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“A great stopover on the Garden Route”

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Garden Route Game Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Alton, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
42 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“A great stopover on the Garden Route”
Reviewed March 29, 2009

I was really dubious about this stay...some bad reviews ('just a zoo'), and some doubts about the accomodation quality and no particular interest in animals.
All these doubts were totally unfounded. The chalets were very comfortable and just magic when waking up with a view across the reserve. (No aircon though).
The food was great and the game drives were excellent. Sure, it's not Kruger, but you can drive for hours there and see nothing. We saw everything here....lions, rhino, elephants, giraffes etc.
I would have no problem recommending this place to friends.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
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Helpful?
3 Thank TonyBHampshireUK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Vejle, Denmark
Level 3 Contributor
22 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed March 22, 2009

I spent two nights at Garden Route Game Lodge (GRGL) and that was one too much. The receptionists seemed stuck up and we had an off feeling right from the start. It´s like a big zoo not a game reserve. The rangers know where to find the animals because the area is so small (and the lions are in a separate pen, for a good reason, but still...). You can clearly hear the traffic on the N2. To end on a positive note the rangers know a lot about the animals and depending on who you go on game drives with you learn a lot. Don´t miss the guided tour of the reptile house and cheetas.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Annette G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SCOTLAND
Level 6 Contributor
398 reviews
95 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 161 helpful votes
Reviewed March 20, 2009

This establishment has come with a variety of views from customers and I suppose it does all depend on your expectations and previous experiences. This is not in the Shamwari league e.g. luxury end of the market and if you begin with this in mind, your expectations might just be met...
The highlights of our 2 night stay were the game drives...yes, there are not many animals in the reserve...but you do get up close and personal with most. I have some fantastic wildlife shots from a fairly close, yet safe range. The rangers are enthusiastic about the work and purpose of this lodge and are quite up front about its intentions. The range-rovers might not be the most luxurious or modern, but serve the purpose well enough.
We stayed in one of the Rondavels which I would describe as 'bijou' and a little quirky...2 nights is probably the most you'd want as space is at a bit of a premium for 2 adults and the shower/toilet also a tight fit in the room.
I would make one comment about the reception's ability to deal with 'special requests' - I requested a Rondavel close by the Main lodge/car parking due to a mobility issue - we were initially placed in the furthest away room in the complex with walking required off the boardwalk and on rough gravel! The manager clearly recognised our problem and accommodated us closer by with a few metres of walking from the 'car park'. It is also unfortunate that you can hear quite clearly the noise of the road traffic from the N2 at night, which does detract a little from feeling like you are 'in the bush'!

Otherwise, an acceptable stopover for 1/2 nights in what I would describe as 3* accommodation, with close up oppportunities with the big 5, albeit in smallish numbers.
If you want the ultimate in safari luxury...dont book the Garden Route Game Lodge! Oh and by the way, if you stay in a Rondavel.....take a torch to help light your way back to your accommodation in the evening!

  • Stayed January 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank Celtic-Wanderer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed February 21, 2009

We went to the Garden Route Game Lodge because (as far as we know), it's the closest game lodge to Cape Town where you can see the Big 5. Having said that, it was a fair old drive, especially with all the road works on the single lane roads.

The game lodge is easily spotted from the road - just look out for all the flags! The road to the reception was gravel, so you have to drive very slowly. The humps are hard to spot (even with the little signs) and you need to take them quite slowly. When we got to reception we we signed on pretty quickly and given a "Field Guide" with a map and animals to spot and a rather strange timetable (e.g. game drive at 5.15pm, dinner at 7.15pm, 9pm - free evening). It could be written in a slightly less bossy manner!

We stayed in a chalet room which are separate little huts away from the main house. We could park right next to the hut and there are wooden walkways between the huts and to the main house. The room itself was an ok size, but a little pokey with all the furniture. There wasn't really enough space to set out two cases. There was no bath or fridge and no milk, not even UHT. The room seemed pretty clean but the mosquito net hadn't been washed in a long while. There was no safe either.

The game drives were great. The lodge is very upfront with the fact that it doesn't have a lot of each animal, but that was fine, the rangers knew where to find them. I did two evening drives and saw the 2 giraffes and the 3 rhinos both times as well as both cheetahs and all the herd animals. The only animals I didn't see were the elephants. There apparently get locked away at 5.30pm, so you can only see them if you go ont he manically early 7am game drive - no chance! I did feel a little bit miffed that there was no option to join the day guest game drives at 11 and 2 to see the elephants.

