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“Terrific Tuningi” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Tuningi Safari Lodge

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Tuningi Safari Lodge
5.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
“Terrific Tuningi”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2014

For us, Tuningi was perfect. The lodge has the most relaxed atmosphere you'll find anywhere. In part, due to the fact there's only ever a maximum of 16 guests. The lodge is tastefully decorated, including the rooms, all in keeping with the beautiful part of the world it's situated in.
The staff are always smiling and helpful, and when we arrived we had the warmest welcome from Wilma. Throughout our stay both Wilma, and her husband Christo (our ranger), looked after us. The game drives with Christo were incredible, each drive discovering something new. Just watching the Madikwe sunrise was worth getting up at 0430 for.
The food at the lodge was both delicious and generous. You certainly don't go hungry!
And it's the little touches that make a difference, such as the outside shower and private deck where you can be in the privacy of your room and potentially get a glimpse of some of the animals as they move to and fro from Tuningi's watering hole.
The hours between drives we'd relax by the pool, sit by the watering hole watching zebras, elephants, and Impala taking a drink, or sometimes take a catnap ready for the afternoon/evening drive. There's also the option to have a massage or manicure/pedicure.
If you're looking for a holiday that offers a mix of activity and relaxation, this is the place to go. The hardest thing about our stay at Tuningi was leaving.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (23)
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English first
Johannesburg, South Africa
Top Contributor
65 reviews 65 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 7, 2013

We returned a week ago from a fabulous 4 night family trip to Tuningi. Wish we could have stayed longer! We were warmly welcomed by Wilma, who immediately made us feel right at home. The accommodations were excellent, nicely appointed, with magnificent views. The lodge has its own permanent watering hole, where we watched a family group of elephants play and splash mud. Zebra, baboons, impala, kudu all made their way past. Several large bull elephants also made their way down, all this was in the first hour of us being there. The watering hole was overall very active during our stay, many many elephants came to visit, we were fortunately enough to watch sparring and other animal interaction! And I can't tell you how nice it was to be able to relax down there under a beautiful fig tree in between game drives watching the animals and birds come by. You are "that" close to them. Many varieties of birds can be seen, we saw several we had never seen before. A resident pair of lilac breasted rollers made for great entertainment in additional to hornbills, weavers, hoopoes and bee-eaters (list not inclusive!)

The food was delicious and they even accommodated our 11 year old son with hamburgers and hotdogs (pizza also available). The service offered was impeccable from the entire staff. Gavin and Heidi also made us feel very welcome. No request was too small to make us feel comfortable.

With Christo as our ranger, we had multiple sightings of 6 of the Super 7 (lions, cheetahs, elephants, rhinos, buffalo, wild dogs). We did see a fresh leopard kill though he proved elusive during our stay, but that just proves they are around. Christo was also very enthusiastic to take us off the beaten path to see geological formations in the reserve as well as the smaller life in the bush. Thank you again, Christo, we had a fabulous time!

Did I mention the infinity pool? Yes, nice and relaxing and you can also watch the wildlife on their way to the watering hole from there.

I really can't say enough good things, except to say there's another trip already booked there for February! Can't wait to return! Thanks to everyone at Tuningi for making our (too short) stay memorable.

Room Tip: We stayed in the family unit by the main lodge. It is a short walk to the main lodge. It consists...
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  • Stayed November 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.
Mission Viejo, California
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 16, 2013

We have just returned from a 5 night stay at Tuningi and from the moment the plane touched down and we were met by Gavin we knew we were in for something special. We arrived at the lodge after a 10min drive from the airstrip by Gavin and were welcomed by Heidi who made as feel as thought we had just arrived at our best friends house and had known her for years. We then were shown to our "home" we stayed in unit number 8 and when the door opend we were blown away with the beauty, big large comfortable bed, beautifully decorated large bathroom with soaking tub and an amazing very private outddor rain shower that overlooked the path that all game take to the watering hole(yes you will see many well taking a shower) this is a real treat. The main lodge is also beautiful with a pool and this is where most meals take place. The unique aspect of Tuningi is the Boma and waterhole right out infront of the main lodge as all game come day and night to take mud baths and have a drink an experience you will always remember.

The food is five stars with many options to choose from with something for everyones taste. We had Gavin as our ranger for all game drives and he is very passionate about what he does and went out of his way to make sure we saw all game, I cannot say enough about this guy as his truly made each Safari ride so enjoyable. The staff here are first rate and will make you feel wounderful nothing is to much and they always have a smile on thier face. If you are looking for a first class lodge that provides intimacy and excellent game viewing along with first rate accommadations and food then this is your place. You are not just an invoice here but rather a familiy memeber as that is how you feel. Thank you to Hedi, Gavin and the entire team at Tuningi for making our trip so special we miss you all so much already and have started to plan our return trip next year and can't wait to return......thanks again!!!

  • 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
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Melbourne, Australia
Top Contributor
138 reviews 138 reviews
32 hotel reviews
Reviews in 51 cities Reviews in 51 cities
80 helpful votes 80 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 16, 2013

Without knowing if Tuningi Lodge represents the 'real' safari experience or not my wife and I and our small person had a wonderful time staying at this fabulous lodge. And any place you can watch elephants wander by from your outdoor shower gets the thumbs up from me. But putting the safari aspect to one side, the lodge is an experience in itself: the staff are genuinely friendly (a true draw card) the food is top-notch (three courses for lunch and dinner if you want); and the pool(s) and surrounds are perfect for unwinding.

