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“Extremely disappointing, staff spoil unique location” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Kagga Kamma Private Game Reserve

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Kagga Kamma Private Game Reserve
4.0 of 5 Specialty Hotel   |   Off R303 | Southern Cederberg Mountains, Kagga Kamma Private Game Reserve 6836, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Extremely disappointing, staff spoil unique location”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2009

I have just spent a long weekend at Kagga Kamma private reserve, and I have to say, I am extremely disappointed. In a nut shell, the location with its dry vegetation and absolute quietness is superb and magical. But this is spoilt by the management and staff who lack enthusiasm, initiative and who deliver poor/no service to guests.

We stayed at the self catering / timeshare bungalows, and felt as if we were second class citizens as we were not paying top dollar to stay there. If you have your own vehicle, wish to walk some routes, and do not wish to pay R120 per person per excursion you are offered very little assistance or advise.

1) At check-in, the receptionist on duty was not very helpful. She could not give us any advice regarding any drives or walks, as she had not done any of them herself. She had only ever done one 4x4 drive, and showed us this route, but could not give us any further information. Surely this is one of the first things staff are trained about, or have to experience when working there? These are after all, the only activities available for guests to do. As an aside, some of our party were offered champagne on arrival, and others arriving later were not.

2) Later on during our first evening we asked the only other person we could find if there was anyone who could give us some advice as to where to walk or drive to see game. He turned out to be the manager, who gave us better information about the drives and some walks. When asked where the bushman paintings were, he refused to tell us saying: “…people damage them. You just have to walk around and find them yourself” What is the point of having a reserve with rock art, when the management refuses to tell their guests where the rock art is?

3) The next morning some of our party took a 2 hour hike through the bush. It was a magnificent walk, and we found some good rock paintings. We were horrified to come across a huge beautiful rock, where some people had scratched about 6 of their names in the rock, stating “We were here on 18/03/2009”, which was only a few days before. On coming back to reception we reported this offence immediately, showing the receptionist a picture of the damage to the rock which clearly showed all the names. She simply stated that they would have to “clean off” the rock. She did not seem bothered to follow up on these people, who were still possibly staying with them. We had to ask her if she wanted the names, and we had to suggest that she check her reservations calendar – which she did not do - so that they could apprehend these criminals. We then had to ask her to write down the names, as how was she going to remember them? Basically it seemed as if she had no intention of doing anything about this.

4) Some of our party decided to do the guided trip to see the rock art that day. We drove a long way to only one location with good paintings. The guide gave us interesting information, which was appreciated, but seemed to add in a lot of his own interpretation. He is not a particularly good people’s person, and it felt like we were doing him a favour by being there.

5) Apparently the same guide gave all the excursions. These included the rock art trip, the game drives as well as talks on astronomy, which he admitted that did not know much about.

6) That evening we went to the bar to have a drink before dinner. One person wanted to use the internet, and had heard that internet access was available. We asked the barman about it, and he said that he did not know, as he had only been working there for two weeks. He did not offer to ask anyone else, or find out about it. He also looked disinterested and miserable – not good for only working there for 2 weeks – and although it was not busy, he could not keep his eyes from watching the sport on TV.

So, after spending 3 nights there, and having interactions with only 4 people – all of which were disappointing, I felt that what should have / could have been an exceptional experience, was at best - "not a totally disasterous experience", only because of the peace and quiet and nature all around.

In my opinion there are far better places to experience true nature, isolation and rock art, where staff would complement, rather than spoil the experience. Unfortunate, but give this one a miss.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
210Rider, Managing Director at Kagga Kamma Private Game Reserve, responded to this review, May 18, 2009
Dear Guest

Thank you very much for your comments. I am however disappointed that you only wrote about this after you have left Kagga Kamma as we would have loved to address your concerns right away while you were still on the reserve.

As you mentioned timeshare/self catering guests not staying in the lodge has to pay an amount of R120 per person to go on our guided excursions – really minimal when keeping in mind that at similar reserves you have to pay upwards of R400-500 per person. However as pointed out to you, guests are more than welcome to drive around in their own 4x4 vehicle as the game viewing and 4x4 route tracks are not suitable for normal cars.