The breakfast/dinner was buffet-style with a good choice. Buffets are always hectic and this one was no exception. But overall I'd give it the thumbs up. The waiting staff were not well trained - one guy tried to put our red wine in an ice bucket! But they were at least friendly.

The major disappointment was that despite being miles away from any big towns, and the main gate closing at 10pm, there was NO night time entertainment. They need to rectify that as soon as possible. Even having a bar with music playing would be an improvement. The only option at present is to play Trivial Pursuit - if you happen to have spare cheeses, cheese slices and dice on you!

Another negative is the map - it seemed to be out of date. Plus there are no signs to tell you have to exit the place - nightmare! The pool was freezing!!

In conclusion, the animals and the rangers were great, but they need to start to think about their guests needs and desires. I'd recommend this for a 1 or 2 night stay maximum.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Jaffacake
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lichfield, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
124 reviews
63 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
Reviewed January 17, 2009

The consensus of previous reviewers is that this is a glorified zoo, which in a way it is but you do have to come here with that in mind. DO NOT BOOK if you want a safari. We have been on safari in Botswana, Namibia and KZN and this is not in the same league but we knew that when we booked. It is a hotel set in a beautiful area of country with some animals which have been imported from zoos and other reserves across Southern Africa. You will see lots of game up close and personal and that is great for photography and for children who may get bored spending hours trying to track animals down in game reserves, but it is not in the middle of nowhere. The game drives were fun although i do agree with the previous reviewer about the drinks issue. It would have been nice to stop for 1/2 hr for a proper sundowner. Our guide was very knowledgeable about the animals and also the plant life in the area.
The restaurant is lovely - excellent choice of food and well cooked although breakfast doesn't start till 9am so if you are not on a drive its a bit long to wait.
We stayed in a lodge room and whist not as picturesque as the chalets it was an extremely comfortable room.
Overall i would recommend if you want a good hotel with a little extra thrown in (we stayed over christmas so it was a perfect place for that) but not if you want the full on "Out of Africa" experince because you will be disappointed.

  • Stayed December 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Check in / front desk
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank helenvp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Andover, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed November 25, 2008

We were recommended by friends to spend a night at the Game Lodge on our way down the coast to Knysna to break up the journey. We had an excellent time there. Don't go expecting a traditional saffari, but if you want to get a taster of seeing the big 5 then this is brilliant for "softies". The guides are very experienced, knowledgeable, entertaining . This is a sanctuary for animals who otherwise would not have survived in the wild and it has its place in educating us about how they live. The accommodation was lovely and gave us a real sense of being out in the bush. For us it was a wonderful experience and we were looked after very well. We would recommend it if you are going down the Garden Route, or haven't got time for the full saffari.

  • Liked — The romantic feel of the chalet
  • Disliked — Nothing it more than fulfilled our expectations. I guess the food could have been better.
  • Stayed October 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank POPSHampshire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oxfordshire
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed November 22, 2008

Neither myself or my husband are animal lovers and had little intention of doing a game drive during our stay in South Africa. However, having travelled to see our daughter who is working in SA, she convinced us that we must not leave the country without doing one. So glad we did.

We stayed just one night in one of the little thatched huts and had a truly memorable time. Our daughter researched and booked it for us and so we had not read the previous postings on this site.

I would recommend anyone to stay here. The staff are exceptionally polite, helpful and friendly and the rangers are very knowledgable. They want to make your trip fun and interesting and we saw all the animals and more, learnt such a lot and had a really hectic, but fantastic time.

For us, it was perfect as I could not think of anything worse than getting up so early in the morning and going off in search of the animals yet returning after a day's safari and hardly having seen any animals! What fun is that?

At the end of the evening game drive the most fantastic meal awaits you - something for everyone. Breakfast was also good. The "walk with the cheetahs" was amazing - okay, so they are not completely in the wild, but some of them would not survive in the wild and at least here, they are well looked after. You are able to get so close - they are beautiful animals.

Although one night was enough for us, if you want to enjoy the other facilities, like the pool, although this is small but in a beautiful setting, then maybe book an extra night if you don't want to be too rushed.

Our visit was well worth the money and we loved it.
Thanks to all at the Garden Route Game Lodge.

  • Liked — Unique little rustic huts with a great view
  • Disliked — Getting back to it in the dark, but the staff helped us anyway!
  • Stayed October 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank LibbiOxfordshire
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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