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Cheetah Plains
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Reviews (284)
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All reviewsrooms are smallgame drivessabi sandsindividual chaletshis knowledgespent nightsthe reserverented a carthe general managercommunal mealsexpensive lodgeafrican bushgowrie gateoff roadgreat guideoutdoor showerspot animals
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Reviewed October 1, 2012

My husband and I recently stayed at Cheetah Plains lodge whilst we were on a photography course with the esteemed wildlife photographer, Greg du Toit.

The weekend we arrived was unfortunately a (very uncharacteristic) cold and wet one, which does not compliment the lodge's decor or main buildings in any way. We were cold for most of our stay, due to the openness of the decor, although the lodge did try to provide gas heaters during meal times.

The rooms themselves are extremely cramped, basic, uncomfortable and not of the standard I would have expected for the cost. The bathroom doesn't have proper closing doors and the rooms are in need of a complete revamp.

The food was extremely average and during our whole stay, we weren't introduced to any management staff and didn't know who was ultimately responsible for running the place.

The reserve itself (Sabi Sands) however is beautiful and the animal sightings were absolutely outstanding. We saw lions with cubs, a lion kill, leopard and cheetah on our first game drive, so were delighted with that.

I will definitely go back to the reserve, but would not visit Cheetah Plains again. Frankly, there are so many other lodges that offer better value and that are far more comfortable.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Lynnie07
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amanda V, Manager at Cheetah Plains, responded to this reviewResponded October 9, 2012

Dear Lynnie

Thank you for posting your feedback on Trip Advisor, we value you comments. Cheetah Plains is rustic bush camp, it is not a luxurious lodge, we also do our best not to offer it as such. The lodge has just reopened after it’s complete soft refurbishment , and we have received very good feedback from guests who really liked it, we were also very excited about the refurb.

With our renovations, we deliberately took the decision to retain the camps traditional atmosphere, and create a space where guests can relax in comfortable accommodation, not too expensive, while enjoying the superb Game Viewing that the Sabi Sands has to offer. It is clear that this approach will not appeal to everyone, and luckily there are now such a variety of lodges in the Sabi Sands, that you are spoilt for choice if you prefer a lodge which is more luxurious.

We are however very glad that you enjoyed your Photographic Safari and the game viewing with us. The Photographic vehicle at Cheetah Plains, is very unique, as it has the rotating seats, and the fitted Wembly arms, which allows you to pan your camera while taking photos, thus ensuring that you get the best out of your photosafari. Please share some of your pictures from your photosafari with us on our Cheetah Plains Facebook page, we would really love to see them.

Wild wishes,
Amanda Vermeulen

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 23, 2012

Just getting back from our Safari in South Africa. Our first stay was at Cheetah Plains and we were beyond pleased with the place. They've just completed a remodel (I've been following their Facebook page for the past few months) and everything looked great.

The lodge area is beautiful, with a bar and stools, along with other very comfy lounge furniture. I spent most afternoons here, resting from the morning drives and sipping on a coke or a nice glass of wine. Wifi worked great so I was able to load up pics to my Facebook and share with family back home.

The rooms are very nice; beds are super comfortable. Sleep was not a problem. Rooms were clean; they have on-demand hot water tanks in each room that ensured everyone got that much needed hot shower after game drives. Our rooms were serviced each morning and we had bed turn-down in the evenings. Our clothes were washed - we'd leave in the morning and in the evening, they were left on our beds, pressed and folded. This at no charge.

Game drives with Justin were FANTASTIC! We saw the two brother Cheetah's the very first afternoon! After the boys went their way, we all prepared to start off again...only to look up and see a herd of elephants coming our way! Moms and babies! I got some great pictures and learned so much about the animals from Justin. Very fun and educational. We met Andrew, the other guide, and he is an absolutely wonderful man. He and my husband enjoyed several conversations at the dinner table!

As for the complaints about the "no bush walks," this is true but we were well aware of this before we arrived. We have followed this thread, along with their Facebook page. Bush walks will resume at Cheetah Plains but NOT until the government gives them the proper licensing to do Bush walks. In order to do Bush walks, you MUST carry a weapon. In order to carry that weapon, you MUST have the proper licensing from the government. Cheetah Plains has done everything necessary to get that licensing; now they must wait on the government. As we did a Bush walk at another lodge, it wasn't a big thing for us. And because Justin got us "right up in the animals," even if we hadn't done a Bush walk, we were extremely satisfied with the animal interaction we had. We were able to see everything except the Leopard, along with a lot of the "middle" five. :-)

Food at Cheetah Plains is, simply put, delicious. The two Chefs there are locals and really do a good job of putting some top notch dishes on the table. Chef Eunice has a Butternut Soup recipe that is to "kill for." I actually got her to give me the recipe!

The service at Cheetah Plains is nothing less than excellent. We had a young couple with us who had a mid-morning departure. They would have had to miss morning ride but Justin got with us and okayed a plan to return to camp by 9am to drop them off and then we headed back out. A few days later, they did the same for us....even had our breakfast made early!

One of the most interesting things we did here was actual "tracking" of a Lion. Justin would follow the prints and explain what was going on, how he knew the prints were fresh, etc. Between him and Andrew, they were able to find the Pride of Lions!

