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“Amazing place but didn't quite live up to very high expectations.”

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Leopard Hills Private Game Reserve
Certificate of Excellence
London
Level Contributor
64 reviews
55 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 91 helpful votes
“Amazing place but didn't quite live up to very high expectations.”
Reviewed August 10, 2011

It's hard to be critical about a place that really is so amazing but I think when you pay somewhere in the region of £1000 a night - you have earned the right to do so. My expectations were extremely high for Leopard Hills - I chose it for my honeymoon as THE lodge I wanted to stay at in Sabi Sands to see Leopard. We were given room 7, which is the honeymoon suite - best view of the water hole and highest position right next to the breakfast deck. The suite is incredible though much smaller than sister property Madikwe (we did the 4 night Leopard Hills, 4 night Madikwe Hills offer). Even so it is extremely well designed and perfect for a base when on safari. (Not sure the other suites have much of a view). Food was good, though two out of the four nights were in the Boma and my wife and I weren't convinced the food was cooked properly. We both had an upset stomach which could only have come from eating at Leopard Hills. The Boma meals are atmospheric in a way but the lack of light for cooking and the way the chefs cooked things to order while you waited - the food was hurried and clearly not cooked enough. In the restaurant the food was better, though three out of four nights tables were with your guide and the other guests. This is fine if the guests are sociable or interesting but quite an effort when this isn't the case OR when they're much older with different interests. It feels more like socialising at a work do. The ranger was also totally unenthusiastic when speaking and not even interested in other safari regions in Africa - which was surprising. Our last night on the deck of our room was the best in this respect. The complimentary wine was also of a disappointing standard - sure you can pay for something better, but again at this price you expect a £10 bottle at the least with dinner. That wasn't the case. Disappointing for a wine enthusiast.
We were also disappointed on a couple of the safaris - one outing we were in a jeep with 9 guests - which is totally unsatisfactory for this price tag. Another outing we were 8. It means someone has to sit in the middle on one of the rows and the view is far worse, not to mention uncomfortable for a 4 hour safari. For me 6 is the maximum and really you expect to be in a group of 4 or less for this price. The ranger also seemed to go through stages of lacking interest, going through the motions to pass the time - which was really strange. The first two days he didn't seem particularly interested, then some of the group changed and he was superb again - quite bizarre, but again not what you expect at this price tag. Sightings were good - we saw Leopard on 5 or 6 out of 8 outings. Once sleeping in a tree. Another time two cubs eating an Impala. Another day two were just strolling along the road - annoyingly the ranger stayed about 5 minutes and then called in other rangers - we were incredulous, that exactly what we had paid to see we had encountered, then given up so easily. I know rangers share what they find in order to benefit everyone, but after 5 minutes to leave two leopards out in the open?! The third and fourth days for some reason the same ranger kept his findings to himself far more - again strange. Leopard Hills also has a Wild Dog den on its property for the first time in 10 years - we saw the pack on 2 or 3 occasions - so you don't necessarily need to go to Madikwe for this experience either. Overall it is a fabulous place but don't let your expectations get too carried away. If you want to see Leopard, then Sabi Sands is THE place but perhaps the overall safari experience is better in Botswana - where less traffic and a more intimate experience is possible. Try Duba Plains for lion/buffalo interactions - a fabulous place. This is also not like East Africa - game is difficult to see and there are no vast herds. The chances of seeing Cheetah are also pretty remote. Anyway - so long as you know what to expect - it's a great option and despite minor niggles it's almost worth every penny!

Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
6 Thank ElHutch1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SandRivers, General Manager at Leopard Hills Private Game Reserve, responded to this review, August 31, 2011
Thank you for your posting and we appreciate all feedback we receive as we see this as a vital tool in improving our standards across the board.

Having been here for the last thirteen and a half years as have many of our Staff, we will always look into all aspects of a feedback and ensure we take whatever steps are necessary to ensure we are always in tune with what our valued Guests are saying about our "home". Thank you again for taking the time to paste this report and we have sincerely taken notes of your comments.

