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“Team Dulini”
Review of Dulini Lodge

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Dulini Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
New York City, New York
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Team Dulini”
Reviewed January 20, 2013

TEAM DULINI

We stayed at Dulini btwn Christmas and new years 2012
and can 100% recommend this lodge and its staff to anyone.
This ranks as one of the best overall experiences we have ever had. This is a small “boutique” lodge if you will, so you get to know all the staff and most all of the guests with 6 rooms. Singita is well known as a luxury lodge but we felt Dulini was a little jewel.
The &BEYOND CO hires amazingly knowledgeable, kind, and attentive staff so in terms of service there was no issue. We visited the sister property, RIVER LODGE which was larger and felt more like a hotel with a proper lobby and they had a gorgeous Great Room which was open and airy overlooking the river -- didn’t see any guest rooms though. Also looked like a great place to stay. Dulini had wifi only in main part of lodge not rooms or pool area but it worked well. Cell service seemed to work throughout
The rooms at Dulini are very well appointed but cushions could of used a cleaning indoors and out. Outdoor shower was amazing and bathrooms excellent.
Be prepared insects everywhere, but that is AFRICA
We were there of course for the wildlife and it didn’t disappoint- we saw the big 5 in our first 2 days and a lot of bird species which were beautiful. On our last day we saw what is very rare for our area of the sabi sands, a pack of wild dog and hyena.
A leopard came right into the lodge midday on one occasion. Our tracker Jack and Ranger Steve made the drives so memorable and fun. They were fearless in their pursuit and would often times drive through very dense areas of the bush mowing down trees like a heard of elephant. Jack and Steve were both very cool and friendly and we all felt like we were a team. We got very very close to all of the animals except giraffe and zebra. Leopards, lions, rhino were very very close to the landrover.
Steve was very informative about a lot of the bird and plant life which was an added bonus
It was super hot so we couldn’t go on a lot of walks but I would recommend taking advantage of doing the walks as much as you can because there is a lot of down time and eating between drives and it’s a change up from driving. Breakfast, in my opinion, was the best meal with great variety and fresh foods. We could barely eat lunch after the buffet they lay out in the morning. Maurice was our “butler” waiter and made this great special ginger tea. He was fantastic. Isaac the manager was also lovely.
Bring small video camera even a version of a flip cam or iphone because capturing the lions roaring or different animal sounds is really special.

Room Tip: Room 6 by far is the most private
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
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1 Thank marms71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Date | Rating
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  • French first
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English first
Miami, Florida
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed January 18, 2013

Where do I begin? Dulini was our second stop of our honeymoon and it simply does not get better than this. We were greeted by the lovely Gift with a nice cool drink (a ginger ale concoction that was just delicious as it was refreshing), cool hand towels to freshen up after our drive from the airport, and an amazing lunch outside on their deck . We thought it couldn’t get any better but little did we know what we were about to experience.

The Staff- From Gift’s welcome to Patricia’s attentiveness and from Freddy’s service to the rest of the staff’s enthusiasm, friendliness, caring, and efficiency, everyone was just great. Steve, our ranger and Jack, our tracker were just AMAZING!!! They are so knowledgeable in their craft. We were just amazed about how well they knew the bush and all of its surroundings. Jack is the bush; and his love for it shows in his eagerness and enthusiasm. Steve was so educated with the animals, plants, birds etc…we were really impressed. They made our game drives entertaining and fun!

The Game Drives- SUPER!!!! We got to explore the bush and see the animals up close and personal. From a lion fighting his brothers to claim his lioness to seeing the moment when a leopard found her cub (a truly emotional and beautiful moment to experience), our expectations of the game drive were far exceeded. We were at one point surrounded by 40-50 elephants (my favorite animal in the world). I was on cloud nine!!! Jack and Steve really went above and beyond to make sure that we saw what we came to see and then some! Jack saw fresh tracks and knew exactly where to look for the animals. He has a hawk’s eye.

The Accommodation- This place is true luxury. The lodges are decorated with an old world African feel with some modern elements: private plunge pool, ceiling to floor glass doors in the indoor shower overlooking the bush, freestanding tub, spacious bedroom and sitting areas, etc. It was very authentic. As honeymooners we felt so spoiled and yet it was never overdone. They made sure to have lunch and dinner at different locations every time we ate (our surprise dinner in our room was my favorite).