Leaving Cheetah Plains was very difficult.....we had a very good experience and wonderful bonding with the staff. We left with new friends. I sure hope, when we return to South Africa next year, we can at least come to spend one night here and see our dear friends again.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank haaland0421
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amanda V, Manager at Cheetah Plains, responded to this reviewResponded October 9, 2012

Hi Becky,

Thank you for your lovely review, we really appreciate it. Everyone at the lodge was so pleased to read it. They all loved spending time with you and Day during your visit. We are really happy that we could do our part to ensure that your first safari was a very memorable experience.

Please do stay in touch with us, we would love to hear from you, Justin and Andrew give us regular updates on their gameviewing and latest sightings for our Facebook pages, so we can share it with all our friends who are far from the bush. We do hope that we will be able to welcome you back again to Cheetah Plains soon!

Wild wishes,
Amanda Vermeulen

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Reviewed August 15, 2012

I agree with everything James outlined in his April 16th review, we have just returned - August09-12, 2012. Big disappointment that there were no bush walks as advertised. In Amanda's response to James she said that this would be addressed and taken from the website, nothing yet! The photos in the promotional material do not correctly portray the facilities - the camera has been very, very kind. Look at other bush camps before making a decision to stay at Cheetah Plains.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Lynnette L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amanda V, Manager at Cheetah Plains, responded to this reviewResponded August 19, 2012

We have been in direct correspondence with this guest, to personally address the concerns she had with Cheetah Plains during her stay and are surprised that she still chose to post this review on Trip Advisor.

In terms of being good value for money… Cheetah Plains is a traditional bush lodge, newly refurbished in the sought after Sabi Sands Game Reserve, at a rate of R2695,- per person per night (std rooms). We provide comfortable accommodation, with excellent game viewing at an affordable rate, complimented with "amazing food and staff"

During the guests stay she did encounter a maintenance problem in her room, which was immediately attended to by our General Manager and maintenance team.

With regard to the comments about the Bush Walks, we do not advertise bushwalks on our own website as we are not currently able to offer any walks, for the reasons explained in our reply to "James" in April. All reference to Bushwalks have been taken off our own website since April, we do not advertise offering bushwalks and we clearly say in all our rooming information and marketing material that we do not offer bush walks.

Whilst we endeavour to inform 3rd party website of updates at the lodge, we can unfortunately not take responsibility if information about our lodge is found on other websites, which still reflects outdated information. From our side, the situation has not changed, we are still at the mercy of the Rifle License Issuing Authority and until the licenses have be issued, we firmly stand by our decision to not conduct illegal/unsafe walks in a Big 5 Game Reserve and compromise the safety of our guests.

With regard to the promotional material, we have just received the newly commissioned photographs of the lodge and rooms and are in the process of updating our own website with the new pictures which should be live in the next couple of days - please take a look at our website to see the vibrant colours and elements that have been incorporated in the refurbished interiors.

We trust that this information is helpful, for any queries you are most welcome to contact me directly.

Amanda Vermeulen

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Reviewed July 26, 2012

The setting of the lodge is out of the top draw with views from the bar overlooking a grass plain and the restaurant and pool area nestling neatly under trees at a watering hole. Accommodation while not the most luxurious neat, spotless and well maintained. Our family of 5 chose this lodge as we had been advised that the game viewing was exceptional. We were not disappointed. We spent 4 days enjoying eventful game drives almost all the time. The rangers and trackers were always willing to leave earlier or stay out longer depending on what our family wanted and what game viewing was taking place. Sightings were numerous including elusive wild dogs on 3 of the 4 days. Leapards were found on 2 days and a kill narrowly missed on one of these sightings. Meal time at the lodge were memorable and kids simple pallets well catered for as well. Staff were attentive 24/7 and no request too much trouble whether at the pool, at the restaurant or in our rooms. We were also told that the rooms were soon to be refurbished. This being the case, no one will be able to point any fingers as those who value better appointed accommodation will now also be well catered for. We look forward to coming back.

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with family
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Thank jeff1996
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 28, 2012

My husband and I spent 3.5 days at Cheetah Plains in late August/early September of 2011. It was definitely an excellent value for the price. The chalets were basic and clean and as other reviews have said a little tired/dated, but they are currently being renovated. My husband and I stay at a lot of 5 star resorts but we opted for Cheetah Plains because we had heard that the game drives were exceptional, and we were more concerned about having a great safari experience than a fancy resort -after all, you're in the bush! It definitely lived up to and exceeded our expectations. Maybe it was beginners luck but we saw the big 5 on our very first game drive, and a chase and a kill. Andrew was our guide and Ramson was the tracker. We thought they were both great, explained a lot and went off the beaten path all the time to get us closer to the animals. One reviewer mentioned he wasnt impressed by Andrew - I guess I can understand that because we did have a few people in our group at times that you could clearly tell annoyed him and he wasn't afraid to express his annoyance with them. Ramson on the other hand was very friendly and helpful. That man's vision and ability to spot animals is one of the most impressive things I've ever encountered. In the dark of the bush he could find a bug on a leaf! The staff at Cheetah Plains is wonderful, the food is delicious, the vehicles are nice and new - honestly, everything is excellent- just on a basic level. Nothing fancy. We did a massage one afternoon and it wasn't anything special. A nice afternoon treat, but not much nicer than what you get at a nail salon in NYC. I would recommend Cheetah Plains to anyone looking for a really great game drive experience at a great value for your money. If you're looking for a super fancy resort type lodge or a super romantic honeymoon then this isn't your place. I'd recommend 3-4 days here tops. That should give you plenty of time to see all the animals and enjoy yourself.

2  Thank AR407145
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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