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“Lovely Dulini”
Review of Dulini Lodge

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Dulini Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
46 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Lovely Dulini”
Reviewed September 30, 2013

We started our three-week African adventure with a four night stay at Dulini Lodge! The moment we were greeted by Issac at the air strip, we knew we were someplace really special! He drove us to the Lodge where we were greeted by Poppy. She is the heart of Dulini! The grounds are beautiful with comfortable outdoor seating, a cozy library room, boma and a covered dining area with a welcoming fireplace - perfect for the cool mornings! We found vervet monkeys, warthogs and impalas grazing on the property - not to mention the very crafty chacma baboons who know how to open doors! Of course, our rooms were amazing! However, the highlight was our time spent with Dinomosi and Issac. The game drives were exciting, interesting and very fun. Dinomosi and Issac did an excellent job of tracking the animals and sharing their knowledge and expertise with us. Did I mention the sundowners? We looked forward to our gin and tonics with great conversations about the Southern Cross and other constellations - all new to our group from the Northern Hemisphere! Finally, my personal true test of a great experience is whether or not I can leave without tears ... after hugs and goodbyes, I cried all the way to the air strip! BOOK NOW and enjoy a fabulous experience!

Room Tip: You can't go wrong!
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank 77Duck
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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385 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (108)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Melbourne
Level Contributor
107 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
Reviewed September 19, 2013

We had a thoroughly enjoyable stay at Dulini. The ambience is wonderful - relaxing, friendly yet professional and knowledgeable. The food was outstandingly good, with variety at every meal and first class presentation and taste. Jess must be congratulated on a constantly changing menu. All the staff were welcoming and genuinely friendly.

The game drives were conducted with enthusiasm and skill. The sightings were numerous and varied, so that we saw a number of quite unique situations.

Our villa was large and comfortable, with a fully stocked bar fridge (unfortunately we were so full from the meals that we couldn't actually make use of it!). The wifi was of good quality. The bathroom was spacious and well equipped.

We would love to return!

Room Tip: All the villas are spacious and well equipped.
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Autraliantraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denver
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed September 8, 2013

We went to Dulini for the 2nd Safari on our honeymoon. We stayed for 3 fabulous nights.This is such a beautiful place, filled with beautiful people working there! The entire experience was amazing! I had Fred and Martin as my guide and tracker and they were truly exceptional. They found the most amazing animal sightings without just using the radio, they truly "track" which makes the entire experience authentic and exciting. Poppy, Ian, Given and Reply were the other staff we interacted the most with and all were so kind, friendly and helpful. I wish I lived at Dulini. I have already recommended to a relative to go there in October!

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Danielle W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rome, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
17 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed September 3, 2013

The Dulini Lodge was the first place in which my husband and I stayed during our honeymoon in Africa. We were instantly swept away with the friendly, courteous staff. Three meals were provided each day - breakfast right before morning safari, lunch (in various locations around the lodge, like in the Boma or dry river bed or your own room), and dinner following the evening safari. We were guaranteed something different each lunch and dinner. The staff remembers everything! My husband and I are not alcohol drinkers, so we were spoiled with the most amazing fresh fruit drinks. There was not a single drink that we disliked. The cooks enjoyed making our drinks because it was something different and they got to do things in the kitchen that they didn't normally get to do.
Our rooms were taken care of by Given and other wonderful staff members. We were absolutely blown away with the room with the plunge pool, outdoor and indoor showers, large bath tub, sitting area (inside and out), and large (extremely comfortable) bed. The porch overlooked the "river bed", which was dry in September. From here we got to watch Cape Buffalo, elephants, and Nyala walk by.
Two safaris are scheduled each day (morning and night). Each guide and tracker pair were wonderful, but we were convinced that Martin and Barry were the absolute best! They made sure that each person in the land rover got to see what they most desired. It was always a surprise too. They had wonderful explanations and drove basically anywhere to make sure we saw everything as close as possible. They made sure that we all had fun, but ensured our safety as well.
During our stay, we, of course, learned a lot about the African animals, but we also learned a lot about the different cultures. They shared information, songs, and dances. Anyone who contemplates a trip to South Africa can be sure that the Dulini lodge, alone, will make the trip worth going.
Note: We went in September 2012, not October. However, September was not an option in the "When did you travel" box.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank SZMartin91512
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sidcup, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed September 3, 2013

