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Reviewed April 6, 2010

OK, I will admit the game viewing is excellent especially for the cats. However their are a lot of other places with great game viewing too. With the exception of the trackers I found the staff to be quite unfriendly. Also while dining in the boma is a nice idea, it creates a really unfriendly mood sitting/eating in a semi-circle and only being able to talk to who was on either side of you.
But what really got me was what I call "nickel and diming". Sure they are cheaper than other lodges but you are still paying a lot of money. Everytime you were offered a drink out came the little record book logging it......even for water. I could not believe they even charged for water. They offer internet but at a high price and since we had computers for work we thought that we could use their WiFi but that too was for a charge. Eventhough they say that they provide mosquito nets in some chalets, the fact is they don't. After reading their arrival book that states they are in a malaria area and that due to side effects most people don't take the medication so the best defense is to cover up, I found this really shocking. Their reasoning was that the nets had rotten and they had not bothered to buy new ones. Sure their are screens on the door but they have about a 4cm gap which easily lets the mosquitos in. However they were willing the sell you repelent!
After spending over $1000 on our stay I thought that was a little cheap on their end.

Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
5  Thank frequentflyer7489
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 4, 2010

WOW...WOW!! Where do I even start? This hotel takes my breath away just thinking about it!

We stayed a few nights in Kruger at the Protea Kruger Gate (loved this hotel too) to get the self-drive safari experience before we made our way to Sabi Sands for a few nights. We struggled with which place to stay at in Sabi Sands for a few days as we were looking for something that would not break the bank and I am sooooo happy that we selected Nkorho!!

The Drive In- First of all prepare yourself for the road leading to the Gowrie Gate as it is a bit rough, but nothing that our little rental car could not handle.

The Lodge- as we rounded the bend and I saw the lodge for the first time in person I was speechless...what an amazing piece of property! The staff personally come out and greet you to welcome you to the lodge. After the check in process they walk you through the grounds to explain everything to you and then show you your private chalet....we were in #5 the honeymoon suite which I highly recommend as it had a soaking tub and an out door shower. The rooms are beautiful and truly make you feel like you are a celebrity being catered to! There are a few lounging areas where you can sit back and relax reading one of the many books they have. The pool area is outstanding! The only thing that could make it a little better is if they would have a few umbrellas available as the sun can be intense and my husband likes to sit in the shade. However, he was fine with this as they do have some sofas and chairs under and outdoor shaded area right by the pool. Also, the doors to the rooms do not lock which my husband was a little worried about at first. However, you soon realize that you are totally safe and do not have to worry about theft or anything like that here. We slept with our glass doors open and just the screens closed at night and wow, what an experience that was hearing all the animal noises! It's also amazing that every time I walked into my room the maids had been in there straightening up making sure everything is perfect!

The Staff- Wonderful! Every single one of them was so helpful and are always there if you need anything at all. The manager Karin is great and always there to cater to any needs and help in any way. We had a family staying at the hotel that unfortunately had very small kids who were screaming at the pool and being obnoxious. After we made a simple complaint that it was hard to relax and unfortunately the parents were not telling the children to be a little quieter, the manager was on it at once and suggested to the family that the children use the smaller pool near the lunch area. We were very happy that she took care of this and it made everyone relaxing by the pool a lot happier! She said that it's not often they have small children at the hotel for anyone who's worried about that.
Peter was our safari driver, and Norman was the spotter for the duration of our stay and I cannot say enough good things about him...he has such a sense of humor and went above and beyond making sure he did his best to show us all the animals we each wanted to see. We were with the same people in the safari every time as well but luckily we had an amazing group of people with whom we exchanged email information!

