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“Very average”

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Woodlands Stop Over and Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Dordrecht, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
“Very average”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 5, 2013

Having arrived after dark after a stressful drive we were "greeted" with little warmth, perhaps the fact that the staff could hardly speak English didn't help. We stayed in the chalets which were spacious but didn't have windows only drop down canvas blinds and shared ablution facilities which were rubbish and cold. One of our group also had to endure a cold shower early the next morning. The chalets are supposed to be "self catering" which is very optimistic as there was only a kettle in the room. One of the staff did bring us a microwave to share in order to heat up their frozen, tasteless, overpriced meals which we had bought at reception- this was done in desperation as we were reluctant to drive at night to Francistown which was 15km away. Would recommend that you give this stopover a skip unless you are wanting to be fleeced!!

Room Tip: Choose to drive to the next place.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Grant L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AnneW278, Owner at Woodlands Stop Over and Lodge, responded to this review, July 28, 2013
Thank you for your review but we would like, on the other hand, to encourage travellers to stop with us and experience the ambience and environment which we have worked so hard to create.
Sadly, you obviously struggled to enjoy it arriving so late and after a stressful drive. We are sorry.
Whilst we appreciate hearing your views, which we also share with all our staff members in an endeavour to improve customer service, we cannot possibly agree with them all.
And we would certainly not label our ablutions “rubbish”.
Our gentle, shy Batswana reception ladies, who all speak and understand English very well, try to meet the needs of all travellers arriving in a variety of different moods. Some of whom arrive “after dark after a stressful drive” as you did. Others have had unpleasant border crossings or even being caught in police speeding traps and yet feel it acceptable to take it out on the girls. The girls are the ones choosing not to respond but to rather try to do their jobs quietly with what may seem like a cold welcome.
The open, shared ablution facilities were specifically designed with open walls and drop blinds on three of the four walls being used in winter only. Our ablutions are boasted about by numerous campers from all over the world, all of whom travel extensively and who appreciate the care and detail taken by our staff to keep them immaculately clean and appealing for travellers who are tired. We have four geysers servicing the campsite and the chalets. Our security staff members do their best at night to control the switch over between them all so that hot water is available most of the time. Obviously, when we are so busy (as we have been) then cold water can be expected, especially in winter, and timing of showers has to be as planned as in any busy home when full of visitors.
Our campsite chalets, as advertised, are more like bricked tents without formal windows but rather screens, burglar bars for added security, and blinds for character. They do, however, have a secure wooden door for privacy and ease of access. They are not fully equipped and as such are the budget rooms to help travellers (who are on tight budgets) to have a good, clean and most comfortable night’s sleep. The kettle and complimentary tea & coffee are an added service.
Our luxurious Riverview Rooms are the rooms that are fully equipped with a little kitchenette and have en-suite shower & toilet. They are obviously a little more expensive.
As a self catering establishment, not having a restaurant or bar, we have tried to offer an additional service by providing pre-prepared (frozen) meals for those who have not brought their own food and who do not wish to leave the property especially when arriving late and not having made a plan for a meal.
The nine different choices of meals may not appeal to all customers nor may they satisfy the taste requirements of some but they do offer a wholesome tasty meal. Each one is approximately 500gms and individually packaged to offer good food & value for money.
Customers who purchase their meals with us and who are staying in the campsite chalets or even camping are offered crockery and cutlery from our reception staff and then the food is heated in the office with a microwave there OR for customer convenience, a portable microwave is taken to the rooms for use there.
We feel this is an added service and is not an afterthought!

We would like to encourage travellers not to skip Woodlands and miss out on a good experience, but to rather travel safely and be off our dangerous roads before dark.
Come and enjoy the ambience we have created and then come back for more.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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179 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    85
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    3
    3
See reviews for
53
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (25)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Charters Towers, Queensland, Australia
Level Contributor
19 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 4, 2013

We were a group of 6 friends stopping over in Francistown on our way back to South Africa from Livingstone. We arrived after dark and entered the reception at the gate. The reception staff were not friendly. We asked for advice for a restaurant and was told the closest one was 15km away. AS Woodlands is a self-catering establishment, we then tried to find out what we could make for dinner. They had ready meals, which were frozen, but these would obviously need to be heated. The only self-catering facilities on the premises was a kettle and outside barbeque area. Eventually the staff could see how incredulous we all thought this was and assisted us with sending a microwave to our rooms. Not only were these ready-meals not convenient, but very expensive for the size and taste.

