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“Kwambili Kwambili come in!!! freaking awesome!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Kwa-Mbili Game Lodge

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Kwa-Mbili Game Lodge
3.0 of 5 Lodge   |   PO Box 1188, Kruger National Park 1380, South Africa   |  
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Travelling the World
1 review
“Kwambili Kwambili come in!!! freaking awesome!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 3, 2009

Well we arrived in our little toyota and were greeted with the biggest smile in africa yet. it belonged to Lucy. We were walked into the main entrance of the logde to the bar and relaxing area were we met the owner of the logde Neill. A flattering welcome was given and all the parts of the logde were explained. Eddie (one of the tracker's and such a nice guy) took our bags to the "tent" which was so much more than that. (Melanie, Neill's partner in crime did a stunning job on these). We had a shower and toilet just out of the tent but still attached and let me tell you taking a shower while still be able to see out into the reserve is something special!

Once you have unpacked lunch was served and the standard of food should be easly given 5 stars, then you are off to your game drive. Now being South African myself with 3 Irish guys i knew what was to come, but they take it a step further and will find you what you want. Even if it means tracking a cheetah for 4 hours. (thank you Gavin, the best ranger i have ever had, sorry Neill)

In the long run I could type about 4 more pages and still not justify the amount of fun and the awesome experience we had. You feel accomadated all the time and the beauty of it is you have wild life all around you, kudo and buck just roam right through the lodge. (we were fortunate enough not to have and big cats do that) ;)

So this is more of a thank you to KwaMbili than a review as i would just simply say go and experience what we did first hand cause you will not forget your time there. oh and the last thing is try spend 4 nights cause you will definately want to after just being there for one.

So thank you to KwaMbili and may everyone have the experience that we did!!
We will be returning in 2012 with so many more friends that cant wait for the thrill and quality that you get.

Kind Regards
Ronnie, Dan, Kevin, Eoin

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled with friends
    • 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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114 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 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 (15)
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English first
martinez, california
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 26, 2009

My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed our 3 night stay at Kwa-Mbili. The staff go out of their way to make sure the guests are happy. We opted for the one day trip to Kruger and this was one of the highlights of our week. Gavin was a perfect guide and is very knowledgeable- and you can tell he truly enjoys his job. I highly recommend the day in Kruger option, it compliments the game viewing in Thornybush and gives you a sense of how South Africa must have looked like long ago and the scenery is outstanding!
I think what my husband most appreciated was the AC that worked very well in our bungalow and the comfortable bed.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Hampshire
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 7, 2009

We booked at Kwa-Mbili following an internet search and a search of reviews on TripAdvisor. What can we say the experience was amazing and we would have been happy to stay for the entire two weeks of our trip.

The lodge is small and personal and offers fabulous attention to detail and amazing service. The Owners Mel and Neil are friendly and welcoming and together wirh Gavin and Lucy make up the main “front of house” team. We stayed in one of the tents although this humble description hardly does justice to the perfect “Out of Africa” experience with animal skins on the floor and “open air” bathroom and views of the bush (and game) without even getting out of bed! The hot water bottles in the bed at nightime and rose petals on the bed were a lovely touch.

The food was fabulous with hearty breakfasts after the game drive, lovely lunches and amazing dinner around a roaring fire in the evening. It was fantastic to taste local recipes and we still haven’t recovered from the “milk tart” delicious!! The wine list was good with a variety of quality SA wines and reasonably priced. In addition Gavin, the Ranger, mixes a mean cocktail......great Cosmos and Martinis!

We saved the best ‘till last. The game drives were phenomenal! Gavin the Ranger and Eddie his spotter were truly the “dream team”. They worked so hard to track and spot the game and demonstrated real skill in doing this. When we found game they were knowledgeable about the animals and habitat and gave guests an opportunity to truly experience the game and the bush (rather than snap and go like other game drives!). We saw all of the “big 5” and lost of other stuff too. Overall a fabulous experience and brilliant value for money.

Thanks guys....we miss you!

  • 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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Texas
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2009

My wife and I had great time at Kwa-Mbili. My wife had always dreamed of a trip to Africa and our stay met and exceeded every expectation she had. Neil and Melanie are great hosts. Gavin and Eddie are an incredible tracking team. All employees were exceptional and the food was outstanding. We could not have picked a better lodge.
We saw the big five during our first two days at Kwa-Mbili and saw four of the five along with countless zebra, giraffes, birds, and etc. during our day in Kruger with Gavin. Gavin and Eddie are relentless in their efforts to find the game and allow you to have a very close personal experience with the animals. Along with the morning and evening game drive, the night time “spot lighting” expeditions add an interesting aspect along the true off-road (or trail) tracking. If I ever hear of Toyota making a Land Cruiser commercial, I will recommend they go to Kwa-Mbili for a demonstration of what that vehicle can do and where it can go. Gavin and Eddie seemed to enjoy the drives as much as we did and that makes for a real fun experience.
We miss the group at Kwa-Mbili and think of them every time we have an Amarula and coffee.

