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“Simply an incredible experience”
Review of Dulini Lodge

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Dulini Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Barbados
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Simply an incredible experience”
Reviewed November 3, 2013

My wife and I spent part of our honeymoon at Dulini. This place is exceptional in every respect. From the first welcome from Poppy and the quick and simple check in to the farewell 4 days later from the team, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay. We were in awe of some of the details and the personal touches. These included several personalized hand written cards from our butler Maurice and having a hot bubble bath ready and steaming on our return from an evening game drive complete with sparkling wine and a candle lit in room dinner. No request was too much. We saw the big 5 plus many more animals. Our guide Dinamos and tracker Isaac were friendly, professional and did everything they could to deliver our requests for different animals. The food was excellent. Breakfast, lunch (especially the interesting salads) and dinners were all delicious. A different location for lunch and dinner each night and very varied and creative menus. I could go on and on. The only bad part was leaving, it was a bit sad. We will long remember our stay at Dulini with the fondest memories.

Room Tip: We had room 2 which I thought was a great location but I think each room has its unique benefits.
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Stewart G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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378 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
San Diego, California, United States
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed October 29, 2013

I honestly do not think that anything I could ever say about Dulini will truly do it justice, but I will do my best to paint the picture of the wonderful experience my husband and I shared together. We visited South Africa for our honeymoon and our first safari stop was at Dulini Lodge in Sabi Sands. This was our first ever safari experience and we stayed for three nights. From the moment we arrived we were absolutely speechless by the breathing beauty that is Dulini; it is a perfect oasis that is hidden amongst the bush. As soon as we arrived to Dulini we ate lunch, and then went out on our first game drive with two other couples and Patrick, our ranger/driver, and Tyron, our game tracker. The first game drive left us completely speechless because not only did we see four of the Big Five, but our first sundowner (evening bush happy hour) was the most incredible experience to add to our first safari adventure. We pulled up to a large pool of water and immediately a head rose out of the water and wiggled its ears. As we got out of the Land Rover to enjoy our cocktails eight more hippo heads popped out of the water about ten feet away from the shore and continued to watch us as we downed our drinks. By the end of our time at Dulini we saw all of the big five, plus many of the additional animals we were hoping to see (cheetahs, wild dogs, zebra, giraffe, etc.), plus each of their respected babies. Patrick and Tyron are truly incredible at what they do and we had such a blast with them (they are hilarious!). Many of the animal sightings we saw were so rare that even Patrick and Tyron were snapping photos occasionally. For example, they said it had been over 6 months since a cheetah had been sighted and we got to see her with her two cubs!

So back to Dulini: our private lodge was absolute paradise and we loved spending down time lounging on our deck or cooling off in our plunge pool. I have to say the elephants also enjoyed the plunge pool very much as on our last day a smaller elephant wandered over to eat from the nearby trees and dip his trunk into the pool. The outdoor shower was so serene and perfect for the almost 100 degree weather we experienced. The food was some of the best I have ever had and sometimes it seemed like we ate five + meals a day; we definitely never went hungry. I have to say one of the main selling points of Dulini when we were searching for a safari lodge for our honeymoon was the immense privacy and the limited number of guests the lodge can accommodate at one time. Also, each game vehicle only takes out six guests at the most, which is great because you don’t feel crowded at all.

Every detail about Dulini Lodge was superb, including the staff members who were all incredibly kind and attentive. I definitely recommend this place to anyone looking for a remarkable safari experience. Sabi Sands is so picturesque and we enjoyed its terrain and environment more than the Timbavati Private Game Reserve, which was a lot drier and there were days when the animals were pretty scarce. My husband and I are counting down the days until we can return to Dulini Lodge.

Room Tip: Our private lodge was close to the main pool and faced the riverbed. It was so beautiful and and pri...
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Ashley A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
31 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed October 27, 2013

My husband and I had an exceptional experience at Dulini. The lodges are pure luxury and exceeded our expectations manifold. Key highlight of our stay was the game drives with our ranger (Fred) and tracker, who were both highly knowledgeable and passionate about the animals. We had some amazing encounters with the Big 5, wild dogs, wild ostrich, zebras and giraffe. The safari got even more exciting when we witnessed a close hunt of an impala by a leopard. The safari vehicles are very comfortable (accommodates only six guests at a time), well equipped and even had spare binoculars. The three meals served each day plus the snack and drink in the wild during the safari were a special experience in itself. Great attention was paid to deliver high quality service and food quality. Overall a great value for money!!!

