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“For the 7th time”
Review of Pondoro Game Lodge

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Pondoro Game Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed November 2, 2012

Have now visit Pondoro 7 times, and it will not be my last. Once again I had a wonderful stay. What can i say: The most wonderful staff, beuatiful settings at the river bank, maybe the best food in South Africa and this year I was so lucky to see a Black Rhino , just half a meter from the vehicle.
The rate is very very good compared to other luxury Lodges.
Lize and Robbie, hope to see you again in 2013 - Love from Bente

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled solo
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Thank Bente M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pondoro, Owner at Pondoro Game Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded November 6, 2012

Dear Bente

Thank you so much for taking the time to write a review. Wow 7 times!!! How time flies. It has as always been a pleasure and privilege to host you at Pondoro. I am very glad that we could make your dream come true of seeing a rare black rhino, and then so close to us as well. We are already looking forward to your next visit.

Love from Robbie, Lize and the rest of the Pondoro family

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Reviewed October 19, 2012

We stayed for three nights and an experience of a lifetime. Not only able to see the Big Five but also a herd of twenty hippo,Giraffes, Zebra, various kind of Antelope, 2nd Leopard and a Black Rhino. This was all down to the dedication and determination of our excellent guide and tracker, Rul and Rempson - they were fantastic!
The in- lodge staff were marvellous too, nothing was too much trouble for them. The food was absolutely First Class! delicious and creative. Our experience at Pondoro was an absolutely fantastic and unforgettable experience.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank GeoffAndJanP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pondoro, Owner at Pondoro Game Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded October 30, 2012

Dear GeoffAndJanP

Thank you for taking the time to write a review. It is great to see how much you enjoyed your stay at the lodge. I will let Rul and Remson as well as the other staff know about your fabulous review and kind words.

Greetings from the bush,

Robbie and Pondoro family

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Reviewed October 15, 2012

This is our fourth visit to Pondoro and our third time in Bateleur. I was surprised to read a couple of the recent reviews as I have always had an outstanding experience in every aspect from Pondoro and once again we did this time.
Game did seem more sparse than normal and Eric, our ranger did have to spend some time trekking on foot but that is what you are up against with wild animals. That is all part of the experience.
I have been on numerous safaris and well past ticking off the Big 5 but we did see all the usual suspects here with close encounters with both Black and White Rhino. Strangely elephants were difficult to find and we had to go deep into the bush to find a couple of bulls. Lions proved equally elusive but we did find them eventually.
We also saw a couple of male leopards who appeared to be having a territory dispute and a single male leopard stalking guinea fowl early one morning. A large herd of buffalo passed us by on the main road.
As always it was nice to stop for sundowners and enjoy a glass of wine by the campfire.
To add to all this, Robbie and Lize are fantastic hosts and we are always made welcome and greeted as old friends.
We look forward to returning.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank bluesy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pondoro, Owner at Pondoro Game Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded October 30, 2012

Dear bluesy

Thank you for taking the time to write a review. I am elated to see that you once again enjoyed your stay at Pondoro. I see that you not only saw the Big 5, but were lucky enough to have seen the highly endangered black rhino, which must rate as one of the most sought after animals to see in Africa for wildlife connoisseurs.

Greetings from the bush,

Robbie and Pondoro family

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Reviewed October 14, 2012

We are amazed to read the previous review. We had a very different experience at Pondoro. We have visited Pondoro twice. mark was our ranger this time and we had a wonderful experienced. We were two meters from a white rhino. Robbie was our previous ranger and we found him extremely knowledgable and approachable. We find it very strange that Robbie has been criticized at such length. Pondoro is a very well owner managed lodge and Robbie and his team really go out of their way to offer an excellent bush experienced. We look forward to our next visit to Pondoro.

Room Tip: Luxury suites each have a different theme and we stayed in Earth which was beautiful and included a...
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Bobby R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pondoro, Owner at Pondoro Game Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded October 16, 2012

Dear Bobby R

Thank you very much for taking the time to write a review. I am so glad to know that you enjoyed your stay with us and am really looking forward to host the two of you again.

Greetings from the bush,

Robbie and Pondoro family

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Reviewed October 10, 2012

Pondoro was our first leg of three places we have visited during our recent trip to South Africa.
We think that there is nothing disappointing as far as the care for visitor is concerned. Facilities and service was hard to beat, comparing with other two places.
Here is the link to a few of our photos to see the highlights:
https://picasaweb.google.com/RichardFraniec/SouthAfricaSeptember2012?authkey=Gv1sRgCLjw5di6pfv9pgE
We loved the settings, facilities and food/service thanks to the attention to details by Robbie, the general manager. Game drives were typical for other lodges in the area. Highly recommended as a whole package.

Cheers

Richard and Elizabeth

Room Tip: If you value facility as my wife does, pick the best bungalow you can. We were staying in "Tree...
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Richard F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pondoro, Owner at Pondoro Game Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded October 30, 2012

Dear Richard and Elizabeth

Thank you for taking the time to write a review. I am glad to see that you enjoyed your stay with us and that you highly recommend Pondoro as a package.

