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“Great game lodge experience”

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Ivory Tree Game Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
San Francisco, California
Level 5 Contributor
64 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Great game lodge experience”
Reviewed October 3, 2012

Our experience at Ivory Tree Game Lodge was wonderful. The cabins are very comfortable, well-appointed and nicely designed. Each is air-conditioned, with a spacious bath and outdoor shower. The main lodge buildings are nicely designed and well-maintained. The staff are friendly and always happy to help. The food is good and nicely presented. But if you're visiting for the hotel experience, you're missing the point of coming to Pilanesberg. The game viewing is outstanding and the twice daily game drives were each unique and awe-inspiring. We had William as our ranger/driver for the 2 days we visited and were impressed with his knowledge of the park and animals. The diversity contained within the park means that you'll likely see a lot of different types of game within a short period.

Room Tip: Cabins on the perimeter fence line will be a longer walk to the main lodge buildings, but will affor...
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank BA_Lars
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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India
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed October 3, 2012

A lovely lodge with all mod cons. Great location- almost shares a gate with the reserve. I wouldnt call this a serious wildlife destination but its a great place to have a break in a natural ambience near J'berg. The only two drawbacks, the walk uphill to some of the rooms can be a bit much for older guests ( of which we had a few in our group)...and the management arnt always keen to provide the carts all the time. And the second problem, is that even though there are lovely huge bathrooms with all the rooms- there is no option of an indoor shower. Since we visited in winter, it was definitly uncomfortable to HAVE to shower outdoors in the evening just to freshen up after the drive. Apart from that, the staff are really nice, especially the guides and drivers. The food is simple but tasty and the beds are comfortable. All in all a good experiance.

Room Tip: if you don't fancy a uphill hike, ask specifically for a room near the main reception.
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Zephiecat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 5 Contributor
55 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed September 25, 2012

I just spent a long weekend at Ivory Tree and had a wonderful weekend. The lodge is an easy 2.5 hour drive from Jo'burg and once you're there you'll feel miles away from the city. I went out on 4 game drives, and on 2 of those drives I was on my own with the ranger as the rest of the people in my vehicle decided not to go. I offered to have them place me in another vehicle for that drive, but Erica, my ranger but also general manager, kindly took me out for my personal game drives.
The game viewing is good, but can't compare to the parks where you can go off-road (Sabi Sands etc.), however, once you accept that you won't get as close to the animals, the experience is excellent. The food was good, not excellent, but that's not what you go for. The staff were lovely, the rooms are very pleasant. I'd definitely go again and have already recommended it to friends.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank gaynorb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia
Level 5 Contributor
92 reviews
66 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 103 helpful votes
Reviewed September 9, 2012

It is hard to believe you are in the middle of a national safari park but Ivory Tree Game Lodge is one special lodge. It is really paradise. We stayed at one of the Executive Suites which has its own living room, TV, fireplace, refrigerator, modern bathroom, master bedroom with mosquito netting, an outdoor shower and a private backyard with boma and swimming pool. The rooms are up a hill from the main lodge where they have open buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food is beautifully prepared.

Between morning and evening safari runs, there are a host of activities that you can sign up for including quad biking (we loved this), archery, air rifle, drumming and visits to downtown.

The stars at night are spectacular and the resort is first class. To my delight, there weren't that many bugs in the winter. It is the perfect place to stay to visit Pilanesberg National Park.

Room Tip: splurge and get the Executive Suite
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank macman2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed September 9, 2012

GETTING THERE
Found the website directions confusing as they used land marks instead of Route names in some cases, but signage was very good once you got close in. Recommend printing out Google Map directions just to have handy.

ACCOMMODATION
If you see the "5 Star" rating and are expecting a Four Seasons in the bush, you'll be disappointed - this place is down a few pegs from that in quality but still very nice and high quality for S. Africa game lodges. The main lodge is very resort-y with several nice central seating and hang out areas (though I didn't care for the music being played in the main lodge most of the time.) The individual units are all well appointed with some nice little touches - like bath salts for the extra large soaking tub, outdoor showers (!), and bug spray and flashlights in the closet. The whole resort was very clean and well kept.

DOWN TIME
There are about 5 hours each day in between the game drives, and not much to do on the property aside from ATV drives/walks to a small village, archery, a pool and a spa. Recommend coming ready to relax and bringing your own entertainment (books, games, DVDs, etc.), especially with kids, to stay busy during the day.

GAME DRIVES
Well organized with professional and knowledgable staff. You get one driver who looks after a set group for your entire stay which creates a fun dynamic. Edward, our driver was the resident photographer and knew exactly how to set us up for great shots of game and had handy tips on camera settings for dusk and night time photography. Enjoyed the snacks mid-drive and the atmosphere back at the lodge when returning - warm cups of cocoa, fires, etc.

