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“Amazing scenery wonderful experience”

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Gondwana Game Reserve
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 12, 2014

We were met and taken to our room and everything was explaned to us.

We arrived for our first high tea and to our english eyes it was a bit odd. Certainly no scones and cream or victoria sponge but as I found out later all the food is african themed.

Then on to our first game drive with Hugo our guide who made our 2 day stay special. He worked so very hard to make the best of our game drives and was very informative considerate and polite.

The reserve were catering for a bus group on our first day and I think that this spoiled the ambiance a little as they had a large table in the centre of the dinning room but on the second day both the breakfast and dinner were better.

We sayed in one of the round huts and they are very private, it was wonderful to lie in bed and look at that amazing view, listen to the animals in the distance and watch the birds.

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank Travellers-Chick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GondwanaGameReserve, General Manager at Gondwana Game Reserve, responded to this reviewResponded February 20, 2014

Good morning,
Thank you for you wonderful feedback on your stay with us.
We are pleased the experience from start to end was enjoyable and memorable and that you were able to enjoy every moment as it was intended, even our African High tea.

Lying in the Kwena Rooms under the skylight is a talking point for many, and something special to enjoy. The Rooms were designed to allow as much natural light in as possible in what would have otherwise been quite a dark beehive dome as they traditionally were.

The Reserve is a vast expanse of Land to traverse and our guides do work hard to ensure as many of the unique Fynbos elements are discovered. This is a completely different experience to a typical Savanah Safari, but equally exciting and wild if one takes into consideration the diversity of the Biome and not only focus on the Large Mammals. Hugo is a great guide and has a particular passion for the smaller creatures of the world. He brings a special and unique angle to his drives which many people enjoy.

Once again thank you for your encouraging comments, we look forward to hosting you on the Reserve again soon.

Kind Regards
Neil Davison, General Manager

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532 - 538 of 843 reviews

Reviewed February 11, 2014

Visiting a Game Reserve in the Western Cape can be tricky and based on wrong expectations. Gondwana could be seen as a big exception. The Game Reserve is just off the N2, but once you are in the massive reserve, you feel kind of secluded. Accommodation in the roundhouses is great (and much better than the villas), the pool has a nice view and the food in the restaurant is nice, even there would be room for improvement. The staff is very friendly. But most important, the game drives with our ranger, whose name was Forget, offered a lot of highlights. Due to the size of the reserve, it takes some time to track the animals, but that is part of the fun.

Room Tip: go for the round houses, not the villas
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank BacoaBurger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GondwanaGameReserve, General Manager at Gondwana Game Reserve, responded to this reviewResponded February 19, 2014

Good evening,
Thank you for the wonderful feedback on your stay with us on Gondwana Game Reserve.
The Kwena rooms mimic a style and design unique to this area and the communities that once occupied much of the Cape areas south of the Outeniqua mountains. These communities and there daily existence is depicted in many of the décor items throughout the Lodge. I am pleased you enjoyed your stay with us at Kwena Lodge.
Forget has been a guide with us for 5 years nearly and certainly knows the area well. He has an infectious name which matches his character.
We look forward to hosting you on the Reserve again sometime soon
Kind regards
Neil Davison, General Manager

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Reviewed February 10, 2014

Be sure to read the whole review because I want to review the hotel and the game drives separately.

Hotel: The rooms were very nice inside, however we had TONS of bugs. Not talking about 3-5 bugs but spiders on the bed, ants climbing up the walls, flies...you name it. Not to mention, pulling aside the curtains to find an outlet led me to see tons of dead bugs on the window ledge. I recognize that being on a game reserve that bugs are a natural part of the experience. However, paying R3200 per person, per night would lead me to believe that vacuuming up dead bugs would not be an issue.

The service provided at the hotel was sparse and shocking. It seemed like there was an overall lack of communication. We were just dropped off at our hut basically saying "come to your game drives at this time, dinner at this time." I know we weren't the only ones feeling left out with communication as I saw one couple nearly miss their game drive (she later shouting at ranger for the miscommunication) and one couple left at their front door of their hut with no key after dark (realizing they were never given a key at check in). We arrived at our game drive and everyone was getting onto their Jeeps and I had to stop a waitress and ask how we know which jeep to go to. She looked at me with a shocked look and said, "nobody told you?" and had to chase down someone to tell us who our guide was.

The next morning we were to meet at 6 AM for coffee before setting out on our drive. We were told we would get a wake up call at 5:30 AM (which never came). We received a call at 5:50 from our guide who said to wait and he would come get us because the lions had been near by earlier in the morning. 15 minutes had passed and he called again asking where we were and to hurry up. We raced to the meeting area to find no coffee/tea or anything for any of us to eat (all other groups had cleared it all already). It was just another odd interaction during our stay.