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Rakhi S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Istanbul, Turkey
Level Contributor
34 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed October 27, 2013

It was our first safari experience and we were not sure what to expect regarding the service, facilities, management etc...We knew that we were in the right place the moment we stepped in and welcomed by Poppy. We were surprised once we have seen the rooms with a private plunge pool facing the wildlife. The elephants were our daily guests, drinking from our pool. The room itself is just fabulous with complete privacy, nice deck with a plunge and outdoor shower. The staff is just amazing, smiling all the time taking care of all your needs and requests. Our game drives were excellent with our ranger Patrick and tracker Tyrone. We have seen the big 5 and a leopard 2 days in a row. We did the bush walks as well which were really exciting and guided by Patrick.The dinners were another series of surprises. First night we come back from the game drive, we arrived to the room and a candle light dinner table was set with a champagne facing wildlife, and a filled bath with candles and foams, simply excellent. The second night, while we were thinking that the game drive was over, we were brought in the middle of the bush and welcomed by singing and dancing local people! A great table was set and we had our dinner there under a big tree with a fire next to us. This was probably as best as it could get. I am a frequent traveler and visited a very good amount of luxury chains so far including many Four Seasons, Ritz etc... this is beyond all of them both with overall experience and personalized service. I definitely and strongly recommend Dulini. Thanks a lot Poppy, Reply, Patrick, Tyrone and all the rest of the great staff who made our first safari the most memorable holiday of our lives.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank Eren3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviewed October 23, 2013

We were pleased to spend 4 nights in late September at Dulini. We appreciated the intimate atmosphere (only 12 guests) and the extra space on the game drives (only 6 persons/vehicle, which by the way, are new and very comfortable). Rooms have been recently re-decorated and are private, quiet and luxurious. Our ranger (Patrick) and tracker (Tyron) were uncanny in their ability to find wildlife, including cheetahs and many leopards, including one which found us, by coming into camp to attack one of the pool towels.

From our kind and attentive 'butler' Maurice to the owner Iain and his family, we were made to feel welcome and we appreciate all of the effort made by them to make our stay so memorable.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank jayandtee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rockville, Maryland
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed October 17, 2013

My wife and I just came back from spending four phenomenal days at the Dulini Lodge in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. We've had the good fortune to have been able to stay at numerous quality lodging facilities all over the globe - Four Seasons Hotels, RItz-Carlton Hotels, Conrad Hotels, Langham Hotels, etc. - but nothing prepared us for the exceptional service that we received at the Dulini Lodge.

We arrived at the lodge around 3 PM after a flight from Cape Town, and a short two hour drive from the airport in Nelspruit. Our luggage was immediately taken to our room (cabin/chalet) and we were invited to have lunch before we mounted up for our first game drive. Our assigned ranger, Fred, was away attending a wedding so one of the partners who recently purchased the Dulini Lodge - Ian - took his place. On our first game drive that afternoon/evening we had the unforgettable experience of watching the life and death struggle that repeats itself every day in the veldt. A bull buffalo had been cornered by a pride of 3 female lions and their cubs. We watched the standoff for quite a while, watching the lions try to surround the buffalo, who had backed up to the edge of a water hole. It was fascinating to watch the drama unfold as the lions feinted, trying to get the buffalo to make a break for safety so that they could attack him from behind. But the wily old buffalo knew the drill, and refused to bolt, instead opting to charge at individual lions as they approached too close to him. As it got dark, we had to drive on. We found out the next day that the patience of the lions had paid off, as they had downed the buffalo several hundred meters away. That buffalo fed the lion pride for three full days, before they moved on and left the scraps for the hyenas and vultures.

We were awakened the next morning at 5:30 so that we could have coffee/tea/juice and rusks (similar to biscotti), before we set off on the morning game drive at 6 AM. During the next three hours we saw and learned about rhinos, wild dogs (the most difficult of African predators to locate because they are not territorial, and can cover vast distances every day), giraffe, elephants, cheetah, leopards, buffalo, zebra, guinea fowl, wildebeest, impala and nyala. Within 24 hours we had already viewed what Teddy Roosevelt termed the Big Five - lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos and buffalo.

