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“There is no place like the Vuyani Safari Lodge!”

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The Vuyani Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“There is no place like the Vuyani Safari Lodge!”
Reviewed February 4, 2013

We stayed at the Vuyani Safari Lodge a couple of weeks ago. We have wanted to go on safari for years now, and after having extensively travelled throughout Asia we thought it was time to finally take the plunge and head to Africa.

We wanted a small lodge with not too many people for a fun but relaxed holiday. And that’s what we got at the Vuyani Safari Lodge (we found them on the internet), and so much more! From the moment Andre picked us up at the airport, to the very last moment they dropped us off at the Hoedspruit airport it was exactly what we had wished for.

The staff is great, Jesse our ranger was very nice and we had many laughs on our safaris drives with him, and we saw all the animals we wanted to see: elephants, lions, even a leopard, which was amazing.

What’s nice about this place is that one tracks and follows tracks until one finds animals, this is really fun, and when one finds the lion or the elephant in the end, then it is all the more rewarding. We stayed 6 nights, and that was probably the right length of time to get into the experience, but we wish we had stayed longer as there is so much to do. We’ll go back again!
One grows so close to this place and its people that one feels like becoming part of a family, everyone knows you on first name basis, and nothing is too much asked for! We also booked a day trip to the Kruger, and Craig (who is also the manager) was a brilliant day guide and we saw more wildlife and a lot of beautiful nature. I would recommend going to the Kruger for a day, as it is more open and one can see certain animals more often than on the Moditlo reserve, but then again we loved the solitude and unbelievable beauty of the many lakes where we stopped for sundowners.

It is true what they told us at the lodge, you may leave Africa, but Africa never leaves you. We certainly never wanted to leave the Vuyani Safari Lodge. We will be back with friends, that’s for sure! (especially with their rates, it is actually very affordable)

And before I forget: the food in this place is the best we’ve ever had. Unforgettable! We are both on a diet now.

Greetings to the team, and many, many thanks for an amazing time!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank Beatrice295424
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Eersel, The Netherlands
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed February 2, 2013

Perhaps our expectations were simply too high. The lodge and it's location are absolutely fabulous, but what they didn't tell us upfront is the fact that the lodge is used as a hunting farm till the end of 2012. Meaning: you can't get close to the animals and get nice pictures because the animals run away when they hear a vehicle coming. For us perhaps not a big deal (we have visited quite a few lodges in private game reserves and enjoyed the 4x4 experience with ranger Pierre and the relaxing pool anyway) but if it's your first game drive, you must be very dissapointed. Vuyani says that they have the big 5, but they don't have the buffalo. We know it's never a guarantee to see animals, but during our 4 game drives we did not see 1 of the big 5 (and the other animals ran of miles before we got a good view). During the last game drive the sighting of wild dogs saved (also the ranger's) day.
Although we know the lodge already excists for a couple of years, it was like they've just started and they are still settling.
Some members of the staff were very friendly, others (management included) need some courses in hospitality.
Final conclusion: good to relax for a few days, but not price worth if you realy want to go on a safari.

Room Tip: we had a room in the main building which was very good, so I guess the honeymoon suites must be even...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
6 Thank KoosHeike
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bernard K, Guest Relations Manager at The Vuyani Safari Lodge, responded to this review, February 2, 2013
Dear Sir,

We are one of the best rated safari lodges in South Africa, and we are sorry we didn't meet your expectations.

I would like to add a few words to clarify a few points however:

- The Vuyani Safari Lodge has been running for almost three and a half years

- We are not a hunting camp! Never have been, never will be! This is a safari game reserve.

- We do not claim to be Big5. We are Big4, as we do not have the buffalo, as you rightly say. Here is the reason: Buffalos ar TB disease carriers, and we have to protect our pack of wild dogs which counts as one of the most endangered species in the world (only approx. 2000 surviving specimen), and wild dogs are extremely vulnerable to TB. We do not want to be Big5 for the (marketing) sake of it, and endanger one of the rarest and most vulnerable animals in Africa as a result.

- We are proud to offer the very lowest rates for the ratings and quality we offer.

In general we feel that a stay of 2 nights is too short a stay at the Vuyani Safari Lodge, and most of our guests will agree with that. 4 safaris is not enough, and in some cases, with bad luck, one doesn't see as much as one wishes. But nature cannot be planned, and sometimes bad luck just happens. We saw a leopard the day you arrived, and we have had some great sightings since as well. We regret that poor luck occurred on this occasion.

We are also at the moment the only safari lodge on a 36,000 acre game reserve, so we cannot rely on information from dozens of other game drive rangers. The upside however is that you get to enjoy one of the most exclusive safaris in South Africa, with no more than 10 guests on a reserve of 36,000 acres, and that is truly unique.

For guests that enjoy the tracking, and then getting to see these animals up close, without anyone else disturbing the sighting (as it is usually the case in Africa), we are absolutely the right lodge. We do not offer the quick Big5 zoo-style box ticking experience however.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
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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Helpful?
3 Thank AnniePez
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rocky Mount, NC
Level 4 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 4 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 2 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.
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Additional Information about The Vuyani Safari Lodge

Property: The Vuyani Safari Lodge
Address: | Moditlo Private Game Reserve, 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 Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 104 Specialty Lodging in Hoedspruit
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — The 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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