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“Classic safari camp”
Review of Dulini River Lodge

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Dulini River Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level 6 Contributor
151 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Classic safari camp”
Reviewed December 21, 2013 via mobile

This is an older lodge but a really good one. Large rooms, air conditioning, splash pool. Food and service excellent. See all the game you will want. Right on the Sand River. Watch elephants cross from your deck.

Stayed December 2013, traveled solo
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Thank happyflyer45
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
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (81)
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English first
Lewes, Delaware
Level 6 Contributor
105 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed December 20, 2013 via mobile

From the second we arrived I knew we had picked a great place. Greeted by the staff with warm towels! Taken to a magical lunch deck with fabulous food and wine watching game from the deck! Meeting Ronnie Ronnie our butler! Truly exceptional - kind - funny ! Made our stay great! Always prepared choices for my lactose intolerant husband that were special!Amazing game drives with Michael and Chris! They will go anywhere to show you what you want! And they were also fun to be with - laughter was common on our trips as well as a professional knowledge of these animals that they shared with joy!
The rooms were amazing - African in feel - rustic yet elegant! Plunge pool and deck overlooking river fantastic-
Outdoor shower great indoor shower and bath fabulous Maid service amazing always found things perfect and free laundry was a plus! Special Attention to a different dinner each night or a twist I breakfast as well - I won't divulge the specifics as they are special and part of the experience
The chef was accessible and 10 star in quality many choices way too much food but it was so amazing we ate it Cute gift shop management was great and always trying to please
A gem of a place!!!!!!! Thanks for making our trip truly memorable.

Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Loistheartist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Beverly, Massachusetts
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed November 22, 2013

My husband and I spent 4 perfect nights at Exeter River in late September. The staff was welcoming and superb. They made us feel special during our entire stay. Our room, really a bungalow, was wonderful with its open concept lounge, bed area, and soaking tub - which could be partitioned by a curtain. The terrace was a perfect place to watch the herd of 11 elephants (all sizes from very small to very large) graze by the river. The plunge pool was very cool, bordering on cold during our stay, however it added a romantic ambiance to the terrace area. The indoor shower was great and only outdone by the outdoor shower.

The food was outstanding and beautifully presented. It was a pleasure to talk with the chef about entree choices and preparations and Ronny our butler deduced what we liked and anticipated requests before we could even ask. He was great. We enjoy wine and had the opportunity to partake of several fine South African vintages during our Exeter stay. The main gathering, dining, and terrace area was so inviting with its several different furniture groupings for relaxing and socializing. Open to the river we found that Monkeys, Bushbucks, Nyalas and Kudus were never far from sight. There is a small but nicely stocked 'store' with both clothing and lovely souvenirs and gifts.

Even with the outstanding location, accommodations, and dining the highlights of our Exeter River stay were the early morning and late afternoon the game drives. Our ranger Mac and tracker Colbert made us feel like family. The discussions and stories of the wildlife were fascinating and their ability to find the animals was amazing. We saw the big five plus many others, and what’s incredible is how close the jeep can get to the animals. Mac is truly an expert at off-road driving to find Leopards and Lions! Our photographs of these wildlife encounters are both beautiful and amazing. For us, Exeter River was an adventure of a lifetime. The best part of all is that we plan to return.

Room Tip: We were in #3 and the deck with plunge pool was about 12 feet above ground level. Rooms 5 through 8...
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank nrb0816
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Highland Park, Illinois, United States
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed October 10, 2013

My husband and three kids and I had the pleasure of staying at this property last December. I cannot say enough about the fabulous safari experience! We saw so many animals and had a great all around stay. The rooms were beautiful and the service was great. Steve, our guide, was so enthusiastic and knowledgeable and really wanted us to have great game drives. The morning we left my daughter and son had a close up visit on their deck from a leopard! It was a very exciting end to a phenomenal trip.

Room Tip: All of the rooms are great. We had three so I know!
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Joan B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hartford, Connecticut
Level 6 Contributor
77 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed September 25, 2013

My wife and I started our first ever African safari adventure at the Exeter River Lodge. The location is fabulous. Our room (# 7) was at the end of the line. Rooms were clean and in excellent condition. The bed was very comfortable.

Our guide Mac was very knowledgeable and had a great sense of humor, too! We saw a multitude of animals and were fortunate to see wild dogs and their pups during our stay. My wife and I loved it at Exter River Lodge and hope to come back again someday.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Gordon R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Buckinghamshire, England
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed September 23, 2013

We came to Exeter River having been recommended by our travel company, as a perfect location to end our two week holiday with spectacular scenery, and an excellent opportunity to experience close encounters with wildlife, and in particular, Leopards. I had planned this to be our final stop, and hopefully a suitable location to spend our 30th Anniversary - We were not disappointed!

The greeting on arrival was warm and genuine and as we were taken down for a welcome drink in the main lounge/Dining lodge, the scenery was instantly impressive - the layout of the grounds and then the central lodge itself were beautifully laid out, and the view over the river and beyond gave a spectacular setting - As we would soon discover, this location had been well chosen, as we would often be sitting either here, or on our own lodge sun-deck, observing families of Elephant, a Giraffe, Antelope, Baboons, Warthog etc. down by the river or grazing in the surrounding grassland.
We met our personal butler who we immediately felt comfortable with and was to become one of our most memorable contacts on the whole trip - Difference is a truly lovely man who managed to make our stay even more special due to his care and attention and genuine love for his work - He is well named, as he really did make a big difference to the quality of our visit. All of the staff, without exception, were helpful and friendly and would do everything possible to answer our questions or look after our requests.

