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“Best way to enjoy the bush” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Waterbuck Game Lodge

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Waterbuck Game Lodge
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Gurnesay Road, Kruger National Park, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Istanbul, Turkey
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Best way to enjoy the bush”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2012 via mobile

It's is a little bit of Edenin the African bush. The lodge and bungalows are beautiful, the food is excellent and all the people who work there are fantastic.

Hannes and Lodrick(?) were our guide and tracker. They obviously love their jobs and animals and it shows by making it an unbelievable experience.

Highly recommended.

  • Stayed November 2012
    • 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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71 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
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (18)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Farnborough, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 25, 2012

We went to Waterbuck Lodge to kick off our honeymoon and we couldn't have asked for anything better. The tracker (Vusi) and ranger (Gareth) did everything possible to enable us to see what we wanted and we ended up seeing a leopard, cheetah, lions, buffalo, hyena, elephants, rhino, hippo, crocodiles- the list goes on. There are only 4 lodges so it's a small place which makes it so much more personal. The lodge we stayed in was really lovely- spacious, private, nicely decorated with a very large bath, enormous bed and a choice of an indoor or outdoor shower. We went on 2 drives a day each lasting about 3 hours and Gareth and Vusi's knowledge was extensive.

The lady who kept it all ticking along smoothly was Taryn who did a great job keeping us all happy. She seemed to work very long days and was always cheerful and pleasant.

This is truly one of the best places my husband and I have visited and we would highly recommend it.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
Cherry Hill, New Jersey
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 12, 2012

Gareth and Taryn, thank you for being great host. We had such a good time on safari and hanging out in the boma with you two.
Amazing small quaint lodge with incredible hosts with knowledge. From the time we arrived until we left staff was always helpful and did whatever it took to make us happy. They were nice enough to give us the watering hole view room and a bottle of bubbly for our anniversary. Loved the lodge set up and game plan.
Safari life was awesome. We did 2 rides daily and meals in between. Gareth and Vusi did everything possible to make sure we saw every thing we came to Africa to see. I when I say everything possible, I mean everything possible. From staying out late to see the infamous Leopard feeding or bad [--] off roading to see the male lion sleeping in the bush. These guys know how to get us the money shot!
If we do make it back to South Africa, we will definitely go where Gareth and Taryn are working at.
Thanks for the amazing experience and we hope to see you both again soon.
Cheers!
PS loved the sundowners!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
southampton
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 5, 2012

Our first safari and could not have chosen better. Visiting Waterbuck Lodge on Thornybush Estate was like a private house party as there are only four villas. 2 were occupied by Americans and 2 by Brits. The tracker, Loderick, and driver, Gareth were so knowledgable and Thornybush has strict rules for them which makes the experience so good as opposed to the tales of Kruger with its tarmac roads and all vehicles converging on any good sightings (Thornybush allows a max of 2 of its vehicles at any time. The cleaning and catering staff were also amazing preparing a great brunch after the morning drive and a first class dinner after the evening drive. Excellence is standard.

  • Stayed September 2012, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oxford, England
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2012

Good rooms, good food and great guides and trackers - my best safari experience so far and I've been on over 20!

  • Stayed December 2011, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 13, 2012

What can I say? What an amazing place….My wife and I decided to take a trip to Africa. We were originally booked at Kapama for a week because we saw all of the good reviews online. A few weeks before our trip, a flood came and wiped out the camp we were supposed to stay in at the Kapama Reserve. We had to find a new place to stay for 4 of the original 7 nights we had booked at Kapama. It was a blessing in disguise this happened. Our experience at Waterbuck was amazing. The lodge is run by a husband and wife team (Hannes and Anita) that manage staff and ensures the guest have everything they could possibly need. Hannes is also one of the rangers and is very knowledge about the South African bush . Anita plans the amazing menus and helps book anything you need – excursions, transportation, etc.

