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“"Perfect Safari Experience"” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Marc's Treehouse Lodge

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Marc's Treehouse Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Toronto, Canada
1 review
“"Perfect Safari Experience"”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 20, 2013

My mom and I spent 7 days at Marc's and enjoyed it immensely. All of the staff were incredibly friendly and always willing to accomodate to suit your needs. Personally, we did a volunteer safari and somehow they still managed to get us all the animal viewing experiences. I could not have asked for anything better as the food was always delicious making Marc's feel like home.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Pam C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VivaSafaris, General Manager at Marc's Treehouse Lodge, responded to this review, July 26, 2013
Hi Pam

Thank you for writing such a great review.

I am happy that you and your Mom found the safari experience perfect. I am pleased that in the seven days you were at Marc's you found the staff always friendly.

We appreciate and respect all our guests that are involved with Volunteer Safaris. The communities really benefit greatly from the work that you do. We are very grateful that through your actions, Viva Safaris can put something back into the local communities. May God bless you !

We are pleased that you enjoyed the game viewing experiences and that you really liked the food. I am especially glad that you were treated so well that you felt you were at home.

Once again, we thank you for volunteering.

Kind regards

Piero Colia
General Manager, VIVA SAFARIS
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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336 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (100)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
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  • Swedish first
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English first
Clane, Ireland
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 14, 2013

We stayed in the Treehouse lodge as part of our honeymoon. We had a fantastic stay in our treehouse and the staff couldn't have been more helpful. The food was delicious and the entire experience of sharing our environment with buffalo, impala and monkeys was fantastic. We'd highly recommend this camp as it is so unique.

Room Tip: The treetop lodge is fantastic !
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank NickBreeze
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VivaSafaris, General Manager at Marc's Treehouse Lodge, responded to this review, July 18, 2013
Hi Nick

Thanks for a great review.
I am extremely pleased that you and your fiance were able to celebrate your honeymoon so happily - surrounded, as you say, by buffalo, impala and monkeys.
We are especially pleased that you found the staff so helpful - you are quite right when you describe them as "Amazing ".
Thank you

Piero Colia
General Manager, Viva Safaris
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 13, 2013 via mobile

Wonderful/ friendly staff, food was delicious. Had good times during story time around the camp fire in the evening. The stories were insightful and helped us to learn about other cultures. The lady who runs the camp (story teller - I just forgot her name) was very friendly and we enjoyed here hospitality. Liked the way she professionally co-ordinated the program. The food was delicious. Except for the geyser that was not heating water hot enough in our room (no. 11) the facilities at the camp were good. Had a wonderful full day game drive in the main kruger park with Dominic. To top it all, our drive back to Johannesburg via the Blyde river canyon with Isaac was amazing. What a wonderful experience of nature at its best. I also want to express my gratitude for the driving experience with your drivers. They drive safely and they are very courteous with their passengers. Just to name a few whose names I still remember: Thabo, Raymond, Isaac and the one who took over from Isaac in Nelspruit on our way back to Johannesbug on 11 July. Wonderful people. Overally, we had an excellent time. We wii do it again.

  • Stayed July 2013
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Nobu190599
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VivaSafaris, General Manager at Marc's Treehouse Lodge, responded to this review, July 18, 2013
Hi Nobu

Thanks for a great review,
We are pleased that you found our food delicious.
I appreciate your comment re learning from stories while seated around the atmospheric campfire- it is really a wonderful way to .get to know more about the REAL Africa from REAL Africans !
I shall pass on your congratulations to our hostess, Pretty.

I also appreciate your praise for our drivers - it is a very important part of the safari and I am pleased that you found Thabo, Isaac and Raymond very safe and professional.

Kind regards

Piero Colia
General Manager, Viva Safaris
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Copenhagen, Denmark
Level Contributor
2 reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 9, 2013

My boyfriend and I stayed at Marc's Treehouse Lodge for two nights during our Kruger experience and it was great! The staff was very friendly and helpful, the food tasteful, the dining areas very cosy and our treehouse was charming with a intimate atmosphere. One evening we even had a visit from a buffalo just outside our treehouse - that was truly an amazing experience and something we will always remember.

Room Tip: It gets quite cold in the treehouses during winter.
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Katia G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rochester, New York
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 5, 2013

I had a fantastic experience at Marc's Treehouse. I booked a 4 day, 3 night tented safari with Viva Safari through African Budget Travel. I had 1 night at Tremisana and 2 in a tent at Marc's Treehouse.

