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“Wish we could have stayed forever!”
Review of Dulini River Lodge

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Dulini River Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 7, 2012

This was our first esperience with safari and we were truly stunned by the beauty, the atmosphere, the kindness - everything round this place is unbelievable! You are transported into a different world... A very nice one too. We were lucky enough to see four of the big five on the first drive, and the Lions the day after! Many other animals on the remaining three days we were there. The lodge is stunning and comfortable, total eight (total 16 guests) spacious large cottages hidden in the bush, not visible from your private patio and small pool. Food and service is food and plentiful. Consider taking the jet from nelspruit to impala landing strip, (owned by sir richard brandson who has two resorts in the reserve), the expense is marginal compared to the excitement of flying over in your own private jet and saving yourself two hours of driving.

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank pangherz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 4, 2012

I spent 4 nights at &Beyond’s Exeter River Lodge, located on the Sand River in Sabi Sand. This is an AMAZING place and was my favorite place among 3 different local lodges at which to stay, because the ENTIRE STAFF was so amazingly kind and welcoming (Mark, Nicci, Amos, Jack, etc). I will definitely stay at other &Beyond properties in the future when I visit Tanzania or Zambia.

Mark was my guide at Exeter River. He and his partner, Nicci, who also works at the lodge, had recently relocated from Phinda, another safari area in South Africa. Mark has great communication skills, juggled the diverse needs of 3 different groups of guests, and he did a excellent job bantering about various animal species, sharing interesting tidbits of information without requiring any prompting (as was necessary with the other 2 lodges' guides). Jack was the Tracker and spotter, who’s worked in Sabi Sand for many years and really knows the lay of the land. They were both excellent and worked quite well together.

Some of the most interesting game drives took place at Exeter River Lodge (as compared to 2 other lodges nearby). My favorite game drive, which involved 7 hyenas stealing a kill from a lioness, and a successful leopard hunt, happened at Exeter River Lodge.

Exeter River Lodge has a lovely public area and very nice rooms, each room with an outdoor deck and a private plunge pool. During breakfast on the deck in the main area, a baboon leaped down onto my table and grabbed a baguette. He was very pleased with himself but it was a big surprise! From the main restaurant deck, I spotted crocodile and various types of antelope.

The entire staff was so much more helpful and friendly than expected, they REALLY went above and beyond the call of duty. I am not sure whether this is customary at all &Beyond properties, but I will certainly stay at other &Beyond properties on future Africa trips based on the positive experience I had during this trip.

The only 2 downsides were 1. there were bugs in the room. All three of the lodges which I stayed at in Mpumalanga/ Sabi Sand area had bugs in the rooms, so this is apparently normal for the area. 2.They need a little gym with a treadmill or stair stepper because being on safari game drives is so sedentary and you cannot even go for a walk off site without an armed guide, which is understandable but forces one to be painfully sedentary.

Room Tip: They're all amazing with views of riverine forest.
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  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled solo
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1  Thank LovesDogsinSF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 10, 2011

Last August I enjoyed a most perfect stay at the Exter River Lodge. The staff was outstanding, the cottages beautiful and the game viewing was top notch. The guides were great and we saw the Big 5 plus Wild Dogs along with Leopards mating in just one day. We also saw many animals at the lodge and it was so nice to be able to sit on your own private deck and watch many Elephants at the river along with a variety of other wildlife. I was fortunate to have 4 nights at the Exeter, but could have even stayed longer as everyone was so hospitable and the cottage had everything I needed, there was even wireless internet if you were in the main dining lobby area where I was able to email back home from an itouch. If you didn‘t bring your own device or phone for internet they also let you use their own behind the front desk which was quite nice.

The summer of 2010 I was at &Beyond's Masai Mara Kichwa Tembo, but I must say although I thoroughly enjoyed my stay, my experience at the Exeter River Lodge was even more special. I made my arrangements for the lodge with Lise Kargaard with Southern Destinations and she was wonderful to work with and she even called the lodge during my stay to make certain everything was perfect. Fortunately it was more than perfect and I can’t wait to return.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled solo
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1  Thank JudyNY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 10, 2011

We stayed at Exeter River Lodge for 2 nights after having stayed at another &Beyond property, Kirkman's Kamp, as part of their "Pay for 3, Stay 4" promotion. We had a wonderful time here and really enjoyed our experience overall. Our suite was fabulous: Very roomy, including a separate sitting area with 2 chairs and a sofa, a super comfy king bed and complete bar set-up with Bloody Mary Station (nice touch!). The bathroom was also huge and divided into 3 areas: Double sinks, a large sunken tub and toilet room. Two entire exterior walls were lined with french doors which opened to a generous deck and our own personal plunge pool. Since our room (#8) was an end room we had a 270 degree view over the grounds with the river 100 yards away. On the second day, we decided to have lunch on our deck because I couldn't pull myself away from the constantly changing game viewing from our pool: Kudu, Impala, Nyala, a troupe of Vervet monkeys playing, Baboons, Warthogs, all kinds of birds and a huge herd of elephants across the river. It was such a zen experience just sitting under the umbrella watching the animals that we didn't want to leave! We also loved the chic design of our the room as well as the main lounge/dining room area. Simply beautiful!

