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“Exceptional”

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Imbali Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed May 31, 2014

One needs to have taste to appreciate the quality of Imbali experience. Trevor and his wife, the owners of this luxurious lodge, are simply exceptional hosts. The two of them went out of their way to receive us at the Orpen gate of Kruger as we had arrived after the gate closing hours. The couple had made the necessary arrangements and were so kind to drive about 45 mins. (one way) to meet us at the gate and escort us to the lodge. We were greeted by a mostly warm but some times slightly unprofessional serving staff. Note that the owners and managers were exceptionally hospitable and professional and constantly went out of their way to make the experience memorable for our three children and for us. In addition to the morning and evening safari, they arranged a special mini safari appropriate for our little one to make sure that he gets a piece of the experience - truly a class act. Imbali has probably some of the best chefs working for them. The lavish meals served at the lodge are simply delectable. The property is very well maintained with high quality furniture all around. Imbali is a great place to relax and luxuriously and peacefully enjoy wilderness. It offers internet to stay connected to the outside world but rightfully no TV. If you are visiting Kruger to watch TV, then your taste is quite different then ours and you may find Imbali a misfit for your taste. Truly, one needs to have the taste to appreciate the hospitality of owners and managers and quality of the lodge.

  • Stayed: March 2014
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1  Thank Raza1234
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LBucceri, Marketing representative at Imbali Safari Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded June 1, 2014

Dear Raza1234,

We are delighted that you had a wonderful holiday at Imbali Safari Lodge... thank you for posting your comments on Tripadvisor. We hope to welcome you back soon.

With warmest regards,
The Imbali team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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176 - 182 of 405 reviews

Reviewed May 16, 2014

We have just spent a couple of nights at the lodge and cannot praise the team enough for everything. From the hospitality on arrival until the singing and dancing on departure, the service, food, game drives and location is absolutely outstanding. Staff went beyond expectation in making it the most memorable of stays. Should anyone want a bush wedding, there is no better place.This is definitely 5 starin all aspects.

Room Tip: We dont think you will find any rooms better than the others, all excellent
  • Stayed: May 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank Toppie2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LBucceri, Marketing representative at Imbali Safari Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded May 18, 2014

Dear Toppie2014,

Thank you for your lovely review on Tripadvisor. We are delighted that you enjoyed your stay with us, and we hope to welcome you back to Imbali again soon.

Warmest regards,
The Imbali Team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 13, 2014

Stayed for 3 nights and our cottage wasn't just the cleanest - dusty and floors about the same. The staff was very attentive and the food was good. A couple of nights the staff entertained us with songs. Safari guide Nick was amazing and our rides never disappointed. He actually had dinner with us one night - very knowledgeable young man. Our plunge pool was layered in dirt & dust. Would we go back? No. Big disappointment in that we were to be at Sabi Sands and accommodations got changed 2 days before we left. Someone said this happens quite often in Africa.

Room Tip: No choice as they are individual cottages.
  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled with friends
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Thank brab2b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LBucceri, Marketing representative at Imbali Safari Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded May 14, 2014

Dear Brab2b,

Thank you for your review on Tripadvisor. We are so glad you enjoyed the safaris with Nick, and that the food and staff made your holiday memorable.

We are disappointed to read about the issues you have raised with the dust in the room and the pool. Winter is a dry time of year for us, and we had unseasonal high winds in April which blew the dust all over the lodge. The pools are cleaned on a daily basis, but cannot be emptied every day as we are in a water sensitive area. We are looking at solutions that will not waste water. We have discussed the issue with housekeeping to avoid this problem happening again.

We hope to welcome you back to Imbali Safari Lodge for another holiday.

