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“Good fun - but lacking just a little something”

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Botlierskop Private Game Reserve
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 15, 2010

We booked a 2 night package at Botlierskop, staying in a delux tent. It's set in the foothills of the Outinequa mountains north of Mossel Bay, with the main lodge set up on a cliff with views across some of the reserve and to the mountains. We arrived just before 12.30 and were taken to the Main Lodge where our itinerary was explained. Our first game drive was to take place after 'high-tea' with the elephants - starting at approx 2pm. We had lunch (complimentary) but otherwise were left to ourselves - leaving us feeling a bit like 'spare parts'. We had to ask to be taken to our room so that we might change before events started which was a bit frustrating.

High-tea with the elephants was simply a glass of sparkling wine and some nibbles while the 'trained' elephants (2 adults and one 2 yr old) stood about 20 yards away, kept in check by their trainers. This felt a bit token - certainly nowhere near to the experience of coming across a wild herd of elephants that you might get in bigger game parks, nor the close-up experience you can have, including feeding the elephants themselves, at somewhere like the Knysna Elephant Park. However, it was a way to meet the rest of the group that would be accompanying us on the next two game drives.

The afternoon game drive took us around a portion of the reserve (some 3000 ha in size). There were 8 of us in the party, on a comfortable landrover, driven by our guide (Jancke). We saw groups of impala, including black impala, lots of wildebeest, bontebok, eland, kudu, and then stopped for a cold drink within sight of 3 giraffe, a couple of cape mountain zebra and a dopey ostrich. Not quite a sundowner as it was too early for that - which was a shame perhaps. We were taken back to the main lodge where others went on to the lion drive - we opted to head back to the tent to shower before dinner. Getting to and from our lodge involved asking for a ride (in a golf buggy) - which staff were always happy to do - driving across a portion of the reserve to the river, which we then crossed by pulling across a floating platform. The tents are lovely - ours was set close to the river, with steps up to a small 'balcony', and containing a four-poster double bed, fridge, air conditioning, bathroom including a double shower outside. The tents feel quite private other than late at night when the noise of other guests heading back to their tents can be irritating. There is wildlife around the tents.. we returned on a couple of occassions to find a deer and a bok grazing near our tent, and heard hooves trundling past just outside early one morning.

We returned to the main lodge for dinner - where a large fire was lit in an outdoor area on the cliff edge - this was very pretty to look at and created some atmosphere - but otherwise the 'atmosphere' was very limited - you could have simply been sat in any hotel. The food was wonderful and plentiful - dinner comprised soup, a sorbet, salad and then buffet selection of meats (cooked for you as you waited by a wonderful chef) - choice included crocodile tail, ostrich, wildebeest, hardebeest, kudu, beef, chicken etc. The wine selection is limited - and disappointingly for us comprised many south african wines that can commonly be bought at a fraction of the price back in the UK.

We went on the early morning game drive the next morning - more of the same in terms of the animals (and also sadly the same commentary), and a chance to stop for a cup of coffee half-way around. Breakfast at the lodge was lovely with plenty of fresh fruit, yoghurts, breads, and cooked foods available to choose from. Mid-morning we had a river cruise - a simple ride in the boat up and down the short stretch of river in the reserve. This was sweet but offered nothing more in terms of any additional wildlife viewings.

We went on the lion drive - which involves a large group being put into a truck with high sides, and driven up to a seperate fenced off area where 3 lions live. This was a disappointment - the lions are some of the fattest I've seen, and the highlight for most people was seeing the 'dead horse' that was provided as food rather than the lions themselves - again, little comparison to the experience available at a larger game reserve.

The next morning involved a horse ride - a 2 hr ride on well-behaved and fairly docile horses around a portion of the estate. This was a good chance to approach some of the animals much more closely than otherwise is possible, and we crept up on some waterbuck including a young calf - but otherwise for the bulk of the ride it was simply that - a horse ride to look at some lovely scenery.

