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“Never wanted to leave!”

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Vuyani Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Minneapolis, Minnesota
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Never wanted to leave!”
Reviewed January 24, 2013

My husband and I spent 6 wonderful days at Vuyani and we loved every moment. We were picked up by Andre at the Hoedspruit airport (like the RMNC Traveler wrote, he truly is such a smiley, happy guy), and were greeted by the entire staff upon our arrival at the lodge, a custom that we'd come to experience on a regular basis as we returned each time to the lodge from our adventures. The rain was pretty heavy for the first few days we were there, but the staff didn't let the sogginess slow us down. We continued to take outings wherever we could, and even did some game drives in the rain, which was a great adventure. There was some car trouble at times, as the roads were really muddy, but even when we got stuck it was only temporary, and the guides made even those times a fun and funny experience.

Thank you to Jesse and Pierre for being such knowledgeable and affable guys. Thank you to Michael for a great experience at Kruger. Thank you to Shane and Jarod for your incredible food every day, and to Christopher and Rose for doing so much behind-the-scenes work to keep us happy. Thank you to Rex and to Aggy for protecting everyone at night while we slept. And thank you to Justine and Craig for being the most gracious, funny, welcoming hosts. This was a trip that we will remember for the rest of our lives.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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3 Thank AnniePez
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Rocky Mount, NC
Level Contributor
27 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed January 22, 2013

Our first interaction with the Vuyani staff was Andre. What a smiley, happy guy. During the travel to Vuyani he taught us much about South African history, the local economy and what to expect at Vuyani. Rina was professional and efficient. Stacey did our first game drive. She was very knowledgeable about all the animals and plants, especially the birds. Tjoppie’s food was everything we had expected from the reviews. Definitely 5 star food. I know Shane is the more experienced chef, but Tjoppie was holding his own or better in flavor profiles, variety and creativity! We did a Kruger tour with Pierre. We hit it off with him very well right from the beginning. He kept us entertained and educated during the whole trip which turned out to be 14 hours!
Rose is an absolute charm. We loved her! Phillamon was a pleasure in the background of the kitchen. Rex and Aggie did a great job escorting us to and from the room. The housekeeping staff always kept our room spotless and the turn down service was nice. After the shift change we meet Justine, Jessie, Shane, Chris and Craig. Justine was absolutely amazing. She worked hard every day to exceed our expectations and make us feel like family. On our last day she even drove to the airport to help some other guests change their flight because the airport was not answering the phone. Wow! Jessie’s game drives were always eventful and on the last one before we left we saw Rhinos, hippos jumping, and the leopard! Shane was very competent and friendly. He and Justine were great to organize a Braai for us on our last night. Chris always greeted us with a smile and was very helpful. We didn’t have much interaction with Craig since he was on holiday most of the time we were there but he was nice, professional and seemed to exercise the just right amount of control v. friendliness with the staff.
We absolutely enjoyed our trip. An experience of a lifetime as is said. Also, several of the guests we meet had stayed at other safari lodges and they all said Vuyani was the best, mostly due to the limited capacity, staff and the food quality.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank RMNCTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed January 18, 2013 via mobile

We had such a great time at Vuyani! Everyone on staff was so great and helpful. The food was out of this world thanks to Shane and Gerard, the safari drivers were excellent and the lodge itself is so beautiful. We stayed in a honeymoon suite and the room was wonderful. Nothing like taking a shower outside in the bush! The staff does everything to make you feel at home while back at the lodge…. But the safari drives were great. Pierre and Jesse did a fantastic job! We also took a day trip to Kruger which definitely shows a different side of the safari and highly worth the additional cost as a supplement to the included drives. The lodge is small with only five rooms. That turned out to be great as we got to know the other couples well and had an amazing time. Guess this could go either way but it really made a great trip amazing. The only thing that bothered us during our stay was the bugs. Being in the middle of the reserve, you just have to be smart. Turn lights off at night and keep that bed net closed and it is fine. Just took a day to get used to.

I will be recommending this to anyone I know that wants to take a safari in South Africa.

Great success!

  • Stayed January 2013
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Helpful?
Thank AandPinTexas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
15 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed January 13, 2013

We were at Vuyani for six days over Christmas 2011. We chose to be picked up from Johannesburg airport and very much enjoyed the five-hour drive to the lodge.

