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“jaw droppingly amazing” 5 of 5 stars
Review of andBeyond Ngala Tented Camp

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4.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Mpumalanga, Kruger National Park, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
surrey
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“jaw droppingly amazing”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 27, 2009

6 luxury tents which were 5 star in every way, excellent cuisine, personal service Ngala tented camp has to be seen to be believed . We spent an indulgent 2 days as part of our honeymoon and although slightly more impersonal than Kings Camp Ngala was exceptional. The sounds of the bush are clear to hear from your tent right down to a monkey urinating on our roof. If this i what camping is all about sign me up!!! Excellent game viewing but "and beyond" is quite branded and my new wife even wondered if they had piped the sound of the lions roaring on the river bank to generate the real experience, would thoroughly recommend in conjunction with another camp

  • Stayed September 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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161 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (43)
Date | Rating
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  • French first
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English first
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2009

Upon our arrival at Ngala Tented Camp, we were met by many friendly faces. We were introduced to Managers Presence and Clare, as well as our Butler, Richard, and JP, our Guide. This team is assigned to take care of a group through their whole stay, providing excellent, personalized service and attention to every detail. The Ngala staff really made our trip memorable. Chef Oscar made it even more so with his creations. (Ngala is the Shangaan tribe's word for Lion.) Ngala is run by a fantastic company, CC Africa (http://www.ccafrica.com/accommodation-1-id-2-7/lodgeid-2-2)

We were given a drink and an orientation, followed by lunch at the Camp's deck, overlooking the Timavati River. The river was dry during our stay, which enabled us to do more off-roading through the dry riverbeds.

The Ngala Tented Camp is breathtaking. A central tented lodge houses the office, kitchen, and quaint sitting area with fireplace where all the guests gather each night for a drink before dinner. The dining area is on a deck, which is magically transformed from an open air breakfast spot to a warm, cozy fireside dining room each day. Lunches are served al fresco, with beautiful tables set up under a shady tree in the grass. There is a small infinity pool next to the river with deck chairs, perfect for lounging between game drives. One afternoon I was meditating alone, poolside, and looked up to see a little Impala doe standing there looking at me. She had come for a drink at the pool. It was so serene and relaxing to watch her.

Tents and Ngala can hardly be described as such. They do have canvas roofs, but they are ultra-luxurious. A few wooden steps lead up to a porch where two cane chairs are perfect for sitting during the warm afternoon. The front door is actually two wood-framed sliding screen doors leading into a deluxe bedroom. The king size bed is made up with crisp, white linens and luxury pillows. There is a sink area with twin vanities and open closets. The mix of textures is at once both elegant and rugged. There is a small, enclosed toilet, and a safe, but the most impressive features are the long, cast iron, bathtub and outside shower. Candles and lighted lanterns leading up the wooden platform steps at night make this the most romantic accommodation I've ever stayed in.

On the day of our arrival, we went on the evening game drive with our guide, JP, Tacker Richard, and two other guests. Lucky for us, the other guests were South African wilderness experts, on their honeymoon! They quickly picked up on our sense of humor and we all enjoyed each others' company. We were amazed at Guide JP's driving skill as he took us on a thrilling ride thorough (and over) he bush. It was a testament to the toughness of Land Rover Defender Class vehicles. JP crashed through trees and sped across sandy, dry, riverbeds in pursuit of animals for our viewing pleasure. We did get two flat tires during our four-day safari, but that added to the adventure and our overall enjoyment. We saw so many animals on our first evening drive in the Ngala Nature Reserve. We were impressed by the numerous herds of Kudu, Impala, Dikers, and loads of magnificent birds. We also saw wildebeast, baboons, and wart hogs, but the gem of the evening was a sighting of three young lions, which we spotted in the dark, with the aid of a red spot light. The red light is used instead of the white spot light because the white light will temporarily blind the animals, giving prey -- or predator -- an unfair disadvantage.

Tracker Richard and Guide JP found three young lions as they were traveling in the cool evening. The last one we passed was a baby lion, so adorable! Michelle leaned over out of the vehicle to take a look and the cub looked back at her as she passed. I think that cub was pretty scared and trying not to show it!

