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“Outstanding....” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Ulusaba Safari Lodge

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Ulusaba Safari Lodge
5.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Sabi Sand, Kruger National Park, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Berkhamsted
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Outstanding....”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2013

Stayed in Cliff Lodge for 3 nights in January. Due to BA shutting down T5 we had to reschedule our trip and finally arrived two days late. No problem for Ulusaba staff who were friendly, professional and really good fun. Particular thanks to Sean and George who took us out every day, and really made the trip. Due to the heavy rain, the tracks were almost impassable in places and we, and a couple of the other trucks got stuck and had to be rescued. This just added to the excitement and fun of the drive, along with the 'Ferrari safari', when we'd get notified over the radio of a potential sighting and went tearing off to find it - just brilliant! We saw just about everything you can think of with the possible exception of Tarzan and had a couple of very close experiences with rhino and the most beautiful leopard.

The Cliff Lodge was wonderful. Huge suite astefully and sympathetically decorated, great showers and very comfortable bed, small plunge pool on the deck and the most fantastic views out over the dense green. At dawn, you could step out onto the deck and watch the mist clearing to reveal elephants having a mud bath beneath you.

The only advice I might give is that if you're mixing your safari with a longer sightseeing holiday in South Africa, do the safari first; it's tiring, because you're up very early and not necessarily having early nights to compensate. Also, one of other reviewers who gave a poor review commented on the fact that the LandRovers are shared. Yes they are, but if you don't like who you're sharing with, why not ask to change. We shared with a lovely family from New York, and spent the whole 3 days laughing together - they were brilliant.

You won't leave Ulusaba hungry either - the food was excellent. Pre-safari breakfast is served (muffins, fruit, cake, tea, coffee etc) from 5.30 am, followed by full breakfast with EVERYTHING upon return at around 9ish. Then lunch, and pre-safari tea, followed by a delicious dinner. Meals were served in the huge dining area communally, but if you wanted a table to yourselves, you just had to ask... The Chef came out before each meal to describe the menu (our evening meals included steak, kudu and a BBQ) and you had a choice of excellent wines. The whole three days was magical and memorable and I can't wait to go back one day.

Room Tip: For fantastic views try Cliff Lodge or Rock Lodge - if you want to be based around the (normally) dr...
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  • Stayed January 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VLELondon, General Manager at Ulusaba Safari Lodge, responded to this review, April 15, 2013
Thank you so much for your positive feedback, it really is greatly appreciated and I can assure you that I will pass all of your comments onto the entire team as I know they’ll be so pleased to hear them.

I’m glad to hear that the rain didn’t dampen your spirits on the game drives, we have found over the years that some guests prefer them in the rain!

I do sincerely hope you will come back and visit us again one day.

All the best
Karl Langdon
General Manager of Ulusaba
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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213 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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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 (68)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 9, 2013

We stayed at Ulusaba in an Elephant room for 3 nights on our honeymoon.

From the moment we were picked up by our pilot for our private plane transfer to the moment we left we were treated like royalty. Being met off the plane with a glass of champagne we knew we had made the right choice coming here.

Our ranger Johnny and tracker Dan were highly entertaining as well as informative and made the game drives even more magical. We saw all the big five and you won't believe how close you get.

We booked the romance package which included romantic bath, private picnic lunch in the bush, couples massage at the spa and a romantic private dinner at the observatory which made the whole occasion so special.

Can't recommend the place highly enough.

Best wishes to Johnny and Kim who are due to become parents any day now.