The Safari's- WOW! It was everything we hoped it would be! We saw the big 5 numerous times which I think can be a little overrated as any animal you encounter in its natural habitat is simply amazing! Peter was an excellent guide and we had lots of funny discussions on our safari's. Be prepared that the safari vehicle is not covered so rain or shine you experience that weather! My husband was a little apprehensive about this at first but within minutes he said “wow this feels like a real deal safari” and it truly does the second you go off roading into the wild....amazing!! There is no need to go into detail about the animals we saw as I know that is different for everyone, so I will just sum it up by saying that you will not be disappointed I promise! Just keep your eyes peeled for the big spiders that have their webs out first thing in the morning....this provided many laughs on our safari with all of us ducking!

The Meals- Fantastic! Wesley is truly talented and I could not wait for the meals everyday! It was definitely an experience eating in the Boma which unfortunately we only got to do once due to rain....but it was simply amazing!!

We were lucky to meet the owners of the lodge who flew in for the weekend and my husband was able to chat with them for a little bit...which is not uncommon as he is a very big talker! One of the best things about this place is that they don't overcharge for drinks as a lot of hotels to since they know you can't go anywhere else. The owner said that she hates when she goes to hotels and they charge ridiculous amounts for water, drinks etc. I think waters here were only around $1.50 same as soda. We really respect Nkorho for this as the last thing you want to worry about on vacation is the cost of drinks.

Overall this place is an amazing value for everything you get! They honestly could charge a lot more and I'm so happy they don't because it makes it more affordable for people who don't want to break the bank but want the private lodge experience!

Please, please, please do not hesitate on booking this hotel...it is truly a once in a lifetime experience!
Also, something cool you can do...when you're at the lodge you can control where the camera looks so maybe set up a specific time with your loved ones and have the camera face the pool....have them get online to the live web-cam and wave at them!

Please feel free to ask any questions!
a_stansberry@yahoo.com

Enjoy your stay....just don't tell me about it as I will be very envious! I already find myself calculating the time change to see when people at the lodge are on game drives etc.

I cannot wait for the day I return....next time hopefully for much longer :)

  • Stayed: February 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank ashley11bruce
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 21, 2009

We saw the Big 5 twice over plus wild dogs and on a night drive because there were lions nearby we saw two male lions chase a leopard up a tree.
The place is the complete package, good food, great wine, good service, amazing safari, beautiful rooms (esp the outside shower) and lost of little touches that really make the place
I would much rather spend a week here than 3 nights at one of the the 5* lodges - Nkorho gets all the important things spot on.

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank bardsi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 12, 2009

My son and I spent 3 weeks in South Africa in October 2009. We have been before and have visited various game parks over the years, so have some basis for comparison. Until Nkorho Bush Lodge, Timbavati was the pinnacle for us, but Nkorho and the Sabi Sand have exceeded even that.

As a guide on how to do this, I’d suggest you do your research on the area and the wildlife you want to see first, and then work out accommodation.

I wholeheartedly recommend the private game reserves adjoining the Kruger National Park as being the best. This envelopes both Sabi Sand and Timbavati. Unlike the Government game parks, where you are restricted to the roads, in these private game reserves, the rangers will take you off road to see the animals, which, by and large, accept the vehicles.

Based at Nkorho, over 10 game drives, we saw the big 5 innumerable times. A day didn’t go by without seeing virtually the whole 5 (leopard, lion, rhino, Cape buffalo and elephant). We also saw them in different situations. A lion pride with a buffalo kill, leopards on the ground, leopards up tree with kill, a leopard with cubs, both leopard and hyena at the same elephant carcass, individual lions drinking at sunset, breeding herds of elephant with lots of babies, herds of buffalo at a waterhole making life miserable for the incumbent hippo, lions sleeping or playing with each other, etc. Plus we saw the usual grazers - kudu, nyala, impala, steenbok, Burchill’s zebra, blue wildebeest, giraffe, bushbuck, waterbuck, reedbuck, etc, and other carnivores like both side-striped and black-backed jackal, baboon, and spotted hyena. We saw a den of 5 jackal pubs, leopard tortoise, giant plated lizards, blue tailed skinks, dwarf and banded mongoose, tree squirrel and warthog. There are plenty of birds too – a secretary bird, lilac breasted and European rollers, various hornbills, Burchill’s starling, eagles and vultures, weaver birds and guinea fowl. Enough said – the wildlife is amazing.

