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“A wonderful experience”
Review of Notten's Bush Camp

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Notten's Bush Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed June 6, 2013

We just returned from 3 nights at Nottens with our family which included a 19 year old and a 10 year old. It was a wonderful experience that each of us agree was the best travel experience we have ever had. It was our first time doing a safari and the benefits of being at Sabi Sands were evident. We saw the big five during the first 2 days and had the good fortune of having repeat viewings before we left. The lodge was perfect in that it was well appointed and very comfortable while feeling like it was part of the natural landscape. Nottens performs a great balancing act of taking care of every need while maintaining the sense of being in a very remote and natural place. You really have the sense they will do anything they can to make things just right for you. This is an ideal place for a family vacation and would also make a great honeymoon spot...really it's ideal for any vacation.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank Tinx10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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366 - 372 of 586 reviews

Reviewed June 4, 2013

We spent 3 nights here at the end of May 2013. It exceeded already high expectations. Dave and Dale are cousins whose family has owned the property for a very long time. They are exceptional hosts. Incredibly nice, helpful, genuine and knowledgeable. They aim to please and it shows. Their staff takes after them, making the environment very warm and hospitable.

My wife and I loved the candle lit rooms at night. You can't help but get a sense of what it must have been like pre-electricity. So romantic, too. If you would like more light, and we did at times, you can borrow one of their large rechargeable flashlights or bring one of those small mag lights from home.

There are just 8 rooms in all. We were in #7 which was huge. These aren't tents, but concrete cottages with separate bathrooms. The room includes one bag of laundry free, which was nice. The room also came with an international adapter plugged into the one outlet so you didn't have to bring one. I brought one of those mini travel strips with 4 outlets and just plugged it into the adapter to charge up my gear.

The guides were superb, funny and very knowledgeable. We saw all the wildlife there was to see except the elusive cheetah which is apparently a very rare sighting.

The jeeps were never full, despite all the rooms being booked. That meant everyone had good seats in their 9 seater jeeps. I used a monopod to support my 70-400 lens and that worked great.

It was a bit chilly on the morning game drives, high 40s or low 50s at this time of year, but they provided blankets and hot water bottles, which my wife really appreciated. (It would warm up to the low 80s by the mid afternoon with no humidity -- just perfect).

Bring your wide brimmed hat, sunscreen, and binoculars (although each jeep came with extra binos if you forgot). They also provide insect repellant. For this time of year, you'll also want to bring beanies, gloves, long underwear and plenty of layers for the first couple of morning hours.

Now let's talk about the food. Wow, wow, wow. You will not go hungry, trust me, and the quality is tremendous. I felt like I was eating in a 5 star restaurant. The menu changed each night and several entrees were available to satisfy any palate. On 2 nights, Dave and Dale grilled 2 different types of steak to whatever doneness you wanted. Absolutely delicious. I'd go back just for the food!

It takes about 2 hours to get to Nottens from the Nelspruit Airport but believe me, it's worth it.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank Planestrainsnautos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 1, 2013

We stayed in Nottens in November for 4 nights, the camp impressed us by being extremely comfortable, quite small with around 20 guests, there was a good mix of nationalities and everyone got on. The game drives were great with knowledgable guides and drivers and we saw all the animals that one might expect to see in Kruger.

There is enough power to recharge cameras and phones, but lighting is all by candles and lamps. I like this, it discourages those guests who might want to dilute the bush camp experience with wide screen TVs etc etc

Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
3  Thank chas_newall
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 31, 2013

If you are traveling to South Africa to see wildlife, this is your place! It is a total bush experience and all of it is wonderful. Included is your separate well-furnished and spacious cabana (most with an outdoor shower in addtion to the standard modern bathroom), each with a private deck, delicious meals served in lovely open-air rooms, daily morning and evening game drives in open Land Rovers with an expert guide plus a sharp-eyed tracker, morning coffee and sundowners out in the bush, daily nature walks, a lovely pool and massage center (but who has time for those when there is so much wildlife to see?!) The staff is warm and welcoming, and the wildlife guides (we had Thomas and Riden) are gifted at finding animals. We joked that they must have a hidden button under the dash, that they could push to make any animal we wanted to see pop up in the next few minutes! We saw 4 of the Big 5 the first evening, and the remaining one (leopard) the next morning. The camp has been in the Notten family for many years, and they share a huge habitat area with just one other lodge. Their area adjoins Kruger National Park, with no fences separating them. I don't want to give away all the delightful aspects of the place, but I will say that you don't need a super-zoom lens on your camera, the animals aren't shy of the Land Rovers at all and you get closer than your friends at home will believe unless you show the edge of the Rover in your photos along with the animals.

Room Tip: Most of the rooms have an outdoor shower, but only one also has an outdoor bathtub (don't worry...
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  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled solo
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3  Thank dmsdms
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 23, 2013

We spent 3 days (15th-18th April 2012) in five double suite. Everything at Notten's was far more than we expected. Sadly one member of our group has had a health problem during the last night Safari. Notten's team has helped a lot for this incident including driving us several time to Nelspruit.

