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“Wonderful game drives” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Cheetah Plains

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Cheetah Plains
Certificate of Excellence
Istanbul, Turkey
Level Contributor
11 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Wonderful game drives”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 3, 2012

Well, if you are looking for a luxurious lodge, this is not the place. But if you are after wonderful game viewing your are on the right spot. "Doctor" the ranger is exceptional. He is doing an amazing job. Four game drives with him was best ones we have ever had. With Justin, they are a good team.
We stayed at a standart room, which is some small, but the bed was comfortable. The food was very good. The staff was friendly.
As a bush lodge it was comfortable and good value for money.
During our trip we stayed at four different lodges, and being not the most luxurious one, Cheetah Plains was the best and memorable place.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank cantay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amanda V, Manager at Cheetah Plains, responded to this review, November 21, 2012
You hit it on the head, we are definitely not a luxurious lodge, in terms of luxurious accommodation, but what makes Cheetah Plains so special and the experience unforgettable is our exellent game viewing experience and our great staff.

Thank you very much for your review, we are sure other will find it helpful.

Doctor was very pleased with the leopard pic you sent him and enjoyed being called an exceptional ranger. We hope to welcome you to Cheetah Plains again sometime in the future.

Wild wishes
Amanda Vermeulen
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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239 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (41)
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Gerrards Cross, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
34 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 2, 2012

My husband and I have just returned to Cheetah Plains for the third time in ten years. We were slightly concerned beforehand at one or two negative postings on Trip Advisor, but definitely need not have worried. Why don't people read about a lodge before visiting? Cheetah Plains is the perfect safari lodge - it isn't over-the-top luxurious, but do you really want that when you're there to see the wildlife? The rooms are not huge, but you are only in them to sleep in between game drives, and the beds are beautifully comfortable. The bar, dining area, library, viewing balcony, etc, have all been refurbished and are lovely. The food was first class, with a choice for the main course, and the service excellent. All the staff introduced themselves and could not have been more courteous and friendly throughout our three day visit. Our guide, Andrew, was superb - a real gentleman - and we learned so much from him during fascinating game drives. As for the wildlife - you wouldn't get better viewing anywhere in SA.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Gunnerjanet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amanda V, Manager at Cheetah Plains, responded to this review, November 20, 2012
Thank you for your wonderful review, we really appreciate it. We are very pleased that you chose Cheetah Plains again for your safari and that the lodge continues to live up to your expectations.

Your review summarized everything that we try to achieve at Cheetah Plains perfectly, and it really means a lot to all of us, when guests validate our efforts.

We look forward to welcoming you back to Cheetah Plains again in the near future.

Wild wishes,
Amanda Vermeulen
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Durban, South Africa
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 1, 2012

I recently did an "Overnight Site" Visit to Three Cities, Cheetah Plains, I had checked in on Friday the 25th of Oct12 for 1 night and I am still completely blown! On arrival we were greeted by such an awesome team and of course with a yummy lunch – even though we were 2 hours late for lunch! Then a tiny snooze was due before our Afternoon Game Drive and Sundowner Experience, the highlight of our trip...After a quick power nap - we enjoyed High tea with the most delicious chocolate cake and iced coffee I have ever tasted and this is just what the blood needed to get the sugar flowing again! Then we headed off escorted by our Provisional Game Ranger; Doc, who said he was going to fix us LOL what a great way to break the ice. Sabi Sands goes without saying; Doc our Ranger was exceptional and so knowledgeable, I have been on a "few" okay allot of Game Drives during the past 10 years in S.A. and Doc was on top of his game and so respectful to the traversing rights of each property, as well as to the animals, bugs, birds, it was really one of my best especially his knowledge on the Birds, and the migration birds and all the name changes etc.

Then the food; well the two weeks of eating salads went out the window, as the food was melting; while we were enjoying dinner on Fri night, we had a hyena prowling the grass section just a stone throw away for us, little scavenger, apparently he has a good taste for the new pillows as well on the patio LOL – of course we were in bed early shattered and super excited for our morning Game Drive, me who never sleeps well out of my own home slept like a baby compliments of the amazing feather pillows – yay of course the air con assisted too and the overhead fan... sheer delight to have both! Usually it is one or the other....

Then 5am wake up on Saturday morning with some fresh milk for my Cuppa and off to track our Big 5 we went, we were so very lucky and saw a Leopard during our drive and just as we were about to drive back to the Lodge purely because we had a flight to catch and had to leave - very sad moment, but as we were heading back we hear a male lion and find him and 2 females on a Kudu kill, just meters away. The Lions apparently stole the animal from a Leopard, sneaky cheating lions LOL but you should of seen how this huge male! He was not willing to share with his two lady friends at all, it was the most accelerating thing to watch, the smell though OMW, but again a stone throw away so shouldn't have expected a rose smell! I got an amazing video clip and will send it to Cheetah Plains to show the world, I watch it all the time and show every-one and then I have recordings on my phone of the male lion calling, my phone vibrates when I play it from the sheer base. This was absolute best experience EVER! Three Cities Cheetah Plains and African Secrets, I would like to Thank-you for a stunning unforgettable experience.

Just a note to any-one reading, we had to drive like mad woman to MQP Airport which is about 3hrs drive through little towns and behind big trucks. Best to book out of HDS Airport always. HDS Airport is only 100kms.

