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“A Heartfelt Thanks to Exeter River Lodge”
Review of Dulini River Lodge

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Dulini River Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Fairfield, Connecticut
Level Contributor
173 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 389 helpful votes
“A Heartfelt Thanks to Exeter River Lodge”
Reviewed August 5, 2011

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.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank JFsB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (81)
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English first
Banbridge, Co Down
Level Contributor
12 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed August 3, 2011

We recently stayed in Exeter for 4 nights as part of our honeymoon.
We were met at the entrance by Judy and Patricia who extended a very warm welcome to us.
Check in was very brief and we were given details of lunch times etc and then we were escorted to our accommodation.
The cabin was very luxurious containing a king size bed, small living area, outside decking with a plunge pool and a mini bar (included in the price). There was a bath tub and also two inside showers, in addition to an outside shower.
We then made our way to the lunch area to be introduced to our butler, Ronny.
I can not put into words the impact Ronny Ronny (he usually says things twice) had on our stay. Irrespective of time or circumstance he had a smile on his face and something cheery to say. Don't let this disguise his prefessionalism though as his attention to detail was second to none. He remembered what you like for breakfast, what your drinks preferance was morning, afternoon and evening. He even identified what you drank in the mini bar and supplied a little extra of that.
The food was over very high standard, although I found the portion size a little light. Admittedly I am quite a large eater. The culinary highlight was the barbecue style meal where everyone sat together with rangers and exchanged stories.
Dave was the main chef we encountered and he was extremely courteous and patient in his explanation of what he was preparing.
Our ranger was Craig, and tracker Eric. Both went about things with minimum fuss yet both yielded excellent results. I would not describe myself as a bird or animal enthusiast yet one would find it very difficult not to be intoxicated by the sights on offer.
We had plentiful sightings of the Big 5 and so much more. Craig had so much knowledge and possessed a really good sense of humour. He had a real knack of judging the mood of the group and knowing when to complete a drive or to venture back to the lodge.
I think we were also fortunate to share our experience at Exeter with some nice and considerate other residents.
Other highlights of the stay were the romantic dinner in our lodge organised by Ronny and the breakfast out in the wild which we held Dave and Michelle accountable for.
One negative aspect of Exeter is the laundry service. As we were reaching the end of our second week of honeymoon, we had quite a lot of washing. Whilst there is a disclaimer in the laundry basket I did not expect clothes to be washed at very high temperatures as well as tumble dried My wardrobe has been vastly reduced so be warned.
Even the loss of so many clothes could not take away from the overall experience at Exeter. The sightings were something special but the real strength of Exeter is the staff and the service they provide.
Don't let this

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank bazzamufc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bethesda, Maryland
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed July 11, 2011

We had a wonderful experience thanks to superb staff that was dedicated to making our stay memorable. We saw lions, leopards, giraffes, rhinos, zebra and more thanks to our good humored and tenacious guide and tracker. The rooms were first class and clean, and the food delicious, varied and plentiful. It was our first safari and, unexpectedly, not our last We will be back and will recommend Exeter and other properties managed by & Beyond.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank 2004Sox
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Geneva, Switzerland
Level Contributor
16 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed June 21, 2011

We stayed in Exeter River the second time in 3 years and after visiting &Beyond lodges for the last 15 years (former CCAfrica) we were not disappointed.

On this trip we also visited Leadwood, which is according to our taste our favorite. Dulini visited twice on previous trips is also very nice; it all depends on your personal taste.

The staff is awesome and is always going to great length to make you stay very special.

The suite are nice and well laid out.

Food is simple and most of it is homemade, there is a good display of wine for a tag that is not higher than in any restaurant. However, the house wine like the Jordan label is also a very good option.

As most of south Africa, Range Rover are open vehicles which is great for shots, in general, the game overall was very good and we did managed to see leopards on half of our game drive during four days (two at Leadwood and at River)

Staff, rangers, trackers and manager are top notches. Even though, the price is high it is worth it.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Ulysse1959
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
115 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 86 helpful votes
Reviewed May 17, 2011

We went on a 4 nights, 3-day safari at Exeter River Lodge in South Africa, close to Kruger National Park.
First, the cabin is huge, as in H-U-G-E with thatched roof, a king size bed, a living room, an indoor and outdoor shower, a jacuzzi, his/hers vanity, and a plunge pool at the end of a full length deck, backing into the park where you can see antelopes grazing at any given time. The plush cabin came with a fully stocked bar (included in the price) and in this particular safari camp there is a phone (but no WIFI in the wild), lights and hot water 24/7. The cabin is tastefully decorated with African artifacts and framed photos of the wild.