On arriving at the lodge we had half an hour or so to shower and change before going out on our first game drive. And within half an hour we were within twenty feet of a pride of lions.

The staff at Vuyani went out of their way to make our holiday as enjoyable as possible. And they pretty much succeeded. There were just a couple of things that could have been improved.

* We didn't book any excursions until we got to the lodge. And then we found that their drivers were already booked up for the first few days, with the result that we did nothing but lounge around at the lodge for a few days (inbetween the morning and afternoon game drives). Not a massive problem, but one that we could have avoided if we had booked excursions in advance.

* It's a tiny lodge (just five rooms) so your enjoyment is really affected by the other guests. When we arrived there were three other lovely couples there. But by the end of our stay the other couples had been replaced by two larger families which made mealtimes less enjoyable.

But, all in all, we really enjoyed ourselves and would certainly consider going back in the future.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank realdavorg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ohio
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed January 7, 2013

Speaking from experience, booking your first safari to South Africa can be a little intimidating seeing as you have no idea what to expect and there are seemingly so many options. Because we had booked through a highly respected travel source, we were confident that Vuyani would be a nice lodge...but we had no idea that it would surpass our highest expectations. We have traveled around the world (especially my husband) and we would undoubtedly rate this as one of the best experiences of our lives.

The staff, the lodge, the game and the guests make it one of the most indescribably special places.

While the entire staff works relentlessly to make your stay impeccable, there were a few that made our experience exceptional: Recks, the night guard, is soft-spoken but fearless (rumored to have stomped on a honey badger!) and lets your rest soundly knowing that you're safe. Pierre, a ranger, is wise far beyond his years as he shares his knowledge of the bush and makes you laugh hysterically in the process. Shane and Gerard, the chefs, are extremely accommodating and make eating a meal in the bush feel like you've landed at a top notch restaurant in any world-class city. Chris, the waiter, is also soft-spoken and works hard at accommodating your every need promptly. You all made our experience so wonderful and we are so very, very thankful.

The lodge is beautiful as well. It is well-maintained and very well appointed. The rooms are spacious and comfortable. We had a room in the main lodge, which provided just enough distance to give you privacy, but was close enough to make everything very accessible. The shared spaces (dining area, living are and pool) make you feel like you're relaxing at someone's (very nice) home because they are so inviting.

And last, but certainly not least, we owe a special thanks to the other guests who (along with the staff) made us realize that sometimes no matter where you are in the world, its always the people that make the difference. We were so fortunate to have come together with four other fantastic couples (who had previously been strangers) that made our experience even more special! We sipped on cocktails LATE into the night and we laughed, we relaxed by the pool during the afternoon and we laughed, we visited Kruger together and we laughed, we sipped on more cocktails and we laughed. You get the picture. :) I trust that most of you will read this review and know that you were a part of this laughing crew...so thank you all for making our vacation so memorable!! You are all always welcome to visit us at the beach!

We fell in love with a country that previously seemed intimidating, we made so many new friends between the staff and the guests and we have so many great memories to take with us. Thank you all for making this the trip of a lifetime. We would recommend Vuyani to ANYONE without ANY reservation. You will be in the BEST of hands.

Until next time....we wish you all GREAT SUCCESS!

Michelle & Bruce

Room Tip: You can't go wrong.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank smith0521
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 5, 2013

Hi all, I spent New Year's Eve at Vuyani with my boyfriend and best friend. While most of the guests being couples, we all had the best time and felt so taken care of.

I had never been to the continent before and to be honest, am not a super animal person. So, I was so-so on doing a safari after great experiences in Cape Town and wine country.

However, like so many have said, by the second you arrive in Vuyani, you are simply captivated. Every person on the staff is a people person and attend to every whim or need. The pool is super lovely and SUPER warm. I really liked this.

We stayed in the honeymoon suites. I loved the outdoor shower. Safe (due to 24 hour security guide) and very refreshing feeling, showering outdoors. The rooms and lodge are impeccably decorated. Classic/classy but definitely give the feel of being in nature. All the beds have nets around them, which are pretty, but important to keep out insects. Also, lovely Rex walks you to and from your suites to the lodge so you always feel safe.

