I am in my early 50’s, activity oriented and an experienced traveller but this was my first trip to South Africa and my first safari experience. In general, my Kambaku experience mirrors the other positive reviews on this site. I stayed at the Kambaku Lodge from 16 September 2012 through 19 September 2012 as a single guest. The lodge staff was friendly and very attentive, the meals were varied and of high quality, the lodgings were clean and comfortable, the guide knowledgeable and the tracker consistently put us on game. You can spend more, a lot more in some cases, but I am really not sure why you would. The lodge had a casual elegance and was very romantic, particularly at night. Interestingly, Kambaku advertises itself as family friendly so there is always the chance that you could be in camp with other people’s children, or even your own. However, management indicated that they work to accommodate different needs of families, couples and singles. There was no TV or cell phone coverage and while internet was available I am not sure was very robust. The lack of connectivity was not an issue for me. Everything was pretty much ‘as advertised’ or better and, in my opinion, Kambaku was an excellent value For me, Kambaku was a perfect fit and I hope to visit them again. A bit more detail is included below if interested.
Kambaku used solar panels to provide electricity for the lodge and my understanding was that they intend to expand the use of sustainable energy. The lodge common areas were clean and in good repair. My chalet, ‘Shingwedzi’, was clean, very comfortable and had plenty of hot water. The turndown service, ‘notes’ and ‘bedtime stories’ were a nice touch. I had an oblique view of the watering hole from the couch on my porch (great nap spot). Most, but not all, chalets have a view of the watering hole. However, there are several common areas where the watering hole can be comfortably viewed.
Brunch and dinner were outstanding. There was a wide variety and the quality and flavour were excellent. Dinners in particular were noteworthy (e.g., kudu filet in white peppercorn sauce) and rivalled many of the best restaurant meals I have had. The house wines were decent and I didn’t feel strongly compelled to opt for anything different on the wine list. I particularly liked having dinner by lantern light and/or campfire at different locations around the lodge. BTW the bar is reasonably stocked and includes most of the basics. Afternoon tea was a bit variable and the snacks during the game drives were simple and basic. While not an issue, I enjoyed them and ate plenty, they seemed a bit out of character with everything else. However, there were numerous other nice touches like being met at the steps when returning from a drive, sundowner drinks, warm towels and sherry after the evening drive, dining with management and the guides, etc.
My primary guide (Steve) was very knowledgeable and I actually learned a great deal (a little extra bonus). My tracker (Eric) was unbelievable and very effective. I was put up close on more animals, birds and interesting plants than I ever expected. Kambaku seems to be well situated for game with access to most farms in the immediate area. We saw the Big 5 plus in one day. I appreciated that Steve and Eric were sensitive to the stress levels of the animals we tracked and viewed. While this is in part related to safety issues, they seemed genuinely concerned for the animals. One comment about the ‘Big 5’, my impression was that there is way, way too much pressure on the guides and trackers to insure that guests see the Big 5. As a result, I felt we stretched a bit to make that happen even though I wasn’t worried if we didn’t. In addition to the guide and tracker, the management and staff were friendly and very attentive. All in all, a fantastic experience.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hi Paul - Thank you for your lengthy review of Kambaku - we always appreciate it when a traveler takes the time to provide such in-depth feedback from their stay with us. I am particularly pleased at your comment that things were "pretty much ‘as advertised’ or better and, in my opinion, Kambaku was an excellent value ". We strive to be better than advertised! Thank you for your comments on the game drive snacks and high tea options - we are in the process of changing to the summer menu and I have taken all your thoughts to the chefs! I am glad that you seemed to have learned alot about the bush too , during your stay - we like to educate as well as provide for the WOW factor of seeing the big 5. To us - enabling a guest to appreciate that the Big 5 is not everything is crucial - it is about the overall bush experience of both large and small things, and ultimately developing a love and respect of the bush that will bring you back again and again to soak up all that the bush has to offer. Thank you for the lovely photos, and maybe we will see you back here again one day !
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.