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“Wonderful lodge in a great location”

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Elephant Plains Game Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Luxembourg
Level Contributor
26 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Wonderful lodge in a great location”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 4, 2013

Everything is perfect: location, staff, food, Game-drives, animals sighting,...an absolute must if you're planning to visit the Krüger Park! Even the small fitness room is not superfluous since the game-drives in the morning and in the afternoon last 3 hours each!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank rerob69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EP2, Owner at Elephant Plains Game Lodge, responded to this review, January 15, 2013
Thank you for your kind feedback and for choosing EP as your safari destination. We are glad that you enjoyed your stay with us. Please do visit again! Regards, Marlet Swart
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807 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
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lahore
Level Contributor
13 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 3, 2013

My experience at the elephant plains lodge was incredible! My husband and went to south africa on our honey in march 2012 and the safari was one of the top things to do on our list. We spent hours short listing resorts but we could not make up our mind. We were scared and a little bit hesitant as we had never been or experienced such an adventure. But luckily we chose elephant plains and lets just say we made an incredible decision.

We drove about 8hours from jo'burg to sabi sand game reserve and when it started getting dark the staff at elephant plains kept calling us to check up on us. Once we arrived the resort was beautiful, cosy and very personalised. It was a world of its own. Our room was spacious, clean and well equipped. The bed was covered with roses and and net(as it was our honeymoon). The main area had a reception, dining room, a small pool where you could order drinks and have your meals. Every morning before the game drive we were served tea/coffee, followed by a good breakfast, a bush walk and then some rest time. A game drive took place in the afternoon too and lasted about 2-3hrs. We were lucky to spot the big 5.

On our departure we had to leave early morning as we had a flight to catch..the staff at elephant plains was so courteous that they packed up breakfast for us. A special thanks to loius our driver for being so careful and friendly!! Thank you for an awesome adventure of a lifetime. With love, all the way from Pakistan!!

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Mehreen M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EP2, Owner at Elephant Plains Game Lodge, responded to this review, January 15, 2013
Thank you so much for your kind review. We are delighted that you enjoyed your stay with us. Please do come and visit again one day - maybe for an anniversary! Regards, Marlet Swart
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto,
Level Contributor
23 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 31, 2012

The high rating at this lodge is well earned and it is a highly recommended lodge for anyone who is looking for a quality experience in the Kruger Park / Sabi Sands area. I agree with and echo all the comments in the review from previous reviewers, and would like to add on a few details below:-

1. Game drive: As repeated by many people already, the animals you get to see at this lodge is incredible. We were able to see all of the Big 5 during our 2 day trip. The entire game drive experience was incredible. The rangers knew how to track animals and the different vehicles of the lodge use radio to radio sightings to each other. The two big highlights for us were to see hyenas eating an impala in the night, and elephants fighting with each other and even coming up onto the game drive vehicles as well (the rangers were very professional and knew exactly how to react). There was also an occasion where we were surrounded by at least a herd of 12+ elephants… incredible! You can never get something like this driving by yourself in Kruger National Park. Finally, the rangers and staff are super friendly – they get to know you well and would make the effort to find an animal you haven’t yet seen or would like to see. Blankets and bottled water are provided during the game drives and each game drive has a break where you stop and stretch for tea/coffee and snacks.

2. Value: Elephant Plains was priced at R2,070 incl taxes per night, which is about $250. While it may look steep at first, the value you get was great (although you have to pre-pay for everything before you arrive). The rooms are clean, large, and well decorated. All 3 meals are included, and 2 game-drive snacks, and so are general beverages such as tea and coffee. Also included is 2 game-drives (one in early morning and one in afternoon/evening) which lasts around 3+ hours each, as well as a bush-walk in the wild. Alcohol, beer and soft drinks are not included, but are priced very reasonably. The experience and thrill you get from seeing the animals in the wild is priceless – and I think the price point is just right. Anything higher priced such as those at more premium lodges may be a bit much. Overall, the price point is worth it and definitely we are glad we did not do our own trip in Kruger at SANparks.