  • Stayed February 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.
berks
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2013

We booked this trip because we could no longer use our virgin miles to travel to Kenya, so this was an alternative destination. We safari a lot this camp was one of the best we have stayed in. The staff very efficient, friendly made us feel as if we were very important at all times. The lodge is very luxurious food very plentiful and good. From our room (river1) we saw animals just grazing, baboons in the trees, and vervet monkeys playing on the rope bridges, that you access the rooms by. We had Johan and Joseph as our ranger and spotter, what was impressive is that they actually tracked the animals sometimes on foot to locate them, as the bush was very dense at this time of year. We did find that there were not as many animals as we would usually like to see, and on one occasion we went out on a morning drive and didn't see a single animal, but had some wonderful sightings of leopard, lions and rhinos at other times. Safari Lodge is better in the summer months as it is cool but in the winter months it is very cold so the better choice would be rock lodge at this time.

Room Tip: River1 is close to the main building and you do not have use the rope bridges to access it. Very lux...
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  • Stayed February 2013, 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ascot, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
65 helpful votes 65 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2013

From the point we were met by Calvin our ranger... to the time we left to go home, every single person employed at Ulusaba went out of their way to make me and my family feel like we're we're the most important people in the whole world... and that was worth more to me than anything.

Here's just a few examples of the incredible memories we all have...

We were the only ones with kids during our stay and when my wife and I just wanted to sit and admire the amazing view one morning, Esther, (who worked in the spa), took them to the kids room and played with them. It was her suggestion.

Vickers, the manager of the restaurant let the kids help out behind the bar when he wasn't entertaining them with practical jokes and magic tricks. Chris did the same the following night...

Karl, the general manager went out of his way to meet us and chat despite him being extremely busy preparing for the pending wedding!

Calvin, our ranger, lent me his own telephoto lens for my SLR camera as mine was no good for shooting wildlife. I kept it for the whole stay. Then, when I ran out of space on my memory card (take at least 2 gb), he lent me his and then downloaded all my photos for me (without me asking) so I could take them home. He also taught me how to set up my camera for shooting wildlife.

John, the tracker, let the kids sit in the trackers seat at the front of the jeep on several occasions which made their holiday for them.

My little boy bent Calvin's ear on every trip yet Calvin still let him sit next to him in the passenger seat on every drive and chatted away to him, answering all his questions in between all of ours.

On one morning drive we saw nothing so Calvin and John stayed out another two hours for us (five in total) and then we saw two of the big five so close we could have touched them. We'd have missed this if they took us back once the three hours was up. In fact I don't think we ever stayed out for just three hours.

When we arrived back breakfast was over but they kept the kitchen open for us, on the off chance we still wanted it -- we were very grateful as we were starving.

Even when we left they made us a packed lunch to take to the airport and all the staff waved us off with a gift for each of us.

Heres a few things to do though...

Firstly, check out the guest photos as the professional ones obviously show the very best of Ulusaba for the sale pitch. There's nothing wrong with the professional ones but the guest ones show you it all for real.

We stayed in the two bed rock lodge. Keep in mind they try to give you the authentic feel but with a 5* power shower and four poster bed.

The second bedroom was perfect for the kids although they had to share a double bed because twin beds wont fit in the smaller room. On the plus side, they were so tired from an action packed day they fell straight to sleep.

They set up twin beds in the master bedroom ready for our arrival but we asked them to change it back -- as it is the master room after all. They did it straight away.

The views from our lodge were a little obstructed with trees and bushes but we spent such little time there it wasn't a problem. The views from the bar and dining area are outstanding.

I've read the very few negative reviews on this site and can only assume from all the other excellent ones that they're not from real guests. Read them and laugh and I'll look forward to reading your review of a truly once in a lifetime, unforgetable experience!

Thanks to everyone at Ulusaba and see you again soon.