Room Tip: Try to book the Deluxe Room, as this has a Outdoor shower and a big bath inside were the standard ro...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Margaret_Janssen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amanda V, Manager at Cheetah Plains, responded to this review, November 20, 2012
Hi Margaret,

Thank you for taking the time to share your safari experience with us. Educational visits are extremely important, as it enables sales people and Tour Operators to experience a lodge first hand and as a result be able to advise their guests based on their personal experiences. We are really glad that you enjoyed your stay with us and that you had such an incredible wildlife experience, considering that you only had 2 game drives with us… imagine if you stayed longer.

Thank you for all the valuable insights from your trip. When driving, the closest Airport is Hoedspruit. However guests coming in from Kruger Mpumalanga airport do not have to despair, there are also “air hops” available from the KMIA to the landing strips, close to the lodge. Please enquire from our res office or your travel agent when booking, to advise you on the best options for your trip.

The luxury rooms are more spacious than the standard rooms, but keep in mind that we only have 2 luxury rooms, so they might not always be available. The standard rooms also have their old world charm. They are comfortable and cozy and an ideal spot to rest between your exciting game drives.

Wild wishes
Amanda Vermeulen
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
nj
Level Contributor
86 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 1, 2012

I consider this lodge to be one of the most friendly in Africa. The staff is personable and qualified. Each guide drives an open Land Rover with stadium seats and has meals with guests so there is plenty of time to ask questions. The guides seem to always find just the right animals at the right time. Day or night. Justin was also an expert in ornithology. The first safari drive starts at 6:00AM after 5:30 coffee in your privat reed thached roof hut (provided with mosquito nets. Make sure you take your antimalarial medicines). Mine had an outdoor shower. The main lodge is elegant and well appointed. The food was the best I had in three safari countries. A couple on their honeymoon were surpised with a private dinner in the upper lodge complete with flowers and music. How thoughtful. Make sure you ask which drinks are covered in your room rate. I liked the mid morning coffee break in the bush as well as the sundowner drinks in the bush. There is a swiming pool that overlooks an animal watering hole which is often visited by lions.

Room Tip: Book early. There are only 8 huts
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank njdadddy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Willemdutoitgm, General Manager at Cheetah Plains, responded to this review, November 7, 2012
Replies to Trip Advisor Comments
Cheetah Plains has few Cheetahs
“Thank you for your kind review, we really appreciate it. We are very pleased that you experienced our lodge as friendly and that you enjoyed the food. For us food is synonymous with comfort and thus we take great care to ensure our meals are well prepared.
At Cheetah Plains, drinks are not included in the nightly rate. Our staff mention it at check-in, but if ever in doubt, guests are most welcome to discuss it with our team.
All our staff really focuss on giving our guests the best possible bush experience, and being a small lodge, guests do become part of our family.
It is good advise to take Anti-malarial medicine. With the correct precautions and care, one can just really just relax and enjoy your holiday.
Wild Wishes,
Willem du Toit
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 10, 2012

We have visited Cheetah Plains as the last leg of our stay in South Africa.
The reserve is known for great wildlife sightings and this proved true during our stay.
We have had luck to be assigned to the vehicle with the ranger named Doctor. What a wonderful man. Words cannot describe our experiences during our stay but link to the photos from all three places we have visited could give a better perspective. Here is the link:
https://picasaweb.google.com/RichardFraniec/SouthAfricaSeptember2012?authkey=Gv1sRgCLjw5di6pfv9pgE
The facilities are nothing to write home about, food was fine for the most part, The stab at entertainment during dinners was somewhat forced in our opinion but nice try nevertheless. From all three places we visited, this one seems to have poorest management in place which reflected in the (unnecessary and unhelpful) excessive number of crew per guest and less comfortable and cared for facilities than expected comparing to other places.
Anyway, if you are planning to visit, demand that Doctor will be your guide for game drives.

Cheers

Richard and Elizabeth

Room Tip: We paid and were assigned to luxury cottage. It was better than standard ones but not by a mile.
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Richard F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Willemdutoitgm, General Manager at Cheetah Plains, responded to this review, October 30, 2012
Hi Richard & Elizabeth,
Thank you for sharing your experiences of Cheetah Plains with us and also for sharing the link to your amazing pictures. It certainly seemed like you had a wonderful time on your Safari.
Doctor is an amazing guide, and as is the case with all our guides at Cheetah Plains, he has a real passion for the bush and animals and loves to share his knowledge with our guests.
Your pictures of the leopards mating is incredible, you have certainly been “lucky” to see the ritual, in such an open setting. That is the beauty of the bush, it is always full of surprises, and with skilled rangers, one can be assured to have the most incredible experiences.
Cheetah Plains, does not pretend to be a luxury lodge. It is a more traditional bush lodge, with the emphasis 100% on the game viewing experience. As such our accommodation is more basic, as it is in an older style, but it is comfortable and the lodge has recently been renovated.
Our staff all contribute to create a warm friendly atmosphere of the lodge, and each one does their best to ensure that guests have the best possible stay with us. However people do experience things differently and we do appreciate that you shared you view on it with us.
It was a pleasure to have you stay with us, and we do hope that we will be able to welcome you back again sometime.
Wild wishes,
Willem du Toit, GM Cheetah Plains
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Town, South Africa
Level Contributor
123 reviews
56 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 119 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles 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
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
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 review, 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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Scott, Louisiana
Level Contributor
92 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles 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
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
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 review, 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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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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 #23 of 42 Specialty Lodging in Sabi Sand Game Reserve
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 
Also Known As:
Cheetah Plains South Africa/Sabi Sand Game Reserve

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