The receptionist on duty at the time was a student and has not yet had time to do all the available activities as these could literally take days. She did however point out to you that apart from hiking and driving around yourself, we also offer guided game/nature drives where guests are given lots of interesting information about the plants and animals living on the reserve, rock painting tours to some of the ancient bushman living sites where these expert guides tell you more about the traditions and beliefs of the bushman, night drives to look for nocturnal animals, a sundowner drive to the edge of the Ceres-Karoo escarpment as well as guided stargazing at our mini-observatory. These activities are normally included in the package rate that guests staying in the 4-star lodge pay. But apart from these you also have the option of going on a guided quad bike safari of various lengths as well as enjoying some of our range of wellness treatments at our Health & Beauty Salon.

You most certainly must have misunderstood our manager as we really do not want to hide any paintings from our guests! He simply tried to explain to you that the hiking trails are marked but the painting sites are not signposted because we believe this will take away the feeling of discovery when guests “find” one of the many untouched sites. It really is also easy to find the paintings if you wander a bit around the tracks.

Thank you for reporting the graffiti on the rocks to reception immediately. This is extremely unfortunate but is also the first time in the history of Kagga Kamma (as a tourist destination) that we have found any graffiti. The rocks were treated soon afterwards but the damage could not be totally removed and will take some time to fade away by itself. Although the receptionist might not have looked too upset when you reported it she did duly report it to management.

Our guides are all well trained and formally qualified and although they might have much more knowledge about the planets, stars and universe than the average person they will not see their knowledge as much because they know enough to realize that they actually know very little…

Free wireless internet access is available in the bar/lounge/restaurant area and an office PC is available during office hours. This has also been pointed out to this barman involved and I apologize for the fact that he could not give you a proper answer.

Our manager reports that the rest of your party were always happy so I am very sorry to hear that you did not enjoy your stay. I am sure that we will welcome them back soon though.

Kind regards
The Kagga Kamma team
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174 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (60)
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  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • German first
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English first
Northumberland
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2009

After a very long drive we arrived for lunch. The restaurant to me looked as though it was out of the "Flintstones" and the meal was just as basic and not well cooked. The "Honeymoon Suite" is not a suite but a room which also contains the bath, sink and toilet - not very romantic - and meant the room did not smell very fresh. The "bathroom" furniture was also of a poor standard. We thought the room would be quite large but rocks took up a large amount of space which meant we had little room to manoeuvre. Electrics were very basic and to use a hairdryer one had to unplug the kettle. All electricity is cut at 10.30 so if you wish to use the toilet in the night you have to light a candle or use the torch they provide. We booked for 3 nights but only stayed 1. We did go for a evening drive with their ranger who was very enthusiastic - views and sunset were excellent.

  • Liked — The views on the evening drive
  • Disliked — the accommodation and food
  • Stayed November 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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210Rider, Managing Director at Kagga Kamma Private Game Reserve, responded to this review, May 18, 2009
Dear Guest

Thank you very much for your reply. Please accept our sincere apologies for not living up to your expectations, for causing inconvenience to you and for not refunding you in total at the time. We believe and are used to our guests leaving satisfied and we do have a valid 4-star grading. We have however now refunded your credit card with the rest of the amount that you paid including the night that you did stay at Kagga Kamma.

I have taken note of your comments and we are now in the final phases of planning a refurbishment of at first the Honeymoon “cave” and the thatched huts during this winter.