Regards,
The Imbali team

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Reviewed April 21, 2014

Me and my husband (30 and young ) stayed at Imbali during April 1-4 for 3 nights. We drove from Joberg in our own car and entered Kruger from Paul Kriger Gate. We dint expect the lodge to be reached through 20 kms of unpaved road. It was a bit scary in the evening time to reach the location on a small hatchback car. So , if you plan to drive around on your own( you should !!) , definitely pick an SUV/Jeep or something taller. The bushes around that area are 5 feet tall :) We loved our guide "Andrew" who was introduced to us during the first day dinner time. He is amazingly knowledgeable and friendly guy. We had 2 early morning game drives where we spotted leopard ( one on action on top of a tree , another catching fish near the river area ) , lioness and cubs( 3 lioness and 8 cubs) , hyena, wild dogs, rhino , elephant herds and all the rest animals. The best part was on one of the evening safari on the drive back, Andrew was smart and patient enough to spot a leopard crossing right in front of the road, 2 wild buffalo's..he stopped right there when he spotted 3 lions nearby. It was amazing to watch the 3 lions attack on the buffalo in pitch dark where we could hear the roar stopped right 5 meters besides the scene. The lions walked right around our vehicle when they re-planned their strategic attack and walked towards the rest 8 cubs which were lying just few meters away from the scene. I guess we felt the luckiest here to get Andrew as our guide :) Our room faced the dry land and we missed the river facing room. It was dry yet calm and peaceful to enjoy the tiny plunge pool at the back. The staff is extremely friendly. There were no mosquitoes during our time of stay, yet the room was serviced 2 times every day during our safari drives, Do not miss THURSDAY, as they had an amazing barbecue (lamb, kudo, chicken)and candle light dinner arrangements for everyone outside :) we were surprised with African music and dance by the chef and staff:) IMBALI made our Kruger visit memorable :) Both stay and safari is an unforgettable experience. If you are looking for great game drives and a comfortable stay with good food, we would highly recommend them. Thanks to the team.

Room Tip: Pick one with river view better than a dry forest :)
  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank RjWrld
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LBucceri, Marketing representative at Imbali Safari Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded April 21, 2014

Dear RjWrld,

Thank you for your feedback. We are delighted that you had such a fantastic safari experience with us. Andrew is an extraordinary guide, and we will pass your compliments on to him.

We hope to welcome you back to Imbali Safari Lodge soon.

Best regards,
The Imbali team

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Reviewed April 15, 2014

Our family of 8 including two girls aged 8 and 12 spent 3 nights at this lodge in South Africa and were blown away by the quality of service and the enthusiasm of the staff. Special kudos to game drive guides John and Andrew, and servers Winston and Baldwin who went out of their way to make our visit memorable. We enjoyed massages from Larado along with her smiling face at the dining room. We saw ALL the "big five" in the first 24 hours at the lodge. When we arrived, John, met us in the driveway exclaiming, "jump in the truck, there is a leopard just outside the gate! I've been waiting for you to arrive to show you and there is also a pride of female lions walking on the road just a mile from here"!!! On THAT particular sunset drive, we also came upon three hyenas eating the remains of a wildebeest. Imbali has just 12 units so is intimate and quiet. All meals and Two game drives per day are included with your stay.

Room Tip: You might want to ask for a "river view" as some baboons and impala come to the river for...
  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled with family
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1  Thank Micki D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LBucceri, Marketing representative at Imbali Safari Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded April 16, 2014

Dear Micki D,

Thank you for your positive review. Your feedback has been passed on to the team who are so glad that they made your safari memorable. We are delighted that you had a great holiday with us, and we hope to welcome you and your family back to Imbali soon.

Regards,
The Imbali team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 8, 2014

My sister & I visited in Feb 2014. It was just awesome, from the moment we arrived we were welcomed by a great host, Julian. He was so friendly but professional as well. The rooms at Imbali at really great. I loved the fact that we had our own plunge pool. We over looked a dry riverbed, very peaceful. The layout of the room was perfect, lovely bathrooms, beds were so comfy. I give 10 stars to the chef, the food was really good, quite a wide variety of dishes.
Our game ranger really went out of his way to ensure we had a good sightings. We saw the Big 5 on the 1st day we were there. A lot of other lodges I have been to have a "schedule" laid out for there guests during the day. At Imbali you get to really relax and do exactly what you want to do, be it taking a self-drive in the Kruger or just lazing around the pool at your own room. The only thing I can complain about is that we never got to stay longer. I will definitely return to this amazing lodge. I highly recommend it when looking for a lodge to visit in the Kruger.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled with friends
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Thank Lindy L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LBucceri, Marketing representative at Imbali Safari Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded April 9, 2014

Dear Lindy L,

Thank you for your lovely review. Your kind words are much appreciated and have been shared with the team.

We are delighted that you and your sister had such a wonderful experience with us, and we hope to welcome you back to Imbali Safari Lodge soon.

