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“Best stay of my life!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Motswari Private Game Reserve

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Motswari Private Game Reserve
4.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Timbavati, Kruger National Park 2021, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
60 helpful votes 60 helpful votes
“Best stay of my life!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2013

I can't believe I only booked 3 nights at Motswari. All of the prior reviews are not exaggerating at all. We arrived late (we didn't realize the drive was at 4pm, but we wouldn't have made it even if we'd known) around 6:30pm and were shown where everything was, they took our luggage to our room and given time to relax. You arrange when you'd like to go to dinner so you're not walking alone in the dark so that night we had them pick us up at 7:30pm so we could get a few pre-dinner drinks and soak in the atmosphere. This place is all-inclusive, and the house sauvignon blanc was the best South African wine I'd had on my 2 weeks trip to SA.

My fiance was very sick for about a day during our stay and missed out on 2 drives (I missed one to stay with him), but our fantastic guide made sure that he didn't miss out on walking up to rhinos. The drive we both missed was the one where they saw all big 5, but we saw plenty of elephants in Chobe so we don't feel like we missed out not seeing them during our stay at Motswari. We got to see hyenas eating a zebra, vultures eating a hippo and lions with a young buffalo they'd killed.

The food is AMAZING. Even foods I normally don't like I was eating because everything (seriously, every single thing) was so so so delicious. I suppose in retrospect it was good I was only there 3 nights so I didn't gain 20 pounds.

Since I left I've been dreaming of returning, and would happily stay at least 5 nights. Motswari is just fantastic, and all of the staff are wonderful. Everybody was so helpful, especially with my fiance being sick, and were constantly asking after him when he wasn't able to join me at a few meals.

I'm sure I'm missing a few things, but basically everything about this place is perfect. I could rave for days, weeks, months, years and not do it justice. I will definitely be looking to return to visit my friends at Motswari someday!!

  • Stayed December 2013, 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DAVID K, General Manager at Motswari Private Game Reserve, responded to this review, December 16, 2013
It gives a very good start to my day when I read headings like this on a tripadvisor review!

Thank you very much for taking the time to write this review and I will make sure that the whole team gets to see or hear your kind words.

I hope to see you both back at Motswari in the not too distant future... I dont think you should worry about the potential weight gain as its absolutley worth staying longer than three days!!

Very Best Regards from us all

David
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358 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
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Cobham, United Kingdom
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2013

Our stay at Motswari Private Game Reserve – August 2013

Myself, my wife and our 6 year old daughter stayed at Motswari for 2 nights at the end of August 2013. I will struggle to do the lodge any justice in this review but I will do my best…
We arrived not knowing what to expect, me being a Natal boy and not having been to the Park in years and my wife and daughter being born and bred in the UK. To say that we were blown away right from the word go would be an understatement! We were met at the entrance of Motswari by a warm smile and this trend continued for the duration of our stay. Every member of staff, from the trackers to rangers to bar staff to night watchmen all went out of their way to make our stay a memorable one.
I could go on for pages about how our Ranger, Keith and Tracker, Patrick continually surprised us with their ability to spot, track and find every animal in the park! (We saw the Big 5 within the first 2 drives including a leopard with her cubs and kill!) Keith’s knowledge of the area and animals alike was jaw dropping. He knew the answer to all of our questions and was able to elaborate on anything without sounding like a “know-it- all ranger”. Being a Geography teacher myself I tried to test his knowledge of the geology of the area on our morning walk, needless to say I was quickly put straight back into my box by his far superior knowledge. The diurnal game drives were second to none but it was something else that set this place apart…
The effort from everyone at main camp and they warm feeling you got whenever you walked around the lodge is what set this holiday apart. A 5:30am start and a day full of excitement can easily lead to a grumpy 6 year old, but owners Marion and Fabrice went out of their way to ensure that we (myself and my wife) still had a relaxing stay. They would specially prepare pasta (Rosie’s favourite!) ready for her when we got back from the evening game drive so she didn’t have to wait to eat with the rest of the guests, which took place after her bed time. Rosie also took a cuddly lion teddy with her and it was great to see all the staff interact with her and play games with her and her lion while we took in the beautiful surroundings!
Again, I could write pages about the cleanliness of the rooms, the choice and deliciousness of every meal, the beauty of the location, the friendliness of staff, the family feel you get while there and the memories that we took away with us but I will leave you to discover these for yourself! Do not hesitate to book a stay at Motswari; it will surpass your every expectation!
We miss it already and will go back in a heartbeat!
Thank you to everyone in the Motswari Family.

Jono, Tash and Rosie
P.S Don’t worry about packing your binoculars, they will get you close enough to the action that you will be able to smell what the animals ate for breakfast and even hear them breathe! And I am not over exaggerating!

  • Stayed August 2013, 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.
DAVID K, General Manager at Motswari Private Game Reserve, responded to this review, December 12, 2013
Thank you for this fantastic, detailed review of your stay at Motswari!