By the time we returned from the drive, it was chilly. We went back to the tent, changed for dinner, then met up with the staff and other guests in the camp's sitting room. We enjoyed a fireside drink, then a gourmet dinner. I had lamb, which was devine, and Skot had Guinea Fowl, which he said was tasty, but too small to effectively consume. We were immediately impressed by Chef Oscar's skills. He announces each dinner before guests are seated. A nice touch.

After a long, luxurious dinner, we retired to our tents for a romantic bubble bath by candle light. The tub was just the right length for two -- and good thing, since it was too cold for showering al fresco!

The daily routine at the camp is as follows: you are sleeping comfortably in the gorgeous, king sized bed, wild malaria pill-induced dreams dancing through your head, when, at 5:30am, you hear a gentle voice at the screen door, "Knock Knock," he says, and still blind by sleep, you let him in, carrying a pot of strong coffee and biscuits. It's time to get up -- you have to meet at the vehicle for the morning drive. Departure is at 6am. We meet at the vehicle, which mercifully has one hot water bottle and a wool blanket for each passenger, and head out for about 3 - 3.5 hours in the bush. The morning drives start out while the sun is just starting to rise. Its is frightfully cold, especially when speeding through the bush in an uncovered Land Rover Defender. Gloves, scarves, hats and many layers are essential. Watching sunrises and sunsets in the bush is like a meditation. It is natural, soothing and beautiful. The air is so fresh and crisp and you smell so many different things. Morning drives start out very cold and as they progress, you peel off layers. Evening drives go the other way. I also recommend wearing glasses fo rthe drive, since the cold air on a contact-lensed or bare eyeball can be uncomfortable. It also provides protection against branches flying around as you crash through the bush. Morning and evening drives both include a coffee/sundowner (or use of a "lavatree") break in a different picturesque location.

When we return to camp, we have a huge breakfast, starting with a variety of juices, cereal, dried and fresh fruits, nuts, seeds, yogurt and cheese, then toast, croissants and then the hot breakfast to order: eggs any style, flap jacks, bacon, sausage, potatoes, mushrooms, coffee and tea. After breakfast, we have several hours for a guided bush walk or leisure time before lunch, which can be arranged at any time according to your preference. We chose to eat our lunches at 1:30pm, then more free time before tea at 3:30pm, which is where we discovered the magnificent creation of iced coffee, (coffee, cinnamon, orange zest and hot chocolate), plus Amarula! At 4pm, you meet the Tracker and Guide at the vehicle for the evening drive, which continues until 7pm. Upon return to camp, you must have a security escort from tent to and from the dining room. God knows what's hanging around in the dark around the tent!

Dinner usually ends around 9pm, then it's back to the tent for a luxurious bath and sleep in the gorgeous bed. The staff sets slippers next to each bed side, lights candles, turns down the bed, and one night, they even had a lovely bubble bath waiting when we returned to the room.

On Day 2, of our safari, we had the good fortune to find two leopards first thing. We also saw elephants, giraffes, own and more birds. We took a walking safari with Guide J.P., and got a lesson in bush plants and tracking, where Skot actually picked up and analyzed animal feces. We also saw a family of Wart Hogs, an Impala heard with Water Buck, and a family of giraffes. Highlighting our safari were the friends we made. Skot enjoyed talking to Guide JP, who gave him tons of insight into life in the wild.

Chef Oscar was another bright star during our safari. His unique creations kept us over over-stuffed with a variety of culinary delights. Lunches offered a variety of salads and grilled meats. Dinners included roast venison, guinea fowl, lamb, Thai-style turkey, and extraordinary side vegetables, including spinach with diced onions and peanut sauce. Soups were unique and amazing, highlights include: a cold lettuce and pea soup; melon soup; tomato and chick pea.

Evenings and early mornings offered us a chance to witness the shift change from bat to bird (and vice versa). Night times gave us the best opportunity to view stars that I have not seen since Sea Camp in 5th grade. We could see the Milky Way so clearly. It turns out that there really are no black spots in the night sky! It is completely covered in stars. Pretty cool to see constellations from the other side of the world.