3. Room: Me and my high school friend (in our mid 20s) were able to get two single beds (or twin beds) as requested. The room is large and well appointed – almost like 5 star hotels – but in rondavels! Rooms appear to be cleaned by staff at least twice a day and there is also turn-down service as well which was great after a day out in the wild. The air conditioner worked very well for us. There was a mosquito mesh in the room but not one mosquito was to be heard or found! We did not take malaria tablets as it is known the risk is low, but we still used mosquito repellent. There is also a fridge in the room which you can store your own drinks, or have the lodge fill it in for you with drinks you would like to order.

4. Laundry: I had the opportunity to use the laundry service and it is incredible value. One laundry load (no matter the amount of clothes, as long as it fits in the laundry basket in the room) is about R120 or $15, which is excellent value. If you are travelling from abroad, my recommendation is to schedule your trip to Elephant Plains in the middle of your journey as opposed to the start, so that any necessary laundry can be done before you move on (all travellers know how difficult and expensive laundry can be!).

5. Spa: I also had the opportunity to make use of the Spa services and again it was incredible value – the rates are lower than what you would find abroad. The massage services provided are in a tranquil environment and you definitely will be able to relax here. The room has an incredible view of the field behind the lodge and during my massage session there was an elephant grazing in the far field – highly tranquil. The spa doesn’t seem to be busy at all, but is very professional and highly recommended if you plan to go to Elephant Plains.

6. Areas of improvement (all very minor).
A) Internet was lacking – no wi-fi facilities and they charge you to use the computer in the office. With internet prices coming down in South Africa, hopefully this will change soon. Having said that, there was so much going on during the day and night that we never found the need to use the internet, except to check-in online for our next trip. Note that MTN had good cellphone + data coverage in the lodge area and we were able to use our own blackberry to surf the web, check emails and do the majority of our errands in our room.

B) No TV in the room that we were in, but again, we never got bored, didn’t have time for TV, and thus TV was not required.

C) There is a library facility which was very nice as it had great views. But unfortunately no internet access in the library. Perhaps the computer can be moved to the library? Or a small router added for wifi? Again, we found this not to be a big loss, but we are young travellers in our mid 20s and we do love our internet!

D) I believe a better map can be designed instead of a non-scaled map, as we got a little anxious/concerned along the way (after Acornhoek) and even stopped by the traffic police to double check and confirm directions. Hopefully someone with good graphic skills in the lodge can design a better driving map to the lodge!

Overall, Elephant Plains is a high quality and well polished experience – and is a high recommend. I sincerely hope to be able to return again in the near future.

Room Tip: If travelling with a friend, you can ask for two twin beds
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank coolioblob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EP2, Manager at Elephant Plains Game Lodge, responded to this review, January 2, 2013
Good day.
Wow! i was so glad to read your feedback. We can clearly see, that you had a fantastic stay with us at Elephant Plains. The way you laid down all the imformation is fantastic. I do hope that one day you will retern to our lodge. keep well, and thanks for your brilliant feedback. i will pass it on to our staff.
Kind regards Wayne Dovey
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Frankfurt, Germany
Level Contributor
80 reviews
45 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 138 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 21, 2012

With so many safari options in the Greater Kruger Area it can get intimidating to make the right decision - with Elephant Plains you can't go wrong!

If you are considering Elephant Plains to see the Big Five - you are almost 100% guaranteed to see them within a 2 days stay, and so much more... This is one of the few safari lodges that can almost guarantee leopard sightings, so this alone makes it worth comming here.

We stayed here during our honeymoon, our expectations were very high and were easily met..

We very much enjoyed out stay here. We stayed in the Honeymoon Suite and it was just amazing, so was the staff and the game drives. It kind of feels weird to break up the experience into a review, but after that much research I have made to find the right lodge and paying almost an average German month's salary for a 3 days stay, I wished someone had done it for us.

The Amazing things:

Leopard sightings - really, I have been on safari a couple of times before, but never saw them. Here you get incredibly close to them. WOW!

The Manyeleti Honeymoon Suite - If you are on a honeymoon, and even when you are not, this room is worth the extra cost. Huge private veranda with private plunge pool overlooking a plain where game passes by every now and then.

