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Elandela Private Game Reserve
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Reviewed May 14, 2012

As a South African proud of the many game lodges I have visited, I am so ashamed at the cheap delivery experienced at Elandela Private Game Lodge. To start with the architecture and interior decoration are dark and frankly depressing.The public areas are dark and gloomy rather than sexily subdued.
The focus is on presentation, which, because of the cheap approach, misses its target. We were four either vegetarians or semi-vegetarians eating fish or chicken. Although the chef was honest enough to admit he did not know how to cook for us he made no effort to find out. He served the cheapest hake fish, dry, with dry vegetables. The bean soup was a bowl filled to the brim with beans and no soup ... UG! A tomato sauce was a tin of onion and tomatoes - could he not have made it from scratch? He kept saying. "Its very difficult and we are so far from everywhere." The Lodge is a 25 - 30 min drive from a major super market in the town of Hoedspruit. NO EFFORT WAS MADE. The rooms were not serviced properly. One couple were almost out of toilet paper, which was not replaced. A gentleman kept asking for shampoo, which never arrived. No face cloth was available. My bed was not made. The night chocolate left on the dresser was replaced on the bed. I arrived after a 6.5 hr journey and was not offered a piece of fruit or thirst quenching drink, only told that lunch would be served 1.5 hrs later. Because I was alone the proprietress tried to persuade me not to take the evening game drive for which I had paid. The lodge does not deserve the 4 star rating it currently enjoys. Game spotting is always a gamble - it was ok. The staff were well trained and performed like robots. Management staff were reasonable. Rating for this lodge 0. I am ashamed that visitors to SA leave unsuspecting that they have been flinched.

Room Tip: There is no privacy, atmosphere or bush feel about these rooms.
  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with friends
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13  Thank Jocelin K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
YvonneGioia, Owner at Elandela Private Game Reserve, responded to this reviewResponded September 20, 2015

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Reviewed May 5, 2012

Myself and my partner have travelled fairly extensively and we were both unbelievably impressed with the reserve, staff and the entire experience at Elandela Game Reserve. Throughout the trip we were totally spoiled and were thoroughly looked after at all times. This place is absolutely amazing and I would recommend it to any couples looking for a safari holiday that has a personalised touch.

Food
Never have we eaten so well for so many consecutive meals. The food was absolutely amazing for all meals and you could see that the chef- Kovas (apologies for spelling?!) took utmost pride in the presentation and combination of foods and flavours for every meal. Both breakfast and dinner consisted of various courses that were really well thought out and delicious! The staff even laid out breakfast one morning under the marquee by the pool and on another evening laid on a barbeque, which was spectacular. Out of all of the meals and courses that were served we enjoyed every single one of them and could not find fault with both the quality and quantity of food offered during our stay! We both really missed the food upon our return!

Accommodation
The rooms were spacious, tastefully decorated, comfortable and cleaned regularly throughout the day. They had every amenity you could require such as aircon, hairdryer, powerful shower, etc.

It was a wonderful experience being able to hear the lion’s roar in the morning and evening and wake up to see giraffes walking not far from our room to get to one of the watering holes that our room overlooked.

Experience
On every game drive we saw many animals and the experienced informative guides (Jacques, Coleman and Chantelle) ensured we had a varied experience on every drive. If you mentioned that you wanted to see a particular animal they would do their best to track that animal. What was particularly interesting to see was the difference between the way the animals behaved on the reserve compared to at Kruger National Park; at the Reserve the animals behaved inquisitively towards the vehicle and ran a little distance away if you got too close, compared to at Kruger National Park where the animals barely react to the cars that stop near them due to the frequency of visitors at Kruger. It was good to see the animals behaving naturally at Elandela and at no point did this hinder us from being able to photograph the animals in a more natural environment.

On our stay we were even invited to feed the baby rhinos, who were sadly orphaned due to poachers. You can see that the owner Yvonne and the guide Jacques are really passionate about protecting these endangered animals and are doing an amazing job at caring for these rhinos and raising awareness of the extent of the poaching problem. Feeding the rhinos was a particularly special experience for us.

We always say that its not usually the big things that makes your stay special but the added thoughtful touches that can really make your experience complete. Elandela do this by providing warm towels and a drink upon returning from a game drive, by providing various drinks during the game drive- including a champagne to enjoy whilst watching the sunset over a watering hole, and we even arrived back from dinner one night to a complimentary bottle of champagne and chocolates in our room. All of these added touches made our experience amazing.

Overall the experience at Elendala is one of a luxiourious resort but with a homely and personal touch- a balance that I can imagine is extremely hard to achieve but Elandela does with perfection.

Thank you so much to all of the staff who made our stay at Elandela truly one of the most special experiences of our lives. We would love to come back one day, maybe even for our honeymoon!

Claire and Matt, UK.

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Claire H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 1, 2012

What an amazing place! You are treated like royalty!! The owners, the staff, all top notch! The game drive is exceptional, the animals we saw were amazing! The highlight for me was being able to touch and bottle feed the baby rhino!!! The room we had was tastefully decorated, it was surreal lying in bed, listening to the lions roar, it felt like they were outside the bedroom! We awoke to the sounds of baboons barking, we watched them playing in the trees from our patio! What more could you ask for! We saw the white lion lying about 5 metres away from the car! I wish i could've stayed longer!!! Thanks to Rocco and Yvonne for the experience of a lifetime, it was unforgettable and we will be back!!!!

Room Tip: We stayed in room 8 which was ideal as we had 2 children with us had a good view of the morning baboons!!! We saw room 6 which was ideal for a couple, very romantic setting. I think every room will be fabulous!!!
  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank Wendy J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 27, 2012

I have visited a half dozen game reserves throughout Southern Africa and Elandela is the best in terms of comfort and service. The staff were very friendly and informative, especially Jacques and Coleman. The rooms were spacious and comfortable and the grounds are immaculate and tasteful. The only drawback was small lunches. I burn a lot of calories in the heat, so I would like bigger meals.

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled with family
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1  Thank wandersnoop
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 5, 2012

We spent 3 nights at Elandela in November 2011 and were treated as though we were special, all of the staff, bar none, were determined to make our stay there pleasant and enjoyable. During our stay my husband was feeling ill and genuine concern was shown to us both so that we did not feel as though we were a nuisance. Although our stay was short we will remember it forever.

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank emilymary99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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