We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Great Food and Lodging but the Service Needs Improvement” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Ulusaba Safari Lodge

We can't find prices for this accommodation
Our online travel partners don't provide prices for this accommodation, but we can search other options in Ulusaba Private Game Reserve
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Ulusaba Safari Lodge
Save
You added Ulusaba Safari Lodge to your Saves list
5.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Sabi Sand, Kruger National Park, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
NY, NY
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
“Great Food and Lodging but the Service Needs Improvement”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 2, 2010

For $1200 a night there, the service really needs an upgrade. Let me start with the good first. Food was 7 star and you get fed so much that at meal time, you probably don't even have room to eat. The lodge itself is also quite nice. They have a nice observation deck by a pool of water and other lookouts to a dry river bed. However, since I haven't been to other parts of the Sabi Sands area, I don't know if it's the location of this resort or just all of Kruger. With the exception of 1 game drive, spotting animals was hard although I sort of felt like I was in a zoo. It seemed that all the animals were in groups of parents with an offspring with the exception of the grazing animals like impala. I just didn't find the game that impressive but maybe that is how a safari in Africa is suppose to be. I will say that while you are there, the employees do act very friendly.
Now for the not so great. I changed my whole schedule around to stay at this particular lodge - made serious efforts on my part. I even asked for either a boma dinner one night or a bush dinner which they said wouldn't be a problem. Upon check-in, reception also knew this is what I wanted and told me to tell the kitchen staff. I did so and guess what, it was our last meal and no boma or bush dinner. I was told it was dry and there was a fire risk although NO ONE told me this until I asked about it during our dinner. Then I found out that it was just done a few days before and that they like to only do one of those per week. Shouldn't someone have just told me that as opposed to hope that I would just forget? Then I asked about this optional bush walk which EVERY lodge there offers. I was told that if we wanted this, it would cut into our game drive. So basically, who wants to give up a game drive? And before I forget, make sure to get some really good directions there since their website is WRONG. There are NO signs that say Ulusaba near the front as stated in the directions on their website. We were lost in the shanty town nearby for 1.5 hours and had to get help from locals there. Make sure to follow signs for Newlin Gate or something like that. Also, the pool was NOT heated -- it apparently needed repair.
Well, when I told the General Manager my complaints, he was very nice and told me that there should have been an optional bush walk which he offered to us on our last day even though we were trying to leave to make a flight later. He also said a boma dinner or bush dinner should have been arranged for us and he did try to provide a boma drinks thing the last night we were there. He also gave us a few parting gifts. BUT we just paid $2400 and they couldn't even get a few things right? So if the GM is saying these things should've been offered, why weren't they? Why are the employees not on the same page about what is offered and what is not offered and how come no one bothered to tell me they couldn't do a boma dinner or bush dinner at ANY of the 6 meals we had there? When we checked out, the reception even asked how our boma or bush dinner was and this again reinforced the fact that requests do not make it to a live person on the other end of the email. It must just get put into the system and certain people see it but not the people who make the decisions. It just seemed too bureaucratic. The left hand doesn't speak to the right hand and employees are not on the same page with management.
Over-rated as there are other resorts in Sabi Sands and I really should NOT have made the effort I did to work around my whole entire itinerary to stay there. Maybe it would have been better if I didn't have to change my schedule around 3 times to get a room there.
Also, don't stay here if you're not ready to be BFFs with the group that also arrives at the same time as you. I had no idea that I signed up to be in camp again. Every meal and game drive was with the SAME group who was NOT on tour with us and not our friends. I was not there to make friends and socialize the whole time I was there. There should have been options to NOT have to dine with the group all the time.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
Write a Review

213 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    204
    5
    1
    2
    1
See reviews for
33
141
2
1
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
New Hampshire, USA
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 12, 2010

My husband and I traveled here from New Hampshire in August of 2009 for a getaway and wedding combination. We stayed 4 nights and were married on the 3rd night. We stayed in a room in the Safari Lodge. The meals are just incredible and the delicious dinner was the perfect ending to each day. I drank more than my weight in wonderful wines and some local beer (They even brought in my husbands favorite american beer upon request!).

The safari is what it's all about here. You're up at the crack of dawn for 3-4 hours, then back to relax before heading back out for 3-4 hours around dusk. We took over 1500 pictures during our (compared to others) short stay of amazing animals - up close and personal! A good camera is a good investment. The pictures attached here are our own from the game drives (didn't have any of the hotel handy upon writing this review...). We learned a ton from our extremely knowledgable ranger and just really enjoyed the drives.