The Food- Triple WOW! My husband and I really like to think that we have explored all types of food and then we came to Dulini. It was not just the type/uniqueness of food (ostrich filet, spring buck carpaccio, etc); it was the presentation, flavors, and taste. I also have to mention their poached eggs...absolute perfection. Something so simple yet they did not go unnoticed!!! You will never be hungry here. From cold/hot breakfast to snacks and drinks in between (Roca Choca Mocha...you have to come here to find out what that is :)) to the wine to the amazing entrees and side dishes...everything was great!

Overall- All of our senses have never been quite as stimulated as they were here. It was just phenomenal. We loved how luxurious everything was without being overly pretentious. It is how it should be. We heard that Dulini was recently sold to another establishment so we hope that they will continue the &Beyond experience that we were lucky enough to have. Thank you to everyone for making our honeymoon such a memorable one! We will never forget it!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Jenelle G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 17, 2013

Just got back from a four night stay at Dulini Lodge and I have to say our experience well surpassed our expectations! We had read all the raving reviews but until you get there you can't imagine how wonderful it is. We won't go into detail about the lodge itself as many other reviews have done this before but it has a truly magical feel. What makes Dulini so special, is not only it's location and set up but the attention to detail and the kindness and warmth of the people working there. The game drives were excellent, run by very experienced and kind rangers and trackers, never thought we would see and learn do much. (Thanks Steve & Jack!) One of the highlights of our drive was seeing a cub being united with it's mother after she had left the cub to go hunting. Worthy of a David Attenborough / BBC nature programme!!
We also had the change to have dinner with the new owners and they assured us that they will not do anything to alter the spirit of the lodge as they bought it more for love then business.
Word of advise, go on a diet before you go, to allow for the extra kilos you might gain as the food is simply delicious, plenty and irresistible!
Dulini, we will be back! Thanks again!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank DutchMark
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level 6 Contributor
110 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
Reviewed January 7, 2013

Visited Dulini on a recent trip to South Africa. The hospitality and the service of the staff was outstanding - Given and Patricia deserve special mention, they made us feel like family, a cliche but a fact! The meals were delicious, especially the breakfast, though they could cook simpler food without detracting from the quality. The rooms were furnished to a high standard but it was the little touches that made it special - wont tell to avoid spoiling the surprise to future travellers. Our ranger, Craig, was simply great - knowledgeable, funny, made you feel safe and would go to great lengths to ensure we had the best experience possible. We simply had the best time and would love to go back soon. Truly recommend it.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank 334flamengo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Level 5 Contributor
61 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
Reviewed December 31, 2012

Our safari experience at Dulini was a dream come true. The lodge is amazing, but it is the people that make the experience absolutely unforgettable. I was initially nervous about the cost of this trip, but in hindsight it is worth every single penny we spent.

The drives – Unbelievable. William was our ranger, Isaac was our tracker and they are a fantastic and incredibly skilled duo. I cannot recommend them highly enough – they made our trip. They made sure we had fun and adventure, an experience we will never forget. If you’re nearing the end of your stay there and haven’t seen a particular animal, William will do his absolute best to try to see it. We saw the big five and more than we ever expected – black rhino, giraffe, zebra, hyena, crocodile, the remains of a leopard kill… William makes sure you will get the best photograph; he will get you as close as he can without disturbing the animals. They love what they do and have amazing stories to share. They have so much respect and awe for the animals, and you leave feeling the same way.

Dulini is part of a private reserve with only five lodges. They try to limit the number of cars per animal to 2-3 maximum so you get up close and personal. Dulini uses land rovers, 3 rows, with a max of 6 guests per car. This means that you have an unobstructed view no matter where you are sitting (although it is fun to sit in the front row and listen to the amusing banter of the rangers on the radio). You do not have to drive very long before you will start spotting animals. The rangers also scout animals before hand and share information freely with one another so you maximize the number or animals you see per drive. It is an efficient system to promote the best experience for the guest.

The lodge: Beautiful. The lodges are spacious, private, and old-worldly. Each room has its own plunge pool, glass shower, stand alone tub, and deck. It is well maintained, clean, comfortable, and perfect for relaxing in between drives. I love that there is no television or internet in the individual rooms, only in the common area. It is all inclusive - lots of drinks in the mini bar but no food (I am guessing because of the animals and bugs).