The chalets were comfortable and spacious, but the bathrooms were way too open plan for privacy. If you stood in the shower, you could look down on someone in the loo and vice versa. The bathrooms also were not very well insulated for winter and made showering very cold.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Zelia_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AnneW278, Owner at Woodlands Stop Over and Lodge, responded to this review, July 28, 2013
2013-07-28
Thank you for your review. It is always helpful when running a service related business which endeavours and strives to offer excellence in a most aggressive and critical market.
Our “unfriendly” staff members who attended to you are gentle, shy Batswana ladies who are not rude but rather humble. Some travellers do confuse their manner with unfriendliness. They were very upset to have heard you thought that of them.
We’re so sorry you were still travelling on our roads after dark as we do encourage our visitors, when they have booked with us as you had, to arrive before dark for two reasons:
• to be safely off the potentially dangerous roads as there is a lot a live stock wandering around
• and secondly for you to be able to enjoy the ambience of Woodlands which we have tried to create.
Your choice of the campsite chalets when you booked are our budget rooms and we clearly state that they do not have all the facilities which the Riverview rooms have. Hence they are the cheaper option. These rooms help some travellers stay in a comfortable camp room whilst meeting their budget restraints. Had we not been fully booked that night we would have willingly upgraded you to a Riverview room which probably would have met your personal needs better. They are obviously more expensive though.
As a self catering establishment, with no restaurant or bar, we have extended our service by offering pre-prepared (frozen) meals made for travellers convenience who have not carried their own food and who do not wish to leave the property. As advertised (and as you discovered) our camp chalets are not fully equipped and that is why we have a microwave both in the office for travellers use and more recently we have offered a portable microwave to be used in the rooms of guests who have purchased their meals from us. We offer the crockery and cutlery to go with the meal. We are also sorry to hear you did not find the meals tasty or of enough substance. As you will well appreciate it is difficult to meet everyone’s taste and appetite. We have a variety of nine different meals to try and meet most people’s tastes. Each portion is 500gms which we feel is an adequate individual portion.
The ablution facilities are open campsite, shared facilities which are always clean and specially designed as such. The blinds are only used in winter and individual privacy is offered to all who shower and make use of the toilets. A private en-suite bathroom is part of the up market Riverview rooms.
Your review is appreciated but only focuses on the basic chalets which are marketed as such and we should like other travellers to know that it was only on one aspect of the business. We have a variety of accommodation options:
• our basic campsite chalets,
• lovely up market, fully equipped en-suite Riverview rooms with kitchnette
• our Woodlands Cottage which is as fully furnished as a home.
We do not have a restaurant or bar and so remain a self-catering establishment as advertised.
Thank you for taking the time to review.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gaborone, Botswana
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 23, 2013

used this place as a stop-over for work, but would have loved to stay longer. Will definitely be back. Great rooms and very helpful on arranging breakfast for our early departure, by providing us with a small basket.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank westraj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
nata
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 30, 2013

Spent the the night at one of the River cottages on Wed. 29th May 2013 . As always it is a lovely stop over , beautiful decor and extremely comfortable . The night was cold and it was nice to sit at the braai with a big fire before retiring for an early night . Morning tea and coffee was a pleasure before setting off again but the little breakfast cartons of cereal for a morning snack were missed .
A word of warning though , the approach road ( 5 or 6 kms ) is extremely badly corrugated and an uncomfortable bone jerking drive should be expected

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank northgatelodge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jeffreys Bay, South Africa
Level Contributor
14 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 28, 2013

Stop over from Zambia back to South Africa. Rooms are beautiful and clean. Had a river view room... it was quiet and peaceful. Arrived there little bit late so I cannot comment on the camping sites or the rest of the property but what we experienced in the rooms are great. I will recommend it to anyone for a stop over. There are also frozen meals you can buy at the gate! So if you are tired after a long journey this is a great bonus! (There is a microwave in the room)
Would stay again!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank R V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RSA
Level Contributor
11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 10, 2013

Overnight stay was very quiet and peaceful. The grounds are immaculate and camp sites grassed and neat.it was nice to just order a frozen meal to put into microwave after a long journey. The rooms are beautifully decorated and neat. Would stay again.

  • Stayed May 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank MYCHOICERsa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
60 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 9, 2013

We stayed over at Woodlands Stop Over as part of overland trip to Zambia. Location perfect for a stopover. It was however very crouded as more vehicles were allowed than what should have and we were staying on top of each other. As a result of conjestion early leavers battled to get out of site trying to navigate thorugh conjested parking. Camping sites are well shaded and grass well maintained. The ablusion facilities were clean but the shower walls are about sholder hight - not appreciated by particularly ladies in group. As result of high number of people staying over hot water was a problem - get to the shower first then you will have no reason to complain.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Marius Schoeman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Woodlands Stop Over and Lodge

Property: Woodlands Stop Over and Lodge
Address: Plot 9/10/11 NQ 24 Gerald Estates | Tati Town, Francistown 0000, Botswana (Formerly Mike and Anne West)
Phone Number:
Location: Botswana > North-East District > Francistown
Amenities:
Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 20 Specialty Lodging in Francistown
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Woodlands Stop Over and Lodge 2.5*
Number of rooms: 17
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Woodlands Stop Over and Lodge is a self catering establishment situated just 10kms north of Francistown just off the A3 National road. We have three different types of accommodation suiting the pockets of all travellers. A lovely, well appointed, family cottage with two en-suite bedrooms and all the comfortable amentities of home. Fully furnished and equipped. Eight Riverview en-suite rooms with their own kitchenette, also fully equipped. Very spacious, clean and comfortable. Six quaint chalets in the campsite making use of the immaculately clean ablution facility. These rooms (campsite chalets) do not have en-suite facilities. Lovely lawned campsites with water and power points for customer convenience. For the tired traveller a sparkling swimming pool welcomes you on arrival. A tranquil setting awaits all our valued patrons! We are ready to give a warm Botswana welcome. Dumelang! ... more   less 
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