Room Tip: See above comments
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  • Stayed February 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.
Rickmansworth, United Kingdom
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2013

The minute we landed on Ulusaba airstrip, the best experience of our lives began. Riko our ranger and Sam our tracker greeted us with a glass of Champagne. We were taken to Safari lodge, more Champagne. Another lovely welcome.Every member of staff was soo lovely.We had a safari room.Which I have to say was the lead in room type.It was beautiful.Fully stocked Minibar. Lovely bathroom and Balcony overlooking the Bush.
At 4pm our first game drive started. We saw 4 lions who were within touching distance,and every single safari after that we Saw everything.
Riko and Sam (Ranger and Tracker) were brilliant in every way.I felt very safe in there hands. Riko's knowledge of the Bush was phonomenal. Sam had eyes like a Hawk! it was pitch black.He spotted Scorpion, Chameleon,and more. They felt like by family when we left to go home. I had a lump in my throat when we waved bye bye.I felt so lucky we got them.

Safari lodge:. Faultless run by Kim and her team. Nothing was a problem.Really good fun. Wonderful hospitality.Food sublime.The chef,Ian comes out every evening to Explain the menu. Mouth watering,I am the biggest meat eater but his vegetarian choice was something else. We had a tour of the wine Cellar ,which was so interesting.

Rock Lodge: Again Faultless in every way.We had a Mekewela suite. Amazing...
Views to die for. Up high over the Savannah.Every thing we had in Safari Lodge we had in Rock lodge.Vickers the manager and his team were wonderful.

I just think in 25 years of working in Travel, I have had some fab trips all over the world. BUT this trip just blew me away.

Fab. Thanks to every member of Ulusaba your all incredible.

Room Tip: Safari rooms are lovely. ( not Massive but pefect and really close to bar and restaurant)
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  • Stayed February 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Otley, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 1, 2013

We stayed here in January 2013 and having read the reviews of some of our fellow guests. I can only reiterate their praise for the Ulusaba Safari Lodge, the staff, the environment and the attention to our every need. A dream holiday, a lifetime experience making a truly memorable holiday!!
We are sure this holiday will never be surpassed and can't recommend Ulusaba Safari Lodge too highly for those who want to go on a safari. Thank you to all the staff and good wishes to Kim and Jonny for the birth of their baby in March.

Room Tip: We stayed in River 1 which was perfect.
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  • Stayed January 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2013

WOW! I was a safari virgin before coming here and what a way to lose my virginity. The welcome to the lodge was fantastic, all of the staff were incredibly friendly and from the beginning remembered our names (how they pulled this off I'll never know), they made us feel so welcome that we immediately fell in love with the place.

We stayed in a safari room for four nights in January 2013 (in the safari lodge) and it was fantastic. The room was really cosy with a great bathroom and very conveniently located near the central area of the lodge.

The communal areas of the lodge were really spacious and a lot of the time it felt like you had the whole place to yourself. When we weren't out on game drives we were either by the pool or in the lodge itself and had free rein to sample lots of the delicious South African wine. The hosts who work there are utterly fantastic and make you feel at home, striking the perfect balance of being friendly and attentive without being intrusive. Robyn, our host, was fabulous and she really made our stay at Ulusaba something we'll remember for the rest of our lives, even arranging a surprise birthday cake for my partner.

Of course, the reason you're here is to go on safari and we were not let down. Johan our ranger and Anios our tracker met us when we arrived by plane and over the course of our stay we spent a lot of time with them. These guys were so incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about the wildlife we saw, it blew us away. It felt like anything we asked to see, we saw (elephants, lions, leopards, giraffes … the works). Johan would park the car and tell us about the animals, their behaviour and their history. It was never over the top though, we had plenty of time to just sit and watch the animals doing their thing, absorbing the experience … and also plenty of time to take photos too. The animals were never crowded, never more than three cars near them and behaved as if we weren't even there.

I can't even describe what a great experience this was. It was difficult to get to sleep every night as all I could think of were the amazing things I'd seen that day.

If you're looking at doing a safari, I recommend that you stay here!

  • Stayed January 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ulusaba Safari Lodge

Address: Sabi Sand, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Sabi Sand Game Reserve > Ulusaba Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Specialty Lodging in Ulusaba Private Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Ulusaba Safari Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 11
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Ulusaba Safari Hotel Ulusaba Private Game Reserve

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