The Great things:

Staff - very welcoming and cordial. The minute you step in, they will make the upmost to make this a stay of a life time. The level of professionalism is high, without feeling stuffy.

Game drives - as said before you are almost guaranteed to see all the Big Five in 2 days. The rangers and the trackers do everything to satisfy the guests' wishes. In summer this can be quite challenging, because Elephant Plains lies in a dense bush area, not a savanna type of area like in the Masai Mara, Chobe or other parts of Kruger. Still the game drives are very productive.

Spa - Very good experience, well worth it after a morning game drive this was a very nice variety.

The Good:

Food - saw a lot of comments about the food in Elephant Plains. How should I put it... We really enjoyed the meals here. The food was good, but if you are a serious foodie or a gourmet restaurant regular, you might want to look somewhere else. No colonial candle light dinners with flown in Norwegian salmon with French Champgne, but rather buffet style meals of a higher than average hotel standard. That said, there are lodges that do gourmet dining - and, to be frank, this adds a lot to the whole experience. I feel that Elephant plains misses a chance here for that little extra wow experience. The boma dining was nice, but somehow it misses that wow-factor that makes the difference. The food is surely good enough to gain some pounds and we were certainly not disappointed!

The game area:

The concession area within Sabi Sand that Elephant Plains owns is rather small, but they do have traversing rights to other areas, so it is okay. Still, you feel, that the area they cover is not that big. You will see a lot of game, but I found that they miss a river or a natural waterhole. There is a man made waterhole with hippos and other game passing by on their compound, but nothing like the Sabi or Olifant river inside Kruger. If you have nothing to compare it with, it is still amazing. Also, having transvering rights is a double-edged sword. Often we had up to three vehicles (but never more) at sightings. This doesn't make the sightings not worthwhile, but takes away a certain degree of exclusivity, but certainly nothing like in Kenya where you have half a dozen vehicle blocking a male lion's path.

You will see a lot of animals and get very, very close to them, which makes the experience at Elephant Plains unique and breathtaking. However, the area is very densely grown bush field which makes the sightings difficult in summer, but the rangers and trackers do a good job. After driving through Kruger National Park from Orpen to Kruger Gate ( We hereby courteously thank Richard, our ranger for this tip) we realized how diverse the area is (dense bush veld, savanna, dried and wet rivers, mountains and hills etc.), and that the Elephant Plains concession area is somewhat monotonous. I know this an unfair comparison, since it is a 5000 acre concession vs. a national park the size of Israel, but this something to take into consideration. Having said that, they make the absolute maximum from their concession!

One last thing about the game area. The way there is an adventure in its own right. The northern part of Sabi Sand is kind of hard to reach, you need to drive over a public gravel road, which is in a so-so condition. You can certainly do it with a small car, but you need to keep your eyes on the track and watch out for stones and potholes. We drove over a stone and lost a hub cap, consequently after 100 km we had puncture. I am not saying it is Elephant Plains fault, just drive carefully.

Conclusion:

No two ways about it, you will pay a lot of money for the privilege to stay in Sabi Sand. Is Sabi Sand worth it?

Yes, because there is no other area where your chance to see leopards is higher.

Is Elephant Plains worth it?

Without a doubt!

They make the absolute maximum of their potentialities. The value is amazing in Sabi Sand terms, the honeymoon suite is stupendous, the staff is cordially professional and the game drive are stunning. It is very close to perfect. However, with a maximum of 24 guests it is not as intimate as some other lodges, but way off of being crowded. The lodge is very comfortable, but not the most luxurious out there. The same is true for the food, it is good, but not the best in the industry.

In essence, if your emphasis is on a highly comfortable and rewarding safari experience without breaking the bank, Elephant Plains it is!

2 last tips

First, try to go in the South African winter, weather is drier, cooler and animal sightings are better.

Second, in retrospective I would recommend 2-3 days in Elephant Plains, and 2-3 days self drive after EP in KNP. Different scenery, different experience, both very worth while.