We had a personal butler named Ronny-Ronny who was very attentive and sensitive to every thing we need. When my husband mentioned that we need more tonic water, we found extra cans in the bar when we get back from a game drive. The food was gourmet and the S. African wine is good. Each meal was presented with elegance and flair. Chris, the Chef was always around before each meal to tell us what he and his staff has prepared for us. Everyone was very friendly.

Safari is for people who find looking for and at animals exciting and worth the money spent. South Africa (and that continent as a whole) is very beautiful. The routine is as follows: they wake you up at 5:30 and you get a quick coffee. You ride a LandRover with a guide and a spotter for a game drive. Stop somewhere in the bush for a morning treat of coffee or tea and some goodies. Resume the game drive. Arrive in "camp." Downtime of a couple of hours then a sumptuous lunch presented by Chef and staff. 3pm is tea time and 4pm is the evening game drive. Sundowners consist of gin and tonics and munchies in a place in the savannah, where you can enjoy the spectacular African sunsets. After sundowner, you continue your game drive. Arrive at camp and get ready for an evening meal. Evening meals are the most splendid ones. However, safari is unlike a cruise where everyone gets dressed up for the dinner with the Captain. Safari is really casual; khakis, olives, beige is the color of the day.
I also had a Swedish massage outdoors, with a monkey watching! One evening, we saw an elephant waking at the back of our cabin. They prohibit guests by walking without a ranger with them. All in all, we had a thrilling safari, one involved a male lion stopping momentarily to sniff the legs of our spotter. No one dared to click their camera! Our spotter, named Eric, told us later that all he could do was close his eyes and pray. We also saw wild dogs with puppies, rhinos with their babies, lions (cubs, juvenile, adult), and antelopes like impala and Kudus. For those who would like to go on safari, I will be posting a review of two other camps we visited, which might cost lesser than Exeter Lodge. Safari is great that way- you can choose what level of comfort at the price you are comfortable with. Exeter is pricey and we also opted to fly into a nearby airport and we were picked up by their shuttle. The ride was bumpy from the main road to the reserve. We chartered a Cessna to go from one camp to another.

At Exeter River Lodge, we had a wonderful time; we got excellent service, awesome safari, friendly staff, great food and wine and memories that is priceless.

Room Tip: Discuss w/ travel agent how much u r comfortable.
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  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Mocha2008
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
travel agent, San Francisco, CA
Level Contributor
143 reviews
103 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 224 helpful votes
Reviewed April 3, 2011

i loved this property and staff. Everything is run smoothly and no request goes unanswered. The rooms are extremely large and the view from the shower cannot be beat. Food is very good and nice choices. Andrew and Phicksen (sp) were excellent and very friendly. We saw everything we wanted to see. I wouldnt hesitate to recommend or return to this property. In fact, I am already planning next year.
oh, and the spa treatment in the room was excellent and a good value.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank christy2064
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
63 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed March 4, 2011

My husband and I recently stayed at &Beyond Exeter River Lodge for 4 nights (as part of a 2 week honeymoon) and we cannot say enough wonderful things about this lodge. The rooms are stunning. They are spacious, clean, very private. The food is delicious. The staff is UNBELIEVABLE! They are warm, hospitable, eager to please & perform their jobs with integrity & excellence. Our ranger, Craig and tracker, Martin were fantastic. My husband and I had no idea prior to the trip of the knowledge and training required to become a ranger. We were very impressed.

While staying in the Sabi Sands region we saw lions, cheetahs, leopards & hippos in abundance, as well as elephants, impalas, buffalos, monkeys, etc.

We had stayed at &beyond Ngala for 4 days prior, and we are looking forward to staying at one of their other locations in the future. It is comforting to know there is a company of high end lodges that you can trust when traveling to Africa.

It was TRULY A TRIP OF A LIFETIME AND WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND VISITING SOUTH AFRICA SAFARI and STAYING AT &BEYOND EXETER RIVER LODGE.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank KSax19
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Dulini River Lodge

Property: Dulini River Lodge
Address: | Mpumalanga, Kruger National Park 1240, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #22 of 42 Specialty Lodging in Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Dulini River Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 6
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

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