Note about Tracker Richard: He is amazing. He sits on a little seat, on the hood of the vehicle as we speed through the bush, crash through trees, etc. He communicates with the Guide mostly through hand signals. When we get close to where the big cats are, he gets into the vehicle. We were tracking lions one day, and he jumped out of the vehicle. We drove on and left him out in the bush for about 1.5 hours. That is extreme courage!

The Butler Richard aspires to be a tracker. He treated us so well, with extreme warmth, and it is apparent that he loves the company he works for and takes pride in his job. He told us how he worked his way up to his position as Butler, and would continue studying to progress. CC Africa, the company that managers Ngala Tented Camp, encourages this type of initiative, and Richard told us that many of his colleagues had been promoted several times. CC Africa also sponsors a very worthy charity where they bring local children from the nearby townships into camp for the day. Even through they live so close, many of these kids have never seen the animals. The initiate teaches them about conservartion, and probably changes many lives. I know this safari experience definitely changed mine.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
On the Beach Redondo Beach, Calif. USA
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 26, 2009

You know that you have arrived in “the bush” when you land at the small airport on Federal Air (5 seater Cessna) amid the elephants, cape buffalo and warthogs in the tall grass on the sides of the runway!
There is a waiting list for award winning Ngala Tented Camp which is located in Ngala Private Game Reserve adjacent to Kruger Park in South Africa. Saw the “Big 5’ within 24 hours! In a private reserve you are able to go “off road” to track and follow magnificent elephants, giraffe, zebra, gnus, white rhinos, leopards, lions, crocs and glorious birds. We saw elephants in musk, prides of lions and leopards with their kill in the tree surrounded by hyenas! Ranger Derrick was extremely knowledgeable about the animals, bugs, birds, reptiles and trees. Tracker Richard was equally amazing. He perched himself on the small seat in front of the truck. His eyes did not miss anything! He left the vehicle to “track” the animals into the bush and then adioed the vehicle when he had located the animal. The men cordially hosted morning coffee and evening sundowners on the trail! Both men were fluent in Afrikaans, English and Shangaanese. Derrick spoke on the radio to other rangers from other lodges to locate specific animals to accommodate the viewing wishes of guests What qualified, capable and gracious men! Such a credit to the operation!
Quality accommodations. Quiet, private, luxurious and more comfortable than expected! Each tent has comfy bed, vanities, footed bath tub, lovely sundries, heating-cooling system, privacy curtains, covered porch with chairs, fresh flowers and a marvelous enclosed outdoor rain shower. The room was cleaned twice daily! Same day laundry service is free.
Meals (cold buffet and hot breakfast, elegant luncheons, high tea before evening safari and off the menu dinner) are served in the lovely open air the dining room with attached bar, poolside or in-room. Coffee was delivered to your room before safari.
Don’t plan to be on a diet! Chef Oscar has won numerous international awards and is author of a charming Safari Cookbook. His expert use of fresh herbs, veggies, spices and delicate sauces reflect skill and enthusiasm. Sophisticated presentation, menu and desserts. Some use of local game in lovely fusion of African, French and Indian cuisines. A fine reflection of & Beyond!
Daily Surprises. The staff was constantly planning unique and delightful experiences, such as, romantic candlelight dinners on your porch, an under the stars, fireside African Boma dinner, complete with tribal music and dancing or a full, multi course “bush” breakfast. Weddings are a specialty, as are birthdays and anniversaries! There is no shortage of celebrating!
Indulge yourself with a spa treatment! Excellent and reasonably priced!
Graciousness. The Shangaan people are world famous for genuine gentleness and kindness to guests. Welcomes, singing, drinks, warm towels are a continual part of pampering the guests receive. Butlers Teibo and Richard are remarkable for fine service! Management is to be commended on the constant attention to each guest. Ngala deserves its’ 5 star rating!
Bring the family! What a marvelous experience for older children and teens to experience the African “bush” and magnificent animals in their wild habitat as opposed to some crowded theme park.
Dress warmly. Mornings and evenings are cool especially while driving in an open vehicle. We did not see any mosquitoes.
Negative Vat Tax Experience. Inconvenient 2 step process (unlike other countries). At Tambo International Airport not all my receipts were stamped to obtain refund. Rude, inefficient, indifferent personnel. Poke in the eye when departing South Africa.
Good news. Business Class service on Iberia Airlines was professional and on time. Food was excellent and equipment was state of the art. British Air Business Class, of course, has set the standard for fine service for generations.

