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“Wow. The trip of a lifetime.” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Leopard Hills Private Game Reserve

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Leopard Hills Private Game Reserve
Certificate of Excellence
ATLANTA
Level Contributor
33 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Wow. The trip of a lifetime.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 21, 2012

This place is like no other. In intimate little reserve with only 7 bungalows that are so spectacular, rustic, yet luxurious. Each has a nice sitting area, netted king size bed (in ours at least), double showerheads in a stacked stone shower (there's one outside too), double sink, separate toilet and a tub that sits in front of a large window looking out on the reserve in total privacy. Oh, and did I mention the personal dipping pool out back?
The food is also fantastic as is the service, but the main draw is the bush rides.
Every morning you are awakened at 5 a.m., grab a quick coffee and a piece of fruit, and head out into the bush. After about an hour of tracking giraffe, elephant, lion, etc. they stop the land rover and set up a little outdoor morning snacks with hot coffee and alcohol, if you wish. After another couple of hours of tracking, you return to camp for breakfast.
During the day you can read in the library or use the internet, nap, swim in your private pool, or whatever you like. One day they had a snake exhibition, which showcased five deadly snakes! Lunch is anytime between 12 and 2ish, then your evening bush ride begins around 4 p.m. with a happy hour break somewhere out in the wilds.
The animals are gorgeous and you are so up close and personal with them they almost seem tame. This is probably due to the fact that there is no hunting on this reserve, so they are not threatened by humans, but I'm not expert. All I know is I was 15 feet from a lion eating a kill and he was more interested in roaring at his cubs who were trying to move in on him, than on the range rovers full of enthralled spectators.
If you do one spectacular trip in you life, it must be safari at Leopard Hills.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Sheilia P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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259 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (83)
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English first
Melbourne
Level Contributor
36 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 1, 2012

One of the most unique places to stay. The accommodation is spectacular, amazing room with private plunge pool and view out over local watering hole.
The people were very welcoming and friendly and nothing was too much trouble. Great food.
The game drives were great, animals a little harder to find than Kings Camp, but they were all there. The guide, Dave, was over flowing with enthusiasm and knowledge for the bush and the animals and his enthusiasm was infectious...
Truly a unique experience that we would love to repeat sometime.

  • Stayed December 2011
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Lippi-2906
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 28, 2011

My husband and I stayed at Leopard Hills as the 3rd stop on our honeymoon and it was by far our favorite, most luxurious and romantic part of our trip. It was so impressive in every single respect...where do I even begin!

The service was so impeccable. It will be quite an adjustment staying anywhere else after this because the staff here set such a high bar! We were taken care of, whatever we needed, for the entire time we were there. Our room (#8) was SO gorgeous with amazing views of the watering hole in front of the lodge. We saw many animals just from our private deck/plunge pool while relaxing in the afternoon- an elephant, many baboons, a warthog, etc. There was also an amazing outdoor shower and gorgeous double indoor shower. The food at the lodge was really great too- and there was so much of it! The chefs would come out and speak to you after dinner to make sure you enjoyed your meal and they really wanted feedback, but no one ever had any because everything was so delicious! We ate with our group and our ranger every night (because we all got along so well!) but we could have had private dinners on out deck if we preferred.

Our ranger Dave and tracker Abraham were really so amazing- so knowledgeable and passionate about the animals. Dave was really great at explaining animal behavior and why the animals did certain things. I think what set Dave apart from the other rangers was that he would wait a while for the animal to do the behavior that he had been explaining while the other rangers would stop to have their guests take photos and then just leave. We spent a lot of time with the animals and saw them do the things that they are known to do. We saw pretty much every single animal we could have ever asked to see- Dave kept saying it was the 'honeymooners luck', but I just think he is really great at his job! We even got to see the very endangered African Wild Dogs! Dave wouldn't give up until he found more and more amazing things that we hadn't seen. He was also good at pointing out the smaller things- bugs, birds, etc. that were sometimes just as interesting as the bigger animals. And Abraham was so good at spotting tracks and animals from really far distances- I really have no idea how he even spotted some of the things he did! He also prepared the best bush mix in the morning and Sundowners each evening :)

I would highly recommend Leopard Hills for any type of vacation- it was an amazing honeymoon destination!!! We really hope to go back at some point soon.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Chrissy R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Asheville, NC
Level Contributor
66 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 26, 2011

Leopard Hills may not be the ultimate game camp as far as facilities are concerned but having stayed at camps that are over the top, I would chose Leopard Hills over any of them. The why is hard to explain. The rangers are the best. The staff make you feel that you are part of a family. Having been to Leopard Hills 3 times, we always feel like we are going home. The food is great. Sam the head of the dining room always has a smile and a hardy welcome for all.
The game viewing is the best. So many guides have a set pattern they are going to follow. If things don't work out, they don't have a plan B. At LH they are always ready to take the opportunites that are available. They will stay at a spot waiting for that special sighting as long as necessary. Expensive yes. Worth it yes. Many returning guests. Their clients are there for the animals, not for bragging rights that they stayed at the "hot" camp

Room Tip: room 8 view is special and near the dining room
See more room tips
  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank smountaintraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 15, 2011

...and I was there almost a year and a half ago. I'm ashamed it's taken me this long to log-in to TripAdvisor and post a review of our honeymoon at Leopard Hills in June 2010. My husband and I joke that we'll never stay anywhere as wonderful as this lodge for the rest of our lives. The rooms are beautiful with no comfort spared. The service is exceptional. You become a part of the family from the moment you arrive. The food is spectacular. Every meal is at least three courses. And the safari experience will exceed any expectation. The rangers are extremely knowledgeable and do everything in their power to show you all the bush has to offer. We started asking our ranger Raymond to show us unicorns as there seemed to be nothing he couldn't find.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank AmandaPK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gerrards Cross, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
81 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 15, 2011

We were slightly hesitant when booking leopard hills as previous reviewers are right it is expensive and charges around 30-40% more than some of the neighbouring lodges which traverse the same land as leopard hills. However like everything in life you get what you pay for!

We saw the big five in our first hour on our first game drive, saw a lion kill and loads loads more. The ranger (Gary) and tracker (Ronald) were fantastic and made the game drives informative exciting and really good fun at the same time. They really made the holiday for us. We got enough time looking at animals before having to move on to let other guests move in to look. The coordinated approach between rangers and lodges really worked for us as in a short space of time we saw so so much! And we never felt rushed.

The rooms overlooking the waterhole are best as you get a great view and partial view of the waterhole. Rooms are good for a safari lodge in the middle nowhere and very luxurious but don't come expecting a marble bathroom luxury carpets and power shower because they aren't like 5 star hotel room in the middle of a city.

We had a great night at the outside dinner. Staff were lovely and really approachable and accomodating. We had a good group so ate dinner every evening with them and Gary the ranger. Breakfast and lunch you eat on your own. If you dont want to eat dinner in the group you dont have to, worth pointing this out as some previous reviews were compliaing about eating in the group.

We had animals regularly walking through the camp and had the most amazing 4 days safari at leopard hills. Would definitely recommend it!!! Planning on going back next year already!!!

  • Stayed October 2011
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank danjed
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
65 reviews
56 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 94 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles 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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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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