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“Leadwood is a great place…”

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Dulini Leadwood Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 10, 2010

Leadwood checks the boxes for everything you could possibly want in a bush experience - great ranger (Mac), great rooms, great service, great game viewing, great food and total privacy and luxury. &Beyond does a great job and know their game!

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank richskye
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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107 - 113 of 131 reviews

Reviewed December 8, 2009

We were delighted to stay at Leadwood for 3 nights in early December. Keri, Jen, Mac, Colbin and the team were amazing. Special mention to Annah our butler - what a lovely, attentive lady.

The 4 suites (actually houses) each have a private rimflow pool (there is 5th pool which we could all share). The suites were stunning, the food was never ending and fantastic.

Game drives with Mac & Colbin were so interesting, varied and fun. We saw all of the big 5 plus lots, lots more and learned so much about the Sabi Sands and the South African bush.

If you are considering this area, then don't go any further than Leadwood.

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

Having decided upon Sabi Sands as my choice of places to go on safari, I then spent days researching different lodges- and finally picked Exeter Leadwood (part of 'and beyond' group) as the choice to take 3 of my friends to for their first safari experience. We had high expectations and were not disappointed.
On driving into Sabi Sands we were greeted by 6 giraffe towering over our car, and that was where the experience began. On arrival at Exeter Leadwood, we were immediately warmly greeted by Keli and the team, and served cold drinks. We walked into the main part of the lodge and were stunned by the view out over the dry river and into the distance- it was so beautiful. The decor of the lodge seemed to me to be a mix of African and contemporary with great use of wood, stone and neutral colours. Keli gave us time to take in the view and surroundings, and then we sat down to have the next few days explained to us. They acknowledged straight away that 1 of us was vegetarian (amazing how often this gets missed at other highly-rated establishments)- we had of course informed them in advance. Keli was an incredibly good and graceful manager/ hostess who knew what was going on at all times and went out of her way to ensure our stay was enjoyable throughout.
The service from Keli and all the staff was incredibly personal, and suited and adapted to our tastes and timings. For example, on both days we were able to choose to have lunch at the time we wanted it, just the 4 of us, on the top of the viewing platform- we had complimentary champagne on the first day, hand-written notes from the staff for us, and a beautifully laid table with a view to die for high up overlooking the African bush- amazing. One night we had dinner again just the 4 of us, in front of a fire on the main deck, and another night we had a boma with traditional dancing laid on for us. The staff were so keen to make you feel special and help out in any way. The service really was faultless.
The rooms- I loved them, as did my friends. They took our breath away when we went in- floor to ceiling windows, a huge viewing deck and plunge pool, outdoor and indoor showers, freestanding bath, lounge area with a fire, and every extra amenity you could think of (birding and animal books and literature, umbrellas, snacks and so on). As other people have said, the suites are more like apartments. They were very clean, and certainly the best rooms I have ever stayed in. One day the 4 of us sat outside suite 1 enjoying watching the baboons when a couple of nyala came up to us- and then we saw 10 elephants pass right by in front of us, who then frolicked in the mud for half an hour before moving on! The elephants then returned half an hour later, and then once again while we had our lunch on the viewing deck. I cannot describe the wonderful feeling of sitting having lunch in such a beautiful place with such a wonderful view, in the sunshine, with great friends laughing and chatting, sipping good South African wine and then being treated to seeing a parade of elephants arrive and stop to play right in front of us.
Mac was our guide for the drives and he was truly excellent- so knowledgeable about everything, and I cannot emphasize this enough- he could answer every question posed, and explained things in such an interesting way. As we sat watching the animals he would impart bits of information that I wish I could remember all of now! He was also extremely sensitive to all the group as in who had seen what, and what we would like to see. He was great fun, easy going and very friendly. He also showed us the small things- he loves birds, and this was a real bonus. A walking tour with him was excellent. Colbert was our tracker, and what can I say but he is such a gentle person who knows the animals so well- he too was a fount of knowledge, and his solid partnership with Mac on the drives was clearly a big advantage that helped us track down many sightings very easily. I won't list all the animals we saw, but just to say it was incredible- on each drive we were amazed by what we saw and how close we could get to these creatures that hardly seemed to be aware that we were viewing them.
The food was excellent, and we enjoyed meeting the chefs- and Aarone our butler looked after us extremely well.
One of my slight pre-trip concerns about this lodge was that it took so few guests (ie what if the other 4 guests were irritating??), but in fact this turned out to be the major draw for us- it was so serenely quiet, with very few other guests around- and we thoroughly enjoyed the company of the other 4 guests when we did see them on the drives or for dinner. Also, as described above, we had our lunches and 1 dinner in private so we had space to ourselves to do what we wanted.
I made the booking for this lodge through Tracey Campbell at Travel Butlers, and the whole experience and practicalities of booking etc were seamless. I am very grateful to her and all the contributors to the Sabi Sands and Kruger National Park forums here on Trip Advisor for their invaluable and knowledgeable advice when I was deciding which lodge would best suit my friends and I- it really helped, and set us up for a perfect trip.
So overall, this lodge was a fantastic choice that exceeded our hopes and expectations- it made for a truly superb and special African safari experience and it is something that my friends and I will never forget- we cried numerous times with emotion at the beauty of the wildlife we saw, at the luxury of the lodge at which we were so privileged to stay at, and the care and attention of all the staff.

