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The Vuyani Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 12, 2013

How do we add to the excellent comments made by others? Vuyani is all we expected and so much more. So how can we help go ready to enjoy the experience of a lifetime?

Accommodation: You have choices! there are 3 rooms within the lodge itself; 2 separate honeymoon suites within 50 yards walk from the lodge and, as of mid October 2013, 2 brand new honeymoon sites. We were in one of the original honeymoon suites which is a self contained thatched building consisting of a small entrance porch, a spacious bedroom with king-sized bed. This opens out to a private veranda with chairs and table and your own hot tub. Continuing inside there is a bathroom with good sized bath. This opens out to an outside shower.

The newer honeymoon suites are very similar to this but have an additional indoor shower. (a good addition as it is sometimes a bit cold for an outside shower!!)

My preference would be to be in one of these honeymoon suites, but there is a down side. As you are not in some sanitised hotel with fences keeping nature at bay, you will be visited by lots of animals. For the most part this is delightful - kudu and nyala grazing feet from your window - but in the dark it means that you have to be escorted to and from the main lodge which feels a little constraining. That said, having gone to sleep listening to the roar of the nearby lions, we were happy to comply!!

The Game Drives: Game drives are provided twice a day. Again, nothing sanitised here. You go out with an experienced ranger (who acts as the driver) and tracker. Most other lodges use a single Ranger. The advantage is that with two pairs of experienced eyes they pick up on the tracks of the animals and are able to follow them far better.

Be prepared, temperatures can vary tremendously. We experienced early morning drives that required multiple layers, hats, scarves and gloves when they set off at 5:30am - but you were stripped down to tee-shirts by the time you got back to the lodge 3 hours later. While daytime temperatures were getting into the high 30's C, at night it was down to 5 or 6 degrees.

This is no zoo so there is never any guarantee that you will see the particular animal you want to see but the tracker and ranger are so good at finding interesting things and teaching you about the bush we enjoyed every one of them. Oh, and we did get to see the 'big five' as well as more impala and wildebeest than you could shake a stick at.

Getting Some Exercise: This is a problem. You cannot exactly go for a jog (or even a walk) given the abundance of predators around you. There is a small swimming pool but not big enough for meaningful exercise. Combine this with fabulous food and wine and you should be prepared to put on a couple of pounds... but its worth it for the fabulous photos and the great company.

Finally... go now! Africa is changing fast. The increased human population and the scourge of poaching is threatening this beauty and diversity. Over 700 rhinos have been slaughtered by poachers this year alone. Simple maths say that at this rate you will not see a rhino in the wild in 5 years time. And it's not just rhinos. With the number of tigers in Asia dropping, the eastern medicine trade is turning its attention to lions; and then there are the plants and birds that are being poached. If you put this trip off for 10 years you simple will not be able to take it.

Leave your makeup and fancy clothes at home and be prepared for the time of your life.

Thank you Vuyani... a great great honeymoon.

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Neil B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bernard K, Manager at The Vuyani Safari Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded October 13, 2013

Dear Neil,

Many thanks for your excellent review, and the many details of your stay you have added to your description, that's rreally great. I am so pleased you had a great time, and that we made your honeymoon a special one. It was a real pleasure hosting you here, and we would love to welcome you here again in the future!

Africa is changing indeed, but in many ways also in good ways. Poaching is on the increase again, unfortunately, but thankfully more is now being done against it too. Rhino poaching in particular is a big problem, and so it comes as great news that our own rhino population is actually growing right now and has been for years, and we have now also introduced black rhino to our large reserve. It shows that eco-tourism is the way forward for wildlife preservation, and that's another reason to be happy for every single visitor we have in this utmostly spectacular spot on earth: by sharing it, and showing it to the world, we raise awareness, and raise the necesary funds to protect it against those who seek only short-term gains and destroy it all on their path.
Many thanks again for visiting our lodge and reserve, rest assured that with our stewardship you will find it blossoming if you come back in 5 years, or hopefully even sooner! Yebo!