After we had enjoyed a refreshing drink, and then got settled into our beautiful lodge - a really spacious layout of lounge, bedroom and bathroom, and a sun-deck with a plunge pool looking directly onto the river and surrounding grounds (number 6 - recommended!) - we went for our first game drive, at around 4.00pm. By then it had cooled a little and was a comfortable temperature to sit in the open jeep. Our guide and tracker for the first 2 trips was William and Prince - both great guys and experts at what they do. I had hoped that we might spot 1 or 2 Leopard at some stage during our 4 night stay, probably through binoculars and possibly just for a precious few minutes. In the event, a call came in that Leopard had been spotted on a trail, and we followed the directions to arrive just as a mother and cub were walking down the track to a spot in the bush where the mother had hidden an Impala killed earlier. What Jane and I had not expected was that the animals here have become so habituated to the jeep that are used, that they ignore them and carry on with natural behaviour - even though we were only about 20-30 feet away. We spent an incredible 20-30 minutes watching the mother and cub interact while the cub tried to learn how to eat fresh meat. The policy at Exeter River is that no more than 2 vehicles can ever attend any wildlife viewing, and this means that the animals are never stressed, and that all participants are able to have great views of the action.

We saw various other wildlife on that first trip, and William and Prince even found me a small Puff-Adder as we were driving back to the lodge (not on everyone's list to see, admittedly!).

From the afternoon trip on day two, our guide and tracker changed to Mac and Colbert and once again, the professionalism was evident from the start - all of the guides and trackers are truly passionate about their vocation and show huge enthusiasm about the wildlife, the plants and the environment. Mac and Colbert have worked together for many years and their banter and sense of humour made our trips with them even more enjoyable. I could write pages about each trip we took, but suffice to say that we enjoyed the most incredible wildlife viewing experiences we have had over many years of trips to the Americas, Asia, and a previous trip to Africa.

In particular, as well as seeing Leopard, I had dreamt of seeing African Painted Dogs, but knowing how rare they are, didn't want to get my hopes too high. What I didn't know until we had arrived, was that a pack of dogs had chosen Exeter River land to build their den on, and so I felt as if we had won the lottery, since we were able to visit the den site and watch Wild Painted dog puppies playing, and then interacting with the adults as they returned from a hunt with food. We also saw Lion (including cubs), Elephant (including 2 bulls disputing dominance in a noisy fashion!), White Rhino, Giraffe (including a mother and calf), zebra, too many antelope to count, Cape Buffalo, Warthogs (on Jane's 'must see' list!), many beautiful birds, and various other wildlife.

I have to mention one other stand-out moment for us - I had not really mentioned our anniversary, preferring to keep it as a quiet, private experience, but felt moved late on the day itself, to mention to mac that he and Colbert had just given us the best, most memorable Anniversary that we could remember (we had seen our best views of the dogs, plus another Leopard, and many other great sightings that morning and afternoon). What we didn't realise was that Mac must have contacted the lodge from his radio and informed them of our celebration. When we got back to the Lodge, our evening guard, Jabu (who walks you to your own lodge with a torch in case of any un-expected animal encounters), told Jane that he thought a monkey had got in to our room and made a mess. I was thinking 'How did that happen', and 'what damage would their be, and how would we get the monkey outside again'.
When we walked in to our lodge, a candle lit table had been laid, with wine and a lovely message asking us to contact the chef who would come down and take our order (after Jane had taken a bubble bath which had already been made ready for her). It was the perfect end to a perfect day (Thanks Mac and all who made it happen!).

By the way, when you look around the reception area/shop on arrival, you'll see some incredibly life-like pencil drawings of big cats found on Exeter River Lodge land - it turns out this is another of Mac's talents - If you need a memento of your stay, these are hard to beat!
If you are planning a trip to see big game and other wildlife in South Africa, and want to combine it with a warm, friendly and luxurious location, it will be very difficult to find a better lodge than this. we intend to return for another visit in the next couple of years - Can't wait!

Room Tip: All of the lodges facing the river would be a great choice I think - we had number 6 which gave us g...
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Sharkman16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Julian's, Malta
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed September 4, 2013

My wife and I spent 5 glorious nights at The Exeter River Lodge and I must say that all our expectations were by far exceeded!! From the minute we checked in, until the last few moments of our stay, all the staff especially our butler Return and ranger Greg, cared for all our needs to make sure our stay was a memorable one. The lodging is of the highest standard, luxuriously finished throughout and extremely comfortable. Our room had it’s our own plunge pool on the terrace, overlooking the great vast outdoors. Return made sure we had sufficient ice waiting for us in our room upon our return from the afternoon drive for a GT at sundown, followed by an exquisite dinner. Greg went to great lengths to ensuring we saw as much wild life as possible, which we did, sometimes getting very close to the feeding lions…a wonderful experience!! Every day we were treated to a different surprise by all the staff, be it traditional African singing and dancing, fresh smoothies, etc. Definitely one of the nicest places I've ever stayed in, highly recommendable and will definitely return in the not too distant future!!!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Jonice08
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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