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“October/November 2012” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Tanda Tula Safari Camp

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Tanda Tula Safari Camp
4.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, Kruger National Park 7945, South Africa   |  
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Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“October/November 2012”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 8, 2012

Spent 4 nights here. Do not have enough superlatives! Absolutely fabulous! Staff out of this world!
Would have no hesitation in recommending this Safari Camp. Breakfasts in the bush and dinners prepared by a great chef.

  • Stayed October 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TandaTula, Owner at Tanda Tula Safari Camp, responded to this review, November 19, 2012
Thanks so much for your super feedback, we are delighted that you enjoyed your stay with us. I will let chef Ryan know you loved his food! Kind regards from all of us at Tanda Tula.
Nina and Don Scott
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245 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    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 (52)
Date | Rating
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English first
Manchester, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 1, 2012

My wife and I have done safari's in Kenya and Tanzania on a number of occasions and whilst they were all excellent, I can safely say that we have never been treated with such fantastic warmth and friendlyness by a team of staff. Dale & Hayley were absolutely great along with Jackie who took care of our welcome. Civilised and Raymond were our Ranger and tracker and I cannot thank them enough, they more than satisfied our "Big 5" requirements seeing all 5 in one morning's game drive and then some. The knowledge and the driving, in some very rough terrain, was amazing, in order to get you that prize photo that everyone craves. The meals were pretty good too with Chef Ryan at the head of the kitchen, his passion for gormet cooking leaves little to be desired. At this point I have to thank all who plotted our secret "Ruby Wedding Meal" on the veranda of our tent, we were both treated like Royalty and wined and dined with truly wonderful meals and exceptional service. It really feels like you are being cared for by a large family and nothing is too much trouble ( including the Hot Toddy made for me by Hayley as I started with a sniffle one night , to take to bed with me ).
The whole 4 nights went by in a flash, but we will never forget what turned out to be one of the best 4 nights anyone could spend in the bush and under the stars in the dark african sky's.
If you haven't gathered by now, I am not saying it will be straight away, but we will be back.
Thank you all once again for making our stay so enjoyable.

  • Stayed September 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TandaTula, Owner at Tanda Tula Safari Camp, responded to this review, November 19, 2012
Thank you so much for taking the time to comment on your stay with us - it is always fantastic to hear that people enjoyed their experience at Tanda Tula and am very glad that you felt welcomed and cared for during your stay!

As you may have read on the Tanda Tula blog recently, Civilised and Jack continue to find great game sightings.
I'll make sure that Dale, Hayley, Chef Ryan, Jaquie, Civilised, Jack and the rest of the team get your super feedback.

Hope to see you back at Tanda Tula soon!
Nina & Don Scott
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Rosa, California
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 31, 2012

I cannot say enough good things about this camp. I have stayed in about 10 different camps between Kenya, Tanzania and So.Africa and Tanda Tula is by far my favorite.
The tents are wonderful, the grounds are beautiful, the meals exceptional and all of the staff could not have been nicer or more willing to help and strive to give us the best possible experience.
These are permanent tents with beautiful, huge baths with deep tubs and outdoor showers. We had wonderful bush breakfasts daily and dinners in the boma, in the dry river bed and on the lodge lawn.
This is a beautiful game reserve teeming with wildlife and we had so many opportunities for incredible, up close, game viewing. Just amazing!
I can only hope I am fortunate enough to spend more time in this wonderful, magical place.

Room Tip: There isn't a bad room! They are all permanent tents along the river bank, each with it's o...
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  • Stayed June 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.
TandaTula, Owner at Tanda Tula Safari Camp, responded to this review, November 19, 2012
Thank you so much for the fantastic feedback Nana - it was a pleasure having you both here and I hope you are able to return soon!

I am delighted that you enjoyed your experience with us

Best Regards and wishes from all of us at Tanda Tula !!
Nina & Don Scott
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin, Texas
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 26, 2012