Kind regards,

Bernard

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Reviewed October 9, 2013

We thoroughly enjoyed our five day stay at Vuyani Lodge. The fantastic staff really makes this lodge stand out. We went on twice daily game drives and the tracker and ranger were fantastic. The staff went out of their way to accommodate us. The rooms were nice and comfortable. The food for the most part was great and the staff put forth significant effort to prepare the meals. It's a smaller lodge when compared to some of the neighboring ones. The intimate, cozy lodge and smaller size made for a special experience. We strongly recommend a treadmill or some other way to exercise.

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank 386trugrit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bernard K, Manager at The Vuyani Safari Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded October 20, 2013

Dear Ted,

Many thanks for your positive review! We are delighted that you enjoyd your stay at the Vuyani Safari Lodge, and that you were pleased with both the food and the safaris.

Many thanks for your recommendation. We do have a treadmill, it is just that noone ever asks for it. We provide one upon request. Next time! We would love to welcome you here again in the future!

Kind regards,

Bernard

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Reviewed October 3, 2013

My husband and I experienced our first safari with the good people at Vuyani. Every day of our stay brought intense, thrilling game drives with our intrepid driver and tracker; educational and beautiful excursions; personalized service; delicious dining at every meal. Our accommodation (within the lodge itself) was very comfortable. The bathroom was large and well laid-out, but one area of concern I had was the lack of ventilation there, which seems to be contributing to the growth of some mould on the walls and ceiling of the shower area. This might present problems going forward if it isn't addressed.

Overall our impressions of the lodge and the staff were very, very good. The demographic of the other guests (varying ages from newly-weds, to friends traveling together, to long-time couples) made for an eclectic mix of conversation at meal times. What I particularly liked was the feeling that even though certain times were meant to be communal, social gatherings, there was no pressure to be part of a group if one felt like sitting separately, seeking peace and solitude. The property is small, but there are secluded areas of refuge if that's what you're looking for.

I feel like a 4-star rating doesn't quite capture the true value I place on our experience here: if I could break it down another way, I would definitely award 5 stars to the whole staff for all their hard work and desire to make the guests happy and comfortable, as well as the quality of and experience on the game drives. I think I would give the property itself 4 stars, mostly because I felt (and this is my own personal issue) a little cooped up physically. I had a need to move around more than I was allowed to: you sit on the game drives, sit for your meals, go to bed early (right after dinner) because of early morning wake-up calls: there is nowhere to go for a walk to burn off excess energy or get the kinks out of your body after a bumpy game drive, because of potentially dangerous wildlife roaming the adjacent property. Yes there is a pool, but when we were there, the water was still very cold as it was still officially winter. My suggestion, then, would be for the installation of a small fitness facility with a treadmill or bike for the casual user.

The memories of the encounters with the animals at Vuyani and during our excursion at Kruger (thank you again for such an amazing day, Justine!) will be carried with us forever. We might never have an opportunity to return to South Africa for another safari, but we would certainly recommend Vuyani Safari Lodge to our family and friends.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank OntarioWatergirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bernard K, Manager at The Vuyani Safari Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded November 5, 2013

Many thanks for your review.

I am pleased that you rate the team and the food at 5 stars, as well as the safaris, while of course we are not happy that you felt the lodge only deserved 4 stars because of the lack of physical activity opportunities on offer. We do have an exercise bike at the lodge, which any guest can use, at any location of the lodge. But the manager told me that they got no request for this. We also offer river rafting and bush walks in the Kruger Park as extra activities, so it is a shame that this seems to not have been taken up on this occasion. Next time! :-)

Kind regards,

Bernard

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Reviewed September 9, 2013

We just got back from a week long stay at Vuyani Lodge in early September 2013. This place deserves all of the rave reviews it gets! First of all, the staff are AMAZING!! They go out of their way to make your vacation special without it seeming like a "job" to them! They will set up any excursion you may want and coordinate all of the time tables etc, plus, drive you to and from the destinations, so you can just enjoy the time that you are there without being bogged down in the logistics of everything.

