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andBeyond Ngala Safari Lodge
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5.0 of 5 Ranch   |   Mpumalanga, Kruger National Park 1380, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Leeds, United Kingdom
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Unbelievable Experience!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2010

We stayed at Ngala for three nights in January. My partner and I had never been on safari before, but the entire experience totally exceeded our expectations. I'm not usually a fan of overly personal service, but Connie and the Ngala 'family' as they call themselves, hit just the right balance of genuine friendliness and attentive service.

The lodges are spacious and very luxurious, with lots of personal touches - the free laundry service is a nice extra. The main lodge area where food is served is charming and comfortable, and the food was fantastic, particularly the breakfast! Dinner is served in a different location every night, another thoughtful enhancement to the experience. Our 'butler' Nathanial served us our meals throughout our stay and was nicely attentive, without being over the top.

The twice-daily game drives were beyond amazing (once you get used to the 5am wake-up call!) - we saw all of the big five and much, much more. Our ranger Dyke was unbelievably knowledgeable and really made the drives what they were. The daily stop for sundowners in the bush was another nice touch!

The rest of the time, you can make use of the very nice pool area, the games room (with a surprising amount of TV channels, considering there is no mobile phone reception at the camp), or catch up on some sleep (which is what we tended to do)!

But what makes it work so well is the people - I couldn't recommend this place highly enough. If you're thinking of going on safari - consider Ngala, it really is worth every penny.

  • Stayed January 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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259 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
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Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 10, 2010

We just came back from our trip to South Africa last Jan/10 and the best part of all was Ngala Lodge.Accomodation,food and ambiance were very good but service was even better!Our ranger and tracker(Lyson and Bert) made this trip something we will never forget.Thank you guys!

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled with family
    • 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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ESSEX
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2009

I know its taken me some time to do this review,but got sidetracked with weddings etc.
We stayed at Ngala in June 2008 and couldnt beleive how amazing the whole experience was.
From the moment you arrive you are treated like you are the most important person in the camp, You are personaly shown your accomodation by your Butler(Nathanielwas mine and he was the nicest man in the world ever) who explains how everything works and about being escorted around after dark etc(some thing to do with wild animals?)
The rooms were beautiful,the beds luxurious and the bathrooms just amazing.
The food at the lodge was exceptional and fresh everyday the only slight critisism was that the soup was never really that hot but you could live with that as everything else was so good. The safari breakfast was incredable and our last meal at the lodge was magical with south african singer's and dancers and candles hanging in all the trees.
The actual Safaris were breathtaking and that was due in no small part to our tracker Farni and our guide Leoni,we saw so much, to much to list but needless to say I've come away with most incredible photo's and memories.
I can't recommend this experience enough and cannot wait to save up and go back someday Ngala you made my dreams a reality your amazing.

  • Stayed June 2008, traveled with family
    • 4 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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Chiplun, India
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 16, 2009

I and my wife stayed at Ngala safari lodge for 3 nights starting 20th September, 2009.
We had stayed in 2 of & Beyond's lodges in India which are excellent so we had pretty high expectations from Ngala.
The lodge itself is beautifully built, but with 20 rooms a bit on the larger side for a safari lodge. The rooms are clean but not very specious as compared to & Beyond's other properties. Bathrooms are good and clean, but show a few signs of aging.
There are no fences around the lodge so wild animals especially warthogs and impala are found grazing on the lawns of the property. There is a waterhole right at the end of the lawn in front of the curio shop and we saw a huge herd (close to 500) of buffaloes drinking one morning.
The food is excellent but with one glitch. They did not take my wife's allergy to eggs very seriously and served her ice cream containing a lot eggs. That resulted in terrible allergic reaction and at one time we thought we may have to evacuate to Jo'burg for treatment.
So drill into the staff's head that you are allergic to something and that they should take it seriously.
Otherwise there was no room for complaints. The ranger (Dyke)was excellent and game viewing was superb. Do not miss bush walks as you see a lot of things that you otherwise wouldnt on a game drive. You should also be aware that drives are conducted only in Ngala game reserve and not in Kruger or Timbavati which adjoin the Ngala Game reserve. Since there are no fences there is lot of animal movement in and out of the reserve. So if you are tracking an animal and it crosses into Timbavati then you cant follow it. However, the upside is no over crowding and you get much more quality time with animals than Timbavati or Kruger... Frankly not sharing traversing rights with Timbavati or Kruger is an advantage rather than a disadvantage.
Overall it was a great stay barring one major glitch.
If you want a more personalised service, especially if you are travelling with your significant other, I think it may be wise to stay at Ngala tented camp (owned by the same company in the same reserve) which is smaller and has a better staff- guest ratio. You will have your own personal butler who will take care of you throughout your stay.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Top Contributor
92 reviews 92 reviews
78 hotel reviews
Reviews in 44 cities Reviews in 44 cities
108 helpful votes 108 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 5, 2009

Ngala was the absolute perfect stay. Great food, fabulous food and excellent ranger made this a stay I will not forget. It was worth every $ we spent. Especially thank you to our ranger Derrick, who was very knowledgeable, patient and kind.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled with friends
    • 3 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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Northants
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2009

We had an excellent stay at Ngala Safari Lodge. The rooms were extremely comfortable and very clean. The staff at the lodge were very friendly and helpful and made us feel very welcome. I have special dietary requirements and the Head Chef came to see me at breakfast every day to discuss the daily menu and work out what adjustments could be made to meet my needs. The food was freshly cooked and very tasty.