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with friends
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2  Thank cphilipona
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 20, 2013

We had been given an enthusiastic recommendation to Nottens by fellow Sydney friends. We hadn't been to the bush for some years. We booked through Rhino Africa (highly recommended for their local knowledge and friendly service). We flew from Joburg with Federal Air to Skukuza airfield, where a Nottens driver met us - then a 40 minute drive to the lodge. It is in a picturesque setting. The main dining, lounge and bar areas overlook a field and water hole where we witnessed elephant, buffalo, waterbuck and impala casually passing through. The bungalows are modern and spacious and tastefully furnished. Superb bathroom with inside and outside shower. While there is electricity in the rooms (powerpoint and electric ceiling fans) the management elected to provide lighting with paraffin lamps and candles which serve to provide a warm bush atmosphere.
The hosts and owners, Dave and Dale, set the tone for the incredible warmth and open hospitality that we experienced from all the wonderful, dedicated staff. Nothing is too much trouble. The breakfasts, afternoon high-teas and dinners are gastronomic delights. The evening dinners are communal affairs at a long table table, hosted by either Dave or Dale, either fire-side in the dining room or outside in the boma.
Of course the game drives are the highlight - dawn and sunset 3 1/2 drives in the LandCruiser with delightful driver and spotter. We had Thomas as our driver/tracker - he is knowledgeable and entertaining, and Ryden (?) as the spotter. Their uncanny ability to track down game - as they did in locating leopard and lion on four occasions in the dark of night - was awesome. Thomas even spotted a tiny chameleon on a leaf by torch-light. The highlight was tracking a leopard deep into the bush where he had just started devouring his fresh prey. As a keen amateur photographer I had countless opportunities to take great close shots of elephant, rhino, lion, leopard, buffalo, giraffe and a variety of buck and other inhabitants. The game in this part of the reserve (Sabi-Sabi) is not overly abundant - one can drive for a while without a sighting - but the ability and determination of the driver/spotter team will ensure that every drive is rewarding. One can participate in the daily bush-walks offered after breakfast and learn about the smaller creatures and flora.
Relaxing on the verandah of one's bungalow or by the pool between game drives and meals, simply taking in the unique bush air, the exhilaration of game spotting, the hospitality and cuisine all combine for a truly exceptional experience. Nottens is simply great value. Thank you Dave, Dale and staff.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank Michael F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 12, 2013

Having travelled to Zanzibar last year we realised that we were missing a trick by not tacking on a safari to the beginning of a holiday in Africa. However, neither my partner or I are outdoor types and we didn't want to tough it in order to gain the experience. We were after 'safari light' and I would have been happy if we had seen an elephant!
When we arrived at Nottens we were immediately impressed by the fantastic standard of accommodation. Our lodge, lit by candlelight, had a wonderful veranda which faced out on to a watering hole that was to provide a source of delight throughout our visit. We had a separate bathroom, outdoor shower and stand alone bath, which was marvellous to soak in after a chilly evening's bush drive. The service was truly outstanding and we were able to join in with as much or as little activity as we wished. We went on two drives a day, usually with only one other couple and saw an incredible range of animals at extremely close quarter. The leopards, of which we saw 3, were spectacular as were the elephants which visited the watering hole everyday. We didn't see lions but there was not sense of disappointment as our guides had been marvellous and their knowledge of the bush, the birds, the trees and all that we saw was constantly fascinating. We didn't go out on the bush walks but sat and relaxed around the lovely pool, looked after by the incredibly friendly and helpful staff. The food was very good; home cooking, fresh and tasty and lots of it. The bread and cakes were particularly good. We enjoyed the communal dining table in the evening and the chance to meet people and exchange experiences. All in all, a wonderful experience which has whetted our appetite for further and perhaps more challenging bush adventures. Thank you everyone at Nottens for such a wonderful start to our holiday.

Room Tip: We had lodge no 4, which was near to the dining room and overlooked the watering hole. It really wa...
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank susanhiggins
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Notten's Bush Camp

Address: 622 Hazyview, Kruger National Park 1242, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 42 Specialty Lodging in Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Price Range: $109 - $1,626 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Notten's Bush Camp 4*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Notten’s Bush Camp is a jewel within the heart of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve in Mpumalanga, which means “the land of the rising sun” in the locally spoken language, Shangaan. Notten’s is an exclusive and private safari lodge personally run by the Notten family. This beautiful, intimate safari lodge is situated within one of South Africa’s finest natural sanctuaries the Sabi Sand Reserve and Greater Kruger National Park. It is a destination that will truly touch your heart and soul.Each private suite is elegantly styled, spacious and cooled by ceiling fans. A magical atmosphere is created with the purposeful absence of electric lighting; the ambient candlelight and lanterns capturing an enchanting spirit of romance. With splendid panoramic views, this private game lodge is the perfect place for peace and relaxation while watching animals meander past. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Notten`s Bush Camp Hotel Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Notten's Bush Camp South Africa/Sabi Sand Game Reserve

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