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“I never thought I would ever be lucky enough to stay in such a place.”
Review of Wild & Free

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Wild & Free
North East UK
Level 6 Contributor
197 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 102 helpful votes
“I never thought I would ever be lucky enough to stay in such a place.”
Reviewed August 17, 2013 via mobile

This place is amazing, there has been careful attention to every detail to make sure your stay is fantastic. The setting has got to be one of the most beautiful in the world, the view took my breath away. The lodges and main building are so comfortable and luxurious with everything you need. But then you have the staff who make this place so special, you will leave feeling you are part of their family. Jabu's cooking is to die for and Christine's knowledge while she's taking you on a game drive is brilliant. The one complaint I have is that I had to leave, I wanted to stay there forever. If you get the opportunity to stay here grasp it both hands and don't let it go.

  • Stayed August 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
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Helpful?
1 Thank UK_CBGB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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46 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (8)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed April 22, 2013

Absolutely amazing place to stay with the most incredible staff!!! I have never felt more special and one of the family. We were upgraded to the honeymoon suite on arrival and were blown away at the beauty of the lodge. Quiet and peaceful. And the food....oh the food :) the attention to detail stands out among the rest!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Kirsty W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Royston, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed September 18, 2012

We arrived at the lodge to discover we were the only visitors there during our 2 night trip. Straight away we were welcomed by Jabu, Suzanne & John and were escorted to the main lodge to complete the minimal paperwork. The view from the main lodge is breathtaking, and the decor in the lodge is just stunning. We were then taken to our room, The Leopard Suite which was incredible! We had ceiling to floor glazing with a bath that overlooked the bush, an outdoor shower and a separate outdoor sleeping area with Jacuzzi!! I could go on for hours about how amazing everything was but I will make it brief, Jabu's cooking was sublime, we ate like royalty, Suzanne and John made sure that the room was always spotless and Thomas (our game warden / tracker) couldn't have been more knowledgable.

If you are looking for a lodge thats intimate and unique, this is the one. There is no TV or internet but you do get a phone signal although why you wanna watch TV on a safari is beyond me!

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Eric L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
1 review
Reviewed March 5, 2012

Well it seems the previous reviews are all spot on

Having grown up in Zululand, I have been fortunate enought to visit a number of Game Lodges within South Africa and surrounds, and I would like to say that Wild and Free is one of the best lodges I have ever stayed at.
You leave there feeling completely refreshed and that you have made two new friends in the form of Jabu (Chef) and Heidi (Ranger).
The cuisine is unbelievable, and you will eat until you cant eat anymore
The lodge is within 2.5hrs of Johannesburg and therefore provides the perfect weekend getaway

The lodge is situated on the greater Mabula reserve and is home to the Big 5, although it must be noted that the Lions are kept in a seperate enclosure. This is because the reserve is home to a herd of 'Disease Free' Cape Buffalo which are very expensive and they cannot afford to have the lions taking out the herd.

We had great sightings including 3 of the big 5 (Rhino, Elephant, Buffalo) and also got to see some of the 'less common' sightings such as Secretary Birds, Water Monitors, Ground Hornbills, Klipspringer, and a pair of Jackal mid-day.

We were lucky enough to be upgraded to the honeymoon suite which is amazing, and got to spend the night sleeping under the stars.
The attention to detail is excellent and everything is thought of including a complimentary bottle of champagne, and even having our cars washed free of charge for the trip back to Johannesburg.

Due to it being a special weekend, we requested if we could bring our favourite bottle of wine (the Oak Valley - Pinot Noir), and this was gladly approved. On our day of departure it happened to be an absolut scorcher, and Jabu and Heidi suggested we spend the day around the pool rather than rushing back to JHB. A gesture that most other lodges wouldnt even think of offering. It just seems that nothing is too much, and they are always willing to help out and go the extra mile.

We will definitely be back

Room Tip: All rooms are great
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank AfricanSafari312578
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canton, Michigan
Level 6 Contributor
141 reviews
59 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
Reviewed November 5, 2011

Wild & Free must be one of South Africa's best kept secrets. Nestled in a mountainous area of the Naka Sanga Nature Reserve , not far from Bella Bella (previously Warmbaths), it is a comfortable 2-2.5 hours drive from Johannesburg. I went there on my own, so this is written from that perspective.  My chalet was called Giraffe, one of only four luxurious chalets -and I mean luxurious, each with a beautiful view of the plateau that stretches into the distance. What was pretty magic for me was the outdoor shower one side of the chalet and the jacuzzi on the patio, the other side.  Both completely private.  The jacuzzi was particularly enjoyable to sit in after a game drive and gaze out over surrounding bushveldt.  And, I really enjoyed the game drives. Lion may not roam freely in the park but there is a large number of other wildlife to see, viz: Elephant, Rhino, Buffalo, Wildebeest, Zebra, a variety of buck and bird life.  I've mentioned those animals I got to see, but I believe there are those who have been lucky enough to spot Leopard and Cheetah as well...maybe next time.  The thing that I will remember most about Wild & Free, aside from the wonderful experience of being in the bush, is the people who run the lodge and the food.   Brunch (11:00am) and dinner were served each day and every meal was memorable.  Any plans to diet, leave at home.  This is not the place for that...you will want to enjoy each meal.  There was also a lovely balance between privacy and personal attention.  The staff were friendly and engaging but still gave me the quiet time that I wanted in such a tranquil place.  One thing, while I was there there was no Wi-Fi, so no Internet I and I got the impression that was not going to change any time soon. My Blackberry worked with no problems at all. I almost wished it didn't.  

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank CraigvE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South Africa
Level 2 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed April 30, 2008

If you are looking for a little gem in the bush, close to Johannesburg (approx 2.5 hours drive) - look no further than the Wild and Free Game Lodge. We stayed in the honeymoon suite (2nd visit) which is simply stunning! Besides an enormous suite, it offers an outside tent/day bed, an outside bath tub (wonderful for stargazing), outside shower - and a delectably rich bedroom suite decorated in dark silks, lamps adorned with feathers and striking chandeliers! Jabu, the chef, is unbelievably talented (His name is Jabulani, which means happiness - and he certainly is that!). If you are a foodie like we are, you'll enjoy lamb shanks, eggs benedict on spinach rosti, pavlova's, fresh scones, springbok carpaccio with salad and superb vinagrette sauce....
He seems to flavour the food like I've never tasted before. While the game viewing might not be in the league of Sabi/Kruger area for example - you do get to see some game (but then that's the bush - sometimes you are lucky, sometimes you are not so lucky to have great sightings). This place is superb if you have overseas guests/or if you are from overseas and you're wanting a bush experience not to far from Johannesburg/Pretoria. I think I'm fussy - and I highly, highly recommend this place! The service was outstanding, the rooms were spotless - we felt like a King and Queen for 2 days! The lodge also offers great value for South Africans too!

  • Liked — Everything from service to food/wine to how the room was presented
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed April 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
4 Thank TravellerSouthAfrica
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Wild & Free

Property: Wild & Free
Address: Mokaikai, Mabula Private Game Reserve 0054, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Limpopo Province > Waterberg > Mabula Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 5 Specialty Lodging in Mabula Private Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set against a backdrop of lush green mountainous vegetation, Wild & Free Game Lodge blends in with the natural surroundings with spectacular views over the valley. No luxury or detail has been overlooked, creating a tranquil haven and a truly unique experience. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Wild & Free Mabula Private Game Reserve, Limpopo, South Africa

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