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled with friends
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3  Thank doclecocq
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 22, 2009

This is more like you have been invited to stay at your friends house....it is so friendly, and you would quite happily live there!!

We were looked after by Keri-Ann as manager of the Lodge and Brendan as our ranger first off, and then Mac who is Keri's husband as Brendan had leave. As there are only 8 of you at the lodge, and Keri and Mac look after you, it literally is like they have invited you and you're round your mates house, talking, drinking, but being waited on hand and foot with 1st class service by Aaron and the fantastic team there!!!

We were there for New years Eve, which was surrounded by the team there singing at the beginning of the meal, and Aaron even donning a tie!! We had our party dresses in the African bush! A fantastic night (thanks to Keri & Mac, our fantastic hosts!!! A new Year to remeber for a long time.)

Now to address some of the complaints that have arisen.

The jeep is fine - it has 9 seats and 8 people can sit in it - so what there are 3 rows of 3....means you have to sit next to someone once during you stay! or maybe even TALK to other people!! All 8 people in 1 jeep means that there are less vehicles around the animals...in my book that means a lot! less vehicles, means less big pieces of metal following animals. So, there are only 2 vehicles around any of the animals spotted at any one time and people wait as back up for when one vehicle goes. That sounds quite sensible in my book.

The rooms are opulant, beds are quite firm (good!!) All alcohol is included, but to be honest you never really find time to drink it, apart from a G&T in the afternoon. The food is just out of this world, and we loved it, and we are now on diets due to 3 large meals a day here!!!

If you want to get away from it all.... Relax.... Chill..... See fantastic game..... Eat plenty and feel like its a home away from home but in the middle of the African bush, you would be hard pushed to find anywhere better!!! Try it you will NOT Be dissapointed!

  • Stayed: December 2008
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1  Thank Coffee&applepie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 27, 2008

To keep this short(er), I'll just put down several comments in bullet point format. Summary: we loved it and the safari itch has bitten us but pity about the cost!

Overall experience:
- We had amazing game drives and managed to see all the Big 5, although in summer with the lush vegetation, the animals were harder to spot. Hence we missed out on some of the animals that other reviewers managed to see, e.g. wild dog, cheetah, hyena, bush baby, etc. However, Mac and Colbert definitely lived up to their reputations and were excellent and always very informative and sharp. Mac has a great sense of humour, is extremely knowledgeable, and will always do his best to make sure that you see as many interesting things (not just animals) as possible. Other highlights for us were enjoying the sunsets with a G&Ts, and Colbert's hot chocolate and amarula coffee.
The jeep was not bad at all, and we were lucky to be sharing with some very nice honeymooning couples on our first 2 days, and on our last 3 days, with a lovely S African family who loved birds. Everyone would rotate to have a chance to sit in the front row.

- The lodge itself: We stayed initially in Room 4, but requested a move to Room 1 when it became available. While both are lovely, Room 1 is a bit better as it has more natural light, and is completely away from the other rooms. However, I think it must be the most popular one as it is a bit more run-down than 4. Lovely interiors and use of stone, wood, glass, and metal. It was HUGE! The showers are a little bit uncomfortable as the stone floors slope too much but that's just a minor point. I agree with the other reviewer about the towels - the small ones looked like they had been mauled by lions. The pool was lovely, but extremely cold even in December. Finally, the minibar is very well-stocked, but most of the time we were too well-fed to use it much.

- The food: Breakfasts were huge and delicious - I was always starving after the morning game drives. Lunch was the highlight for us. You could take it in your room (comes in an oversized picnic basket) or out on the tree deck. It was always 3 salads and a grilled meat plus some sort of home baked bread, always different. It wasn't gourmet but we loved the salads as they were always delicious and different. Dinner was not as good but maybe that was because we were tired. We had 2 braai buffet dinners, and 2 surprise private room dinners. They were good, but not wow. Found it strange however, how bad the wine was though!! We had amazing wine in Cape Town and Franschhoek and it was extremely cheap but we were pretty unimpressed with andBeyond's selection.

Enjoy Leadwood!

  • Stayed: December 2008, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank fh142
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 24, 2008

We had a fantastic 4-night stay at the Leadwood Lodge in September/October 2008. We had high expectations for the lodge but they were exceeded in every way. We were thrilled with the game viewing, both the number of animals we saw and our close proximity to them. We saw the big 5 many times over along with innumerable other animals. Our guide Chris and tracker Isaac were fantastic. Chris had a contagious energy and an incredible knowledge about the animals. Learning about the animals we were seeing made us appreciate viewing them all the more. We thought the safari vehicle was very comfortable (and my husband is tall!) and while the lodge was full the entire time we were there, we had no issues with 8 people in the vehicle, though I think it was helpful that we had a pretty laid back group of guests.