Kind Regards

The Leopard Hills Team.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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266 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
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  • Service
  • Value
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English first
Oro Valley, Arizona
Level Contributor
135 reviews
64 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 104 helpful votes
Reviewed July 29, 2011

To put my review in perspective, I have stayed at Singita Boulders, Tintswalo, Lion Sands (twice) and Mateya. At first glance, I was disappointed. The rooms are definitely inferior to the other lodges. They are dark and in need of a facelift -- especially at $1800 per person. They are a good size, but the lighting is very poor and they are decorated in a very rustic decor. The property is small compared to the other properties and there isn't a great distance for anyone to walk as in the other camps. The lodge is small and on top of a hill and the library is a separate and lovely separate building near the villas. Now, I am done with the negatives.

The food is great, the rangers are the best and the service is incredibly high. Above all, we had the best animal viewing we have ever had. The rangers become part of the group and really integrate. If you are interested in photography, they go out of their way to find wonderful photo ops. If you want to take a bush walk, they provide an educational trip. If you want to track down something special, they will do everything in their power to give you the experience of a lifetime.

We have already signed up for our next visit.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
3 Thank berniss
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brooklyn, New York
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed July 22, 2011

We arrived the day after New Year's on the last leg of our honeymoon. We were looking forward to some much needed relaxation and more importantly, the chance to view some of the msot beautiful creatures on the planet in their natural habitat. I cannot began to say how much Leopard Hills exceeded our expectations. From the minute we arrived, we were given welcome drinks and shown the property and our amazing and gorgeous suite...the game drives were unbelieveable and our fearless leader Heinrich was outstanding! We saw more than just the big 5 and were amazed with the daily sights and sounds. The food was delicious and the wait staff were so nice and accomodating. We hope to return to Leopard Hills one day as it truly is heaven on earth!

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank lrbaumgarten
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Middlewich, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
15 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed July 15, 2011

We stayed at Leopard Hills for my Father in Laws 50th birthday and everything from the staff, the lodge, the food, drink, game drives and so on were excellent.

They clearly understand the needs of their customers and it is understandable that Leopard hills has become the impressive place that it is.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Peej79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Biddenden, Kent
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed June 5, 2011

We returned to Leopard Hills having visited it for part of our honeymoon ten years ago. I cannot think of anywhere better to celebrate our ten year anniversary. It was even better than we remembered! Right from the moment we were greeted at the airstrip to the moment we had to say goodbye (sob!) we were treated like royalty. The lodge itself is luxurious and sophiticated but very friendly and welcoming at the same time. We had room 8 which probably has the best view out over the bush. It was stunning! Comfortable, huge bed, lovely outdoor shower and well stocked mini bar were just some of the positives...no negatives!
The staff are all extremely welcoming and nothing is too much trouble. Our ranger, Heinrich, was an excellent host in the lodge as much as he was out on the drives. He and Simon, our tracker, made an excellent team and found us some fabulous game viewing including leopard, lion, elephant, rhino, wild dog, buffalo, giraffe...I could go on but the list is too long. One of the things that we remembered from our first visit was the passion that the rangers had for their jobs and Heinrich demonstrated this again.
The food at Leopard Hills is excellent and plentiful! The addition of the boma since our last visit made our last night even more special and the local choir who came to sing were wonderful.
We are hoping that it is not another ten years before we go back again. It is hard not to fall in love with the whole safari experience - the magnificent African landscape and beautiful animals are simply stunning - and staying at Leopard Hills makes it the best experience ever! Thank you Duncan & Louise, Heinrich, Simon, Sam, Steve and all the staff - you are the best!

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank JulesLath
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed May 11, 2011

The lodge is very nice and the food is good, but you have to ask yourself why did you come? For the food and wine or the game drives? If it's the game drives then skip this place you can get the same thing for much less $$$.

  • Stayed May 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank racerx33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
China
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed April 10, 2011

My husband and I got married at Leopard Hills 4 years prior to our most recent visit.
It was fantastic to be back and Duncan and Louise (The managers) made us feel very special, once again. It was like returning to see friends. We hope to to wait 4 more years before returning again.
The game is awesome as are the guides (we had Gary this time). All staff are exceptional and the food and wine is lovely.
Overall we LOVE leopard hills and wish that everyone could experience it once in their life. It is expensive, but you certainly get what you pay for!

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Alan0
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Leopard Hills Private Game Reserve

Property: Leopard Hills Private Game Reserve
Address: Kruger National Park 1242, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Sabi Sand Game Reserve > Leopard Hills Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Leopard Hills Private Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Leopard Hills Private Game Reserve 5*
Number of rooms: 8
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Also Known As:
Leopard Hills Hotel Leopard Hills Private Game Reserve

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