Regards,
The Imbali Team

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Reviewed March 20, 2014

I have never written a review before, but have read a lot to help me make my decisions. Now that I have this bad experience, I need to share it with others.
We booked Imbali Lodge for March 7-9 as we were celebrating our 30th anniversary. It took me long and hard to decide as it was not cheap, since they had special, we booked two rooms for a family of four. After we booked it and paid for it, we had never received a confirmation or a welcome letter from them. I e-mailed them and they told me to provide some info to book it, emergency contact and special request etc. After I sent them info, again, nothing came through. I regretted booking with them as I did have many other great choices.
This is my story, after a great time in Cape Town and I totally forgot to reconfirm with Imbali.
On March 6, a day before we head to Imbali, accidentally checked my e-mail and found out Imbali did send me an email. I told myself finally they sent out a welcoming letter, my worries was unwarranted. wrong, Imbali has informed me the road to Imbali has been flooded and their facilities were closed.
They suggested putting us at Mabula Game Lodge or the Ingwenyamal Hotel. I was at the mall
which had free wi-fi and my hi-tech kids checked and claimed both hotels are not even in Kruger.
One is just 2 hours from Johannesburg, the other is in White River. Why should I pay so much if it is these locations? If I have no chance to check, I have to take their words for it.
We do understand anything can happen esp we had traveled far and wide. But this is not an excuse, when crisis occurred, Imbali should step up and tried to help your guests. On the phone,
we were frantic and the other side of the line was laughing and giggling with no apologies.
we had limited cell time and they put you on hold forever. We quickly went to add cell time before
we did anything. I told the lady to check Kapama, thank goodness I remembered. She told me we have to pay 550more in US as it is a luxury room. we went for it as I really did not ruin the family vacation. But I insisted they had it in writing before I paid. They told us we had to fax them in writing before they could confirm. You can imagine we were on the street, it was not easy to fax or email. We paid a tour to the museum and we did not see any museums as we were busy
with these Imbali people.
God helped me and our dream vacation came true at kapama. We had such a great time that we had completely forgot Imbali. Two days later, my son noticed Imbali had double charged our 550 dollar twice. we e-mail them and they told us to check with our bank. Two days ago, they claimed their bank had made a mistake and they would correct it manually if the bank cant fix it. Come on, why would people have to deal with all these hassles on a trip. I read few comments about their double charges, I am going with the mind set of checking the bills carefully. As of today, they have not credited our account and we will dispute with our bank which they asked us not to.
Imbali, people pick your place to celebrate something special, for most, it is their hard-earned money to prepare for this trip. I am glad I have saved my trip by doing something right at last minute.
I told your staff you can laugh but I want to cry as we are in a foreign place stranded.
Most people can go to S Africa only once, as it is a far away place. I know you might have great facilities or staff, sorry, with your lousy services and accounting, I am not convinced this is the right place for vacation. No one want troubles, period.

Stayed: March 2014, traveled with family
11  Thank Alex L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LBucceri, Marketing representative at Imbali Safari Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded March 26, 2014

Dear Alex L,

Thank you for your review on Tripadvisor.

We are most distressed to hear of your bad experience due to the lodge closure. This is not the experience we wish for our guests. It is never nice to hear that our guests are disappointed. We do take complaints very seriously and make sure that the situation does not happen again. We are investigating this complaint thoroughly at a senior management level, and will put procedures in place to make sure that the problem will not recur. We will be responding to you directly via email once we have clarification on the matter.

Once again, we are very sorry that your experience with us was disappointing.

Regards,
The Imbali Team

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Additional Information about Imbali Safari Lodge

Address: Imbali Concession | Skukuza, Kruger National Park 1350, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #54 of 175 Specialty Lodging in Kruger National Park
Price Range: $487 - $986 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Imbali Safari Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
An exclusive lodge within the world-renowned Kruger National Park, Imbali Safari Lodge continues the safari tradition of a bygone era. Each private suite has exquisite views from the spacious wooden decks and private Jacuzzi overlooking the riverbed and the plains beyond. In the 1900's the African Safari was a journey of great danger and even greater luxury.All twelve private suites have either their own private Jacuzzi or plunge pool, large king size beds and a romantic antique-styled bath en-suite, timber walkways, telephones, mosquito nets and air conditioner.Spa treatments available in the privacy of your room, safaris in 4x4 vehicles, bird watching, guided safari walks by prior arrangement and self drive in the Kruger National Park. No cell phone reception and limited landlines. Children are welcome, but a minimum age of 6 years is applicable for game drives - at the discretion of management. Maximum of 2 children under 12 years of age may share with parents. Children 5 years and younger stay complimentary when sharing with parents.The Lodge is situated in a malaria area. Gate entry fees are applicable and are charged per person per day. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Imbali Safari Hotel Kruger National Park

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