The service at the restaurant (especially breakfast and lunch) was horrendous. The servers seemed to have no desire to do what they were doing nor cared to be friendly. And the food was only "ok." Dinner service and food seemed to be a bit better. For the amount of money we paid per night, the service was just poor. We were treated much better at places in S. Africa where we paid far less.

Game Drives: This was the upside of our two nights there. We were able to see everything that we wanted: lions, elephants, giraffes, rhino, hippo etc. We were unable to find the lion cubs or elephant babies but seeing the adults were good enough for us. The landscape is just stunning and worth a see in itself. Our guide worked very hard to find us the animals that we wanted to see. I do think that he could have been a bit more informative about the animals (he was very matter of fact "here are the giraffes") but really it was a great experience overall. After doing 4 game drives, one does realize that the game is a bit sparse on this reserve, but the guides seem to know how to find what they are looking for. I would most definitely recommend a day visit for one or two game drives at Gondwana.

I dont think we would return for the stay, but the drives were well worth the money.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank Allison D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GondwanaGameReserve, General Manager at Gondwana Game Reserve, responded to this reviewResponded February 19, 2014

Dear Allison
Thank you for your feedback on your stay with us on Gondwana Game Reserve. We certainly appreciate all forms of Feedback and use this to improve where need be taking constructive criticism to heart. I must apologise that the experience was not to your expectation, and without detailing the various concerns you raised, we will certainly use this to improve on our overall offering. This is without a doubt our busiest period of the year, and now more than ever the team should be stepping up to the plate and giving our guests the stay they deserve, and for which we are well known for. We do not condone any of the points you raised and will certainly put this to our teams to ensure we do not have a repeat of this.
I am pleased despite the mishaps and lack of service at the Lodge, that the Game experience ensured you were well entertained as you expected and the very reason you chose to stay at a Game Lodge. The Summer rains we have recently had, have without a doubt affected the game viewing, with our General game being widespread throughout the 11000ha as they are not pushed for food or water resources which are bountiful. This does make it challenging for the guides, covering the entire Reserve on a 2 or 3 night stay is not possible, so care must be taken to show our guests as much as possible in as short a time as possible. This should however still be a relaxed and enjoyable experience as you are after all on Holiday. The guides do encourage guests to get out as quickly and early as possible to avoid missing any potential great sightings and can assure you there was no ill intent in getting you up and about quickly to get out to view the Lion who could have well disappeared and not be seen again for a couple of days.
We would be delighted to host you again on the Reserve, where we will ensure your experience will be as it should have been this time around and for which we pride ourselves.
Once again, thank you for the valuable and balanced feedback on your stay.
Kind regards
Neil Davison, General Manager

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Reviewed February 8, 2014

The round huts are the place to stay! Beautiful setting of the lodge, nicely decorated, good food, friendly well trained staff and exceptional wildlife experience. We had only 24 hours there but enjoyed every minute.

Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
Thank Maria16802
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GondwanaGameReserve, General Manager at Gondwana Game Reserve, responded to this reviewResponded February 10, 2014

Dear Maria,
Thank you for the wonderful feedback on your brief stay with us in January. Congratulations once again to you both, we wish you all the happiness as you begin your lives together. The Kwena Rooms are unique in design and comfort, and offer a small insight into the African culture and style of this area.

We look forward to hosting you again soon and hopefully for more than 1 night, as there is much more of the area and Reserve to discover and enjoy!
Kind Regards
Neil Davison

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Reviewed January 24, 2014 via mobile

We spent 3 nights at Gondwana in a family villa this January which was stunning. The views for each bedroom were amazing to wake up to each morning and apart from the zebras munching very loudly outside our balcony doors one night it was perfectly peaceful! The grounds and pool were a great place to spend time between game drives which are every morning and evening. The reserve itself seems to be quite young so whilst there were animals around there weren't herds and herds of them, we had to search around quite a lot but our driver Brian made sure each drive was a brilliant one and kept us entertained!

The only thing that lets this place down ever so slightly is the food. It's done as a mix of local and some more general but could do with a little bit more attention. One of our party was gluten free and despite warning in advance it seemed to come as a bit of a shock every evening so something had to be thrown together last minute. Also I'm not sure why the brai area isn't used, seemed like a bit of a wasted opportunity as the weather was great, in fact we were in SA for 2 weeks and didn't have one, very odd. Have to say breakfast was lovely though as was afternoon tea and we didn't starve!