Room Tip: Any room with a view to the dry river bank would be amazing. The Honeymoon Suite is Gorgeous.
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank Dudel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EP2, Manager at Elephant Plains Game Lodge, responded to this review, January 2, 2013
Good day
I trust that you are back home and safe. I am glad to see that you enjoyed your stay with us at Elephant Plains. As always, we appreciate every bit of feedback we get, in trying to make guests stay a comfortable one. The food that we serve at lodge is traditional South African food, people come to Afdrica, to view the African wildlife, and try out the local cosine. we have tryed in the past to move away from it though, the result was, people want traditional food. So, we do try our best to please everyone, as much as we can. we do appreciate your feedback. Thanks again for staying at Elephant Plains. Hope to see you again soon. Kind regards Wayne Dovey
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Santa Rosa, California
Level Contributor
39 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 20, 2012 via mobile

We spent three wonderful nights here near the end of Nivember. We were unable to get into a rondavel, so we paid a lot more and stayed in the Leopard luxury suite. What a treat that was! A shower that faces the deck with a view out over the plain! Our own deck and two bathrooms! The food was plentiful and delicious. The absolute beat part was the game drives!!! Seeing the animals, having fabulous trackers and rangers, the joy of riding around in the Land Cruiser never knowing what you would see next was an awesome experience! I want to go back for more. The staff is superb, they even noticed a tire was going flat on our rental car and changes it for me. We flew into Hoespruit, rented a car and drive to EP, an adventure in itself! I cried the day we left to head to the Panorama Route and to Johanneaburg. What a wonderful experience at a wonderful place to stay!

  • Stayed November 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Suncube
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EP2, Manager at Elephant Plains Game Lodge, responded to this review, January 2, 2013
Good day
i am glad to see that you enjoyed your stay with us at Elephant Plains. Seeing the big five is not always guaranteed, but in December the Rangers got to see amazig sightings, We hope to see you soon again in the near future. Kind Regards Wayne Dovey
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Jesenik, Czech Republic
Level Contributor
50 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 20, 2012

There is almost nothing to say. It was simply perfect. Safari with Willie where great and he did a good company. Lodge is nice equiped and all staff where great. Rooms where big and good, simply there is nothing wrong you can say. Area around is good for game as for bush walk. It is perfect to enjoy your stay in Africa in a luxury.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Helicid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EP2, Manager at Elephant Plains Game Lodge, responded to this review, January 2, 2013
Good day
I am glad to hear that your safari at Elephant Plains was a fantastic one one, and that everything was perfect. Always great to hear that we made your safari experience a success. We thank you very much for shareing your compliments on Tripadvisor. We hope to see you again in the near future. Kind regards Wayne Dovey.
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Cairo, Egypt
Level Contributor
101 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 6, 2012

I'm not an outdoor adventurer: I am a true city girl however, this was amazing. I couldn't imagine such an experience.
The rooms were amazing, the spa services amazing, staff were great, and I don't even know where to begin on the game rides. I saw everything: leopards, giraffes, hippos, rhinos, lions, hyenas, impalas, and even wild dogs (there are 1000 left in the world!!). You see them up, close and personal!! A real sense of adventure for me.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Nerry_Luvs_Travel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EP2, Manager at Elephant Plains Game Lodge, responded to this review, December 7, 2012
Good day! i am so glad to hear that you enjoyed your stay with us at Elepahant Plains. As always, the Sabi Sands Wildtuin is a great place for viewing the big five. Reading your message placed a smile on my face, to be able to change a city girl, into a bush girl. we hope to see you again in the near futare. thanks again for your review.
Kind regards, Wayne Dovey
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Additional Information about Elephant Plains Game Lodge

Property: Elephant Plains Game Lodge
Address: Kruger National Park 1380, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #16 of 42 Specialty Lodging in Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Elephant Plains Game Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Elephant Plains Game Lodge is situated in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, which forms part of the Greater Kruger National Park. This owner-run lodge caters for the discerning traveller, with a variety of accommodation options including 5 Rondavels, 6 Luxury Suites and a Honeymoon Suite. Activities include two daily game drives and a bush walk. The lodge also offers a spa, gym, conference facility / TV room, games room, small library and two swimming pools. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Elephant Plains Game Hotel Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Elephant Plains Game Nelspruit
Elephant Plains Game Lodge South Africa/Sabi Sand Game Reserve

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