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“Excellent off-road safari experience at Cheetah Plains Lodge (formerly Djuma Bush Lodge)”
Review of Cheetah Plains

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Cheetah Plains
Certificate of Excellence
Lexington, Massachusetts
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Excellent off-road safari experience at Cheetah Plains Lodge (formerly Djuma Bush Lodge)”
Reviewed September 4, 2011

There are only a few other reviews for this lodge, mostly commenting upon whether different rooms/huts had a view of the watering hole or had outdoor showers. I'd like to say that I had a first-rate experience at Cheetah Plains, and it had little or nothing to do with the room, the shower, or the view. My single room was perfectly fine, tastefully done but by no means over the top. This is not the place for super luxury, but it is for super animal watching! The point is - the room doesn't matter all that much, if you are on the typical 2-3 night safari, you are basically in the room only from 9:00 PM until 6:30 AM. The rest of the time you are on morning or afternoon safari drives, eating at the very nice common area, or lounging around, including at the pool. The food was good and hearty, though not gourmet, and I had no extra costs for alcohol as I drank the excellent house wines offered at meals and on the afternoon safari stop. I found all the staff to be very professional and helpful, and of course, the highlight are the safari drives with the guides and trackers, who were superb, especially Andrew. In the four drives I went on we saw the Big Five consistently, and we tracked lion and leopard walking deep into the bush. The phenomenal part is how close you come to the animals - witnessing them up close devouring killed prey, defecating and marking territory, engaging in mating contests, or laying around and sleeping. If you want great animal viewing, come to Cheetah Plains. Yes, internet is accessible only on a slow, common computer (although there is a wireless network, it is not made available) and phone signal is very weak in most huts - but these are truly small inconveniences as the time flies by quickly anyway.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
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4 Thank ingoldman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Crestview Hills, Kentucky, USA
Level 4 Contributor
48 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed March 8, 2011

Visited Cheetah Plains for safari with 9 other women/friends. Immediate safari after arrival and already spotted 4 cheetahs. During 5 day stay, we saw the "big 5" animals and many others. What makes this place special are the people who work there. They embrace you as a treasured family member. The guides and spotters are the best in the area, and you learn more from them than you would at any zoo in the US. The chef, kitchen crew and lodge staff make you feel more than just special and you are pampered more than anywhere else. The food is absolutely delicious and the meals are more than celebrations. This is best place I've ever been ... and I've been around the world.

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3 Thank 2maryann
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego
Level 6 Contributor
129 reviews
43 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 103 helpful votes
Reviewed October 28, 2010

I always appreciate everyone's input and read the reviews on Trip Advisor so I had no hesitation selecting this bush camp (formerly known as Djuma Bush Lodge). Having just returned I wanted to add some updates... we've been to 5 other African countries for photo safari's previously so certain things really stood out for our stay in South Africa.

We knew going in that the camp layout was a major factor, their individual chalets are ideally laid out over the terrain in an eye pleasing layout. Plenty of privacy rather than feeling like being lined up in rows of hotel rooms. We were in #8 and just loved it there. Our friends had #1- every location is perfect. Another factor was they do have an indoor dining room should weather ever make being outdoors less comfortable. And the dining outdoors isn't some simple thing but individual tables in a curve where everyone has a view out over the nearby plain and waterhole. You are frequently entertained with herds of buffalo, elephants, impala, warthog, occassional giraffe who wander in. We were there in Oct. which is the end of the dry season, so the animals gather more at the remaining water locations.

Brian was our host at the camp and went out of his way to spend some time with everyone, either he or the guides regularly eat with the guests so there is always a chance to hear more about this diverse country and life here. We also had a chance to see his copy of the Oct. issue of Africa Geographic where he just won the photo contest- gorgeous picture, I bought a copy at the airport on my way home and just loved hearing his stories of his years here.

Our guide was Andrew (tracker Patrick) and he was amazing. I also want to comment on their vehicles- they are only a year old and built specifically for the guests comfort and viewing. Individual seats on a staggered rise, vastly preferred over the bench seating we saw in some- this lodge doesn't put more than 8 guests in a vehicle whereas we saw some who squeezed in 10 or more. We once passed by Gowrie Gate (which is the way in) and couldn't believe we'd just been on the same road we'd driven in on- the jeep is that comfortable. Ideal for getting up close to the animals off road when needed.

And they will take you to see everything. We loved our entire time there, at first I thought it might be fun to go out with different guides for different input- but they're smarter giving you your own guide for your entire stay. He knows what you've seen and what you're still looking for. We never seemed to cover the same places and visited different waterholes for our sundowners. We covered the Big 5 so many times that it then became a game for him to ask what we'd still like to see. We never tire of the cats but Andrew was also always able to find our other requests. The only thing that eluded us was the White Tailed Mongoose, he's nocturnal- but he did try. You can sometimes see him from camp but we missed it. Be sure to ask to see a Nyala- the male are gorgeous!

That was another thing that we loved about this camp. The wildlife. We're not seriously into birds but you couldn't help but love all the constant flow of colorful birds who stopped in. And the bush buck who regularly wander through camp, there is a baby here right now and we took pictures of it nursing. They're not penned, they just feel safe here and wander in by slipping under the fence- we never saw them outside of camp but if you don't startle them, they're quite comfortable here. We came home with so many pictures of our amazing trip.

I would never hesitate for a second to recommend this bush camp and hope to go back as well. The food is absolutely amazing but I know others have already commented on that. Three nights is great but we indulged with 4 and still hated to leave. We rented a car and GPS from the airport in J'berg and had no trouble, allow about 7 hours but I think it can be done in 6. We took different routes so didn't double over the same terrain except immediately around J'berg. There had been some comment a while back about someone getting lost but there are lots of signs now for Cheetah Plains, both entering and exciting from the Gowrie Gate. They seem to care deeply and have anticipated their guests every need- Brian will make you feel at home and you'll wish you never had to leave... we couldn't have asked for another single thing... oh, one last thought. Don't miss out on the bush walk. I really expected it to be a rather dull chat on the insects and folliage and ended up enthralled- Andrew took us out for an hour in the bush and I couldn't believe how much fun we had... 'bush walk' doesn't adequately describe it. It's not to be missed! Go for the camp ambiance, wonderful personel and the chance to see the wildlife as they really live- it's nothing like going to the zoo.

Stayed September 2011
Helpful?
10 Thank T-2SanDiego
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Cheetah Plains

Property: Cheetah Plains
Address: Sabi Sand Game Reserve | Sabi Sand Game Reserve, Mpumalanga, South Africa, Kruger National Park 1383, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Hotel Style:
Ranked #26 of 42 Specialty Lodging in Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Cheetah Plains is a small, authentic bush camp in the world renowned Sabi Sand Game Reserve, with 500 hectares of privately owned land & another 8000 hectares of additional traversing - you can be assured of exceptional game viewing - especially leopard and the rest of the "big 5". Cheetah Plains has only 8 traditionally thatched rooms - set amongst indigenous gardens - creating a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere.We focus on freshly produced meals in wonderful surroundings - complementing the friendly and attentive service from all at Cheetah Plains. We look forward to welcoming you to our special bush home. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Cheetah Plains South Africa/Sabi Sand Game Reserve

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