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“How to do it justice in words ?....”
Review of Dulini River Lodge

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Dulini River Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Royal Tunbridge Wells, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“How to do it justice in words ?....”
Reviewed February 23, 2013

This was truly the most amazing holiday experience we have ever had !
We booked 4 nights at Exeter River lodge at the end of a 3 week holiday to South Africa to celebrate my husbands 50th birthday. It truly was the grand finale to a wonderful trip.

We were SO sad to leave on our last day that we promised each other that we would return.
We could not fault anything. In fact everything completely exceeded our expectations.
Nothing was too much trouble and our 'butler ' called Difference was just wonderful- always smiling!
The food and service were just superb , magical accommodation and so many wonderful surprise touches.we never knew what to expect next .
The lodges had all possible comforts allowing for a perfect combination of relaxation between adventures !

Our ranger was Justin , with Chris the tracker. They were just fantastic. Justin's enthusiasm added so much and he was Just so knowledgeable and loved sharing what he knew , even when we asked ' silly' questions.
Chris managed to track a leopard that we had seen from our lodge across the river one lunch time. We told them that we had seen a leopard so they took us off to find it - and did !!
We managed to fit in 7 drives and each one was an amazing experience , seeing all of the big 5 on our first morning starting with a leopard strolling through our camp and into the office as we were about to set off at 5.15 am. !
We saw 4 different leopards , one with a cub , 2 different male lions roaring . Lionesses with cubs, the 2 black rhino, white rhino,elephants ,buffalo ,crocodile , giraffes , hippos ......
What really surprised me was just how close we got to all of the animals . We have some amazing photographs !
Every day felt like an adventure . We had a puncture in the middle of a herd of buffalo , got stuck in the mud , towed other jeeps out of rivers and the sand etc etc .
On our morning drive we stopped midway for refreshments , ( I miss Justin's morning mocha chocca special drink with Amarula !)
On the evening drive we stopped for a greatly appreciated G & T .

It really was an escape from 'real life' and a great way to recharge . We can't wait to go back .

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank Jacqui B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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289 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (81)
Date | Rating
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English first
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 5 Contributor
78 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
Reviewed February 13, 2013 via mobile

We went to Exeter with two other couple friends of ours and we all came away with fantastical impressions of the lodge. The food, the game drives, and the staff were all perfect 10s. The lodge is not a cheap place but we felt for what we paid we received and excellent value.

The only one criticism I have us that there is no gym. After all the delicious food we had we could have used a workout for some of our free afternoons.

We checked in mid afternoon and quickly dropped things off in our rooms before lunch. Every meal was delicious and all the lunch / dinners were multiple course meals. We had two vegetarians with us and the lodge did a great job making sure they were well fed along with us carnivores. Every meal was outstanding and all the food was very fresh. Lunch and dinner were prepared by one of two chefs for us (Glory or Amos). Both of them were amazing and did a great job reciting the daily menu and customizing items as we wished. They also both always had a smile on their face that just warned your heart!

The drives were spectacular. Our driver was Justin and our tracker was Chris. Both were phenomenal. We ha amazing drives every day. Justin said we were very lucky to see what we saw. The funny thing is he said this every day and everyday got better! Highlights included: lion feeding on a buffalo, leopards on multiple drives, elephants, lions roaring, lion cubs, giraffe, leopards hiding a kill in a tree, buffalo almost colliding with our jeep, getting stuck in the mud, jeep flat tire). Even the unfortunate car problems were adventures and we didn't mind because of how awesome the crew was. On the morning drives the team always stopped for a great tea time (hard coffee and cookies!) and on the afternoon drives we always sopped for sun downers (cocktails in the bush).

The staff was amongst the best I have seen in any resort. They truly worked as a team to take are of any need a guest had. I don't know how they do it but I have seen more bugs in city hotels than we saw in this resort in the forest. They also do lots of special things for the guests. One of our dinners was in the bush with candles and lamps lighting our meal. We arrived after a game drive to African dancing from the staff and a bonfire. On our last night at the lodge the staff somehow prepared bubble baths and floral decorations in our room before we arrived (the bath was hot when we walked in!!!!).

I can't describe how amazing this expletive was. The food, the drives, and the staff make the Exeter a gem in the bush!!!

  • Stayed January 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank dput
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dubai
Level 6 Contributor
123 reviews
55 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 382 helpful votes
Reviewed January 31, 2013

The suites are situated along the Sand River and thanks to the floods a lot of the scrub concealing the view is no longer there. As a result all the 8 suites have sweeping views which allowed us to witness hordes of game walking alongside the river. The couple in the suite next to ours saw a leopard drinking from the reed bed which later turned out in our favor as our guide decided to follow up on their observations. Needless to say the sighting ended up with two leopards fighting over a Bushbuck kill.

Suites: Large and sumptuous with outside shower, massive deck and small plunge pool (not heated but as we went in summer this was perfect).

Cuisine: Fantastic with many innovative recipes and some great surprises.

Service: Our Butler Christopher was intuitive, friendly and always seemed genuinely happy to ensure we were well cared for. The house keeping team were wonderful and did not miss a beat. In fact everyone was absolutely fantastic.