All in all we enjoyed Botlierskop.. we were staying around the Western Cape and didn't want to travel further afield - and just wanted a bit of luxury and the chance to see some game. We knew this was simply a small private reserve and so weren't expecting full 'safari' - if we had then we certainly would have been disappointed! However, we did feel that the reserve could make the experience just that bit more special - ensuring that guests aren't left feeling like 'spare parts' on arrival e.g. offering coffee / tea on arrival instead of having to ask for it, arranging for guests to see their rooms and have the chance to change before the first drive. Also by trying to create some kind of atmosphere in the evenings - the location is magical and even just some more imaginative choice of 'muzak' would have helped remind folk that they were in Africa! It is a lot of money considering the 'experience' on offer - and a shame that all drinks had to be paid for - simply providing free soft drinks would help make guests feel a bit more special.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank wiltshiretraveller1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 10, 2010

The previous review wound me up so much it has only incited me to reply to tell you about and show you about our stay. We arrived in late February and were impressed with Botlierskop - and we have stayed in many hotels around the world. From the outset we knew the game reserve was in essence a giant 'farm' so don't expect the Kruger but appreciate the vast number of animals on the estate and how they interact with each other. It rained and rained when we were there but Stuart entertained us with a superb game drive, a trip with the elephants, a river cruise and a horseback ride. The tents are beautiful - we had tent 12 by the river. The baths are big, the outdoor showers are quirky and the beds extremely comfy. You are going to hear noises of crickets and beetles but of course you are, you're under the stars. The food is amazing - tasted kudu, bontibok, crocodile tail, impala, springbok and ostrich. Pool is on the small side but the views make up for it. Do stay at Botlierskop, dont let the previous review put you off, because it is truely stunning and you are looked after throughout your stay. Photos attached show how beautiful the place is. Thanks to all at Botlierskop for a fab stay. Harry & Chris, Norwich, UK

  • Stayed: February 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank monarchoftheglen4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 20, 2010

"I just want to say that I saw a Lion in its natural habitat in Africa" - visitor overheard in Botlierskop.

Well if that's what you want, Botlierskop is the place for you. You can sit in the back of a Japanese 4x4 and be driven round the relatively small acreage and be sure to see all the animals you saw in BBC wildlife programmes.

It's just all a bit fake. At least at the other reserve I have been to (Shamwari) you actually had to go and look for the animals. Here, your chances of missing them are remote. It was literally impossible to get a photo of the lions without an electric fence in the background as they waited patiently to be fed. The "Tea with Elephants" feature is even worse as the beasts have been shepherded from the river especially to be gawped at while you eat your spinach quiche. They are kept from returning by a bloke hiding in a bush (yes, really).

No doubt the visitor quoted above will also be able to say that he "slept under canvas in Africa" as the luxuriously-appointed rooms are wooden platforms with a massive heavy duty tent covering them with another layer of even heavier material above for good measure. There was a very comfortable four-poster, large bath, outdoor shower.

Food was excellent. You would try a large number of the relatives of the animals you had seen earlier (plus crocodile) done Teppanyaki-fashion.

Service was excellent and very friendly.

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled with friends
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7  Thank WindyinSancreed
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
botl, General Manager at Botlierskop Private Game Reserve, responded to this reviewResponded January 28, 2010

Botlierskop is not a big 5 reserve and we do not market the reserve this way.
We offer guests a luxury, unique accommodation experience with good food, good service and a large variety of activities including elephant back rides, tea with the elephants, game drives, horseback safari, helicopter flights, river cuises, fishing and the spa is opening 1 March 2010.
I do advise GUESTS that want to see the BIG 5 that they should rather go up north. Our reserve is ideal for clients that want to have a safari experience and they prefer malaria free areas and do not have time to go north to the BIG 5 reserves.

Our reserve is 3000 ha and our lions is in a 100ha enclosure. Our elephant is trained elephants and you will see them but we also use them for the various activities.
The rest of our animals is free roaming - just under 2000 head on the reserve and includes the rare black impala.

I do hope this would be helpful for our GUESTS

Kind Regards
Management

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 12, 2010

Great place, I won't go into details because all of the previous reviews are apt. One thing I really liked about this place is that it is small, and you truly get to know the other people staying here, if you want to. We left having met four other couples from around the world that were all truly memorable. Really a low-key experience, nothing stuffy about this place. I highly recommend drinks by the pool in the afternoon.
Our guide was a young guy named Jurgen, extremely knowledgable and outgoing.
I say "safari-light" becuase if you are looking for Kruger or the Serengeti, you will probably be disappointed. This is a limited, enclosed area with free-ranging, yet captive, wildlife. Understandably, the lions are held in a separate pen, still quite ample, but far from any of the other animals. I was a bit leary on arrival, but after seeing so much wildlife in so little time, in truly natural habitat, I highly recommend the Botlierskop for anyone looking to spend a couple of days on the Cape in a safari atmosphere.
At dinner, try the grilled eland steaks, best meat I have ever tasted...

