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“Wonderful Wilderness” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Gecko Lodge

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Gecko Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Johannesburg
Level Contributor
38 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Wonderful Wilderness”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 7, 2011

I stayed here for a night on a business trip to the Hazyview area.

While it's off the beaten path, it is its own oasis of peace and quiet. If you're expecting a swanky, flashy hotel, you're not going to find all that superficial gloss at this lodge.

Its a simple, down-to-earth venue with a distinct sense of style and decor. Not overbearingly 'African' and just the right amount of its own brand of eccentric, consistent and unique styling.

My room was a double, self contained room with fireplace and its own little garden in front. I was told that all the rooms were identical. The bathroom and bedroom are quaint, well-proportioned spaces. The beds just the right feel for probably what has to be the quietest and best night of sleep I ever had.

It was a relatively quiet day at the lodge on my arrival and I got to walk around a little and get a feel for the place. My general impression is that it's more a travellers and backpackers type of place (what with the styling, colors and layout as they are). In that category, I would have to say that it was well above average in terms of the little perks provided - nice selection of toiletries, a neat rock pool (literally!), excellent service, a separate bar area, dining and lounge spaces as well as a very funky honeymoon suite with its own spiral staircase and a view to boot.

While I had a fantastically quiet night, the bamboo roof however allows a lot of noise through from fellow guests, so you have to be considerate of them when rummaging around or talking in your room.

Breakfast the following morning by a roaring fireplace was a pleasant surprise. The blazing warmth fought off the nippy morning and the cozy atmosphere, set off what was an absolutely pleasant meal.

The service was prompt, food was delicious and everything down to the funky crockery (I was so inspired by their butter holder I tracked down the potter to her factory in White River and bought several pieces from her directly!) and the overly friendly and sneaky resident cat (who I didn't mind as company despite staff's best attempts at chasing it away) made one feel relaxed and at ease.

The reception staff were able to provide everything I asked of them from my arrival to departure. Refrigeration for my parcel - not a problem. A heater and blow dryer - i just had to sign for them, but readily available on request. A TV however, was not available in the rooms (there was one in the bar however) and, to be honest, out in the forests and bushes of Mpumalanga, your time would be wasted in front of a screen in your room rather than exploring the outdoors.

Reception staff were also up to date and knowledgeable of surrounding dining and shopping establishments and were able to recommend a few very good places to visit in nearby Hazyview, which I enjoyed.

Gecko Lodge went above and beyond my expectations and I was pleasantly surprised by the experience. I will definitely return in future when I pass through the region again.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank urijnaw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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181 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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    64
    26
    11
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48
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (9)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Colchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 31, 2011

This is the first place that we stayed after our overnight flight into Johannesburg. The rooms were comfortable and very clean and the staff friendly. We ate in the restaurant on site and had a good meal including steak and lemon sole. My mother and I really enjoyed our walk down to the Sabie river from the lodge the following morning before relaxing in the sun by the pool. My brother and father went on the Sky-Way zipline trails which run from the lodge and they would highly recommend this to anyone staying in the Hazyview area. Overall, Gecko Lodge was a nice place to stay after our hectic flight.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Rachel H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leeuwarden
Level Contributor
29 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 26, 2011

Nice place, beds are good and breakfast ok. Rooms are noisy. We could literally folliow the discussion in the adjecent room. Price was 50% too high.

  • Stayed August 2011
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Offemar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Teilhet, France
Level Contributor
71 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 30, 2011

I find the hotel overpriced, taking into consideration the poor equipment of the rooms, no ac, no tv etc etc. Sevice was ok, but nothing special. Internet was not working.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Thomas R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pretoria, South Africa
Level Contributor
24 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 23, 2011

I travel a lot with tour groups. As the guide, I get to stay in all sorts of hotels, lodges, B&Bs resorts and guesthouses.

The first time I stayed at Gecko Lodge with clients some years ago, I was sceptical, as they also have backpacker accommodation nearby, and I don't usually associate this type of accommodation with exceptional quality. I was pleasantly surprised. Since then I have stayed here several times, and have seen the various rooms. They have a new section where the rooms are all large and overlooking an enclosed garden area, as well as an older section where the rooms are comfortable but significantly smaller, (although larger than many rooms I have stayed in in Europe!)

In defence of the smaller rooms, they are furnished and equipped to the same standard as the larger newer rooms, and have tea and coffee making facilities, toilet en-suite and fairly comfortable wrought iron furniture (that I don't like, but that is purely a personal preference that has nothing to do with comfort or functionality, only aesthetics).

On my last trip I stayed here alone for one night, so as to get an early start from Hazyview before picking clients up from a private game reserve.

I had not stayed in the older rooms before, and to my horror, when I saw the bathroom, I saw that it had a bath, not a shower like the new rooms.... I am a shower type of person.... then, to my relief I noticed that there was a shower in the bath, and the room layout was actually quite charming... one should never jump to conclusions! Gecko redeemed!

My next gripe was the fact that I could only find one electrical wall socket to charge all my gimmicks and toys... and I travel with several.... mobile phone, laptop, camera, gps.... what did I forget? Then it dawned on me that this was one of the older rooms, so I decided to look again.... lo-and-behold... I found what I was looking for.... two more electrical wall sockets. They were located behind the headboards of the two single beds where you would expect to find them to plug in the bedside lamps, except the lamps here were built into the wall and hence not plugged in. The sockets were located much higher from the ground than usual! Gecko redeemed again!

Next... time to get ready for dinner.... I had a quick shower, the water pressure was just fine, and it came out nice and hot. I got dressed in shorts, t-shirt and sandals and went to the restaurant feeling refreshed, comfortable and relaxed. If I had been here on holiday, I would probably have gone to the outside bar area and had a drink before dinner, maybe a beer, after all, it had been a hot day!