If you are travelling across many time zones (e,g, like from Australia) to arrive in South Africa make sure you have two or three nights somewhere else before travelling to Tuningi Lodge, as the days here are long. The wake-up call is at 4.30 am and the evening safari may not return until 7.30 pm, so it can be after 8 pm before you sit down to eat. So you do not want to be suffering from jet-lag when you arrive at Tuningi Lodge. And if you are flying into Madikwi make sure you take motion sickness medication before you fly - especially for the small people in your life. The flight is only 55 minutes but even with clear weather (as we experienced) the flight is 'uncomfortable'!

Our safari guide (Cornelius) was excellent and went that extra mile to ensure we got the most from our stay. We managed to see the 'Big 5' (both white and black rhinos) and cheetahs; and much more! In addition, the lodge has its own 'water hole', which is a magnet for animals (including elephants, giraffes, zebras, rhino, and wildebeest). So enjoy a drink with Africa on your doorstep.

There are (daily) activities for children though they may appear a little tame compared to the wild animals and the two swimming pools (one is located in the main area and one is well away from everything so the kids can make lots of noise if they want). Tuningi is one of the few places who welcome children and they do a great job making them feel welcome.

There is WiFi and mobile phone access from the main lodge area, though a new mobile antenna booster was being installed during our stay. And thankfully not a TV in sight.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with family
    • 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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Joburg
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 10, 2013

Tuningi has a stunning location, situated in a valley with a waterhole right in front of the main lodge. It was very hot when we visited (37 degrees) and it felt seriously decadent to spend a whole day sipping drinks in and around the rim-flow pool and watching the passing game traffic at the waterhole. There is constant and varied game activity at the waterhole which makes for an effortless game viewing day.

The meals were of a high standard, but not over the top and had a nice variation. The staff were super friendly, attentive and made a great effort to know our names.

The rooms were extremely spacious with a verandah and outdoor shower to view the passing game from. The rooms and decor could probably do with a revamp as they are starting to look a little dated. The TV at the main lodge needs an upgrade as watching rugby on a mini TV is not great.

Game viewing - we were unbelievably lucky in that we were able to see the Magnficent Seven(Big5 plus cheetah and wild dog) in the two days we spent there. Luck is often made and Kornelius and Gavin are excellent rangers who work as a team to find the game. Seeing a leopard and cheetah in Madikwe is a rare treat and these guys were able to find the elusive cats. The abundance and variation of general game is really impressive. A big concern is the serious over population of elephant and the devastation they are causing to the vegetation.

All in all a great lodge and reserve and definitely worth returning to.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
La Grange, Kentucky
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 8, 2013

We stayed at Tuningi for four nights in late October with our two children, ages 12 and 15. While my husband had been to Madikwe before, it was the first visit for our children and me. We had an unforgettable experience that we will enjoy thinking about for many years.

The lodge was beautiful and every detail was attended to. For example, upon returning from our evening game drive, we were greeted by staff with warm towels and a glass of sherry (fruit tea for the children, of course). These are the kinds of little things that made it apparent the staff is committed to giving the guests a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

We stayed in the two bedroom family villa, which is very spacious. It had a very large deck which allowed us to view the path to the watering hole from the privacy of our room. The villa was very clean and provided everything we needed. We thoroughly enjoyed a couples massage in our room on the last day, which was very reasonably priced.

The food was delicious! Our meals were served on the deck of the main lodge, with a view of the watering hole. When we returned from the morning game drive, a cold buffet was waiting. We could also order any hot breakfast items we wanted. During breakfast we were able to make our lunch choices. Each lunch and dinner offered a starter and dessert, along with two entree choices. We generally ordered two of each entree for our party of four, and enjoyed trying all of the options. One of the dinners was served at the boma around a fire, the only time we dined with all of the other guests.

It was made very clear to us that we would pay separately for drinks, as is customary with most of the lodges we considered. We found the prices to be very reasonable. Franz was very accommodating and made some special drinks for our children as well.

The game drives were wonderful! Cornelius was very informative but also a lot of fun and easy to be around. He was determined to make the most of our time and went to great lengths to show us as much as he could during our drives. We were thrilled to see six of the Magnificent Seven (elephants, rhino, buffalo, lions, cheetahs and wild dogs). Understandably, luck, weather and season play a large part in what you will be able to see, but Cornelius worked hard to mitigate those factors and it paid off. We had the first two game drives by ourselves, which was wonderful, and we were with other guests after that. If you can afford it and it is available, I would recommend a private guide.

Each of the staff we came in contact with was helpful, attentive and professional. They worked hard to give us a wonderfully relaxing vacation.

Another highlight for us was bringing school supplies for the children in Suppingstad. The lodge has partnered with the school for several years, and recently Pack for a Purpose began working with them to give guests the chance to participate.

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Tuningi and certainly hope to return!

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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germany
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 1, 2013

Tuningi Safari Lodgi offers a heartly welcome, wonderful houses, all of them really nice decorated, very clean with wonderful bedrooms and bathrooms. The food was great and the excursions in the morning and evening wonderful. everyone is quite attentive and the service is really good. We have been there for the second time and it can be absolutely recommended.

  • Stayed October 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Tuningi Safari Lodge

Address: Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa
Location: South Africa > North-West Province > Madikwe Game Reserve
Amenities:
Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 23 Specialty lodging in Madikwe Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Tuningi Safari Lodge 5*
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Also Known As:
Tuningi Safari Hotel Madikwe Game Reserve

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