Yours sincerely
The Kagga Kamma team
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Travelers are raving about these Kagga Kamma Private Game Reserve hotels

Leeds, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
306 reviews 306 reviews
146 hotel reviews
Reviews in 128 cities Reviews in 128 cities
160 helpful votes 160 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2009

It is a long drive to Kagga Kamma, especially when you get a puncture on the way (not even on the gravel). The last 40km on the gravel road are a driving experience, but the amazing rocks make up for the drive. I have to agree with some people about the standard of accommodation. The bathrooms are rather basic, the towels past their best, but the beds were very comfortable and the AC a welcome addition. I didn't expect to see much game on the drive and the guides told you this. However, the natural beauty of the wilderness, the paintings and the amazing views from the escarpment on the sundowner drive are unforgettble. I can thoroughly recommend the spa treatments. I had the most wonderful massage.
I don't think I would give the food 4 stars. It was very average for SA standards, but the service was excellent.
Kagga Kamma is a unique experience, which I am glad we included on our visit. I would definitely recommend it to anyone wanting to completely get away from everything - no phone reception or tvs. The stars at night are breathtaking. I am so glad we weren't there on a full moon! However, I won't be going back, as the uniqueness / quirkiness won't be there on a second visit

  • Liked — the natural beauty
  • Disliked — food
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Cape Town
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2008

I wanted to treat my husband to something completely different for his birthday. Saw adverts in our local paper's Travel Supplement and the Advertisement seemed to be the answer to my problem. Made arrangements directly with the Reservations Office and Susan couldn't have been more helpful. Although we travelled in an ordinary sedan car, (going in a 4X4 would have been so much better), we managed to negotiate the 40 km of gravel road from the highway in 1hour 45 minutes - but this 'trek' was so worthwhile. We arrived at the beautiful Lodge set in a huge area of fynbos and nature. It was heaven on earth. The beauty and silence of this resort is just what one needs when one wants to get away from it all. We were shown to our accommodation which was set in a cave and it took me a while to realize that this cave was man-made but looked so real and camouflaged into the backdrop of the most beautiful rock formations - so much so that if you didn't see the windows of these caves, you wouldn't have even noticed that these were not the real thing. The view from our cave was spectacular and one could see the vista of the mountain ranges in the distance which was an absolutely stunning sight especially at sunset. The staff at the resort were tops - from the game ranger who took us on a sunset game drive or the next morning on an early morning drive, providing us with either sunset drinks whilst watching the sun set or in the morning with flasked hot coffee and 'boere' rusks. And of course we saw quite a variety of animals too. Divine. Also had the most delicious dinner in the lapa area. Guests sitting round the fire - no music, just the silence of the night and bits of chatter from the guests in the lowest tones so as not to spoil the atmosphere. We also went on a cultural tour to see Bushmen paintings - the rock formations in the area are spectacular - there were other activities of mountain hiking or quad biking, but due to some physical disabilities, we were not able to partake of these. Unfortunately, due to it being full moon whilst there, we weren't able to partake in the stargazing as the sky was too bright, but there are telescopes and a stargazing platform for when the conditions are perfect for this. In the afternoon we lazed at the pool - so very relaxing. The dining room staff were also very well trained and most accommodating. And as for the food - par excellence! All in all, it was a wonderful experience and we have only raved about it since coming back home. No phones, no radios, no television - nothing - and this was the best part of all. And I might add that on our return, we cut 45 minutes off our travelling back to the highway as we now knew that the road wasn't that bad but the magnificnet view from this road, more than made up for any inconvenience in travelling slowly. Just terrific and a holiday we shall always remember.

  • Liked — So different staying in a cave
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed October 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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Dublin
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 24, 2008

We booked 2 nights as we saw the special in the newspaper. We didn't check the website, we thought you cannot go wrong with 4 stars. How wrong we were. The place is not 4 star at all, shaby rooms, not clean, food almost not edible and the staff is not very helpful nor friendly. The surroundings however are most beautiful.
Needless to say, we will never return nor recommend.

  • Liked — location and views
  • Disliked — food, room, staff
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 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.
210Rider, General Manager at Kagga Kamma Private Game Reserve, responded to this review, November 21, 2008
Kagga Kamma is graded by the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa as a 4 star Lodge and has received its annual revalidation on 15 October 2008. Ten of the rooms are manmade “caves” with walls and ceilings that are either natural or very authentic manmade rocks which are therefore not like painted walls. These rooms are especially enjoyed by our guests and many return time and again to experience the close proximity to nature, our always friendly and helpful staff and the meals crafted by our team of chefs in a place far away in the wilderness.
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Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 21, 2008

We wanted to enjoyed a different experience than the usual safari game reserve and choose Kagga Kamma for their unusual accomodation.