I am delighted that you enjoyed your time with us and that Keith and Patrick impressed as much as they did. It is always nice to see that the atmosphere and people of Motswari make an impression as I truly believe that this sets us apart from many of the other lodges.

I will ensure that everyone sees your positive feedback and we all hope to see the three of you back at Motswari soon!

Very Best Regards from us all
David
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Zurich, Switzerland
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 8, 2013

The Motswari Game Reserve was our last destination from a 4 weeks travel through South Africa. We enjoyed our two nights stay at Motswari. The welcome was very kind and within two hours we were on our first game drive. Our guides - Bharant and Jacky - with whom we had another couple of Safaris were outstanding! The knowledge they both have about the animals and wildlife is just impressive - we had a very good time with them and a big thank you goes to them both! The room was just beautiful - especially the bathroom - with a view into the jungle! The food was delicious, especially when making the Safaris it was a highlight to have a sundowner drink within the wildlife. It was a very nice place to say "good bye" to South Africa!

  • Stayed November 2013, 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

Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DAVID K, General Manager at Motswari Private Game Reserve, responded to this review, December 9, 2013
Thank you so much for the kind review - I am very glad that Motswari was a fitting end to your holiday and I hope we can welcome you back again one day soon.

I will make sure that Barend and Jacky see your kind words and will of course let the kitchen know how much you enjoyed their efforts!

Very Best Regards from us all

David
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oakland, California
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 6, 2013

We had a wonderful experience at Motswari. In no time at all, we saw the big five up close and personal. All of the staff were helpful and friendly. Both the trackers and guides were extremely skilled; the food delicious and the vehicles comfortable and well maintained. From watching a leopard stalk and kill its prey, to the skies lighting up and thunder rolling through the savannah during an evening drive, to getting up close to incredible wildlife, etc; it was all an eye popping adventure.

  • Stayed November 2013, 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

Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DAVID K, General Manager at Motswari Private Game Reserve, responded to this review, December 9, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to write this review Michael. I am delighted that you enjoyed the experience and its always good to see the food and landrovers get a mention alongside the wildlife!!

I hope to see you back at Motswari soon!

Very Best regards from us all

David
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois, Usa
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 4, 2013

My wife and I are Americans and we enjoyed our three night stay at Motswari Private Game Reserve. During our three night stay, we went on a total of six Safaris. The Safaris are scheduled every day from 5:30 AM to 9 AM and from 4 PM to 7:00 PM. Coffee, tea, other beverages, fruit, muffins, scones,etc. are served before the morning Safari. Also, a coffee or tea break is included during the morning Safari. A regular breakfast follows the first Safari. After breakfast to about 3PM, they allow you to rest or to do whatever you wish. Sometimes during this time, they have walking Safaris or talks. Lunch begins at 3 PM so people are ready for their afternoon/evening Safari. During the evening Safari, they do have a wine, beer and beverage break. Dinner and drinks are served at about 8 PM. We had so much fun talking with people from our Safari group and others that we did not go to bed until 10 PM to 11 PM.

Breakfast, Lunch and dinner were all excellent. The rooms and beds were excellent. The bed had a mosquito net to keep the mosquitoes away. The bathrooms were beautiful. I liked the thatched roofs that were used on all of the buildings. The jeeps were all in top working order and looked like they were properly maintained. Safety of Motswari's guests is of high importance and they take a lot of precautions to be sure their guests are safe. For example, during the night, they do not let their guests walk unescorted outside of their rooms or from the eating area. This is because wild animals do wander through Motswari. I saw monkeys and warthogs on the grounds at Motwari. I even saw an elephant drink from Motswari's pool. During the Safaris, the guide brings a loaded rifle.

Our travel agent selected this Safari location for us for a number of reasons:
1) Top on our list was that we wanted a place that has excellent guides and trackers. This place has excellent guides and trackers. The guide was very knowledgeable. At Motswari, they have a number of jeeps that they use for their clients. The guides on each jeep keep in communication with each other so when they have an interesting sighting of for example wild dogs, a leopard, lions, etc., there is a greater chance for their guests to see a good assortment of wild animals when they go on Safari.
2) I swim so my travel agent found a Safari location that has a pool.
3) We wanted a place with good food and good rooms. The food and rooms are excellent.
4) We wanted a place with a watering hole. Our room had a small watering hole outside where we could see the animals drink.
5) We wanted a Safari lodge that was within our budget. Motswari was within our budget and we felt it was an excellent value.

  • Stayed October 2013, 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DAVID K, General Manager at Motswari Private Game Reserve, responded to this review, December 9, 2013
Thank you for this long and detailed review - it is great to see such positive feedback and I will ensure that the whole team sees your kind words.

We hope to see you back at Motswari soon!