The restaurant is in the main building. It is a simple layout, nothing fancy.... the menus are printed on paper and laminated... but as I have said, the first time I stayed at Gecko I was pleasantly surprised, and one of the reasons is that like Napoleon's army, I too march on my stomach! I ordered the rump steak - medium rare (note, more rare than medium!), with veggies, a one litre bottle of still water (to drink some and take the rest back to the room) and a glass of red wine. The food came fast, the steak was cooked the way I ordered, and the portion was more than enough. No starter, and no dessert, no space.... no problem....

I was looking at getting an early start the next day and needed a good night's sleep. I explained this to the staff, and incidentally to the manager, Tom, who was working that evening late. He said that it presented no problems, and he told me that if I had to leave before breakfast they would make a plan. It worked out that this would not be necessary as I would only be pushing their envelope by 30 minutes and they would be able to serve me earlier than usual without having to make any special arrangements. Breakfast was self service for the cold dishes, and plated for the hot dishes. I wasn't really hungry, so after two cups of filter coffee, a couple of pastries and some slices of ham and cheese I was off on my merry way.... Hassle-free, refreshed, and ready for a full day with clients! Oh, and yes, Tom was working behind the desk at reception when I left in the morning!

PROS:
- The lodge is enclosed by a security fence and there is a guard on duty in the parking all night long, so personal belongings are as safe as they can be in any other hotel.
- The location is close to the main road, but well sheltered by trees, so you can sleep undisturbed by the sounds of vehicles.... monkeys however may wake you up when the jump onto the roof and start running around!
- The rooms are basic, but comfortable. The bedding is clean and in good condition. The bathrooms are very simple but functional and clean.
- The food is good. The variety is reasonable. The prices better than average.
- All the staff are friendly and keen to assist, from the security guard through to the waiters.
- There is a small pool to relax in and chill during the hot summer days.
- The beer is cold!

CONS:
- Although the Lodge also has a backpackers nearby, I feel that it is just too far from Hazyview to walk, so for those that don't have their own transport, I guess it may be a bit far out of town. (Especially if you want to go to the centre at Perry's Bridge for a pizza and some beer...)
- The driveway is not surfaced, so in rainy weather you need to drive slowly to get in. You can do this with a normal vehicle and you don't need a 4x4. If I had a Ferrari or a Lamborghini I would seriously doubt the road clearance of the vehicle on the driveway....
- Obviously I would not choose Gecko Lodge for guests staying in 5 star hotels and looking for luxury.... but that is not what Gecko is offering....
- The hotel has a PC in the reception area (business centre?) so you can read your e-mails online. I do not like using public facilities for this, and am much happier travelling with and using my laptop or a small netbook. There is no WiFi facility in the rooms. If you travel with a modem, the 3G signal for Vodacom users is patchy to say the least. (I cannot comment on coverage from Cell C and MTN).

I am perfectly happy to stay there alone, with friends, or with clients!

WOULD I RECOMMEND THIS HOTEL? Yes I would. It is not my first choice for fussy and very discerning clients, but then, I am spoilt. It represents great value for money, and is a short hop from the Kruger Park. It is also close to the Perry's Bridge centre with restaurants, pizzeria and brewery.... It is less than an hour to Graskop and the start of the Panorama Route... Why not consider it next time you need a place to stay in the Lowveld, especially if you want to take it easy and don't want to spend a fortune?

Incidentally, the departure point for the forest canopy tour with Skyway Trails leaves from Gecko Lodge! So, if you want some adrenalin before chilling in the pool and drinking a beer, this is the place for you!

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank TechnoWarrior
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maastricht, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 29, 2010

On a day when only a few rooms where occupied our room was searched for valuables!! When we returned our door wasn't locked and the window to the back was open.

The staff offered their excuses and said that this hadn't happened before. We asked for the manager but apparently he found it not important enought to talk to us. But because we felt very insecure we moved to another hotel. The reason was that there was no staff in the parc during the night. We got our money back but the price difference we had to pay ourselves!

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank RaoulSpronken
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Palo Alto, CA
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 29, 2010

we spent 2 nights in this hotel (no day time). Our rooms were spacious, with comfortable beds, very quiet, with a very basic shower and toilet. The staff were friendly, provided a bagged breakfast (so-so ham and cheese sandwiches, a hard boiled egg, yoghurt, fruit and a juice box) that we could take with us on our safari, knocked on our door to make sure we were awake before our tour guide picked us up at 5 am. They allowed us to have a shower at 1 PM after a morning safari on the day we checked out.

  • Stayed November 2010
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank fietsen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Gecko Lodge

Property: Gecko Lodge
Address: 536 Farm 13, Sabie Road Route, Hazyview 1242, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Mpumalanga > Hazyview
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 43 Specialty Lodging in Hazyview
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Gecko Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 23
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Gecko Lodge is situated 3 Km from Hazyview in Mpumalanga, South Africa, on a 35ha Farm with Sabie River Frontage. It is the ideal base from which to explore the Kruger National Park (12km from Phabeni Gate) and the Lowveld Panorama Route including Blyde River Canyon (89km), God's Window (50km) and Pilgrim's Rest (54km) This owner managed lodge has its emphasis on tranquillity, comfort, quality service and good food. Gecko Lodge offers the guest an escape from modern urban living. We, Anja (German) and Gideon Barnard (South African) the owners at Gecko Lodge, offer personal attention and service with a smile in short, "Value for money" ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Gecko Hotel Hazyview
Gecko Lodge Hazyview, South Africa - Mpumalanga

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