Greetings from the bush,

Robbie and Pondoro family

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Reviewed October 5, 2012

Husband and I have just returned from Pondoro, for our belated honeymoon. We had a disasterous first attempt at a honeymoon elsewhere six months ago, so safe to say there was A LOT riding on this trip. Yes safari was amazing, we saw so many awesome animals and (VERY rare) watched a wild giraffe birth, definitely a once in a lifetime expereince. The game drives were amazing, we were lucky to experience the expertise of both the Mark/Eric team, and Robbie/Andries. They really are experts in their field. And, ever gracious hosts, always made allowances for us real 'touristy' types, stopping for anything we wanted to see, whether it was a bird, a sunset, or yet another impala.

But the game spotting is really just one part, and whilst it is the intial reason to go, we found ourselves not wanting to leave for a whole other reason. The staff at Pondoro, and the gorgeous settings, make it so easy to settle in, like home. The staff at Pondoro are what made our experience really so unbeatable. There are many places you can go and see breathtaking nature, wild animals and the spirit of adventure, but very rarely do these two fussy travellers wish we could stay somewhere longer becuase, well, we are just simply in love with them! When we left, it was like leaving a bunch of friends behind. I felt like crying! From Robbie and Lize's impeccable hosting, to gorgeous Sam who washed our car before we left, and then apologised profusely because a monkey had shook some flowers down on it- we felt like we had an extended family. The Accommodation itself is truly beyond five star- it's a whole other level of expereince. We stayed in the Water Suite, and always came back hot and sweaty from a game drive or walk, to find it fresh and cool inside our suite, perfectly made-up for us while we were gone. Also, a major point is the lack of insects. We did not come into contact with a single mosquito while here. And we were very surprised and highly impressed that our room did not get insects. Occasionally we had a little beetle wander in, but it was just so pleasant not to be inudated with mozzies, which we were sort of expecting. we woudln't have minded anyway, you have to expect it when in Africa- but they really go to a lot of trouble to make sure you don't get harrassed by bugs, and provide repellant in your room.

The thing about the staff at pondoro is that you can FEEL that they are taking a lot of joy and pride in their work, and that they are doing things for you behind the scenes constantly and it's never too much trouble. We thank Madelein for trying her best to follow up our lost luggage with Qantas too- she worked on this diligently for us and was just so accommodating to help us in any way she could. We also both had the pleasure of a massage/body treatment in the spa there- I would go back just for another facial OH MY GOODNESS!

and lastly- the food. never have Husband and I so looked forward to meals. Everything was absolutely delicious and prepared so well. it was kind of like a game drive in itself- you didn't know what was going to be served up, but you knew it was just going to be so amazing, and an adventure. We had some beautiful surprises for our honeymoon as well- like a special dinner in the wine cellar, champagne, and one night a bath filled with rose petals and candles, set-up while we were out having dinner. Our last night there, all the guests had dinner down near the banks of the river, which was probably one of my favourite meals.

Pondoro Game Lodge is one of those things you HAVE to do once in your life. We are counting down the days til we return!

Room Tip: I would try and get a suite if you can, there's just something so "Africa" about being...
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank KaraANDSimon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pondoro, Owner at Pondoro Game Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded October 14, 2012

Dear KaraANDSimon

Thank you very much for taking the time to write a review. It is always heartwarming to know that someone enjoyed their stay so much. I am so glad that we met your expectations on your honeymoon as it is such a special occasion. I will share your appreciation with everyone. Thank you for the photos on Facebook as well! Looking forward to your next visit.

Greetings from the bush,

Robbie and Pondoro family

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Reviewed September 19, 2012

My wife and I spent five days at the Pondoro Game Lodge in June 2012 and can not praise it enough. The lodge is in a beautiful setting and the rooms are very well designed and offer great privacy with even the bath tubs outside on the private decks. The common areas are very elegant and the evening dinners are enjoyed via candle light under the stars. The food and wine are also first rate! But, best of all, the safari drives were spectacular. The local tracker and ranger were excellent and tracking animals, giving us an opportunity to see all of the big five, including a leopard kill and close encounters with lions. Highly Recommend Pondoro Lodge!

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank needles_dale
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pondoro, Owner at Pondoro Game Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded October 5, 2012

Dear needles_dale

Thank you very much for taking the time to write a review. It is so good to know that you enjoyed your stay with us and that you found everything from the chalets and food to the safari drives to your liking. The leopard kill must have been a highlight!

Greetings from the bush,

Robbie and Pondoro family

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Additional Information about Pondoro Game Lodge

Address: Balule Private Nature Reserve, Kruger National Park 1380, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Balule Nature Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 22 Specialty Lodging in Balule Nature Reserve
Price Range: $834 - $1,370 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Pondoro Game Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 8
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

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