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled with family
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Thank GringoWim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 12, 2010

Amazing few days at Botlierskop at the end of our honeymoon we stayed for 4 days and when we arrived it seemed that most of the other guests were staying for 2/3 days we worried if we would get bored and want to move on - not so- we were so happy in the end we had 4 days as we really got to see everything, do everything and yet stil have time to relax on the decking area with a drink!
The Tented suits are amazing we were upgraded on arrival to the honeymoon tent which is more secluded than a lot of the others - you really feel you are in amongst it in this tent !
The tents were so comfortable and well equipped - huge 4 poster bed, lounge area, mini bar and a lovely bath and double sink in the bathroom.
Each evening our heated blanket was put on so the bed was all cozy!
The food is out of this world - breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and Dinner - all fantastic lots was freshly cooked at the grill.
Great selection of drinks on the all inclusive.
The 'Safaris' were fab - cold in September but we were greeted at 6am with blankets and hot water bottles! It was fantastic seeing Zebras, Giraffe, Rhinos etc.
We loved afternoon tea down with the elephants and we splashed out on an 'elephant trek' which was a real highlight.
The Staff were so helpful and friendly - nothing was too much trouble.
We would definately reccommend staying at Botlierskop and we would love to return one day !

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank HWPenguin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 2, 2009

The whole experience at Botlierskop is amazing. Tented suites are spacious, clean, and with very comfy four-poster beds in an amazing setting.

The restaurant is excellent. Both dinner and breakfast were buffet style - choose your mear from the buffet and they cook it while you wait.

The facilities are amazing, but the highlight is the animals. The same ranger looks after you throughout your stay, and we had two 2-3 hour game drives around the vast reserve, getting very close to the animals (certainly about as close to a full-grown rhino as I'd ever want to get!).

A dip in the swimming pool that overlooks the reserve was the perfect end to our stay.

Cannot recommend highly enough.

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled with friends
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Thank Rob99Wales
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 30, 2009

Since we based our South Africa vacation out of Cape Town, we decided not to fly to Kruger and instead to seek out the best safari experience within a reasonable drive from CT. Thanks to TripAdvisor, we chose a winner with Botlierskop. The luxury tented suites were wonderful...ours was accessed via a pontoon ferry, adding to the fun and adventure. The staff was very accomodating, especially Billy who was in charge of our families adventures (our children are 8 & 10 years old...and loved it). We did the game drive, horseback riding, elephant ride.....a beautiful setting, great plant and animal life. Set you expectations that the Lions are in a separate enclosure and don't do much....but that's nature, in the wild. Locals we met said they saw more wildlife here than on their last trip to Kruger. Enjoyed it!!

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled with family
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1  Thank sharonshops
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Botlierskop Private Game Reserve

Address: Botlierskop Reserve, Mossel Bay, Gonnakraal near Little Brak River, Mossel Bay 6053, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > Western Cape > Mossel Bay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 38 Specialty Lodging in Mossel Bay
Price Range: $217 - $470 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Botlierskop Private Game Reserve 4*
Number of rooms: 19
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated between Mossel Bay and George, Botlierskop Private Game reserve offers a great diversity of wildlife with more that 26 different animal species and over 200 bird species. Botlierskop reserve is stretching over 3500 ha of mountains and grasslands. Overnight in luxury tented suites situated close to the river. Each of the 17 air-conditioned luxury-tented suites at Botlierskop is elegantly decorated in a romantic colonial theme with 4-poster beds draped with mosquito nets. The en-suite bathrooms are lavishly equipped with deep baths and an outdoor bush shower with stunning views. The Manor house on the reserve has 7 rooms with views over the plains and good game viewing opportunities. Some rooms has baths and showers some only showers. Activities offered includes, guided game drives, horse back safaris, bush walks and spa treatments. Game includes lions, elephants, buffalo's, rhino'giraffes, black impala, zebra and many more. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Botlierskop Private Game Reserve Hotel Mossel Bay

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