My only reason for the "very good" instead of "excellent" rating is because we felt that some of the personal touches we had enjoyed at Kirkman's Kamp were lacking at Exeter. Other reviewers raved about bubble baths, special drinks, etc. We enjoyed those things at Kirkman's (a much larger property) but not at Exeter. Also, there wasn't a cocktail hour after the evening game drive, which we really enjoyed at Kirkman's. It was a nice chance to talk to the other guests about their game drives and compare sightings, etc. When we returned from our game drives at Exeter, we were just asked what time we'd like to have dinner. Probably if we had stayed at Exeter without having been at Kirkman's first, we wouldn't have made these comparisons, but the special touches really put Kirkman's over the top for us.

Loved our Guide Andrew and tracker Phickson. Someone really needs to put together an annual Guide/Tracker calendar showing off all of these witty and handsome guys, with the proceeds to benefit a local village, perhaps?

Overall, highly recommended and we would return.

Room Tip: We liked our end room # 8 for its very private feel
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  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank perigee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 4, 2011

We started our journey in SA with a safari stay in this hotel. This was the best decision we ever made. Have you ever been in a hotel where every single one of the staff remember your name and use it to talk with you. Then they find out all the things you like, and make sure they are at hand. The rooms are absolute luxury and have a wonderful feel of Africa mixed with all the European luxuries that you come to expect from a five star resort. We rarely return to places because there are so many things to do on this planet but Exeter is right on the top of our list.
In terms of safari, we saw everything we wanted to see and so much more. Thank you so much to Will and Issac, Difference and all of the staff for giving us the time of our lives. Meg and Paul

Room Tip: Every room is good here!
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  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank Meganfever
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 25, 2011

THE BEST! There is really no other way to explain the top notch rooms, the delicious food, the marvelous staff, the exceptional game drives and the overall quality of our stay! I cried when I had to leave…it was just as if I was leaving my family and wouldn’t see them again for a long time. The staff did all become family-they are ALL UNBELIVABLE! Christopher was our butler-we’ve never had a butler before and it was really a special treat to have Christopher (as he has been recognized as butler of the year). He really became our companion and he is really out of this world spectacular. He set up so many special surprises that my jaw dropped with every adventure. I can’t even begin to describe how outstanding the special touches were-from a Birthday lunch in the bush to a bath drawn with candles and drinks to his friendly warm smile every time he sees you.
The rooms were absolutely amazing! So spacious and yet very cozy. The bed was very comfortable and all the amenities were perfect.
The game drives were fantastic…and I would say that is an understatement. Our Ranger was William Moss and out Tracker was Isaac-they were an A+ team-and we learned so much and had so much fun with them-in the jeep and even after dinner sitting around the camp fire at night! We saw the big 5 several times, sometimes before 9am. We never felt that the radios or the rules of the lodge got in the way of the viewing, and actually, we found it was just right. The experience of game driving is to die for! Meeting for coffee at 5:30 and off for the drive by 6am…driving and viewing-seeing the most amazing animals…stopping for mocha-loca-choca…driving again and seeing more wonderful animals…then back to the lodge for a cold and hot breakfast. Evening drives are also just as amazing. Meet at 4pm and discuss what we want to see (we were able to see a wild dog den twice) and off you go to find it! Stop for sundowners!!!! (why don’t they have these everywhere????) And off we go again as the sun has set to see some animals in the evening. As soon as you arrive back at the lodge you are offered another drink and then your told where you will be having the most amazing dinner.
The food at Exeter is phenomenal! Best my husband and I have ever had. We tried to savour every single flavor and scent-it is that good. The menu is always varied and if you have a special request they will fill it. Breakfast, lunches and dinners are out of this word!
This lodge is worth every penny and then some! We took a long time to decide if we should increase our budget to include it and I’m so ecstatic that we did. If you are thinking about it also please take our advice and just book right this moment! You will feel like you are at home and with family and you’ll be soooo sad to leave. There is not a day that has gone by since we have returned that we don’t think of Exeter and say to each other, “that was the most fantastic place” and we can’t wait to go back. Oh, we love Exeter!

Room Tip: Plunge pools with every cottage. Rooms are pacious and spotless. Very high end.
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  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank kleinssighteeing
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 29, 2011

Stayed here for 4 nights on my honeymoon. The entire place in wonderful - from the staff and food, to the accommodations and game drives. The lobby and dining areas were chic and comfortable. The rooms were impeccable - clean, comfortable, with our own private plunge pool. The food was great - large breakfast and lunch spreads, and then always 2 entree options for dinner (1 adventurous and 1 more typical). The game drives were unbelievable. I know some people complain that its too commercial and yes, you will see multiple other vehicles on your game drives; however, if you are not someone who will be going on many safaris in your life, you will get to see every animal you want to! Our ranger would specifically ask if there were any animals we wanted to see and he would make a point to try and find them. We had one issue with our room one evening and needed to be moved - there were no rooms available at our hotel so they brought us to there sister resort, Dulini, for the night (which also looked wonderful). The following day, our ranger picked us up at Dulini and by lunch, the problem was resolved and we were back in our room. The service was wonderful and every person at the lodge apologized to us for the inconvenience. After staying here, I truly trust the "& Beyond" company and would stay at any of their properties in the future.

  • Stayed: April 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank JLBH1003
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

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 #23 of 43 Specialty Lodging in Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Price Range: $6,600 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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