My husband and I had a 4 day stay at Dulini during our honeymoon. From the moment you walk in you are treated like royalty, a lovely welcome from Poppy and then the amazing Given showed us to our room where we couldn't believe our eyes, the lodges are absolutely stunning, from the plunge pool on the veranda to the outside shower, to the seating area to the mini bar!!! You really are spoilt at Dulini. We had excellent food at the lodge too, every meal had good choice and it was all delicious, the BBQ evenings are particularly enjoyable, I won't spoil the surprise!!! It was lovely to meet the lucky owners of the beautiful lodge too. Now to our amazing ranger (Fred) and tracker (Martin) we could not of asked for more dedicated or knowledgable experts. Nothing was too much trouble - any animals people wanted to see - we saw and even if it meant off roading so we had the best view!!! Their knowledge was amazing and their love for the animals heart warming, I also really enjoyed the sunset drinks we had and the introduction to Amarula!!! Thank you everyone at Dulini - you made our honeymoon absolutely amazing (especially with the surprise romantic meal in our room, champagne and candles!).

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank Emma B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Great Ayton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
43 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
Reviewed September 3, 2013

First of all, thanks Trip Advisor bcause our choice of lodge was based on the excellent reviews that Dulini had received. Our four night stay was the culmination of a 12 night safari holiday in South Africa/Swaziland and it was a magical experience We have stayed at other 5 star lodges in the Sabi Sands and this is up there with the very best. What sets this apart is the intimacy of the camp, just 6 rooms and no more than 6 people to a vehicle allowing it to strike the perfect balance between luxury comforts (and I do mean luxury) and a bush experience. I would say it takes the best of Londolozi and the best of Nottens and fuses the two together. There were several things which stood out for me, firstly the sightings were exceptional; 5 leopards (including two mating), numerous lions (cubs playing with dad's tail - awh!), a breeding herd of 700 buffalo and another breeding herd of 40-50 elephants, wild dogs, hyena etc. Our ranger Patrick and tracker Tyron were first rate and their passion for the bush was very apparent. Whilst of course there is radio contact with other vehicles in the area our guys always seemed to manoeuvre us into an excellent position when we got to sightings and were very informative and readily answered our questions. They frequently tracked leopard on foot and whenever a guest expressed a wish to see a particular animal they went the extra mile to ensure that request was met (no mean feat given that sightings are never guaranteed). I must also mention the quality and comfort of the vehicle, the best I have ever come across; you have your own "flight" seat with a centre console box containing binoculars, tissues, insect repellent and sun cream. There is even a mount for your camera which clips onto the handrail and serves the same purpose as a tripod.
One tip- at this time of year it is exceedingly cold in the morning, make sure you pack a warm coat and scarf, and a hat/ buff is essential (the cold air whistling through your ears can be quite a shock to the system). Likewise for the evening game drive, warm layers are required.
Second tip - amurala mixed in with your coffee or hot chocolate during the morning game drive goes down a treat!
From the charming manageress downwards the staff seemed genuinly passionate and eager to please without being overattentive. Our butler Reply soon found out what our favourite drinks were and they were always ready and waiting. The room (the word "room"does not do it justice on account of its size) had the "wow factor" in spades. It was dreamily romantic with stunning views from the wrap-around deck across the dry river bed with occasional buffalo, elephant and antelope coming to graze. Each room has a lounge area, a sumptuous bathroom and indoor and outdoor showers. There is also a private plunge pool which of course was too cold to use at this time of year. My only complaint (!) was that there wasn't really enough time to enjoy these facilities to the full. You also have a mini bar at your disposal and I forgot to mention the under floor heating (hence no slippers with the bath robe). Third tip- this would make a fabulous destination for a honeymoon. In fact there were 2 honeymoon couples at the time of our visit and they were thrilled with their choice, the lodge having gone out of the way to make their stay very special. At the time of our visit there was a lot of leopard activity in the immediate vicinity