  • Stayed: January 2014
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Thank Sophie P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GondwanaGameReserve, General Manager at Gondwana Game Reserve, responded to this reviewResponded January 27, 2014

Dear Sophie, Gill, Trevor and Chloe
Thank you for the fantastic and balanced feedback on your stay with us at Gondwana Game Reserve. Firstly my apologies for the lack of consideration with your meal preferences during your stay. We take care to gain as much information on our guests travelling to us and dietaries and food allergies are key. This is disappointing as the team were well aware of the preferences. I have reiterated the importance of this to our Chefs so we do not have a repeat of this.
Brian will be delighted that you enjoyed the time on the Drives with him. He is a wonderful guide with a natural flair for sharing his knowledge and experiences with his guests. He is in an important part of our team, so thank you for these encouraging comments.
We are currently employing new Chefs and taking a turn on our food style and your comments will go along way in us taking this part of your stay to the next level. Locally sourced fresh produce and flavours are important to our food philosophy however we need to be mindful of different palates in this regard and ensure we offer sufficient variety for all to enjoy something unique and of course true to South Africa. We do 'braai' as often as we can and this is dependent not only on the weather but all our in house guests needs and preferences as well. Believe it or not, we have had criticism on offering a 'braai' as it does not fit the overall Lodge feeling. I can only encourage you to return to Gondwana soon and we will treat you all to a South African braai experience like none other. All the best
Neil Davison and the Gondwana Lodge Team

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Reviewed January 22, 2014

We had 3 days of safaris on Gondwana and stayed in the Bush villas. The accommodation was awesome and in the morning we saw zebras going past. Safaris were excellent as we saw plenty of animals for a smaller reseve. Food was also very good. The only negative point we can mention is that the organisation is a littlest bit erratic at times. One thing to improve to really make the stay unforgetable!

Stayed: January 2014, traveled with family
Thank FatNat04
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GondwanaGameReserve, General Manager at Gondwana Game Reserve, responded to this reviewResponded January 27, 2014

Good afternoon!
Thank you for the wonderful feedback on your recent stay with us at Gondwana Game Reserve.
We are pleased you enjoyed the time with the girls on the Game drives, and were entertained my some of the many species we host on the Reserve. January is a great month to visit the area with the pin cushions at the end of their flowering stages, with warm temperatures and long days allowing you to enjoy the Swimming pool between Game Drives. I also am pleased that being our busiest season and our team being pushed to their limits that your stay was not impacted by sharing this experience with many other guests at the Lodge.
We look forward to welcoming you back on the Reserve again soon!

Kind regards,
Neil Davison and the Gondwana Lodge Team

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Reviewed January 14, 2014

On the plus side, the bush villa was beautiful and the view epic. The park is gorgeous with spectacular nature, mountains and valleys. If seeing animals is your main reason for going to South Africa, don't go to Gondwana. If you like food and nature with a hint of a wild animal, then it is a good stay. The restaurant personnel were lovely as was our game driver Brian.

On the minus side...
- The first game drive was 45 minutes delayed because we had to wait for another couple to arrive, and we were not compensated for the time lost.
- The second, our guide chose to educate us about zebras when everyone else hurtled to the lions who were eating somewhere. Our driver then had to rush and we just caught the male lion walking back to the bushes not to be seen again.
- That night after dinner, the door of the van that drove us home fell off. After standing in the game reserve in the dark trying to help our driver to fix it, one of us had to hold it to the side of the van while driving back. We did not even get a "thank you, and sorry for the trouble".
- The third game drive, the steering wheel broke as we were driving (luckily slow) and we crashed in the bushes. It was raining heavily and we were stuck for 30-40 minutes before a new car came to fetch us. Then they drove us back to the reception instead of continuing the game drive in the new car. And, again, we were not compensated for the time lost game driving.
- To add insult to injury, one of us dried a skirt and top on the wooden towel hanger in the bathroom, only to find brown color over the whole things. When mentioning it to reception, all she got was a "well, it's meant for dry towels".

So, the service and customer care from the front desk and management is lacking and is very disappointing.

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with friends
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1  Thank annaeliasson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Gondwana Game Reserve

Address: Garden Route | 4 hr drive from Cape Town, Mossel Bay 6500, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > Western Cape > Mossel Bay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 34 Specialty Lodging in Mossel Bay
Price Range: $375 - $3,387 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Gondwana Game Reserve 5*
Number of rooms: 24
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Gondwana Game Reserve provides the perfect safari break less than 4 hours drive from Cape Town and 45 minutes from George airport along South Africa’s popular Garden Route. The 11,000 hectare private game reserve offers a distinctive malaria-free safari experience in a spectacular mountain and Fynbos landscape adding vivid colour and interest to a Big Five wilderness experience. This exclusive reserve offers guests attentive service, superb cuisine, inspiring interiors, expert game rangers and a fun Junior Ranger Program for the kids. Kwena Lodge boasts 14 Khoi-San inspired Kwena Rooms. Each open plan suite is nestled into its spectacular surrounds with 180-degree views of the spectacular surrounds overlooking 2 waterholes where elephant frequent. The rooms offer sky lights for star gazing, clay pot fireplaces and deep baths to keep you warm upon return from an evening game drive. The spacious lodge facilities include a large infinity pool, chic open-plan lounge and bar, with food and beverage services offered in an elegant dining room set around 2 open fireplaces or in the outdoor boma. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Gondwana Game Reserve Hotel Mossel Bay

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