First off, I loved Marc's Treehouse. It was exactly the type of place and trip I was looking for. Read the reviews carefully though. I can imagine it isn't for everyone, but if you want to see nature and don't need/want lots of frills, I think it is perfect. I've commented below on things I wanted to know before going, or things it would have been helpful to know.

Staff: AMAZING. I had great experiences with the staff at Marc's. Everyone has their favorites, but for guides I recommend Isaac, and if you have any problems, go to Pretty. She will do what she can to make your trip great.

Itinerary: They may try and change your itinerary. Some people were thrilled to get (for instance) an extra day at Kruger verse the animal rescue hospital, others weren't. If you don't want the change, just say so. They will definitely work with you. I found them to be amazing in that regard. Just don't suffer in silence.

Clothes: In the winter, it is really cold at night and in the trucks during the drives but warm when you aren't driving. Dress in layers. I also recommend a hat. Oh, and bring clothes that can get snagged for the bush walk.

Hair dryer: There aren't any. In winter this is a bit of a problem. I recommend bringing one, or you'll freeze while your hair dries.

Security: The tent's have padlocks. The staff can also lock up laptops, etc.

Cash: The lunch places had a range of prices, of course, but the average meal + beverage was about 80 Rand. The bar prices at Tremisana and Marc's are very reasonable. You could probably have 2 beers + a bottle of water for about 50 Rand a night.

Gratuities: bring lots of 10s and 20s for these. There are often 2 staff members per drive/walk.

Food: I'm not sure why people have felt there wasn't enough food. At both places, it was possible to get seconds on some parts of breakfast and dinner, but I never had room. I would recommend bringing small snacks though. To accommodate the walks and drives, you may go out before breakfast and/or have breakfast early and dinner late. I was glad I had brought a few cereal bars.

Bush Walks (depending on itinerary): the 3.5 hour and 1 hour bush walks can be quite different. During our 1 hour the guides focused more on living off the land than on animal tracks. I thought it was worth getting up for. You can sleep on the way back to Jo-burg.

Tremisana is nice, but as other reviewers have said, you can hear traffic. They've masked it well with fountains, but in my room (near the pool) the traffic was the main sound, which definitely brings down the ambiance.

If you are debating, and want to see nature, I highly recommend Marc's over Tremisana.

Room Tip: tremisana vs Marc's: tremisana has more amenities but is near the main road. Marc's is far m...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Angela T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Massies Mill, Virginia
Level Contributor
86 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 3, 2013

We stayed at Marc's Treehouse for three nights and enjoyed several walking safaris and bush drives. The area is amazing! We had water buffalo under our treehouse and watched giraffes, kudus, and nyala from our back porch! The staff were friendly and helpful and the naturalists/guides were wonderful; knowledgeable, friendly, and professional. The days spent in Kruger National Park were unforgettable! I absolutely loved the treehouse accommodations and most things about the lodge.
There were several transportation/communication issues during the trip, however, that almost caused us to miss our international flights home. The drive back to Johannesburg from the lodge took a total of 10 hours. More than an hour and a half was spent sitting in the van in a parking lot in Nelspruit waiting for our next driver. That driver then told us that there was no way that we would be getting to the airport at the stated time. Unfortunately he was correct and we got to the airport more than two hours late. From the sound of things, this was not an isolated incident.
While I would definitely recommend staying in Marc's Treehouse and enjoying the wonderful people and safari opportunities, I would DEFINITELY book a late evening flight out (no earlier than 9:30). The drive back to Johannesburg was absolutely horrible...worrying for 10 hours about missing the flight. (Incidently, we arrived at the airport at the end of boarding...made it by the skin of our teeth)!

Room Tip: Treehouse number 5 is the highest and affords a beautiful view of the river!
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Beezzz7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VivaSafaris, General Manager at Marc's Treehouse Lodge, responded to this review, July 4, 2013
Hi there

Thank you for taking the time to write a review on your experience. I am pleased that you found the safari amazing. I am also happy that you enjoyed Marc's Treehouse Lodge with the animals literally at your doorstep. It must have been very exciting to see buffalo, giraffe, kudu and nyala from your deck !