  • Stayed March 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2009

My boyfriend and I stayed for four days at Ngala Tented Camp for part of our one-week vacation to South Africa and couldn't rave more about our experience there. JP was our game-drive ranger, and he and Jimmy (our tracker) found us EVERYTHING we had hoped to see: leopards, lions, cheetahs, hippos, warthogs (my personal favorite!), etc. Their knowledge of the bush and of the animals we were searching for (and frequently found) made the experience so incredible for us. We were lucky to have fantastic weather in what is meant to be their rainy season, but even this stroke of luck was far surpassed by the top-notch service of the staff at Ngala. Richard, Presence, Clare, Oscar - everyone - were wonderful stewards of our stay and made our four days there among the best we've had. I would go back yesterday if I could and would have rated it a ten out of five if given the chance. The food is delicious and abundant (I especially enjoyed all of the soups), the pool is very refreshing (we enjoyed a parade of elephants not 100 feet away from us as we lounged by the water one afternoon), the tents are such only in name - they have running water, electricity, a FABULOUS outdoor shower, and plenty of creature comforts, and the overall setting is remote and peaceful.

  • Stayed February 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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Utah, USA
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2008

I stayed at Ngala Tented Camp toward the end of June, wrapping up a short business trip to South Africa. I flew on Federal Air from JNB to the Ngala airstrip and had a wonderful drive back to the tented camp where I was greeted warmly, given a short overview of my stay, and headed directly out on a game drive with our ranger, tracker, and four other guests. The camp was delightful, the food wonderful, and the surroundings supremely relaxing. I only regretted my wife & children were not with me. However, I have another business trip coming up in a few weeks and am taking my wife with me - and we will return to Ngala for three nights. Of all the places I've visited in the world, it's the one place where I'm most excited to take her. I saw all the wonderful animals and was absolutely amazed at how close we get to them in the trucks! I almost felt lucky to have brought a poor digital camera, because I only took a few photos and spent most of my time watching the animals without a camera to my face. At night, in the tents, you can hear animals shuffling around and calling out during the night - it's very peaceful. I'm excited to go back.

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Cambridge, England
Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
44 hotel reviews
Reviews in 43 cities Reviews in 43 cities
197 helpful votes 197 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2008

Now this is my idea of camping. The tents were wonderfully appointed and the food was wonderful. Every staff member went out of their way to make you feel a part of the family. We saw every animal possible and our ranger and tracker were very knowledgeable - we also learned a lot about the area, animals, plants and people. A very special place.

  • Liked — Luxury in the bush
  • Disliked — Not one thing
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Brisbane, Australia
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2008

Now this is camping my husband and I can enjoy! Seriously, what an amazing place. The tents are so lavish and comfortable you never want to leave.

Everyone is so friendly and willing to help you out with anything you may need during your stay at the camp. I actually came down with a 24 hour flu bug and everyone was so concerned and wanting to help, I really felt like I was with family. The chef even came to talk with me to see if he could make me anything special to eat! And he did! He prepared a special potato broth soup for me that was incredible.

Our guides Jeff and James were so knowledgable and worked so hard to find us the wildlife we wanted to see; it made the trip even that more special.

It was an amazing stay and totally exceeded our expectations. We can't wait to visit another CC Africa property. They really know how to do it right!

  • Liked — It only had 6 tents so service was very personable
  • Disliked — No internet at the time.
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about andBeyond Ngala Tented Camp

Address: Mpumalanga, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Ngala Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Specialty Lodging in Ngala Private Game Reserve
Hotel Class:4 star — andBeyond Ngala Tented Camp 4*
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Boasting sophistication and comfort, as well as the romance of canvas, the six luxurious safari tents of andBeyond Ngala Tented Camp overlook the banks of the seasonal Timbavati River. Chic and contemporary, the camp combines the simple sophistication of polished wooden decks, textured fabrics and clean lines with a true safari experience that embodies the heart and soul of the bush. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Ngala Tented Safari Camp Hotel Ngala Private Game Reserve
AndBeyond Ngala Tented Camp Ngala Private Game Reserve, South Africa

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