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“Gorgeous chalets in the bush” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Royal Legend Safari Lodge & Spa

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Royal Legend Safari Lodge & Spa
5.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Argyle Road Past HDS Airport, Kruger National Park 6191, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
San Francisco, California
Top Contributor
67 reviews 67 reviews
55 hotel reviews
Reviews in 46 cities Reviews in 46 cities
107 helpful votes 107 helpful votes
“Gorgeous chalets in the bush”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 18, 2008

We and some others in the lodge were upgraded here from the Jackalberry Lodge because it was overbooked (seems to happen a lot). We met some others who had stayed part of the time at the Jackalberry and part of the time at the Royal Legend. They said the rooms at the Royal Legend were much nicer but that they saw a lot more animals at the Jackalberry because Thornybush, where Jackalberry is located, is a fenced in reserve.

As the other reviews have stated, the rooms here are amazing. The beds are huge and very comfortable. The rooms and especially the bathrooms are VERY large. We saw a couple of ants in the bathtub, but you're in the middle of the bush, so what do you expect? Our friends had more ants in their bathroom, though.

The food was very good and had a lot of variety. We were treated to the outdoor dinner in the boma on our last night, with the staff performing some traditional songs and dances after the meal.

The safari drives were also very good, and we had a chance to see 4 of the Big Five (no leopards). The tracker and ranger did their best to make sure you were able to see as many animals as possible.

The watering hole and outdoor pool next to the dining area was also a great place to view wildlife. There we saw vervet monkeys, elephants, warthogs, giraffes, zebras, and impala, all from the safety and comfort of the dining area deck. We also saw monkeys and waterbok from our room.

I would caution people not to leave any food out in their rooms, though. We had heard stories of baboons and monkeys going into rooms when people left their doors or windows ajar so we made sure ours were always closed. However, one night we heard a paper bag rustling in our room at night and in the morning saw that something had taken a bit out of a piece of (wrapped) candy we had on our counter.

  • Stayed May 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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32 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (6)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
NY
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 12, 2008

The Royal Legend Lodge is a really stunning lodge set in a beautiful private reserve. The safari drives were in an open jeep with plenty of room for everyone and blankets to keep you warm. Because it's a private reserve you can drive at night, drive through the bush to follow the Big Five, and actually get out of the vehicle for a sundowner half way through the drive. The Rangers and trackers were very professional and greatly added to the safari experience.

The food was excellent and we were treated to a fantastic bbq on our last night with traditional food. There was plenty of choice every meal and all of it was good. With a maximum of 20 guests at the lodge you get lots of personal attention, but the staff is also very good at letting you just enjoy the peace and beauty of the natural surroundings. At breakfast we watched giraffes at the waterhole, at lunch we enjoyed a family of warthogs wandering right by our chalets.

I got a good deal on this safari so was absolutely more than satisfied with the extremely clean and huge chalets. The glass doors add a wonderful touch and the decorations inside the chalet are very tastefully done.

Some of the guests were looking forward to a massage but unfortunately the masseuse was not there and there wasn't a replacement. Because most of the guests felt they got a good price on the rooms, I think it didn't matter too much.

If you are staying at the Royal Legend as part of a package, you will be more than happy, in fact you'll want to add at least an extra night here if possible. If you are booking on your own and paying full price you must check and make sure all staff are on duty or you may get disappointed if you're looking for the full spa experience.

  • Liked — Spectacular Setting, Nice big private chalets
  • Disliked — There was nothing I didn't like
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Omaha, Nebraska
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2008

Our travel agent was originally trying to book us at Jackalberry game lodge, however they were full and we wound up being booked at Royal Legend. We weren't sure what to expect, but we had a fantastic stay! The rooms are amazing: king size bed, sitting area, biggest bathroom I've ever seen (includes a jacuzzi tub). Each room has tons of windows so you can view game from the comfort of your bed! The food was incredible as well. For breakfast we were offered made-to-order eggs, omelets, fresh fruit, toast, etc. Lunch was usually a buffet consisting of several types of meat, pasta, salad, homemade bread, and fresh fruit and vegetables. We were served a 4 course dinner each night of soup, salad, entree (we had a choice of various steaks and fish which were as good as any meal we had in fancy restaurants in Cape Town), and a dessert. The accommodations and food were very impressive.

On to the game drives, which were tons of fun! There are two per day: dawn and dusk. Each drive was about 3 hours and we saw elephants, giraffes, zebra, rhino, water buffalo, cheetahs, impala, lots of birds, etc. Our ranger and tracker were wonderful!

All in all it was a fantastic trip and we would highly recommend this safari lodge to every one.

  • Liked — Accomodations not fenced in from park (allowed awesome viewing from inside the camp!)
  • Disliked — We found some tiny ants in our room
  • Stayed March 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 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.
NYC
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 21, 2007

Me and my wife have just returned from Royal Legend Safari Lodge. It was the best hotel/lodge that we ever stayed at, and yes we traveled often. You are treated with with gloves as soon as you check in and until you fully check out. The staff were caring and friendly. The luxurious bedroom/bathroom were large, immaculate and spotless. The ranger, David and the tracker were professional and experienced. The Royal Legend Safari is truely a luxurious lodge which lives up to its name.