It is a pity that you experienced the delay with transportation. As you know, Viva Safaris collects each and every client from their homes, hotels, hostels and airport. On the whole our clients appreciate that we are doing this for their safety and security and are therefore on timel. However from time to time we have to deal with the individual who has a very poor understanding of the meaning of punctuality. The delay has a knock-on effect and as a result we may be late. We apologise for the stress you must have experienced.

I am glad that you managed to make your flight - even if it was by the skin of your teeth !

Kind regards
Piero Colia
General Manager
Viva Safaris
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 30, 2013

After a bit of research it seems Tremisana and Marc's Treehouse are both owned from Viva Safaris. There doesn't seem to be a page for Viva itself so I will include info about the safari experience and both accommodation sites in this review.

My wife and I booked a 4 day budget safari with Viva which included 3 nights accommodation (1 night in a room at Tremisana and 2 nights in a treehouse at Marc's), breakfast and dinner each day, 2 evening game drives (2 hours duration), 1 day drive in Kruger itself, 2 morning walks and transport to and from the airport.

First things first - the price was good. 5000 rand each was a very fair price.

Secondly, the camp managers at both Tremisana and Marc's Treehouse were very friendly and helpful. Also, the drivers and guides on gamedrives were the same.

That said, let's talk about some of the negatives.

We arrived to the airport 2 hours late due to a flight delay out of our control. Rang the supplied number and was informed it would cost another 1000 Rand to get us to the accommodation for that night or we could wait until the next day and miss half the activities. This wasn't a great start and we were delayed but having been in similar situations I have received much better treatment. When we found the driver he was not a great communicator and couldn't tell us where exactly we were going or when we were getting there. When we did get there we had to pay him cash and he didn't provide a receipt which I was after for a travel insurance claim. I did get the receipt eventually.

Accommodation at Tresamania was clean and the shower hot. As we were there in winter things were a bit cold. There was not any heating but plenty of blankets were provided. Food as most people have said was nice but was home standard and was lacking in quantity.

Accommodation at the treehouses was clean but very very cold. The rooms are not fully enclosed, have no heating and as a result are freezing. I went to have a shower in the morning but gave up as the shower could only offer a dribble (literally) of water. As another reviewer mentioned, there is a bit of a walk from reception to the treehouses and then stairs so think about this when packing. Food was more of the same - tasty but a bit more quantity this time. The surroundings were beautiful - just bring ear plugs as the river is a bit noisy when you are trying to sleep. (I think the beauty outweighs any complaint about the noise however!)

A note about game drives in winter - it is cold, really cold. They provide a blanket but driving at night in an open top vehicle during the SA winter is very cold. This was at its worst when driving back in an open top vehicle for an hour from Kruger back to the accommodation - there was a plastic cover put over for the long drive but it did little to keep the cold out. The tour operators can't help the climate but a better equipped vehicle is order me thinks to keep customers from being almost painfully cold.

All in all you get what you pay for. The accommodation and safari in general was, as I say in the title, average. I suspect there are better experiences to be had for perhaps a little more. I would certainly look elsewhere if I were coming back and probably wouldn't recommend this tour organisation or the accommodation.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank themot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VivaSafaris, General Manager at Marc's Treehouse Lodge, responded to this review, July 2, 2013
Hi there
Thanks for a constructive review.
I am pleased that you were generally happy.I am happy that you found our staff very good.

In answer to the negatives :

We cannot be responsible for the airline's late arrival. We leave from JNB international by 09h30 latest so as to arrive at Tremisana by 16h30 in time for Sunset Drive. By law our drivers have a 1 hour lunch break. We had to engage a freelance guide to get you to the lodge - which at the rate of R 500 per person is far better than any other transfer operator !
You cannot expect the freelance guide to issue a receipt - this should have been requested from management.

On the HOME PAGE of our website, www.vivasafaris.com we compare and contrast Tremisana and Marc's Treehouses.It is clearly stated that the treehouses have reed walls and climate control is minimal. Our staff inform me that you were given additional blankets. Similarly the open gameviewers have canvas walls so once again blankets are provided.

Thanks for your time in writing the review
Sincerely
Piero Colia
General Manager, Viva Safaris
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Marc's Treehouse Lodge

Property: Marc's Treehouse Lodge
Address: Motlala Game Reserve, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park
Hotel Style:
Ranked #76 of 170 Specialty Lodging in Kruger National Park
Number of rooms: 21
Also Known As:
Marc`s Treehouse Hotel Kruger National Park

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