Waterbuck has four separate bungalows which means there will be a max of 3 other couples with you at the lodge. It was awesome only having a few other couples with us on the game drives and during meals. It was a very intimate setting and atmosphere. The rooms are secluded, individual bungalows. We had the one overlooking the watering hole. (This is the best one.) Our room was exactly what I pictured when I thought of going to the “Bush” with a bit of luxury. The rooms are very spacious and fully air conditioned with running water. The beds were very comfortable with nice linens. The bathrooms are very open with a garden tub, indoor shower and outdoor shower. There is nothing like looking up at the clearest sky’s you have ever seen while taking an outdoor shower. There are no phones or T.V’s in the rooms, but you do not need them.

To give you an idea of how a day would go, we started with a wakeup call around 5:00am (and when I say call, I mean a personal knock on the door until you say good morning). Then we met in the open air lobby for coffee. We were typically in the safari vehicle by 5:45am. We would go out with the ranger and tracker for about 3 hours. The animal viewing was amazing. We saw all of the big five plus cheetahs zebras, giraffes, hippos, warthogs, dung beetles and tons more. We were able to see leopards everyday which at the time we did not realize this was such a treat considering we were not able to see any at Kapama reserve. Our ranger was very knowledgeable and was always sharing fun facts with us about the animals, plants and culture. No question was too silly or novice to ask and he welcomed the interaction. After our morning drive, we came back to the camp to a huge breakfast. As soon as we thought we were done, the food kept coming. This meal served as a breakfast and lunch and was more than we could ask for. From 10:00am to 3:00pm we had down time. We took naps and read books. There is a nice pool as well. At 3:30, we meet for High Tea (salad, appetizers and some kind of dessert) before our afternoon game drive. Typically we were back in the Safari vehicle by 4:00pm and are out till dark. We stopped at sun down to watch the sun set and stretch our legs. The ranger would pack a cooler with snacks and a cocktail which they call a sun downer. After the sun went down, we drove back in the dark to have a chance to look for nocturnal animals. We were lucky and had amazingly clear skies and were able to see lots of constellations, planets and even satellites. We have never seen a night sky so clear and beautiful. Once back at the camp, we typically had a drink before dinner and chatted about our experiences of the day and shared our best pictures. Dinner was served around a bonfire or boma. The food was amazing. (My wife would say that I am a picky eater and I loved all the food that we were served.) Dinner was a 3 course meal with an appetizer, main course and dessert and usually had some local influence. We were very pleased with the food flavors and presentation.

This is not a touristy lodge with a gift shop, spa or traditional bar/restaurant. (Yes there is a bar, but it is on the honor system.) Here, you do not get the feeling that the only purpose is to make money, like some of the other lodges. Waterbuck has very laid back environment and the entire staff wants you to enjoy your experience at their lodge and in their country. The atmosphere is relaxing and intimate but fun and inviting too. They want you to have a great time and make you feel special. If you stay here, you will definitely have a great experience and want to tell all your friends how awesome it is once you get home.

  • Stayed February 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Jose, California
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 25, 2012

This place is great. They make you feel like you are special with personalized attention. Anita the lodge manager and her husband Hannas make sure you are looked after well . Ranger Gareth and tracker Loderwick make a great team in providing a fantastic safari experience. Chef Antoinette made vegetarian meals specially for me and great meals for our party of 7 with Boma's every evening. This is a special place that people will love.

Room Tip: Room 4.. This lodge has only 4 rooms.
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  • Stayed May 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Waterbuck Game Lodge

Address: Gurnesay Road, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Thornybush Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 11 Specialty Lodging in Thornybush Private Game Reserve
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Beautifully set on a large watering hole deep in the African bush this amazing lodge awaits your arrival. There are 4 individually set rooms spaced generously apart with a welcoming central lodge area. This area has a bar, lounge, swimming pool and a deck overlooking the waterhole. It is truly a little piece of paradise.Safari's (Game drives) are conducted morning and evening giving our guests a good chance of seeing Africa's famous "Big 5" as well as numerous other species of fauna and floura. These are conducted by extremely knowledgeable and friendly guides anxious to make your experience unforgettable.Please read the comments of our guests below, their words are the best reflection we can give on the experience. Look forward to hosting your African safari experience soon! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Waterbuck Game Lodge South Africa/Thornybush Private Game Reserve

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