  • Liked — The service
  • Disliked — None, loved it all
  • Stayed December 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 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.
dallas diva
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2007

We booked lodge as part of a package. The rooms were very nice and we had the biggest bed we have ever seen. The problem is the security of the camp and also the food. The camp is unfenced so animals are free to roam. We had to sign at release at check in resolving the legend of responsibility. We were led to our room and discovered a male elephant grazing outside. This elephant was in the camp everyday we were there. We couldn't get to our room at one time because he was blocking the path. The rangers were called and they came in a land rover to chase him away. The problem was he chased him toward the guests. A mad dash to our friends room saved us. One night we were walking to our room by a small african with a false light which he shined on the bushes. Two eyes shined back and he said it was a water buffalo. They are some of the most dangerous of the big 5 and when they charge they will not be stopped. If the buffalo had charged a false light would not have stopped him. The food the worst we have had ever. Very bland, no spice, and simple. We had macaroni and cheese with fruit cocktail for lunch. All buffet with poor light so you could not even see what you were taking (probably a good thing)

  • Liked — rooms
  • Disliked — food and danger
  • Stayed November 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GREECE
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2007

My friend and I stayed at the lodge this August for 2 nights. The name of the lodge has nothing to do with what it offers. The rooms are not clean enough, actually the towels in the bathroom were not as clean as they should be. The food is almost unacceptable, not to mention that it was the poorest meal I ever had in a hotel!! You could barely find something decend to eat.
Generallly, the lodge gave you the impression that it is not organised.
The ONLY good thing in that lodge is their game drivers, David and Reifus. They are excellent in what the do, they try hard to satisfy the guest of the lodge by trying to find the wild animals, they are always with a smile and above all they have a kind character. So, if safari is what you are looking for and in thecondition that these drivers are still working for the lodge, I would suggest it. But if your first priority is the lodge itself, with its food and the so-called-spa, don't think about it!

  • Stayed August 2007
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
New York
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 19, 2007

Wow! My wife and I didn't really know what to expect. We travel quite often, but had never had the safari experience. We came upon a package deal in Budget Travel Magazine. We were somewhat expecting a lot of mosquitoes, bad food, and long drives of seeing nothing. So I guess that having expected so little, our positive experience was intensified. No mosquitoes: we saw lions, rhinos, elephants, water buffalo, deer, impalas, hippos, wart hogs, giraffes, a many beautiful birds but the biggest surprise was the gourmet food we were served at the Royal Legend. I took wonderful pictures and will post a ton of them on my personal web page starry.com/personal/

First, the lodge consists of three large buildings, a main entrance, a restaurant, a spa and about ten thatched roofed rooms which are down a dusty path through the brush. The rooms are completely deceiving from the simple exterior. Inside we had a huge bed (bigger than our king at home) with a beautiful decor. Don't expect a TV, but you can look out of three of your walls which are windows to the bush. Animals roam past day and night. We had a monkey that came and banged on our door to wake us up one morning. Keep the sliding doors shut or you'll have monkeys going bananas through your luggage. The bugs were pretty much held at bay, much more than I expected, but you may have to brush a few dead ants out of the bath tub.

The days consist of getting up with a wake up call at 5:30 AM and getting a quick cup of coffee before heading out on Safari. The sun isn't up yet, and anytime it's dark, they insist on having a ranger walk you to the restaurant or to the main entrance. He is packing heat just in case you run into a hyena, (which we could hear howling in the darkness.) We did have a water buffalo wander into camp during the day, but they were quick to make sure we got safely into the room.

The morning safari's were invigorating. Our tracker and driver, Ruffus and David, (respectively) were amazing. You have to get David to warm up to you, but once he does he is a fountain of great information. They'd point out the tracks and then Ruffus would take off through the brush, (sometimes for an hour or so) to hunt down the animals. Meanwhile we'd drive, searching the brush, seeing a myriad of animals, and eventually, we'd stop for coffee and biscuits. The sunrises were spectacular and when we'd get the call from Ruffus by radio we'd rush off to watch a pride of lions or some other spectacular animals.

After the morning safari we'd be back at the lodge restaurant for breakfast. It was standard breakfast faire, with the addition of fantastic homemade breads, and fresh juices. The restaurant is open completely across the back with a deck which overlooks a watering hole in the brush. In the morning we'd watch the monkeys and deer run wild, while we enjoyed our breakfast.

Then came a nap, by the pool, followed by a fantastic lunch with a variety of gourmet choices. We did check out the spa, but didn't have a massage. The work out room was not exactly world gym, but it had a tread mill and some weights. Don't go here if working out is your priority. But it did have a couple of nice steam rooms.

The manager, was a former restauranteur in Japan and her chef skills were amazing. Especially notable were the fresh baked breads and wild game dishes.

After lunch you get an evening safari. We were there during the late fall, so it was a little chilly when the sun went down. Before that happens you are treated to a makeshift bar. I suggest a good shot of whiskey to take the chill off. They provided us with blankets to wrap up with, but be sure and bring a hat, sweater, and probably a good pair of gloves to wear would be nice. We thought staying out in the cold was more trouble than it was worth. We suggested that we all go out at an earlier time and then come back a half hour after sunset. They were completely accomodating with our request.

After we returned we washed up and then would be picked up at our door by one of the security guards and escorted to the restaurant for dinner. The tables were arranged around the huge fire pits for warmth. The chef came to each table and told us about the evenings preparations which were then served buffet style with dishes set around the fire. The food was fantastic and desserts were divine.

This was a wonderful experience. I highly recommend it.


  • Liked — Food and safari.
  • Disliked — No people in the bar in the evening.
  • Stayed June 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Royal Legend Safari Lodge & Spa

Address: Argyle Road Past HDS Airport, Kruger National Park 6191, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #11 of 14 Specialty Lodging in Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Royal Legend Safari Lodge & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 14
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Royal Legend Safari Lodge And Spa
Royal Legend Safari Hotel Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
Royal Legend Safari Lodge & Spa South Africa/Timbavati Private Nature Reserve

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