STAFF
Overall quality was very high, though some people didn't seem quite ready for "front of the house" - especially the front desk staff. Very helpful new general manager who was always present and ensured we were always happy and easily dealt with a few special requests.

FOOD
So-so, about what you'd expect for an all inclusive. Served buffet style.

SPA
Facilities were amazing - a series of small treatment rooms linked by walk ways overlooking the park. Make sure to get a longer treatment with a wrap or skin treatment to take advantage of one of the large rooms with its own deck and outdoor bath tub and shower. Actual treatments were above average, but not the best I've ever had - definitely worth doing though.

All in all, a great spot - would recommend for someone looking for a high-quality game & lodge experience in Pilanesberg.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Kaitlyn W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
dubai
2 reviews
Reviewed September 9, 2012

When planning my parent's silver anniversary, I had to plan for around 30 Indian people's food, lodging, and entertainment. In every single aspect, the Guest Liaison Manager, Samantha Bennett, was wonderful. She made sure that we were not too cold during the Boma Tent evening (an open roof, outdoor event), was very patient with me even when I was doing everything at the last minute, and was always available to take my calls, even when officially not working - outstanding service! Their executive chef Alex was able to work wonders - in the middle of nowhere, he prepared better Indian food than I have had in any Indian restaurant in South Africa. What's more, he made eggplant taste so amazing I had to go back not for a second, but for a third helping!

One little point that should be noted - when hosting an event at the lodge, make sure of 2 things: try and book out the whole lodge (obviously only if there are enough people to do so), and try and make sure that you can play music and be a little noisy after 10:00 pm. The reservations department didn't mention that we couldn't be noisy after a certain time, so that did lead to a bit of disappointment.

Room Tip: Best to get a room during summer, when outdoor showers aren't going to be a problem.
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank yashjinagar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level 6 Contributor
132 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 85 helpful votes
Reviewed September 4, 2012

Positives:-
Close to Gauteng (2.5 - 3hrs drive) and easy access to lodge.
Malaria free area.
Big 5 game reserve.
Great staff who are friendly and attentive.
Spacious bedrooms with "outside showers".
Good Spa facilities & did a "couples treatment" in room with a nice bush view.
Pool with varied seating areas (to relax or have your meals).
Marimba band during lunch ..... very nice!
Conference rooms with TV's
Good last minute rates/specials available.
Negatives:-
Very large lodge (+60 rooms) with "resort" type decor.
We felt 50/50 about the food which was always served buffet style for all meals.

Room Tip: Large lodge, so some rooms can be some distance from the main area. Golf carts are however available...
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank 682Joanne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ivory Tree Game Lodge

Property: Ivory Tree Game Lodge
Address: | Pilanesberg Game Reserve, Pilanesberg National Park 318, South Africa
Location: South Africa > North-West Province > Pilanesberg National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 14 Specialty Lodging in Pilanesberg National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Ivory Tree Game Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 60
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Within the northern region of the Pilanesberg National Park lies an ancient amphitheatre and its in this basin, surrounded by volcanic spires and rolling savannah grassland, that Ivory Tree Game Lodge has been beautifully crafted. The central guest areas include lounges, bar, a dining room and feature rock pool. Small intimate guest areas have been created to retain warmth and seclusion for the individual guests. Sweeping patios provide the ideal venue for delicious English breakfasts and light luncheons with the boma reserved for fire-side dinners. 60 Luxury chalets have been carefully positioned along foot-hills ensuring optimal views of either the mountainous surrounds or the central open area. Each chalet featuring an outside shower, air-conditioner, mini bar fridge, tea and coffee making facility, has been tastefully decorated in earthly tones. This theme is carried through to the spacious bathroom, and it is here that you may choose to relax in your bath beneath a panoramic window or step out for an invigorating shower. Ivory Tree boasts a new wellness experience presenting a wide variety of treatment options designed to relax mind, body and soul. The unique design and position of the treatment rooms ensure uninterrupted views of the reserve. Ivory Tree presents generous bed capacity and has been carefully designed to ensure optimal guest privacy whilst being able to create unique incentive experiences. Whilst our attention is focused around close and unrestricted encounters with Africa’s big game, incentive experiences also include bush dinners, our own version of the amazing race, and numerous additional activities. The lodge also boasts an equipped conference facility. Striving to maintain high levels of personal attention and guest comfort, game drive vehicles are custom built ensuring optimal panoramic visibility. Amongst the most experienced in the Pilanesberg, our rangers and hosts are committed to binging you close encounters with a wide variety of big game, including the big 5, cheetah and wild dog, during morning and evening game drives. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ivory Tree Game Hotel Pilanesberg National Park

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