The staff is amazing. They're all extremely friendly, helpful, and easy going. I had a wonderful pedicure/manicure at the spa and our couples massage in the rock lodge, high above the ground, was a great experience.

We had a few special surprises as a part of our wedding package which only made the trip better. It should be mentioned the hair stylist, photographer, and floral arrangement they set us up with for the wedding were wonderful as well, especially having never met or spoken to either until the wedding day. We also got to spend some time driving around privately with the guide to find the perfect spot for our ceremony. It was VERY easy to plan (literally, just show up with your dress and suit).

I cannot recommend this place enough, and am looking forward to returning for an anniversary someday - likely with many more people in tow!

  • Stayed August 2010, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Liverpool, United Kingdom
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 7, 2010

This is by far the most amazing place we have ever stayed. We were totally blown away by the whole reserve. The staff are fantastic, the rooms are fabulous, absolute luxury deep in the middle of the bush. The game drives were brilliant, dinner of an evening was great, everyone eats together outside around a grand table. We couldn't recommend this place any more. You will not regret booking a holiday here.

  • Stayed September 2010, 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.
London
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 7, 2010

My fiance and I stayed at Ulusaba Safari Lodge for 4 nights in October 2010 followed by 1 night at Ulusaba Rock Lodge.
At the Safari Lodge we stayed in a Safari room which was comfortable, clean relatively luxurious. In the bathroom the bath overlooked the watering hole allowing you to wildlife watch from the tub and the complimentary minibar was well stocked (although since everything at the lodge is all inclusive we barely opened the fridge!)
Food and drink is plentiful with 7 scheduled eating times throughout the day and most being accompanied by wine or alcohol of some type. We found the food to be very high quality and freshly baked - the breakfast scones were always warm and the banana bread at afternoon tea melted in your mouth! You also have the oportunity to try some regional ingredients, cooked the way they should be like Kudu or springbok.
However, it's the actual game drives that are the absolute highlight of the stay. The rangers and trackers are really friendly and hugely knowledgeable and the Land Rovers are comfortable enough to be in for 7 hours a day! The real stars of the show are of course the animals and Sabi Sands has an amazing selection. On more than one day we saw all the Big 5. A big difference with the Sabi Sands private reserve compared to the rest of Kruger is that the vehicles are allowed to go off-road for the Big 5, with care. This meant that we were able to get extra close to the animals, who were so used to the cars that they paid them no notice at all. An absolute highlight was sitting in the jeeps with a pride of lions under the stars.
Fantastic.

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
54 helpful votes 54 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 5, 2010

This is our 5th visit, and yet again, ulusaba was fantastic. Since we last came we have been to Singita, but Ulusaba wins. Staff are the best thing, universally helpful, friendly and efficent. Rangers and Trackers are best in class. I cannot recommend highly enough.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled with friends
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bucks, UK
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2010

I was told you will never visit Africa once...this was my first visit and Ulusaba was a dream, I would return tomorrow!
We loved the atmosphere of the safari lodge and would recommend it over the Rock Lodge, which was stunning but didn't feel like you were 'on' safari. we soon got into the early morning routine and actually woke before the alarm as we were so excited so be going out.
We stayed for 4 nights, I wanted to stay for longer when we were booking, but my husband said oh you'd be bored after 4 nights, reality after 4 nights you simply don't want to leave, trust me it gets under your skin and you want to stay!
the air transfer was fun, even though I was a little apprehensive to start as not a great flier but it really is worth the 1hr trip and I don't regret it at all, arriving this way is special. We transferred out by road as we took a flight direct to Cape Town from Kruger this was also interesting to see the surrounding area.
The food as an added bonus is amazing!
If you get the chance to go, GO!
The blog on their website is also good to get you in the mood.

  • Stayed December 2009, 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.
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 7, 2010

Great place, well managed, well run, typical Virgin people focus. Location great, game drives well managed, very professional, very knowledgeable. Food and drink always available.
What they do, they do very well.
Room small for price and other lodges.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
Price Your Stay

Been to Ulusaba Safari Lodge? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

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
Also Known As:
Ulusaba Safari Hotel Ulusaba Private Game Reserve

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Ulusaba Safari Lodge, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.