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“"Happy with the Hippo?" "Yes!"”

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Garden Route Game Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Plymouth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“"Happy with the Hippo?" "Yes!"”
Reviewed October 26, 2013

My family and I, party of 5 adults and one 9 year old, stayed one night on October 23rd/24th 2013. Some of us have been to SA before and had done various game 'experiences', including trips to Addo, Augrabies and the Okavango. This was to be a short spin around a reserve to see as many animals as we could, as close to nature as we could, yet be within a drive of Simon's Town, where we are based for a fortnight.
Finding GRGL couldn't be much simpler, it's on the N2. Check in was smooth and efficient. The huts, if you could call them that as they are much more, were absolutely fabulous. Luxurious enough but still for real world and not 'life styles of the rich and famous' money.
We were assigned to Tracey as our driver for the first of our two planned drives through the reserve. She drove a well kept and comfortable 4WD with raised seating on the back for 9 guests. On our evening trip we spotted wildebeest, springbok and other game. Best of all was a trip to the separate lion enclosure. The enclosure has to separate as they readily acknowledge they don't have space to sustain lions in the main reserve. I liked the fact that they are very upfront about this and don't pretend that all animals are in some magical self-sustaining ecosystem. This reassured me that there was a high degree of integrity in this operation. The highlight for me was when we caught a radio message echoing from the truck cab which we thought contained the word 'hippo'. Tracey seemed to brush this off, maybe so as not to raise our hopes to high, but then drove like a demon to the hippo pond where we were delighted to spot two hippo surfacing and rolling in the water. The drive ended with a drink and a gathering around the fire.
The evening meal was great with excellent food and a really splendid restaurant. The catering operation was staffed by enthusiastic staff who seemed to genuinely want to please, especially the ones operating the griddle. Choice was wide and varied.
Our second drive began at 7am or thereabouts, and again Tracey was our ranger. What an absolute star she is! She managed to find us a cheetah within 5 minutes of entering the reserve proper. Not only this but here driving skills amazed us all. At one point reversing for near on a quarter mile up a steep, rutted sandy track to find us two female rhinos to go with the male she'd already tracked down. They make no bones about the fact that some animals are GPS tagged/collared so that they can be found 'to order'. This is important when time is limited. If you want to find your own then go to Etosha or the Okavango (we'll try that next year).
Breakfast was again exceptional and then we rounded off the visit with a look around the reptile centre and cheetah conservation area. Tracey's knowledge of the history of cheetahs as a species was excellent and I came away having learned much about the genetic bottleneck that nearly drove them to extinction long before humans started to interfere in a big way. The reserve is making a great deal of effort to maintain genetic diversity for this species in particular.
Good luck to GRGL as they expand their operation to include two more adjacent areas of farmland and encourage it to revert to a more natural state.
Well done Tracey - you were the star of the show for us and we love you for it. We have a video clip on an iPad which will be with us forever as it has your voice and one of those memorable phrases....."Happy with the rhino?". How could we not be?
Thanks and best wishes.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Simon R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GManagerGRGL, Front Office at Garden Route Game Lodge, responded to this review, August 30, 2014
Dear Simon,

Thank you for your lovely review, I am glad to hear that you have truly enjoyed everything during your stay at the lodge, especially your game drives with Tracey. She has a lot of knowledge and love for all animals and it truly shows in her game drives. I am also happy to hear that you have enjoyed the meals on offer and the variety provided. We hope to welcome you back soon to the lodge.

Kind Regards
Chrissie Lock
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Clitheroe, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
208 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
Reviewed October 23, 2013

We had an excellent 3 day stay here and the camp is in striking distance if you are staying in Cape Town.Accommodation is either in chalets near the reception area or in rondevilles spread out around the camp.We stayed in one of the latter and found it excellent if a little small and views were good.The walking route to some of them would not suit anyone infirm or disabled.
Dinner was buffet-style with a good choice of steaks/game/etc and was served in a large thatched 'boma' room or,alternatively,you could order dinner in your room..WIne menu was good

As a game park it has some drawbacks.We did see the big 5 and we got very close to rhino/lion/elephant in particular but there were fenced areas keeping some of the predators in controlled conditions rather than truly being completely in the wild.In adition the number of animals of each species was limited eg 1 male lion and 4 females.

However the advantage of a smaller game park was that you are almost guraqnteed to see all the big 5 when you go oin the drives.Our package included 2 daily 2 hour drives in open cars/trucks at 7am/4pm.It was very cold on the drives at time and you need to be prepared although the rangers have rainproof ponchos for everyone.The rangers were very informative and invariably found the animals.
In between the drives the time is your own with options to see the crocodiles and reptile house and there is also an option for various health treatments eg massage,nails,etc.

Overall we really enjoyed the experience and I would say its a good option for anyone based in Cape Town who wants to see the big 5.Serious game viewers will want one of the bigger parks further north or even in Kruger but they should be aware that such parks are often prohibitively expensive if you want to be sure of seeing the big 5.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank recordable
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, England
Level Contributor
107 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 104 helpful votes
Reviewed October 22, 2013

Hats off to the Garden Route Game Lodge, they really do combine the best of everything in this fairy tale place. We had a splendid room in the main block by the pool, which was huge and incredibly well equipped, we even had a microwave oven! The bed was very large and comfortable, the bathroom huge with his and hers basins - the sort of luxury you would not expect out in the bush miles from anywhere. We were absolutely delighted with our experience. The food was superb and in fact the dining room itself is well worth a mention for the architecture alone. The staff were great and when sitting in the lounge you could drift back in time and peruse the comprehensive library there. The reptile centre was also fascinating and the guides on the drives and in fact everyone we met was so knowledgeable and enthusiastic, wonderful.