This scenario was repeated over the next three days. Awakened between 5:15 and 5:30 AM, three hour game drive, return to the lodge for a full breakfast (whatever you wanted they gladly prepared for you), spend some time downloading the morning's photos or nap (it was too cool to swim during our visit), have lunch, meet up with our ranger, tracker and other guests for the afternoon game drive at 4 PM, then return to the lodge between 7 and 7:30 PM for a full dinner.

The food was excellent. As noted, whatever you wanted for breakfast was prepared for you, along with fresh fruits, juices and a selections of breads, rolls and cheeses. Lunch was a meat dish (it varied daily) along with several vegetable dishes. Dinner always involved a choice of at least two entrees, along with various side dishes. Fresh food, always prepared and presented well.

The lodging was also excellent. Quiet, understated luxury. Each cabin has a large sitting area with chairs and ottomans as well as a large window overlooking the river bed in back of the camp. The river was dry while we were there, but would be flowing as soon as the rainy season began. A king size bed in the sleeping area, surround by lovely mosquito netting. And a very large bathroom with dual sinks, a walk-in shower and a deep soaking tub. All of the luxury amenities were included. The mini refrigerator contained ice tea, soft drinks, mixers and beer. Several miniature liquor bottles were provided should a guest wish to make their own drinks or cocktails. Quality bath products (shampoo, conditioner, etc.) were also provided, along with large, soft, thick towels.

However, what made our experience so wonderful was the staff. Their happy enthusiasm was contagious. From our rangers (Fred & Ian) to our tracker (Martin) to Poppy (who seemed to run the day to day operations, and who met us at the end of each game drive with damp towels to wipe the dust from our hands and faces) to the butlers (Maurice and Freddie) to the housekeeping and kitchen staff, each made us feel not only welcome, but made us feel as if we were part of their extended family. We also have to give special mention to Grace (aka Sticks), Ian's ten year old daughter who is without a doubt one of the most personable and beautiful young ladies that you'll ever have the opportunity to meet.

On our last night, as we were driving along in the dark, returning from our evening game drive, our ranger (Fred) advised that we weren't returning to the lodge, but would instead be having dinner in the "bush". The staff had set up tables and grills in a dry river bed, and as we guests arrived at the site we were greeted by the ladies of the house keeping and food preparation staff who performed African dances and serenaded us with their native songs. Afterward, as we ate a delicious buffet dinner under the stars, Grace and Ian heard a noise and by the light of their flashlights we saw a huge rhino meandering along the dry river bed - no more than 10 yards away from us. We all held our breaths as that mammoth animal sauntered past us, but fortunately rhinos are very nearsighted and he didn't see us encroaching on his territory. It doesn't get any better than that.

There are a number of game lodges in the Sabi Sand Reserve. Some are less costly, some are significantly more expensive than Dulini. But the combination of luxurious surroundings, a caring and hospitable staff and very knowledgeable rangers and trackers makes it very easy to recommend Dulini Lodge. Other lodges are run by large companies or hotel professionals. Dulini is a family enterprise and the experience that they and their staff provide is beyond my ability to express. If you book a stay at the Dulini Lodge, you won't be disappointed. My wife and I would like nothing more than having the opportunity to stay at Dulini again.

Room Tip: All rooms are the same, and all are excellent.
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ispy806
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
london
Level Contributor
67 reviews
54 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 187 helpful votes
Reviewed October 16, 2013

I can only re-iterate the other reviews, a faultless stay. An air of calm & serenity hits you as soon as you arrive. Excellent service (private dining on our deck one evening. So romantic.).Enormous suites ...chandeliers in the bathroom..The big plus here is that the jeeps are configures for 6 guests (the centre seat is a storage box), so you really do get a personal experience. Obviously its upper-end price wise, but we stayed 2 nights , then moved on to another lodge, which worked out well.(try Tanda Tula in timbavati for a nice contrast). We've stayed in several lodges in Kruger area, and this must be tops, both for the lodge and the game viewing.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank alann6
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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