with leopard having been spotted in the camp . I note with envy the photo posted of the leopard on the outside shower wall of one of the guest rooms! Because of this we were not able to have a "bush" dining experience (bush dinner and bush breakfasts are available at certain times ) but hey whose complaining when there are leopards aplenty to be seen! One of the things I liked was the fact that the dining locations for lunch were changed daily allowing you to sample a different aspect of the lodge. I spoke to the man in charge of "upgrading" the lodge following its reacquisition in March this year. How, I wondered, do you upgrade a product which is already top of its class? However, looking at the old photos I can see that the introduction of underfloor heating, slipper baths, top of the range 'his' and "her" basins, boarded walkways, neutral palette of colours for soft furnishing, fresh landscaping etc. has made improvements. I came away with the feeling that it is passion over profit which has motivated these changes and a genuine desire to strive for excellence.
There was a varied selection of food of plentiful quantity and all beautifully presented. On the whole the food was excellent with the exception of a couple of lunch selections which (it seems churlish to say) for me fell a little short, (fishcakes were rather dry, meat kebabs a little tough and the pastry on the tarts was very hard ) However this was just the teeniest blip, the lunch salads in particular were excellent. Sometimes dinner was served in the boma and on alternative nights our ranger sat with us. We all sat around the table (dinner party style) and it was a great opportunity to reflect on the day and to get to know our fellow guests.
When you decide to go on safari it is difficult to know which lodge to go to as there is so much choice and a lot of them have excellent ratings, making it hard to distinguish between them. On the same holiday as this we also went to Elephant Plains (a 4 star property) and I have to say that we enjoyed ourselves there and had some excellent sightings (I will post a separate review on this). Fourth tip : If you are on a budget then Elephant Plains is an excellent choice for a safari. (I don't feel I'm being disloyal here as these two lodges are in different price brackets). However, Dulini takes the safari experience to the highest level with its attention to detail in every respect. Yes, it is undoubtly very expensive to stay here but if you are able to go I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank Ladylumpa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
Reviewed September 2, 2013 via mobile

Dulini is a spot I would certainly repeat which is a rare thing for me to say. When we left we actually missed the owner, all of the staff, our ranger Fred and our tracker Martin, and last but not least, the animals. Rest assured when booking that the new management (actually old management who RE-purchased) has done amazing things. This was our first trip to SA. We arrived to a welcome drink and hot towels. Shown to our luxurious and ultra private cabin which managed rustic casual elegance all at the same time. Escorted to our safari vehicle, and introduced to what I really believe to be the best ranger tracker pair on the reserve. We saw everything we wanted to see, had fun, learned a ton about animal behavior, and watched our tracker get repeatedly asked to help everyone else out there find leopards because he is a total [--] and no one can compete with him. Our ranger Fred seemed to know every animal fact out there and even came back the next day sometimes with more info for us. Outside the safari experience itself which is impossible to describe, the lodge only has six rooms which allows for an intimate experience. We ate meals together with the group often including the rangers and the owner, heard all their favorite safari stories, and stayed up with after dinner drinks until it was time to go to sleep while listening to lions roar. They made you feel like part of their family, and wrapped you into their love for the animals and the bush. The food deserves a shout out as it was impeccable. And our butler managed some amazing specialty drinks to go with it. I think our four night stay was the perfect amount of time, and I would do it again every year if I could, same room same car, same everything. And the fact that all the other guests agreed and have had other safari experiences to compare it to, says the most of all. Do yourself a huge favor and choose dulini, you will be singing its praises when you get back.

Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Brittany H
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 
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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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