Best Wishes from us all

Dave
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 3, 2013

We have just returned from three nights at Motswari, and had a perfect holiday. I could not find one bad thing to say about our stay, apart from it was not long enough. The staff we outstanding, offering exceptional service, they were friendly and helpful. The food was great! Afternoon tea was my favourite, the chef makes some great cakes. The game drives were just fantastic. You are woken around 5am for some coffee and muffins before you leave for go on the morning drive. Every morning we saw animals in the camp first thing (Impala and waterbuck) The reserve covers a huge area with varying landscapes. We had some amazing sightings, our guides were extremely knowledgeable and friendly. Would definitely recommend a visit.

  • Stayed November 2013, 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

Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DAVID K, General Manager at Motswari Private Game Reserve, responded to this review, December 9, 2013
Thank you so much for the review - I am delighted that you enjoyed your time with us!!

Hopefully we'll see you back at Motswari soon.

Very best wishes from us all
Dave
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 3, 2013

I recently stayed at Motswari with my partner for three nights and what an incredible time we had I could not recommend this lodge more highly - book now !!!!! This was my first trip to South Africa we spent most our time in cape town which was also amazing however Motswari and the Safari was the cherry on the top for me. We were welcomed with homemade lemonade on arrival, took 5 exciting and very informative game drives where we saw ALL of the BIG 5 and even a kill & ate superb meals with great traditional African entertainment!!! You are allocated a game ranger and a spotter for the duration of your stay the spotter sits at the front of the jeep on safari drives and is trained to spot the animals, ours was Petro and he must have had super human powers as he managed to spot animals from a mile away and even a chameleon in a tree at night when we drove past - incredible!!!! Chad was our Game Ranger & driver and from our experience a true gem of Motswari he was so informative and enthusiastic throughout and really went the extra mile to make sure we saw as many animals as possible. The game ranger also meets you for pre dinner drinks and fully hosts your table at dinner which made for great conversations and really made you feel a part of something special, the Motswari moto is 'Arrive as a guest, leave as a friend' and you really do !!! When doing my research i looked at many game lodges and Motswari had a certain sparkle to it for me - it could have been just good photography (Chad Cocking!!!) however what you see is what you get its exactly as it looks in the photo's stunning decor in rooms (which by the way were pretty much bug free !) idyllic infinity pool and scrummy food at all three meal times !!! Oh and also FREE beer and wine - what a great touch ! There is internet at the lodge however this is a little slow - but not a problem internet was not really a top priority for us shockingly !!! I really cant say enough about our experience of Motswari the staff were some of the friendliest I have encountered during my travels and I was truly sad to leave !!! I would definitely go back to Motswari and will be recommending it to everyone I meet !!!

  • Stayed November 2013, 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
    • 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.
DAVID K, General Manager at Motswari Private Game Reserve, responded to this review, December 4, 2013
Thank you so much for this long and detailed review Victoria - we aim to fullfil the Motswari moto at all times, but it is still very nice to hear that you felt part of the family.

Chad is an exceptional Head Guide and although I am delighted to have him I now fear that his ego will expand to unknown levels... but will do my best to keep him grounded.

I will make sure that Petro, the chefs and the whole team see your kind words and I hope we can persuade you to return to Motswari one day soon!!

Very Best wishes from us all
Dave
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Motswari Private Game Reserve

Address: Timbavati, Kruger National Park 2021, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 14 Specialty Lodging in Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Motswari Private Game Reserve 4*
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Open to the Kruger National Park and playing host to Africa's Big Five is Motswari Private Game Reserve. One of South Africa's jewels nestled within the Timbavati Nature Reserve, this family-owned and operated four-star luxury safari lodge prides itself on its warm atmosphere and luxurious accommodation.The name Motswari means "to conserve and protect" in Tswana and the owners have held the name to be a promise to each of their future friends who arrive to share in the splendour of an African sunset at this vintage bush lodge.The 150 square kilometres that make up the reserve are part of the greater Kruger Park and guests will be treated to wildlife in their natural habitats as part of their unforgettable experience of Southern Africa. Ideally situated and exclusive, Motswari Private Game Reserve holds the best of everything for the traveller to the untamed majesty that is Africa.If you’re looking for a relaxed atmosphere, peaceful communion with nature and a private experience on a traditional African game farm, this holiday location is for you!Morning and evening game drives in open Land Rovers with professional field guides and trackersMid morning bush walks * Safari walks in lieu of morning game drives guided by armed field guidesOvernight bush hiking and camping sleep-out experience for groups of 4 with experienced guides*Hide sleep-outs in the Motswari Game Reserve*Swimming pool*Boma & bush dinners*Pre-lunch safari interest talks*Curio shop at Motswari Game Lodge*Brunch, high tea (late lunch) and dinner*Library and Art Gallery with 24-hour internet facility at Motswari Game Lodge*Fully equipped air-conditioned conference room for 20 delegates at Motswari Game Lodge*An additional vehicle plus guide can be arranged for an extra cost per day and covers 2 game drives per day ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Motswari Private Game Reserve Hotel Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
Motswari Private Game Reserve South Africa/Timbavati Private Nature Reserve

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