In addition to the great staff, the accommodations are luxurious, clean, and very large! We stayed in one of the honeymoon suites and I would highly recommend it! We had a hot tub, which was great after the game drives, plus, it was very secluded and quiet. You do have to be escorted after dark to the cottage, but it's not a problem at all. The lodge also has a beautiful pool, as well as common areas that are open to the outside with views to the Drakensburg Mountains - Absolutely Stunning!!

The food was plentiful and delicious and each night they would set up dinner in a different way...some nights were in the Boma for a Braai (barbeque) by the fire, some nights you would have your own table, and some nights, a group table. All of the other guests we met at Vuyani were so friendly and by the end of the week, you are fast friends.

The game drives with Mike and Ujai were our favorite activity while we were there. We saw lions, giraffe, zebra, impala, water buffalo, monkeys, warthog and many more animals on the game reserve. We almost didn't need to go to Kruger for the amount of animals we were able to get close too right around the lodge. Mike is very knowledable about the animals he spots, and also has the most incredible eagle eye - he can spot the tiniest of an animals in a tree in the dark! Ujai is the most incredible tracker. Not only can he follow animal prints through the most difficult terrain, but he can also smell the animals he's tracking which made our game drives each day incredibly successful...The two together make a dynamite team!

All in all, I can't say enough good things about Vuyani. The place is very small, and very special. I would HIGHLY recommend it to anyone, and we can't wait to go back again in the future.

Room Tip: Honeymoon Cottages are the most quiet and secluded and also have hot tubs
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  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with friends
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7  Thank Stella249
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bernard K, Manager at The Vuyani Safari Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded November 10, 2013

Dear Stella,

Many thanks for your stellar review!

Indeed our staff loves what they do, and that's understandable: they work at one of the most beautiful spots in the country (ie. in the world, as a consequence). I am so pleased you enjoyed the safaris with Uyai and Mike, and that you enjoyed the accommodation.

We'd love to welcome you here again, please let me know as and when, and I will take care of everything.

Kind regards,

Bernard

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Reviewed September 7, 2013

We chose this Lodge based on the excellent trip advisor reviews and reading through them you would think there is nothing that can be said that hasn't been said before. But quite honestly there is .... this is like being invited to the home of your best friends. From the moment we stepped into the Lodge we felt part of a very welcoming family. Every one of the staff is a credit to the Lodge, so very friendly but very much aware of their professional positions.

The game drives, guided expertly by wonderful personalities are beyond excellent. They give a running commentary on every fact about each animal and if you want to know more these guys certainly have the answer. We certainly enjoyed some very up close and personal moments inches away from lions and elephant that has left an indelible memory.

The Lodge is quite lovely. It is beautifully and comfortably furnished in a rustic African style. The beds are enormous and the bathrooms world class. The cuisine, expertly cooked by among others a Prue Leigh graduate, is superb catering for every dietary requirement. They have a full bar including some excellent South African beers and wines. We never left the table without being absolutely satisfied.

Everyday was as busy or as quiet as we chose. Vuyani run some wonderful trips which are all on their website. All are worth doing if you have the time. We chose the Kruger National Park, words can't express the excitement of the day and the sheer joy of seeing Africa's magnificent creatures ranging over an area the size of Wales. We also visited the Blyde River Canyon, the world's third largest canyon and a breath taking experience.

Like a ski chalet the other guests make an impact on your stay, but as like minded people you hope to meet people similar to yourselves. We met the most amazing characters. As the reviews have said before, you arrive as strangers but leave as friends.

Hats off to every one of the staff at Vuyani, you made our stay a totally unforgettable experience.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank carolinerevell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bernard K, Manager at The Vuyani Safari Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded October 26, 2013

Dear Caroline,

Many thanks for your positive and very detailed review. I was thrilled to read that we made your stay at the lodge an unforgettable experience.

It was really nice meeting you and your husband at the lodge, and I really enjoyed our late night chats. I am looking forward to meeting with you again when we are in Abu Dhabi, that would be a pleasure.

