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“An excellent way to end a holiday” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Rippon's Safari Lodge

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Rippon's Safari Lodge
N2 Between Port Elizabeth & Grahamstown | Eastern Cape, Sidbury, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Berwick upon Tweed, United Kingdom
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“An excellent way to end a holiday”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2013

Grumble first...More signage needed from the highway to the lodge - that's it...everything else was marvellous! Excellent accommodation, terrific food, helpful staff and a particularly good guide/ranger for our trips.

We have to say that unless you are an Olympic standard athlete,a three day cycle of 5 am start, returning for a 9 am breakfast (huge and tasty), a light lunch, followed by a further 3 pm to 7 pm drive followed by a high quality dinner is just about enough for any mortal. Enjoyably exhausting says it all, particularly in view of the unbelievably rugged tracks traversed in apparently unstoppable vehicles. I would have thought twice about going some places on foot never mind in a two ton plus vehicle with 6 or 7 people on board!

Our guide/ranger (Jaco) had an uncanny knack of finding the wildlife and we quickly amassed a wealth of photos of every animal one could hope to see. This was an unforgettable experience for all the right reasons.

Please note that the warnings about cool early mornings undersell the truth - it's freezing! Lots of layers and a windproof jacket are just as essential as the Factor 30 sunscreen..... and If you travel as a couple make sure you each have a pair of binoculars - there is a constant stream of sights to see and sharing won't work.

  • 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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
    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 (60)
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
dublin
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
59 helpful votes 59 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2013

Rippons Safari Lodge
My husband and I stayed in Room 7 in the Long Barn for 3 nights in late September. We had booked through Trailfinders as had the other two couples who were staying there at the same time.
My first point to note is that the dirt track which looks like just about 11 kilometres on the map or on the sat nav, will in fact take you about 60 minutes to drive if you are in a normal non 4x4 hire car. I am an experienced and confident driver, and I drove it mostly in second/third gear with my foot always ready for the brake because of the amount of potholes that sneak up out of nowhere. Do allow a full 60 minutes for just that stretch of road if you are heading for the airport.
Our room was huge, a kingsize bed, lovely linen, huge bathroom with a shower, separate bath, loo and his and hers sinks. Very nice. Our room looked out onto the pool area which itself is very picturesque – its on a cliff side looking down over a small valley with a small lake and a resident hippo. Its breathtaking.
We met in the dining room at 7pm (that’s the same as every day) for dinner and joined two other couples who had also arrived that day. We also met our Ranger Frances – a shy but lovely man from Zimbabwe. He truly knows everything there is to know about the animals and the vegetation. You are lucky if you get him as your guide – his quiet confidence was very reassuring, particularly when you are sitting 20foot from a cheetah kill watching them eat it – or 20 foot from a solo alpha male elephant at a watering hole.
As a vegetarian, I had been very concerned about the food, however I needn’t have worried. The chef prepared fabulous meals for me (pasta dishes), and left out the cheese completely because she was not able to tell if it contained vegetarian rennet or not. The chef’s changed on day 3 and I wasn’t catered for as well for the last day – a bbq was served, but even the salad had cheese so I couldn’t have that. I had soup, potatoes and a yum cake for dessert – but it was a bit hit and miss that night.
Even if you visit in warm weather – be warned, driving in an open top vehicle at 6am and after dark is extremely cold. You will need a warm coat, a hat, gloves, scarf and sunglasses because of the grit in the wind. Don’t think you will not need them – you DEFINITELY will regret it is you don’t wrap up well.
You are woken at 5.30am by your ranger, and meet for a quick cuppa and a biscuit at 5.50am before hitting the road at 6am. We did 4 game drives, and each time we took slightly different routes into Shamwari. This meant we saw all different kinds of things. Over our drives we saw many lions (male and female), elephants, zebras, warthogs, giraffes, hippo’s, rhino’s, cheetah’s and many springbok and other deer like animals. We also saw monkeys and birds. The list was endless. The only animal we did not get to see was a Leopard.

You are back at the lodge for 9am when breakfast is served. You then have free time until 3.30pm when you depart for your second game drive, and the staff usually encourage a picnic lunch which you can enjoy at the pool in the sunshine. Drinks were very reasonable. A bottle of sauvignon was 11euro and if you don’t finish it in the one sitting, the staff will put it away with your name on it for the next time.
Only negative points worth noting are no wifi at all (though I believe that is coming next year sometime), and no tv in the room (might not be an issue for some people, but we like a bit of tv in bed).
All in all we loved Rippons, the lodge was great, the food was good, our ranger Frances was brilliant, as guests making new friends together we all had the craic. Strongly recommend Rippons to anyone wanting to do a safari.