The daily routine was explained clearly and worked very well. We did 2 games drives per day and the meals fitted around the drives, allowing for time to relax around the lodge on comfortable sofas or around the pool.

The games drives were excellent, as were the guides. We had Mark as our guide and Solly as our tracker and both were great. Mark was very knowledgeable and told us lots about the animals, birds, vegetation and habitat. We are interested in birds and Mark made sure he pointed out all the birds we saw and told us about them. We saw lots of wildlife including lions, elephants, rhinos, hippos and a leopard. We also saw some interesting nocturnal animals including honey badgers, african wild cat, owls, nightjars and hyena.

We were very impressed with some little touches made by the staff which made our stay special. Every day a little tray of fudge and dried fruit was left in the room. The lights were put on for us when we returned to our room in the evening and the room was cleaned very frequently. We ate in a different setting each night of our stay, and on our last night we were served dinner on our private balcony lit by oil lamps and a candlelit bath had been run for us!

I would definitely recommend Ngala Safari Lodge to my family and friends.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Chicago, Illinois
Top Contributor
63 reviews 63 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 14, 2009

My wife and I stayed here in late August -- we added it last minute via a booking on MT Beds. I didn't have great expectations and was happily surprised by just how enjoyable our two night stay here was. Including this lodge, we have stayed in five lodges across southern Africa. Compared to other lodges of its class, Ngala is underrated and a good value.

To start, the food here was great. Breakfast was a combination of a hot and cold buffet and a hot dish made-to-order -- but the buffet was so generous and good that there wasn't much need to order something. Try the sugary roast pork at breakfast -- fantastic! The buffet at lunch was a wide range of dishes -- something for everyone. It was here I had a dish that I think was roasted sweet potatoes with cumin -- amazing. When one of the staff asked how our meal was and we raved about that dish in particular, we were told that the food was "so good because of all the love they put in it" and as corny as that sounds, I believed it. Finally, dinners varied in theme from night to night but the single best entree I had at any lodge was at Ngala -- a filet of beef as good as I have had anywhere in the world. I was told that the head chef for &Beyond is based at Ngala and this is part of the reason the food their is first class. As a point of reference, we stayed at a Sabi Sabi lodge immediately after Ngala and in all ways Ngala was superior.

The rooms are back-to-back chalets scattered around the main lodge. I was never disturbed or bothered by another guest but there isn't a huge sense of privacy here. The layout of the camp is too open for that. The beds were large and comfortable and the bathrooms were clean with plenty of hot water. The rooms have safes and ceiling fans. No complaints about the room whatsoever although this isn't an overly plush place.

The game drives were the best we have had on safari. Our ranger, William, and tracker (Fanni?) were the best we have had by far. William was courteous, polite, and extremely knowledgeable. He went above and beyond to help the photographers in the group set up great photos. Our tracker had been in this reserve for 17 years. There was two times were our tracker teamed with a tracker from another jeep and were gone for over an hour -- both times tracking through thick bush and finding the animals we hoped to see that day (first time was lions on a kill and the second was a young male leopard almost invisible in the grass.) Our game drives often went over on time because of our ranger's enthusiasm -- but the drives were so exciting we never really noticed! William was on exchange from another &Beyond Lodge and I would go out of my way to go stay at his home lodge.

Lastly, the staff as a whole: the team here is like a well oiled-machine. There was this certain "family" feel about the place that made you feel like you were staying at someone's house. I didn't think I would like a larger lodge (15 chalets, I think) but this place made me totally rethink what makes a good lodge. Thank you Ngala!

Highly recommended!!!

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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.
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Additional Information about andBeyond Ngala Safari Lodge

Address: Mpumalanga, Kruger National Park 1380, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Ngala Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 Specialty Lodging in Ngala Private Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — andBeyond Ngala Safari Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 21
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The romance and mystery of Africa come alive in 20 thatched cottages tucked under a dense canopy of tamboti trees at Ngala Safari Lodge. Exuding classical safari charm, the spacious veranda, with its wonderfully comfortable armchairs, looks out onto a popular waterhole. For pure indulgence, the Safari Suite offers an elegant sitting room, private swimming pool and exclusive use of a safari vehicle. Mouth-watering meals are served in the shade of an enormous weeping boerbean tree, while a large swimming pool lies on the edge of thick riverine woodland. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Ngala Safari Hotel Ngala Private Game Reserve
AndBeyond Ngala Safari Lodge Ngala Private Game Reserve, South Africa

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