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“Beautiful Bungalows, Delicious Food, Medicore Game Viewing”
Review of Dulini Lodge

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Dulini Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 7, 2011

Just got back from my first safari. Went with 3 friends and stayed 2 nights at Ngala Tented and 2 nights at Exeter Dulini.

While our group would wholeheartedly recommend Ngala Tented, we had mixed feelings about our experience at Dulini. Here´s a rundown of what we loved and what we were disappointed by.

LOVED
*Lovely camp with large, luxurious bungalows. While we preferred the charm of the more rustic tented accomodations at Ngala Tented, it´s easy to see why many -- couples in particular -- would gravitate toward the spacious bungalows at Dulini. I´d guess you have more than double the amount of personal space at Dulini than at Ngala. Dulini´s bungalows each included a large sitting room with a fully stocked bar/minifridge, a nice-sized bedroom, a beautiful bathroom with indoor/outdoor shower + tub, and a large private game viewing deck with a private plunge pool.

*The food was some of the best of our trip. While the menu at Dulini seemed quite similar to Ngala, the chef at Dulini turned good dishes into gourmet ones. We especially enjoyed the meats & marmalades as well as the homemade ginger beer.

*The staff & service here was impeccable. Jessica, the hostess, was very personable & welcoming. And Octavia, our butler, surprised me one night by having a candlelit bubblebath setup once I returned back to the room after dinner.

DIDNT LOVE
*On the whole, the game drives at Dulini were far less fun than at Ngala. [Exception: On our first night at Dulini, we saw a cheetah kill a young buck -- hard to beat that!] Couple reasons we preferred the game drives at Ngala to Dulini:

(1) Ngala Tented seemed to be situated much closer to the animals than Dulini. At Dulini, we were almost always a 20min+ drive from any action. And there was less general game in between Big 5 sightings (ex: fewer impala, zebras) to keep things interesting during our driving time.

(2) Ngala has its own land and only 2 camps use it (Ngala Lodge & Ngala Tented) so there seem to be far fewer vehicles on the road. Dulini is part of the landshare agreement in the western part of Sabi Sands, so lots of lodges traverse over the same game area, leading to lengthy queues & lots of vehicles on the road. Looking at our photos now, we´re doing lots of cropping to try to get other vehicles out of the shot.

(3) At Ngala, our rangers tracked the animals themselves. At Dulini, the rangers locate animals via radio. So whereas our ranger at Ngala would be out of the car following lions tracks on foot, our ranger at Dulini would be on the radio trying to get us in the queue. [Note: We had great rangers & trackers at both camps. Things just worked differently with so many vehicles on the road in Sabi Sands.]

(4) Due to higher road density in Sabi Sands, we didn´t offroad nearly as much as we did at Ngala, which was disappointing for our group. Could definitely see this being a plus for other travelers though, especially those who prefer a smoother ride.

While we still had a great experience at Dulini, I think this lodge is a much better fit for couples than groups of friends. And better for those looking to relax in style than those seeking a bit of adventure in the wilderness.

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled with friends
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19  Thank rtr2008
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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371 - 377 of 432 reviews

Reviewed January 30, 2011

Having visited many Sabi Sands reserves over the years, Dulini certainly exceeded our expectations and can be recommended. The lodge blends in with its environment and is very comfortable and well appointed with the African bush theme. Suites are spacious and comfortable. The management and staff go the extra mile and are amazing. They made our bush experience unforgetable. Our ranger Andrew was excellent as well as Phixson our tracker. We had quality game viewings and saw everything we should have. Thanks to all for an awesome 4 days. Viv & Bev

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Viv1710
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 27, 2011

The reviews on Dulini Lodge seemed to be too "good to be true" BUT it is true that Dulini is absolutely perfect in all aspects. The accommodation compares favourably with some of the best Hotels throughout the world - beautifully located with an elegantly suitable decor, providing comfort and privacy. The staff service surpasses the highest expectations - the Management Staff, (Jess & Kerri Ann); our Butler (Octavia); the Housekeeping staff; the Game viewing Guide (William) and the Tracker (Isaac) executed their duties efficiently in a friendly but professional manner at all times.

My husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary in this beautiful place and we were treated like "royalty" - special effort in setting up a beautifully presented dinner in the "cute" cellar room just for the two of us and many other little surprises along the way made our celebration very special. However the most amazing part was the game viewing... Our Guide (William) and our Tracker (Isaac) made sure that we were given every opportunity to view as many animals as possible and we did... these two guys were great at providing us with rich information about the flora and fauna in a most entertaining and enjoyable manner.

We have almost visited the whole world but our visit to this heavenly part of Sth Africa certainly provided us with a most memorable experience that we would highly recommend to all.

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank Kanga70_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 28, 2010

Our stay at Dulini was amazing. Completely agree with the other guest comments, particularly those of AmericanInSwitz, Patrick and Tyrone were also our ranger/tracker team and they were great. The game viewing was incredible. All of the staff were wonderful, service was impeccable.

The only thing I will add to other guest comments is that &Beyond seems to be known for helping the surrounding local communities. We toured the community nearby and visited a school that the &Beyond Foundation recently built. Also, when we asked one of our drivers about tourism in the area he told us that &Beyond is one of the best lodges for giving back to the area and that they have a very good reputation locally. It was good to know that the community was directly benefiting from our tourism dollars.

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank bahurricane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 11, 2010

Our 3-night stay at Dulini was the first leg of our South African honeymoon, and was an absolutely wonderful way to kick things off. The lodge itself is lovely, quaint and rustic but with modern touches. The common areas are extremely well maintained and the lodges themselves are beautiful - we have very high standards when it comes to lodging, and the Dulini exceeded our expectations. That being said, the standout here was the service and the staff. From the moment you arrive, you feel incredibly special and everyone is so nice to you and catering to your every need. The food is wonderful. Our actual safari experience with &Beyond was amazing...we saw everything we wanted to see in our 6 drives, and our ranger Will and tracker Issac were incredible and really made the experience - we had so much fun!! You will not be disappointed if you choose to stay at Dulini, and I'd like to thank everyone there for making our time there so special and memorable.