Guide and Tracker: Justin and Chris were phenomenal and their knowledge of the bush resulted in us pretty much tracking down all our own sightings without the need to respond to other sightings. I must congratulate Justin for his patience with me as I absolutely adore the bush and asked him endless questions about everything.

We saw many creatures both great and small as well as enjoying birds, insects, flowers and trees. For those of you looking for the big five we had 6 leopard sightings, 4 lion sightings, buffalo, rhino and elephant!

Well done! Well done! Well done! One final thank you to Sophia for ensuring everything ran seamlessly and for ensuring nothing was too big or too small to accomplish! Thank You!

Room Tip: All rooms now have a view!
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
10 Thank mlondozi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed January 30, 2013

I was at the lodge with my partner, parents and very good friends. I think we probably took up at least half the available accomodation and we were always the noiseist at meal times! The staff here go above and beyond to look after us. From meeting us for the first time to saying farewell (yes, there were tears) they became our friends.

We had the best 4 days in our lives - food - superb, drinks - what ever you wanted. Accomodation (we had lodge 5) beautiful!

The animals were amazing, lion, lioness, leopard, leopard cubs, elephant, rhino, girafffe, hippo and the list goes on... everyday a seperate adventure. We got stuck one day, we all laughed and gave Steve our ranger a hard time, we got wet - we didnt care! We just knew this was part of the experience and when we got home, towels and hot face flannels were waiting for us and alcoholic drinks to warm the soul!

We genuinely had a huge laugh and were spoilt to the bone by everyone. I can't highly recommend this place - please go, take you parents , take your kids ! Go with an open mind and heart, stir your soul for adventure - be open minded, its not perfect but when you get stuck, when the wheel falls off the truck you will be rewarded with a life experience and just around the corner will be mummy lepoard and her babies or a rhino making love (seen by us for the first time in 12 yrs).

You will be greeted like long missed friends - enjoy and pass my best wishes onto Ronnie!

Room Tip: We had lodge 5 - stunning location and very beautiful view across the river.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Kiwiontour007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wyckoff, New Jersey
Level 6 Contributor
268 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
Reviewed January 19, 2013

We were 4 couples who spent two nights at Exeter river lodge. The staff are excellent. The food was very good. The individual lodges and splash pools are wonderful. You are surrounded by beauty. We saw elephants, Rhino's and a leopard strolling in front of our lodge. It was AMAZING. We enjoyed the game drives and the trackers. They were knowledgeable. We did suggest that they needed to upgrade their wi-fi/internet connection as we had to be in contact with family during Hurricane back home in USA. They were planning an upgrade in 2013 as well as some upgrade in the lodges itself. You are in the wild, and have to be careful. We had a leopard strolling around camp, having the staff walk you too your room made me a little bit more happier.

It was wonderful when we came back from game drives to have the staff waiting for nice warm or cool cloth to wipe your hands from dust etc. I would recommend visiting Exeter. It is a small intimate lodge. Just what we wanted. We would have liked to have access to fitness area/ spin bike / or yoga stretching area. After all the food you eat you do need to do something.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank GregLynn M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed January 17, 2013

Just back from an amazing South Africian trip. Staying at the Exeter River Lodge was a dream come true. The entire complex was secure, remote, luxurious and staffed with pleasant and professional individuals. Exeter River Lodge(s) consist of 8 newly built spacious individual lodges. Clean, conveniently placed and beautifully situated, one cannot want more when staying at the Exeter River Lodge. Rooms are large, well designed, each having an outdoor jacuzzi/infinity pool, indoor and outdoor shower, where one looks out into the safari wilderness, lounging patio and inside den to name a few. Upon arrival, we were greeted by the manager, introduced to the staff and given a tour. All meals & beverages were provided, in addition to two safari's a day. One taking place in early morning, the other taking place later in the day. Our ranger and guide, Steve and Prince managed to find every animal that one could expect to see in an Africian safari. From lions feasting on a wild buffalo, to wild dogs in the midst of a successful hunt, seeing black rhinos, giraffes, impalas, hippos, leopard and her cub, lionesses, elephants, zebras and a wide variety of Africian birds, our trip was breathtaking, exciting and adventurous. Staff was very attentive and kept the agenda full of surprises. The Exeter River Lodge went over and above our expectation. If you are thinking of experiencing an Africian safari, the Exeter River Lodge is the place to stay.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Canadian050
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oxford, Mississippi
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 14, 2013

I came here with my boyfriend and his family. It was truly an amazing experience. The rooms were breathtaking and so fresh and clean each time you returned to the rooms. The views from the rooms were also amazing. We spotted elephants, antelope, and monkeys on multiple occasions out of our window. The food and drinks were delicious! The staff, especially Return, Ronny, Thuli all knew what we liked and did not liked. They knew whether we liked "jumping" water or if we liked our bacon crispy. They provide you with more food and drinks than you can even consume or dream of consuming. The food was so fresh and different each day. Our ranger Steve Alan was amazing and he knew so much about the Bush and the game. We had such luck spotting the Big 5 several times. We were able to spot leopard and lion cubs, which was my favorite. Upon your return you were given fresh and cold lemon grass scented wash cloths to refresh yourself after the game drive. I am dying to return to this lodge and I just got back yesterday!

Room Tip: We stayed in room 8 but the rest of our group was in 7 and 6. We viewed all of them and room 7 had t...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank MillieFulk
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 #23 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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