  • Stayed July 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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Hampshire
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 28, 2009

Kwa-Mbili is a fantastic game lodge. A great setting with the most wonderful staff. Neil and Melanie were lovely hosts - providing lots of magical touches including petals on the bed, a romantic meal for two in the hide, and hot water bottles after the evening game drive!!

Gavin was a brilliant host and guide - he helped us to find four of the big five on drive one, and managed the big five the following day. He was so knowledgeable, clearly loves his work and is a great people person.

We really cannot fault our stay, we had an amazing experience and wouldn't hesitate to go back or recommend to others.

  • Stayed July 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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Johannesburg, South Africa
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2009

My husband and I loved everything about Kwa-Mbili. We were looking for a safari experience that wasn't too expensive, but at the same time we didn't want to pitch tents every night. Kwa-Mbili exceeded our expectations in every way. Aside from the outstanding staff, excellent food, and impeccable accommodations, we were impressed by the small touches (such as hot water bottles on cold nights) that made our stay even more enjoyable.

We went on game drives in both Thornybush Private Game Reserve and Kruger National Park. Because Kwa-Mbili is located on a private game reserve, we were able to go off road during our drives (something you cannot do in Kruger). This enabled us to track animals and pull up right next to them--another great reason to stay here.

I would recommend Kwa-Mbili to anyone looking for a quality safari experience without spending an arm and a leg to do it. It’s a real gem!

  • Stayed July 2008, 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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Berkeley, CA
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
37 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
113 helpful votes 113 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 9, 2009

My partner and I stayed 4 nights at Kwa Mbili earlier this month. We had just come from an $800-per-night safari camp in Botswana and I have to say that Kwa Mbili compared very, very favorably to the much more expensive place. The staff, especially the relatively new Beth and Gavin, were friendly, hardworking,competent and anxious to make sure we had a good time. The accommodation, a large, well-appointed safari tent pitched under a thatched roof and an outdoor attached bathroom/toilet, was very comfortable. The game drives were fabulous. Gavin, the guide, was relentless in tracking down the animals. The food was both delicious (including lots of fresh fruit and fresh vegetables) and plentiful. Last but not least, the price was about 1/3 of what we paid in Botswana.

The one criticism I have is that there is no smoking policy at Kwa Mbili other than you can't smoke in the tents. For a non-smoker, this is a problem. If you happen to be in camp with guests who smoke, you can spend a lot of time moving around from place to place avoiding the secondhand smoke. You can't complain to the owner, since he and one of the staff are also smoking. Other than this one criticism, however, Kwa Mbili is a great way to see South African game and a great value to boot.

  • Stayed April 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.
mjstuckenberg, Owner at Kwa-Mbili Game Lodge, responded to this review, April 27, 2009
Thank you so much for your kind words about our lodge. I'm so glad you enjoyed your stay with us. Our staff work exceptionally hard to ensure that guests have a great bush and lodge experience here at Kwa-Mbili.
We have recently introduced a non-smoking policy amongst staff. All staff may only smoke in designated areas away from all guests. Additionally, we now ask that guests not smoke in the dining areas.
Thanks again, and we hope to see you back sometime in the future!

Kind Regards,
Melanie Stuckenberg
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kwa-Mbili Game Lodge

Address: PO Box 1188, Kruger National Park 1380, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Thornybush Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 12 Specialty lodging in Thornybush Private Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Kwa-Mbili Game Lodge 3*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
KwaMbili Game Lodge provides an authentic safari experience at an affordable price. KwaMbili is siutated in the Thornybush Game Reserve near Hoedspruit, within the Greater Kruger area. The reserve is home to the Big Five as well as an abundance of other game and bird species. This means good sightings, either while out on game drive or on foot during bush walks. KwaMbili means "Place of Two" in the local Shangaan language.Our knowledgeable rangers will introduce you to the tracks, movements, sights and sounds which give you a window into the secrets of the African bush. Back at the lodge, view wildlife from the safety and comfort of our well-positioned hide. If all this calls for time to just let the experience sink in ... take a dip in the swimming pool, just relax in an armchair or enjoy a cool drink at the bar. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kwa Mbili Game Hotel
Kwa Mbili Game Resort
Kwa-Mbili Game Lodge South Africa/Thornybush Private Game Reserve

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