Madeline the guest reception lady was v. nice and welcoming. The food was delicious and we couldn't get better homemade bread anywhere else. The service staff-3 of them daily were a delight, very friendly and genuine & warm. The dining area was v. nice with monkeys on the trees and a view of the river.
We had the Earth room. For a luxury lodge, this is a major let down. One of the two sinks had taps so close to the basin that I couldn't put my hands near it so it means I have to use the other basin which wasn't much of an improvement either. Curiously, the windows near the sink and bath area has no curtains, I checked with my other two friends who stayed in different rooms: and they had the same issues with the curtains being non existent in the bath area.
The outdoor jacuzzi and the bathtub looked worn, and we certainly did not use it.
The shower area looks gritty and I used my slippers when I showered. Its so dark, I can't tell if its clean or otherwise.
We had problems with the walkie talkie as well, and only understood when Madeline explained to us (she was v. kind and patient) for the 2nd time, that its for after hours. Well, anything before 9pm, I guess we have to holler or run to the reception and if your lodge is right at the end, then good luck if there was an intruder. I certainly didn't feel terribly safe with only a lock on the doors and almost complete darkness outside.
Our trekker and ranger were great and went beyond their usual thing to help us locate the elusive leopard, I believe it was Andreas-the trekker, and the ranger was not Mark or Robbie, it was the 3rd guy whom I can't remember the name. Sadly, we didn't locate the leopard. I guess as its part of Kruger National Park, it was hard to spot animals, we did see the other big 4 but honestly we were not impressed, however, this is nature, so we accept it.
Overall, I guess it depends on your expectations, the staff & food were great but the accomodation was a letdown. Another of my friend stayed in the Water room and it is more modern and brighter than our Earth.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Set on the cool riverine banks of the Olifants River (largest in Kruger) in the 40 000 ha Big 5 Balule Private Game Reserve inside the greater Kruger National Park, Pondoro offers its visitors comfort, sophistication, elegance and a canvas on which to create a truly unforgettable African safari.In this small, very exclusive 16-bed lodge ( owner managed ) you will discover the only way to experience the African bush. In addition to luxurious accommodation and the caring attention from trained professionals, our visitors are lavished upon with international fare and humble African hospitality.Meals are an extraordinary culinary experience where Traditional African Cuisine fuse effortlessly with modern European trends.To compliment the food, select any of our fine wines from our extensive wine cellar. Vegetarians are specially catered for. All meals are served on a wooden deck high up in the tree canopy overlooking the Olifants River (weather permitting).Between game drives in open safari cruisers, nature walks and peaceful afternoon naps, enjoy a dip in the sparkling rock pool, a spot of sun bathing or browse through the library. The Pondoro bar is the ideal spot to quench your thirst and grab a snack. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Pondoro Game Hotel Balule Private Game Reserve
- Pondoro Game Lodge South Africa/Balule Nature Reserve