A solo traveler, I stayed for 4 ½ days in May. From the moment I arrived, I knew I was somewhere truly magical, but where to begin?
Exeter River Lodge provides two game drives via range rover each day (one starts just before dawn and the second typically around 15:30), when you are accompanied by a Ranger and a Tracker. I had the privilege of meeting the “World’s Best Drive Team”: Craig and Jack. The depth and breadth of their knowledge of the animals, plants and country were limitless. They were so generous with their knowledge! Most favorably impressed with their respect for the animals and the concern for their welfare. Over the course of my stay, we had multiple sightings of leopard, lion, elephant, wildebeest, water buffalo, baboons, vervet monkey, giraffe, bush back, kudu, hippo, steenbock, rhinos, hyena, nyala, warthog, mongooses, eland and countless kinds of birds and gorgeous butterflies. A true highlight was visiting the wild dogs at sunrise. Watching eight sleepy-eyed puppies emerge from their den is a memory I will treasure. I will always be grateful to Craig and Jack for their genuine kindnesses over the course of my stay. They had such a positive impact on how I view nature and these magnificent animals. Not to mention that I miss those sundowners!
The Lodge and staff were exceptional. The reception area, main lodge and grounds were definitely of superior quality. They are beautifully decorated and afford special spots to gather as a group or to find a bit of solitude to enjoy the gorgeous view of the waterfall and the game that wander through. All are meticulously maintained. Meals were made to order from fresh, local ingredients and were wonderfully seasoned and delicious. Breakfast began with a seemingly endless continental buffet, followed by a hot breakfast. A most welcome respite after the early morning game drive (more on that later). Lunch typically consisted of a smorgasbord of entrees (anything from pizza to fish cakes), salads and a sweet. Dinners were a delight as well, especially in the BOMA lit with tea lights and luminaries and replete with the chorus’s beautiful signing.
My cottage was fantastic. While it had all the amenities one would expect of a resort of this stature (a heavenly bed, deep soaking tub, indoor and outdoor showers, generous outside deck / lounge area, plunge pool) it was the view that is unparalleled. On my very first afternoon, I saw a herd of elephants from my deck, and I had a wonderful, within arm’s reach visit from three impala. Highly recommend an in-room massage with Mamini.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- In spite of the dry name of the river on which it is located, there is nothing arid about warm and welcoming and Beyond Exeter River Lodge. Perched on the edge of the Sand River, this tranquil lodge is the perfect safari retreat, boasting spacious riverside suites, Big Five game viewing with excellent leopard sightings and the perfect amount of privacy. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Exeter River Hotel Sabi Sand Game Reserve
- Dulini River Lodge South Africa/Sabi Sand Game Reserve