Food – Dulini feeds you well, and feeds you often. The food is fantastic – they serve a great mix of salads and soups and pastas and meats (ostrich and kudu too!). They are also very attentive to your dietary restrictions – For example, we don’t drink alcohol and every member of the lodge knew this without us telling them. Lunch and dinner are three-course meals; breakfast is a buffet and your choice of omlette. Every game drive they take a break and offer you amazing home-made snacks and drinks. Then, when you return from the drive, they greet you with more snacks and drinks. Also, if you’re just lounging around the common area the staff will always greet you and ask you if you want anything. Maurice, Patricia, and Gift are warm and hospitable and fun. They also have a few special surprises planned for you which I won’t mention here.

If you want the experience of a lifetime, you have to go to Dulini. We were truly sad when leaving this place, and would love to return some day.

Room Tip: I think the plunge pool in room 5 is partially visible from the common area, so maybe avoid this roo...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank CondorBears
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
Level 6 Contributor
143 reviews
100 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 173 helpful votes
Reviewed December 30, 2012

We stayed at 2 &Beyond properties during our recent safari excursion: Dulini in Kruger and the Forest Lodge in Phinda. We loved both.

Both had the most attentive and caring staff possible. Food was excellent even though as vegetarians we needed special meals.

Safaris were great and we easily saw the big 5 in 2 days (i.e., 4 drives). Dulini was notable for lots of giraffes, elephants, hippos, and of course, leopards. Our drives also included a nature walk which was a nice change from sitting in the car.

Dulini is located in the middle of the reserve so animals literally walk through. The good is that one enjoys seeing impalas and nyalas during meals. The "bad" (if that can be said) is that the monkeys, however cute, continuously try to steal food. One big advantage of Dulini is that it shares its land with neighboring lodges but it remains relatively small so as a result one begins to see animals right away on drives (vs. Phinda, for example, where one needed to drive and search for 45 - 60 minutes before really seeing animals).

Note that Dulini was recently acquired and thus changed ownership. The new owners will not be a part of the &Beyond group (a management company like Starwood or Hilton) so who knows if and how things will change in 2013.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank SuitNflipflops
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Birmingham, Alabama
Level 4 Contributor
35 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed December 15, 2012

My wife and I stayed at Dulini 4 days and nights in late November. We booked the stay through Travel Butlers (Natasha is wonderful). We are American, in our late '50's and love adventure travel. Our experience at Dulini was perfect in every way. As pointed out in the previous review, there are 6 separate bungalows, each with a back deck, plunge pool, fully stocked bar at no additional cost and both inside and outside showers. Each deck looks out onto the river which was dry when we were there. Each unit is completely private. There is also a main lodge (where there is wi-fi) and lots of places to lounge.

The most important people in your life during the stay are your ranger and tracker who accompany you on two drives each day. We cannot say enough good things about Patrick and Tyron. Patrick, our ranger, is knowledgeable, articulate, kind, considerate and patient. He is willing to go the extra step to position the vehicle where you can get the best photos. Within the first two days, we saw all the Big Five plus giraffe, zebras, hippos and more. The highlight was finding a female leopard that dragged an impala up a tree (so hyenas could not get it). The leopard had a tiny cub with her. Since her cub was in danger from the hyenas, she hid her cub a half mile or so from the tree. When we encountered her the second day, she was trying to locate her cub... And she did while we were tracking her!

All the staff at Dulini are wonderful - Patricia, Isaac, Iris and, most especially, our butler Bongani. We felt almost like family, so well cared for. This was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime, but I'm sure we'll be back!

Be aware that you should be prepared to tip your ranger, tracker and butler. Of course, they say it is in the discretion of each guest but, believe me, after staying at Dulini, you will want to acknowledge your gratitude. I think the average tip is about 100 rand per day each for the tracker,butler and other staff and 200 rand per day for your ranger. The dollar is strong versus the rand, so that is very reasonable.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Frank Dixon M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Dulini Lodge

Property: Dulini Lodge
Address: | White River, Kruger National Park 1240, South Africa (Formerly &Beyond Dulini)
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Amenities:
Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 42 Specialty Lodging in Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Dulini Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Under a leafy canopy of ebony trees, six luxurious stone cottages grace the banks of the Mabrak River. As one of only 12 guests, you feel instantly at home in this quiet retreat, where classic interiors enfold guests in quiet style and elegance. Generous private plunge pools and shady decks look out onto the dry riverbed. Large, welcoming sofas and African sculptures fill the gracious guest areas. Dine under the ancient jackalberry tree where skilled chefs serve delicious meals or steal away for an intimate dinner in the well-stocked wine cellar. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
And Beyond Dulini Lodge
&Beyond Dulini Hotel Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Dulini Lodge South Africa/Sabi Sand Game Reserve

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