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“Great Property, Superb Location but spoilt by sub-standard Management”

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Shepherd's Tree Game Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Level Contributor
19 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Great Property, Superb Location but spoilt by sub-standard Management”
Reviewed August 14, 2012

My wife and I spent 1 night; was meant to be a special birthday surprise for her. Modern, spacious and upmarket rooms, but (only) outside shower not practical for many when cold winter morning. Location and game-drives great. Staff warm, friendly and well meaning but feels as if there is no guidance and little training. Multiple food and drink orders at our 8pax table either did never arrive, only after a few reminders, arrived cold (soup and other dishes) -repeat at all 3 meals. Complaints were acknowledged but no remedy. Breakfast selection and presentation sub-standard. My remark re my wife's birthday (+ID number) on booking form wasn't acknowledged in any way. All in all no attention to detail or any of these small special things that make you remember a place. Staff demotivated?

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Floh T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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484 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
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Johannesburg, South Africa
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed August 13, 2012

My wife and I recently spent 3 nights at Shepherd's Tree and came away with mixed feelings on the lodge resulting in the 3 star rating rather than 4 or 5.

The positives:
- The food is of a very high standard with very tasty and inventive meals on offer.
- The rooms are modern and spacious.
- The staff are always friendly and you are always made to feel very welcome.
- The rooms were always cleaned on time.
- The Pilanesberg is very scenic with great views from the "Cigar Lounge" and all the rooms.

The negetives:
- The outside shower is a huge design flaw, it is way too cold to use in early morning (pre game drive) and late evening (post game drive) when you are covered in dust and cold and really need a hot shower! Even a little wind results in extreme cold!
- Why no covered patio or deck at the rooms? The rooms have the space and a deck/patio would maximise the views and encourage the enjoyment of the rooms.
- Excluding the above, the single biggest negetive and the reason that we will not be returning to any Pilanesberg lodge is the lack of off-roading by the any of the lodges and having to compete with the general public for game viewing. Time and time again sightings were spoiled by not been able to follow the game/get close enough and having to fight for a spot with 20 or more other vehicles to try get a distant sighting!

A warning to anyone that has experienced a private reserve, you WILL be disappointed by the game viewing experience!

A pity as the lodge (sort ot the shower!) has the potential to be truly amazing.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Alex R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sandra S, General Manager at Shepherd's Tree Game Lodge, responded to this review, August 17, 2012
Thank you for taking the time to review Shepherd’s Tree and to share the experience of your stay with us.

We are always looking at ways to push ourselves forward and appreciate all your comments! We are so pleased that you enjoyed our food, rooms and service.

The outdoor shower is usually such a feature and one of the great things about our rooms – though we have been having unusually cold weather lately. Our family and executive suites do have patios, but it is comments like yours that show us the importance of patios in our standard rooms too.

Shepherd’s Tree is privileged to be situated in the wilderness area - a private concession within the Pilanesberg National Park – this means that we enjoy privacy, whilst on our own concession, as well as having access to the sightings and beauty of the rest of the park. The Pilanesberg is the oldest volcanic alkaline ring formation in the world – 1 of only 3 – and is extremely sensitive. We owe it to ourselves to preserve this historically important habitat and we applaud the no off roading policy of the park. More and more private reserves are heading in the same direction – the impact of uncontrolled driving is quite devastating.

Part of our goal at Shepherd’s is to show our guests the wonder of the Pilanesberg. We do hope that you reconsider and visit the Pilanesberg again.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed August 12, 2012

We visited Shepherd's Tree over the August long weekend. Friendly and enthusiastic service from Sandra and her team. Because its a relatively small team you are treated like part of the family.

The rooms are simple and elegant and very private. Would've loved a terrace at our room to enjoy the view. The food is lovely and you can eat all the time if you want. Starting with tea and biscuits at 5:30 pre-game drive all the way to dinner. You will never go hungry. Christopher at the bar makes a mean Cosmopolitan served by a roaring fire.

The rangers are really good. We managed to see lion, leopard, elephant and rhino plus cheetah three days in a row. Thank you to Jason and the team for working so hard to get us to see the best sights.

Our first time at this lodge, but definitely not the last.

Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Yolande S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Harrogate, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed August 6, 2012

The natural world surrounds you in this gorgeous place. If it's peace and quiet and a chill out time then this is the place. The staff were all so courteous, friendly and enthusiastic which made our stay even more pleasurable. We had a zebra outside our room door, elephants call at lunch time and 6 rhino outside the lodge gates on our return from a fun game drive - what more can you ask of a game lodge. Well, try a comfortable room, great food and a desire to return again soon.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank susan l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed July 17, 2012

We loved our stay at this lodge. The staff couldn't do enough for us -they were incredibly friendly and professional. Our driver Darrell was just great- he was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic. We stayed for 3 days and wish it could have been longer- every game drive was fantastic and exciting. We always saw something different and unexpected. The rooms were beautiful and the outside shower truly amazing- even in the African winter! In the evenings, we arrived back from our game drives frozen ( make sure you take plenty of warm clothes as you get very cold in the vehicle) to hot chocolate and an inviting fire and beautiful dinners. We felt so special and looked after. It was pure luxury and the while time is something our family will never forget. Thank you to everyone for making it such a fantastic time!

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank AnnaH115
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dubai
Level Contributor
70 reviews
67 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
Reviewed July 6, 2012

If you want the like hotel accomodation rooms, then its shepared tree, clean nice rooms, very quite, the outdoor shower buit quality is the best compared to other game lodges I been to in SA.

I enjoyed my stay at Shepared tree and will be back.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
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Helpful?
Thank Khalil A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
johannesburg
Level Contributor
113 reviews
96 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 109 helpful votes
Reviewed July 5, 2012

On the day we arrived an elephant joined us for lunch - the restaurant has just a short fence separating it from the bush! On our night drive we saw rhino, elephant, giraffe, zebras and when we returned to the lodge the resident pride of lions were waiting for us just 200 meters in front of the lodge! The pride is called the 'western pride' and they kept us entertained for at least 30 minutes so we were late for dinner (but we didn't mind!). The meals were superb as was the service. The outside showers were great - even though it was the middle of winter the rooms were warm and the showers invigorating!

Not many animals come to the lodge waterhole to drink so we suggest going on the morning and afternoon game drives if you want to see game.

We stayed for two nights but would suggest at least 3 nights to fully appreciate all that is on offer.

Room Tip: All 30 rooms are situated in a line extending over one kilometer (a golf cart will take you to your...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank KrugerToKalahari
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Shepherd's Tree Game Lodge

Property: Shepherd's Tree Game Lodge
Address: Pilanesberg Game Reserve | Sun City, Pilanesberg National Park 316, South Africa
Location: South Africa > North-West Province > Pilanesberg National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 14 Specialty Lodging in Pilanesberg National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Shepherd's Tree Game Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 30
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Skirting the northern slopes of an amphitheatre within the Pilanesberg Game Reserve lies Shepherd’s Tree Game Lodge, the lodge enjoys unrestricted vistas of the wilderness area of this big 5 wildlife sanctuary. Sweeping patios and sun decks adjoin the generous guest entertainment areas and rim-flow swimming pool. A gourmet restaurant, open entertainment decks, cigar lounge and gift gallery are amongst some of the facilities that discerning guests will find during their African safari. The lodge also includes a conference facility and Amani Spa. Attention to detail extends beyond the pleasure of your hosts, and is perhaps only rivaled by the contemporary cuisine, freshly prepared by dedicated chefs. Shepherd’s Tree features 13 double and 4 executive suites accommodating a maximum of 60 guests. Absolute privacy is ensures through the linear positioning of the suites along an elevated contour line, and providing panoramic vistas of the reserve. Each chalet features full en-suite bathrooms, tea and coffee making facilities, mini bar and safe. Whilst some of our guests will find proximity to the Sun City complex appealing, most of our guests are at Shepherd’s Tree for the thrill and excitement of big game viewing from the comfort of our custom built game viewers. Qualified and experienced guides are tasked with the pleasure of interpreting the sights and sounds of this vast wildlife sanctuary. The reserve is home to the big 5 and cheetah, wild dogs and hippo. Guests are encouraged to join their guide and host on 2 daily safaris, designed around optimal game activity periods, these occur in the early morning and in the late afternoon and evening, the afternoon safari is punctuated by a sundowner stop before continuing into the night with the use of a powerful spotlight. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Shepherd`s Tree Game Hotel Pilanesberg National Park

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