Our room was enormous and beautifully decorated, and the views from the endless windows were spectacular. We loved the glassed in shower and the large deck and plunge pool. From the comfort of our deck we enjoyed watching elephants, baboons, a family of warthogs, nyala and a number of other animals. While we intended to nap a bit on the deck between game drives it was hard to sleep as there was always something fascinating to watch. The main lodge area was also beautiful and completely open to the bush. We could not have been more impressed with our room and the facilities.

The food was abundant and we found it of very high quality – much better than we were anticipating. They gladly accommodated my dietary restrictions (just let them know when you book) and we enjoyed both the food and the wine immensely. We were so well fed that we were not once hungry during our entire stay. Tea/coffee and biscotti were served prior to the morning game drive, then at a stop during the drive we enjoyed coffee/hot chocoloate and cookies, followed by a breakfast feast when we returned to the lodge. Lunch was an assortment of continually changing but always delicious salads and cold vegetable dishes, along with two entrées. There were snacks prior to the evening game drive, snacks and cocktails at a sunset stop during the evening game drive, and then dinners upon returning for the evening. Two nights we all ate as a group with our guide and two nights we ate alone, one night enjoying a private candlelit dinner on our deck complete with champagne that came as a nice, romantic surprise. We found that balance for the dinners perfect, as it was nice to interact with the other guests but also to spend some time alone.

All of the staff at the lodge were gracious and friendly and willing to accommodate any request – though we rarely had to request anything as it seems they had thought of it all in advance. We could not have asked for better service.

The only downside for us, aside from having to leave, was the lack of any exercise facilities. We are both runners and with all of the eating it would have been nice to enjoy some physical activity. But this was a minor sacrifice for such a special destination.

We enjoyed our entire trip to South Africa, but our time at Leadwood was the highlight for both of us. We have traveled throughout the world, but now that we’ve had a taste of the safari experience we are completely hooked. Thanks to all the staff for such a wonderful experience.

  • Stayed: September 2008, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Wandererz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 9, 2008

We stayed at the Leadwood Lodge at the end of September/ beginning of October 2008. When I was planning the trip, I thought that 4 nights would be plenty in the same lodge. In hindsight, I am glad we stayed there at least that long and wish that we stayed there longer. The lodge itself was absolutely wonderful. The views from every place inside are just amazing and there's always some animal walking by. We were even joking that you could just sit there, and watch, no need for game drives, because so many animals walked right past our hut. One day we walked in on an entire baboom family hanging out by the pool. One of the other huts had an elephants drinking from their plunge pool.

Our tracker Isaac and guide Chris were very good, but they were also fun and very much concerned with making everyones' stay perfect. I can't express enough how wonderful they were. We saw the Big 5 on the first 2 game drives and then saw all the animals several more times. Some of the highlights were lions playing with each other on a tree, a huge horde of water buffalo running by only 20 feet away, leopards playing, and many many more. While we were there we saw elephants, giraffes, zebras,lions, leopards, bush baby, hyenas, various antelopes, baboons, monkeys, wild hogs, rhinos, hippos, water buffalo, jackals and many more animals that I don't remember the names of. Just about all these animals were extremely close to the truck, almost so close you could touch them.

All in all this was definitely the highlight of our trip. I can't wait to go back to the bush, I never thought it would be so exhilirating. My husband was the happiest I have ever seen him there, just running around with the camera snapping away pictures and I had a fabulous time myself. I even got up for the morning drives twice, which I did not think I would do. And it was totally worth it, because the sunrise in the bush is spectacular.

The food at the lodge is okay. It's not a buffet, as for some reason I thought it would be. So it's nice that there's a waitress. But there's also not a lot of choice and even though they ask you if there's anything you don't eat, there was still one time when we didn't really enjoy much of our lunch. However, the down side with food did not ruin our experience, it really seemed minor.

The service at the lodge was also nice, although we did not really ask for anything in particular. One night they surprised us with a bubble bath, left us a bottle of champagne and served us dinner at the hut. There were also 2 nights with dinner at the boma and both of those nights there was some nice singing by the local staff.

Bottom line: we loved it, and we definitely recommend the Leadwood Lodge.

  • Stayed: September 2008, traveled with family
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2  Thank ka2shaz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Dulini Leadwood Lodge

Address: | Mpumalanga, Kruger National Park 1242, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #30 of 43 Specialty Lodging in Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Price Range: $227 - $1,721 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Dulini Leadwood Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Nestled in the fork of the Sand and Mabrak Rivers, andBeyond Leadwood Lodge offers a cosy and serene getaway completely at peace with the bush that surrounds it. With suites carefully distanced from each other, andBeyond Leadwood is ideal for families or parties of friends who want to share their safari experience without intruding on each other's privacy. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
And Beyond Leadwood Lodge
&Beyond Leadwood Hotel Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Dulini Leadwood Lodge South Africa/Sabi Sand Game Reserve

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