We spent 3 nights at Tanda Tula in August of 2012. When we were planning our Safari, we knew we were going to have a wonderful time - lovely accommodations, great game viewing, and a great mix of fun and relaxation.
Tanda Tula provided all of that as expected, but what we didn't expect was how friendly and personable the staff would be. Sure, you expect to find people who are polite and helpful, but Tanda Tula takes this all a big step further. We truly felt like we were being welcomed by gracious hosts who were happy to have us stay with them, and really excited to share all that the Timbavati has to offer.
It's kind of hard to put into words, but I think it's a bit like the difference staying at a large, luxury hotel versus a bed and breakfast of equal quality. You'll have a great stay at either place, but the B and B is going to have a lot more charm and personality.
My wife and I are normally quite content to go places and kind of keep to ourselves, enjoy the sites and activities, and try to avoid too much small talk with others. At Tanda Tula, that's mission impossible, and that was a wonderful surprise. Getting to know our Ranger and Tracker (Richard and Isaac - wonderful guys!) was expected - we spent a lot of time roving the bush with them each day. But we also got to know several of the staff members, and had a great time chatting with all of them about home, about Africa, about what led each of us to Tanda Tula - you name it. But the social aspect doesn't end there.
I'll admit a bit of trepidation at the first dinner we had - as we walked into the boma I noticed we were all going to be seated at one long table...good luck avoiding your fellow travelers when you're sitting next to and across from them! Each night different members of the staff would dine with us and share stories, keep the conversation lively, and answer our endless questions about animals, life in the bush, and everything else one could wonder about. Within ten minutes we were all chatting on and on, learning about each other, sharing the day’s highlights, and having a wonderful time.
Everyone at Tanda Tula made it so easy for all of their guests to get to know everybody at the lodge, and our experience was so much better because of it.
I would be remiss if I didn't also mention the food. Chef Ryan was on hand to present the daily lunch and dinner menus personally. Aside from the fun of getting to meet him, he was always sure to let us know where he sourced his ingredients, how he envisioned the meal being enjoyed when he was creating it, which sauces to use with which foods, and so on. It added a nice dimension to the meal that I don’t normally have when dining out - again, this is more like the type of thing you might experience when you have dinner at a friend's house, or in some more intimate setting. Chef Ryan's skills range from beautifully plated fine-dining, to excellent braai (barbecue, and yes, it's true, Impala is yummy), to delicious pizza and french fries (we had a couple of picky eaters with us for a few days, Chef Ryan accepted the challenge with grace and gusto.)
It’s difficult to imagine a better place to stay if you’re headed to the Timbavati, and we’re so thankful our travel agent (ROAR Africa) recommended it so highly.
One last note – as other have said, if you’re planning a safari, I think staying in a tent camp for at least part of the time is a wonderful idea. You certainly won’t be lacking for comfort, and being able to hear the sounds of the bush while you’re falling asleep (or roused from sleep by a far off pack of hyena) is a neat experience.
If you have the chance to visit Tanda Tula, take it. I can’t imagine anyone not having a wonderful time there.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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.
TandaTula, General Manager at Tanda Tula Safari Camp, responded to this review, November 19, 2012
Dear Chris many thanks for your super feedack. We really enjoyed having you both to stay with us and we are particularly glad you enjoyed the dinners. Richard and Isaak continue to "wow" their guests with recent sightings of wild-dogs on a kill. Thanks again for your kind words and please know that your review has been put up on the staff notice board so that we can all enjoy the feedback!. Dale, Hayley, Richard and Isaak.
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Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2012

By far the best lodge we have been to. Faultless in every respect. Incredibly friendly and attentive staff and very knowledgable rangers and trackers.
We loved the well appointed, tented accommodation and beautiful surroundings, as well as the excellent food.
Thank you for a memorable few days. Can't wait to return.
Mike Elliot and Robyn Farrell

  • 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Long Island, NY
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 27, 2012

We recently spent two nights in Tanda Tula. It is really an amazing camp. First, any safari trip should include a tented camp, and I would definitely recommend Tanda Tula. Staying in a tent is a unique experience - the sounds of the bush, the cool winter air, wakeup by someone bringing a tray to your tent with coffee and tea, overlooking the riverbed and the bush - make for both five star luxury and a feeling of being out in nature. The game viewing is comparable to the other camps we were in - that is, plentiful and spectacular. Tanda Tula is somewhat more expensive than the other camps we were in, but alcohol and drinks were included. The level of service was exceptional. Forman and Given, our Ranger and Tracker, were great, always taking the time to answer our questions and explain what we were doing. Chef Ryan really cares about his food - the Kudu stew in particular was terrific. The rest of the staff is as friendly as possible. The camp is relatively small (we were 13 people and there was only one other family there) and felt really intimate. Breakfast outside on the riverbed was a nice touch. We loved it.

  • Stayed July 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.
Austin, Texas
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2012

We were lucky enough to be able to spend three nights at Tanda Tula last month. It's hard to put into words how much we loved this experience. The game viewing was exciting, the camp itself is comfortable and luxurious, but it is the people that make Tanda Tula extraordinary. The entire staff is welcoming, genuinely warm, and willing to do whatever they can to make your stay the best it can be.

Some highlights:
* The tented experience is wonderful. You get the charm and feel of a tent while still enjoying a hot bath and a king sized bed. It was a lot of fun being able to listen to the bush while going to sleep - we heard hyenas whooping and a leopard growling.
* The food is fantastic. Chef Ryan was obviously proud to present his food at each meal, and that pride is well justified. The food was interesting and most important, it was delicious.
* We loved the way they have set the rhythm of the days. There's some structure, to provide for game drives and meals, and lots of time for utter relaxation.
* The public areas of the lodge are well set up to allow for relaxation and socialization. I loved having a hot chocolate with Amarulla in front of the fire, chatting about the evening game drive just as much as I enjoyed checking my email on the deck overlooking the river.
* Dinners were communal affairs in the boma. As an introvert, I wasn't sure that I would enjoy this, but the staff hosts, and they turned out to be yet another highlight.
* We chose to go on safari because we were excited about the animals, and Tanda Tula and our guiding team (Richard and Isaac) did not disappoint. We checked off the big five, but we also had some really wonderful experiences: sitting in the middle of a large herd of elephants as they snacked in the early morning light, watching a hyena family play at their den, tracking a shy rhino and her baby on foot, following a leopard and her cub that was nearly as big as she was, seeing lioness patiently watching a massive herd of buffalo.

If you have the opportunity to visit Tanda Tula, you should. I am hoping we make it back someday.

  • Stayed August 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Tanda Tula Safari Camp

Address: Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, Kruger National Park 7945, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 14 Specialty Lodging in Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Tanda Tula Safari Camp 4*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Tanda Tula Safari Camp in the heart of the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve bordering the Kruger National Park, offers a five-star personal wilderness experience in ultimate luxury. Here, in your own private piece of Africa, you will come face to face with nature as it always was, with not a fence in sight to inhibit your freedom.Set on the banks of the Nharalumi riverbed, Tanda Tula is shaded by stately trees and overlooks a water hole that attracts a wide variety of game from dawn to dusk. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Tanda Tula Safari Camp Hotel Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
Tanda Tula Safari Camp South Africa/Timbavati Private Nature Reserve

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