Room Tip: Allow 60 minutes to drive the 11km dirt track road to Rippons - you need to drive it at 20 miles per...
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 20, 2013

My family and I had the p,erasure of staying at Rippon's back in July this Texan and was a truly memorable experience. We travelled there with my 3 year old son and were concerned that as he was not allowed on the game drives he would be bored.

I made sure that I had enough games and movies for home to watch and to keep him occupied only to find a room full of toys, games, puzzle etc.

I will definitely recommend a stay there as couples, families or corporate getaways.

Brian, the GM is a treat too.

Game viewing very good, however never did get to see the leopard.

Stay at least three nights, arrive early, with a late flight out of Port Elizabeth to make the most of the morning and afternoon game drives.

Thank you for a wonderful stay.

Room Tip: Have plenty of battery life on the camera
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  • Stayed July 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dublin, Ireland
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 3, 2013

We stayed for 3 nights at the end of our 2 week holiday, and was definitely one of the highlights. Rhynhard was our tour guide, and from the moment we set of on the first drive, his enthusiasm & knowledge was second class. made the excitment all the more. the accommodation, food & staff were all excellent, and our evenings telling stories around the open fire were the perfect way to end the day

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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.
Hadleigh, Essex
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 23, 2013

With two game drives a day, the highlight of any stay at Rippon's is seeing the amazing African fauna found within the nearby Shamwari reserve.

Our guide was Francis and we think it's fair to say that, what he doesn't know about his environment is not really worth knowing! Francis relayed information about all of the creatures seen and we came away with a greater understanding of how the African animals interact plus quite a few close-up photos of many of these creatures including the infamous Big 5.

Rippon's is located literally in the middle of nowhere at the end of unmade roads more suited to large 4x4s rather than the saloon hire car that we were assigned! On arriving, we were greeted and our bags were taken straight to our rooms while we checked-in. Barely a few minutes later and we were out on the safari vehicle enjoying the first of our game drives- brilliant!

Our room overlooked the pool area which itself is at the top of a bank above the watering hole where we were entertained by the resident hippo who seemed to want to pose for photos! The room was extremely comfortable, very large and fully appointed.

Meals were plentiful and included in the tariff. Drinks were extra but the prices charged were reasonable for international travellers.

We're glad to have been able to stay at Rippon's and perhaps will return one day- that'll certainly be a treat!

Room Tip: You'll have a great room whichever one is assigned to you!
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  • Stayed September 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Redland City, Australia
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 22, 2013

As part of a group of 17 Auzzies, Rippon's was a two night stay and were extremely happy with the whole package the rooms, food ,attention to detail ,the game tours ,guides and mine host Brian Mullins. Our words do not do the location justice , it was a life memory experience,.

  • Stayed September 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.
Navan, Ireland
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 22, 2013

We stayed in Rippon's Safari Lodge in March 2013 for 3 nights on our Honeymoon. We loved every minute of our experence. Francis was our Ranger for our stay. He is very knowlable about the wild animals of Africa. The food was delicious and accomadation was comfortable and spacious. We enjoyed going out on the early game drives looking for Elephants etc. In march the temperatures are very hot during the day but temperatures drops over night. so remember to bring warm clothing for the early 5 am Game drives as the jeeps are open so the wind and mist makes it very cold when travelling. 5am until approx. 9.30 am you go out on your morning game drive. it normally takes approx. 30 minutes to get to the game drive from Rippons Lodge. 9.30am you eat a delicious cooked breakfast with the rest of your rangers group. You then have time for yourself to sun bath or rest until lunch time. then approx. at 3pm you go back out on your afternoon game drive. It gets very warm on the jeep. You stop at a safe place
in the Safari park for drinks to watch the Sun go Down. You return to your lodge about 7pm. You then have your dinner with the rest of your rangers group. There is a variety of unusal but very tasty foods. Make sure you don't need to be going to the shops as you are approx 45mins to an hour from a town.

Room Tip: We were in The Long Barn. it has the swimming pool out side your door
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  • Stayed March 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Rippon's Safari Lodge

Address: N2 Between Port Elizabeth & Grahamstown | Eastern Cape, Sidbury, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Eastern Cape > Sidbury
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Specialty lodging in Sidbury
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to Rippon's Safari Lodge, a new and exciting landmark in the Eastern Cape, one of South Africa's top game viewing areas - a lodge where down-to-earth affordable luxury and a respect for the environment go hand in hand - right in the centre of some of the best game viewing regions around. Rippons Safari Lodge is situated ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Rippon`s Safari Hotel Shamwari Game Reserve
Rippon's Safari Lodge South Africa/Sidbury

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