  • Stayed: October 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank amznyc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 4, 2010

Not sure what else to add; we were lucky enough to spend four nights at the lodge and wish if could have been more. The hospitality and game viewing were more than expected. The game viewing started off perfectly and just got better, we were all amazed at how close Patrick got us to the animals. The food was very good and memorable evenings were had, alone or with the other guests.
We found a pair of safety type glasses useful for the evening game drives, especially when driving through the bush.

We would certainly use & Beyond again.

  • Stayed: October 2010, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank smudger1862
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 16, 2010

In 4 days (8 game drives) in mid-October 2010, we saw 5 species of reptiles, 23 species of mammals, and 60 species of birds, all perfectly spotted and identified by the tracker & guide/ranger/driver, sometimes even at a distance, at night, while in the moving vehicle. Our ranger (Patrick) and tracker (Tyrone) were unbelievably talented and had encyclopaedic knowledge about everything we saw. They got us right up close to the Big Five (rhino, lion, leopard, cape buffalo, and elephant) several times each. Plus cheetahs, 9 kinds of antelope, crocodile, giraffe, 14 hippos together in a pond, a giant planted lizard, a rock python incubating eggs in a hole in a tree...the fantastic finds just went on and on. Every drive brought something new that we hadn't seen before. Oh and the leopard cubs!!!! How beautiful!!!

The service was impeccable and friendly and beyond thoughtful. Every day they surprised us with something new and incredible - champagne found hanging with fancy glasses and lit lanterns at night on our way home from the game drive... dinners in different surprise locations every night - on our back deck with lions prowling just below, in the boma with campfire and BBQ, in the library as a private party (one couple found their table set in the romantic ground-floor wine cellar).

The food was delectable, totally varied (never the same thing), fresh and expertly presented. Breakfast seemed to be whatever we dreamed up to ask for. Many homemade breads and rolls and dressings and sauces and special interesting drinks. The only problem was finding room in our stomachs for all the great things that were offered. Our daughter counted and found that we were fed something 8 times every day!
1. Pre-morning-game-drive homemade granola bars or rusks and drinks
2. Mid-game-drive stop for hot or cold drinks and biscuits/cookies
3. Cold breakfast buffet of wonders (stewed apricots and peaches, homemade granola, fresh fruit, cheese, meat, muffins, bread, nuts, etc)
4. Hot breakfast (don't fill up too much on cold breakfast!) - eggs, sausage, bacon, pancakes, French toast, eggs benedict...
5. Lunch at 1:30pm (always new and intriguing delicious composed salads and roasted meats)
6. High Tea at 4pm before the 2nd game drive
7. Mid-game drive stop for drinks and spiced corn, nuts, or dried fruit and meat
8. Dinner after the game drive - several tantalizing choices of starters and mains, and a special dessert

I had to start choosing to eat lightly (mainly just a leaf salad) at the lunch buffet in order not to feel I was becoming a pot-belled pig!

The other guests were mainly honeymooners and 20th anniversary celebrants (which we can completely understand; it's exactly the sort of place for it), but we came with our 15 year old and 12 year old, who are quite well-behaved and we tried not to affect the romantic atmosphere too much! Our children loved it in every way (several quiet games provided in the main lounge: scrabble, wooden solitaire game, backgammon, and plenty of books on the shelf) except for the mosquitoes and other insects, which they are not used to. Never mind, the lodge provides strong insect repellent which works very well at night. One other caveat if you bring children (other than that you will want to make sure they are quiet and respectful of the romantic atmosphere most guests are there for) - at night you cannot walk about the camp unless accompanied by a night watchman (due to the fact that lions and leopards might be strolling about as well!), so this makes it a bit anxious the first night, when the kids are on their own in another hut and you cannot reach them (although you can talk to them on the phone). But by the next morning they've got the hang of everything, gotten used to the insects, and there's no more worry. Just make sure they have everything they need in their room, nothing in your room! (medicine, bug spray, etc).

The rooms are also beyond incredible. Huge and private and amazing, fun, discreet outdoor shower for each room looking out on the dry river bed where the animals graze (impala, nyala, warthogs, waterbuck). You can look up into the green leafy trees overhead as you shower behind an attractive red stone wall. Also huge indoor shower with all glass on three sides, and open on the other side into the bathroom. Somehow the rooms are angled so that no one can see into the room, but you can look out on the private river valley wilderness. Even inside it feels like you are outside. Also an elegant freestanding bathtub. One chilly night we came back from our dusty game drive to find they had drawn us a hot bath, all ready and waiting with candles lit! This is the sort of touch you find at Dulini. The staff does all feel a bit like family that waits on you hand and foot while remembering everyone's name and joking good-naturedly with you.

Bring both cool and warm clothes, as we experienced a variation from 38 degrees C one day to about 12 degrees C the next! The game drives can be chilly in the early morning and late evening, so bring a good coat. But the landcruisers are stocked with plenty of blankets and rain ponchos for anyone who wants one. We used both, mainly to ward off the wind that whips up when we are driving fast to see a special sighting.

An experience of a lifetime. Superb.

  • Stayed: October 2010, traveled with family
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7  Thank AmericanInSwitz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about 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 43 Specialty Lodging in Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Price Range: $546 - $2,613 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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:
&Beyond Dulini Hotel Sabi Sand Game Reserve
And Beyond Dulini Lodge
Dulini Lodge South Africa/Sabi Sand Game Reserve

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