Kind regards,

Bernard

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Reviewed September 5, 2013

We had 5 nights at Vuyani in late Aug 2013. What can I say? We absolutely loved it. T

he staff are brilliant - friendly and accommodating and yet not at all intrusive. Its obvious that they have a passion for both Vuyani and the animals. They are also superb hosts. We can't speak highly enough of Uyai, Jono and Mike who were trackers / rangers on our game drives and day trip to Kruger. Without them we wouldn't have seen a fraction of the animals that we did. We saw a huge variety of wildlife during our 5 days - Cheetahs on 3 game drives, lions hunting ( sadly for us they didnt get the wildebeest), rhino on 2 seperate drives, honey badgers, loads of giraffe and all variety of antelopes, the elephant herd, heaps of interesting birds and the hipps on several occasions. (all at Vuyani) Whilst the game viewing was fantastic, one of the real highlights for us was all the things we saw and discovered on the day the animals went into hiding. Jono took the time to fill our drive with stories about termite mounds, birds, mongooses that we saw, a Rhino rubbing post (sounds odd but actually i was fascinated by it). The small things actually make the experience so much better - like the stories that tracker OJ, guides Mike and Jono can tell you. Aggi ( night watch) has some amazing stories of his own. As do Janus, Gerard, Craig and Justine. If you come here, seriously take the time to get to know the staff - they absolutely made the experience for us. Some of our favourtie memories are Uyai tracking 2 cheetah for 6km and then finding them - the man is amazing. Some of the things he says which are completely normal ( and true) but which we were enthralled by..... I smell porcupine..... The baboons are chasing the cheetah, they went this way about 5 minutes ago ..... two giraffe were fighting here about 30mins ago.... to people who live in the city - wow! We also saw baboobs and warthogs going under and over the electric fence INTO the reserve.

Do the day trip to Kruger - its an awesome experience - Herds of animals, its enormous and if you like eagles - we saw dozens of them. We also saw hyena here which we didnt see at Vuyani.

Andre picked us up from JNB and the drive from JNB to Vuyani, for us was interesting (thanks to Andre's chatter) and scenic. Its actually a really good way to leave the city behind and gradually get closer to the resort.

The kitchen staff whip up good, wholesome home style food. Loved the Boboti, pap and Malva pudding - they should totally have South African dishes on the menu every night. The Boma is an experience not to be missed ( we were lucky enough to eat their twice). The home made bread is delicious.

We certainly hope to be back.... we met some wonderful people ( other guests and staff) and had one of the best holidays ever.

Thanks everyone at Vuyani ! You should be very proud of what you have here.

Room Tip: We stayed in the main lodge - it was quiet and lovely - Room 3.
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  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank norfolkjill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bernard K, Manager at The Vuyani Safari Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded October 20, 2013

Dear Jill,

Many thanks for your amazing review. I am always amazed, and humbled, but the amount of detail and work some reviewers put into the reviews, and we all hugely appreciate that. It certainly gives future guests an accurate and detailed account of what a safari is like here.

I am very happy to hear that you loved the safaris, the food, the ambience, and the staff, and that you enjoyed an excellent holiday. Please visit us again, we'd love to host you here again!

Kind regards,

Bernard

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Reviewed September 1, 2013

My husband, Daughter and I stayed here in July 2013, this was our first safari and definitely not our last. Everyone made us feel welcome including our fab guide mike and his spotter. It was a beautiful place with great food! Although not suitable for children my 17 year daughter was made very welcome. The three of us were put in the honeymoon suite which was roomy and beautiful with a jacuzzi and views of the amazing animals, There were lost of laughs along the way but tears when we had to depart. Thank you all for making our stay so perfect we honestly couldn't fault it.
The ESSEX CROWD ( Tracey, Shannon and Mike ) .

Room Tip: The honeymoon suite was gorgeous!
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank TraceyThompsonspain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bernard K, Manager at The Vuyani Safari Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded October 7, 2013

Dear Tracey,

Many thanks for your glowing review, it made us very happy to see that you had such a good time here. We hope to see you again here some time soon!

Greetings to Essex! :-)

Kind regards,

Bernard

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Additional Information about 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 #3 of 103 Specialty Lodging in Hoedspruit
Price Range: $429 - $671 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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