After a long drive through what we would call the wilderness, count few hours drive on a dusty road, we arrived and were not disappointed by the scenery.

We were however disappointed by our room, which had a direct view on the car park. Trying to switch rooms was not possible as we were the last arrival, and, being the week end, the hotel was fully booked. The staff was helpfull and suggested another room for the following night, however, having seen the outcrop bedroom, I asked if it was available, and booked it. It is strange that the staff did not come by themselves to at least suggest it.

The dinner was around the fire but I would say that it was average, and this food assesment will be valid for the whole stay. Do not expect gourmet food there.

We booked the safari drive and the bush painting. We view very little and it was a bit disapointing. The bush painting however was really interesting, with a guide full of knowledge and humor.

The night at the outcrop was really interesting, although the start of it was "touch and go" as thunderstorm and few drops rain made the first few hours uncertain. When it is pitch dark outside, no way to see if big clouds are coming or not. As just few drops only obliged us for a short while to cover under the sheets, we spend the rest of the night protected by few petroleum lamps. We slept well despite some strange noise we were not able to investigate due to the lack of light. The next morning we tood the Quad for breakfast and the staff told us that they were betting the evening before on us coming back in the middle of the night due to the weather.

As conclusion, it was fun, interesting, but the average food and service will make a return questionable. In any case, for the foreigner visiting this place, please be carefull by booking the room to get an higher room.

  • Stayed October 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Hamburg
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2008

We were very disappointed.
The caves are paper mache (or plastic).
No privacy. One "bungalow "next to each other squeezed.
Food was okay, but not 4 stars standard.
The overall impression: a little shabby.
It was a lot too expensive compared to the performance.
We have seen a lot of places in Africa, but this was the most disappointing.

  • Disliked — Cost Performance
  • Stayed February 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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 Kagga Kamma Private Game Reserve

Address: Off R303 | Southern Cederberg Mountains, Kagga Kamma Private Game Reserve 6836, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Western Cape > Kagga Kamma Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Specialty Lodging in Kagga Kamma Private Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Kagga Kamma Private Game Reserve 4*
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Kagga Kamma is an absolute treat for travellers seeking a unique and inspiring experience. On your visit you will see a part of Africa that is unlike any other. The Cederberg Mountain’s otherworldly rock formations, a crisp sky stretching endlessly overhead and beautiful rock art from an ancient culture, is the backdrop to a wonderful adventure. Kagga Kamma’s accommodation options are as unique as the landscape it is set in. The Bushman Lodge offers spacious en-suite thatched rondavels/huts. The famous 'cave suites' built against the sandstone rock formations will take you back to a prehistoric time without taking away any modern-day luxuries. Kagga Kamma also offers a one of a kind Outcrop open-air “room” where guests can sleep under the stars in sheer luxury - definitely a not-to-be-missed experience.Speaking of the stars...Take a tour into the milky way when you visit our mini-observatory. It promises to be an inspirational experience when you view the Karoo night skies through our 10-inch telescope. While the sun is out you can opt for a journey back in time with our popular rock art tours. Our expert ranger will interpret the 6000 year old Bushmen paintings and living sites scattered all across the nature reserve.Other activities to be enjoyed at Kagga Kamma include relaxing nature drives with our knowledgeable guides, hiking trails, quad bike safaris, mountain bike trails, a 4x4 route and our Kagga Kamma Relax Spa. Even eating out at Kagga Kamma will be a matchless experience when you visit the restaurant for breakfast and lunch, and an outdoor lapa surrounded by beautiful rock formations for dinner under the starlit night skies in summer time. There is also a pub and lounge area with Wi-Fi internet, as well as satellite television for watching sports events. GPS co-ordinates:Latitude: S 32 44 45Longitude: E 19 33 46 ... more   less 
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