Having established the frequency of game, now look for accommodation. Well, that’s a matter for you and your wants and price range.

For us, we were absolutely delighted with our choice of Nkorho. We had 5 nights there and it has been our best African experience, bar none. We made some firm friends, both with the staff and some of the guests.

Wesley, our young chef, prepared some great meals, and his description of the menu was one of the highlights of the dinners in the fire-lit boma. The rangers’ omelette for breakfast is awesome. Some of the ladies that help him in the kitchen sing at night, as does Elton, a waiter/kitchenhand.

Karen and Julia in the office were great. Internet is available. It’s a little slow and expensive, but, hey, you’re in the middle of the bush, so don’t complain and be grateful there’s any at all!

The rooms are lovely - large, atmospheric - polished log bedheads, outside and inside showers, ceiling fan, safe, fridge, screens, a veranda, etc. They moved a single bed into our room instead of the couch. African stories and chocolates were left as part of the evening turn-down service, and the beds were always made when we returned from our morning game drives. I chose this accommodation based on a consideration of Trip Advisor comments, and would also recommend room 3, but at least room 4 would give you a view of the waterhole too. I had booked well in advance and secured room 3 by choice.

The 3 rangers at Nkorho, Peter, Greg and Jacque, were fabulous. We always drove with Peter, with Thomas as spotter, in our long-based landcruiser, but we got to know the other two rangers too as they are always around, helping out at the bar, having dinner with the guests, etc. Jacque is a young ranger with a great sense of humour and is a bit of a practical joker. He is so enthusiastic, too, and leapt at the opportunity to see lion, even when off duty. Greg had some terrific stories around the boma at night.

Peter is just a great bloke, and we will be indebted to him for life for the experiences he gave us.

And they always seemed to get what they needed. We were there for a while, and so saw things many times over. But some people were only there for a couple of game drives, yet, between them, the rangers always made sure they had encounters with at least the big 5.

We also did game walks, sometimes to see some of the small five (like ant lion), or flora with medicinal purposes (like the toothbrush tree) or even up to the recent buffalo kill (the lions having left) to see the picked over bones after a few short days.

A special mention needs to be made about Thomas, which probably illustrates the attitude of those who live and work at Nkorho. I’d been bugging Thomas, out spotter, about bushbaby and chameleon on our afternoon/evening drives. On our last night drive, Thomas found a bushbaby (as well as a jackal den), but alas no chameleon. Just as we were leaving our room to check out, Thomas turned up with a chameleon. It was a very poignant moment for me – he’d gone out of his way to find me one.

There are two pools at Nkorho, and the horizon pool overlooking the pan is a relaxing treat after a hot game walk.

A mention about getting there - Julia and Karen organised flights there and back by Federal Air from Johannesburg airport (about 1.5 hours flying time). I mean they organised everything – booking, payment and even how to find the FedAir office in O R Tambo airport. It went like clockwork – Fed Air run a very tidy operation and I would use them without hesitation.

I can’t speak highly enough of Nkorho. The animals are there in number (look at the webcam for Nkorho – even when we were there, 4 of the big 5 had a drink at that waterhole), the location is fabulous, but the people make Nkorho what it is. I can’t wait to return.

Stayed: October 2009
3  Thank seagullrob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 14, 2009

We spent three nights at the lodge in the beginning of September. The entire three days were incredible. We saw the big 5 plus wild dogs and a leopard! Not only did we see them, but we were able to get quite close without frightening the animals and we were able to spend time with each animal. The ranger and tracker were experts and lovely to us and our children. The rooms were perfect as was the food -- I cannot say enough great things about our stay!

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
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Thank mittensam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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