I was dubious about the early morning wake ups for the game drives but my experiences on the game drive were one of my favorite parts. Yes, Kruger is great. But the game drive experience on the Vuyani property is more intimate and seems more personal. The jeep is open air and we had the most awesome run-in with a lion pride and followed them for most of the drive. The jeep cuts through all type of bush. There really is no other experience like this. The two game drive drivers are such animal enthusiasts and make sure to give you the best drive they can, meaning they will persevere in finding you a leopard, if that's the one "big five" animal you haven't seen yet.

Gerard and Shane are AMAZING. They are the chef/cooks. The food is so ridiculous. You will want for nothing. Also, there are always dinner options, so you do have choice in what you eat. However, you'll want to eat everything! Fantastic ambience. We had a braai, outdoor dinner, indoor dinner. The African brandy pudding dessert is definitely something to be requested. The afternoon teas are actually yummy lunches and the salads are incredibly tasty. Gerard is also insanely funny and gregarious. We went to Vuyani based on a recommendation from my boyfriend's colleague who told us to go to Vuyani for Gerard alone!

Be aware, they have a heavy pour with the wine. All staff are very attentive and you might not realize how much you drink there, until you receive the bill :) Also, the drive to Vuyani is long, if you come in from Jo'burg airport. Andre is usually the driver (we had Michael too) but he will share lots of African information and history for you through the drive if you want him to and the countryside is lovely. You are also able to stop for lunch half way, if you'd like. I think the guests that fly in to the more local airport may feel more rested, however.

I'm an international school teacher out of Amsterdam (though being American) and I learned so much about nature, animals, birds, etc. from every single Vuyani staff member. The staff is super knowledgeable. You also learn so much from the other guests. The intimacy of Vuyani, again as so many have mentioned, allows you to get to know the other guests, well. They are all so interesting, smart and from all over the world. Vuyani staff say that the guests are primarily American, though not so with the group I was with. We had Australians, Brazilians, Canadians, Nigerians and Americans on our stay. You will likely stay in contact with the other guests, sharing photos and the like.

You are in good hands. You will not want to leave this place and you will be immediately planning how you can come back again. If you're looking for a safari lodge, this is it.

Best to you and great success, Gerard....
Heidi Fernandez

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank HeidiF77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lillian, Alabama
Level Contributor
76 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
Reviewed January 2, 2013

We spent 5 nights here and had a wonderful time. The hospitality shown by the entire staff made our stay at this safari lodge a unique and enjoyable one. We liked that is a small lodge which meant a more intimate experience. The cuisine was very good with the food and settings changing at every meal. The kitchen staff made sure to accommodate any requests and we loved being able to watch them as they prepared every meal. Although we were not fortunate to see all of the big 5, the animals we did see on every game drive were enough to keep us satisfied. This was our second safari in South Africa and we would definitely recommend this lodge, especially for first timers. It is a great value.

Room Tip: All of the rooms seemed good. We stayed in main lodge which was fine. The separate cottages seemed...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank hulagirl50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Vuyani Safari Lodge

Property: Vuyani Safari Lodge
Address: Moditlo Private, Hoedspruit 1380, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > Limpopo Province > Hoedspruit
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 104 Specialty Lodging in Hoedspruit
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Vuyani Safari Lodge 4.5*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Vuyani Safari Lodge is located on the Moditlo Private Game Reserve within the Blue Canyon Conservancy which is more than 36,000 acres in size. Located next to the Kruger National Park, at the foot of the Drakensberg mountain range, Vuyani Safari Lodge is one of South Africa's premier luxury safari lodges, in the country's most famous area for African wildlife. The Vuyani Safari Lodge is one of only 3 lodges on this reserve, and with only 10 suites, it offers one of the most exclusive African safari experiences in South Africa. The reserve offers a unique opportunity to observe all of Africa's large game such as the lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, hippo and crocodile as well as some of the very rarest species, amongst others the wild dog, the brown hyena, the ground hornbill, cheetahs and several other highly endangered animals. Almost 400 various species of birds have been counted. Some of the rarest European migratory birds visit the reserve in the European winter months. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Vuyani Safari Hotel Hoedspruit

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