Sadly we were only there for one night and the weather was cold so I didn't have a chance to use the pool. There was a small heated pool but it was covered over and not very inviting. Apart from that the grounds are lovely to walk in and the gardens very well planted and tended.

Room Tip: They all seem to be of a very high standard, it depends if you want to be near the waterhole or near...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank bellamanning
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arundel, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed October 20, 2013

Excellent , not sure I can top "Teignrower" review.

The location, staff, accommodation, food, animals were all first class.
Lizaan and Alec were our Rangers, extremely knowledgeable and fantastically enthusiastic .
we stayed in the Chalets overlooking the reserve and a water hole, we woke up to the amazing sound of birds and spectacular views.
The food was superb, as much as you can eat and great variety.
Having only experienced "Zoo type" animal adventures we were totally blown away by GRGL, to be driven around this enormous reserve, with such knowledgeable and genuinely enthusiastic Guides and see the animals in a totally wild environment was a fantastic experience and then to witness a Cheetah in full flight and execute a kill, words cannot describe.
Thank You GRGL we will be back.

Regards. Pete and Sally

Room Tip: We stayed in the Chalets, which are thoroughly recommended, but I am sure the rooms overlooking the...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Peter B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Delhi, India
Level Contributor
133 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 90 helpful votes
Reviewed October 17, 2013

a lot of people told me about Kruger National Park before going to South Africa, but this place beats it all. In addition to the wildlife, the resort itself it breath-taking.
Firstly it is malaria free, so you have very few mosquitoes bothering you. In addition to this it is lush green and beautiful. The chalets are constructed in such a way that you get a panoramic view of the game reserve and also get to see hundreds of birds in the bushes close to the chalets.
The staff was extremely courteous and helpful and the rangers were particularly nice. They took time to explain the details about all the animals and the activities on the reserve.
Food spread was good...even for vegetarians. In addition to this, they have a temperature controlled pool, a bird trail and lots of other activities to keep you engaged for the whole day.
The two days at Garden route game lodge were truly magical and probably the best days of our SA trip.

Room Tip: Choose the chalets, which are located slightly away from the main complex. You get an excellent view...
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank DocRohan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed October 16, 2013

OMG!! Words cannot describe what an amazing time me and my partner had at The Garden Route Game Lodge. From start to finish easily the best 2 days I have ever spent (despite the questionable weather).
We were greeted by very friendly and accommodating staff who showed us around the lodge, restaurant, bar, swimming pool etc whilst also greeting us with refreshments.
Our Chalet No 32 was lovely with a view over the water hole with only one other chalet in front of us. The bed was amazingly comfortable with a heater/air con machine, which we needed on full at night because of the weather. Birds came and landed on our balcony in the mornings, which was very welcome and opening the doors was just an amazing song of different tweeting. The game drives were amazing! Our guide Byron was superb! He was so enthusiastic about his job and so knowledgeable, explaining every little detail about the plants and animals, which really added to the whole experience and we came away knowing a great deal more than we did before. The park is amazing! Ok so it isn't Krugar or Botswana but.... you are pretty much guaranteed to see all the animals you want to see on Safari whereas in the bigger parks you cannot ensure that you will see them and you might have to travel long distances to see them. Nevertheless, in nearly 3000 hectares when you are right in the middle you could be anywhere in Africa. You would not know you were near civilisation let alone the N1.
The food.... well.... we were bowled over. It is in a buffet style format but not the ones you are accustomed to. The meat and fish is cooked to order and exactly to your liking. We had Calamari steak, Ostrich, Wildebeast, Buck delicious!!! It is effectively a 4 course meal and you can go up for as many servings as you wish.
The duty manager was very attentive asking us about our day and asking us what we thought about it she was actively keen to ensure that we had the best time possible and that future customers have the same. We had chocolates on our pillows every night. She also recommended places to go on our final night making suggestions for where to visit next.
Between game drives there were plenty of things to do you can go on a bird walk, walking amongst Zebras, Springbok and Wildebeast. There's a reptile tour a chance to see the Cheetah conservation area and at the end of one of our game drives we got to feed Sarabi the male elephant, which was a very surreal experience.
Overall, as you can probably tell we had an amazing time and I could keep going but I think you have got the point. For an enjoyable, affordable reasonable drive from Cape Town and a real opportunity to see wild animals then you need to make this part of your trip to South Africa!!

Room Tip: The front row of Chalets have the best view of the waterhole. Number 32 and 35 from what I remember.
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Teignrower
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
Reviewed October 11, 2013

We didn't expect to see as many animals as we did. It was amazing being able to see the animals in their own environment at such close quarters. Our guide was knowledgeable and interesting and went out of his way to ensure it was a special experience for us all.

  • Stayed October 2013
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Helpful?
Thank Sonja H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Garden Route Game Lodge

Property: Garden Route Game Lodge
Address: N2 | 5km after Albertinia towards Mossel Bay, Albertina 6695, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > Western Cape > Albertina
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Specialty Lodging in Albertina
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Garden Route Game Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 34
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set against the backdrop of the majestic Langeberg mountain Range, the Garden Route Game Lodge guards the entrance to South Africa’s world famous Garden Route Coast.Only 3½ scenic hours drive from Cape Town, this malaria free, family owned and operated private game reserve is home to an abundance of animal and birdlife including the Big 5.Visitors to the Garden Route Game Lodge can enjoy game viewing in open Landrovers, luxury accommodation and a memorable dining experience in one of our African style restaurants. Our friendly staff and management are there to anticipate your every need to complete your unforgettable stay. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Garden Route Game Hotel Albertina

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