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“John V. One of our best experiences in South Africa. A real discovery”
Review of Pondoro Game Lodge

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Pondoro Game Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Rijen
1 review
“John V. One of our best experiences in South Africa. A real discovery”
Reviewed May 24, 2013

We travel a lot in SA,and we were guests in many lodges but Pondoro was a real discovery.
What an experience!
We were looking for a game lodge in a bigger area with preferable an open connection to Krüger. Pondoro is located in the Balula area so it met our desire in this respect. Moreover, Pondoro is “unfenced”, which always offers a more real experience.
After entering Balula, It takes a drive of more than 30 minutes to bring you at Pondoro.This trip, on gravel roads brings you deep into the Balula area, far away from “the civilized world”.
And then, when the road goes down towards the river, you are suddenly there. Heartily welcomed by Lize and her staff. The lodge is really beautiful. Real African style and very tasteful. Beautiful deck with river view. Everything fits immediately around you.

The chalets are also great and very nice decorated in African style too, with a large private deck. The shower has a huge window from ceiling to floor, viewing on the bush and the river, nevertheless with 100% privacy. The beds were great.

Pondoro has a fantastic kitchen and it produces real culinary food. Even for breakfast they have a comprehensive menu which is changed every day.

No good Game Lodge without good quality game drives. Also in this respect Pondoro is a very good choice. Being an “open” reserve rangers and trackers have to work harder and need more skills to find the animals. Pondoro’s rangers are excellent and very professional. The lodge has good cars without a roof, which we consider as the best option. It gives you a much better contact with the environment, and makes it possible to go off road, what they did frequently.

Being a relatively small, family run lodge there is a real pleasant atmosphere. The staff is very friendly without being over-bearing and does everything to satisfy the guests. One example: a “surprise” candlelight dinner in the sand along the river. Pondoro got several Awards in 2011 2012 and even now 2013. Our experiences fully justify these awards. We stayed for three nights, but we could have stayed there forever. We will fully recommend Pondoro to everybody. It’s really the best choice you can make. We will definitely go back to Pondoro. In fact we can’t wait!!!!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank John v
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pondoro, Owner at Pondoro Game Lodge, responded to this review, May 29, 2013
Dear John v

Thank you very much for taking the time to write a review.

It is incredibly pleasing to see how much you enjoyed your stay at Pondoro and that you enjoyed visiting an open ecosystem and huge natural reserve like Kruger. It is always nice when the hard work of all our staff is noticed and it helps them to excel even more.

Greetings from the bush,

Robbie en Pondoro family
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Florence, Italy
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed May 23, 2013

This was my second time to stay at the Pondoro. Only 8 chalets, very exclusive if you are alone or couple even family. Every staff are so kind and the service and the foods are just great. Sure, to know about the Safari, especially off-road, you cannot imagine how thrill to follow or to research all wild animals. Closed to Lions, almost 3 meters of distance, Elephants just come to next to the jeep... Hearing Rynos hamming the grass, following Leopard knocking downs the trees and hitting rocks, just to see lovely full belly of Cheater... The smell of nature, pure fresh air, amazing stars show, everything I miss them all. I'll come back again to them for sure shortly. Thanks you very much again to Rul and Ramson, as well as Roby, Liz, Madeleine, and another great guide Mark and all staffs. Keep cubs for me for my next visit!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
1 Thank Hiro Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pondoro, Owner at Pondoro Game Lodge, responded to this review, May 28, 2013
Dear Hiro Y

Thank you very much for taking the time to write a review. I am very glad to see how much you enjoyed your stay with us at Pondoro. Thank you for the great review! You are a legend and you have become after just your second visit part of Pondoro folklore. I can honestly say that everybody at Pondoro are looking forward to your next visit as you are one of those rare people that has the gift to make friends and leave a lasting impression wherever you go.

Greetings from the bush,

Robbie and Pondoro family
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Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz, Germany
Level Contributor
1 review
Reviewed May 21, 2013

Staying at Pondoro Game Lodge, was the best decision ever. We stayed for 3 nights and I felt like being in Paradise the whole time. The staff was very kind and welcoming and tried their best to make all my dreams come true.
Every day started with a soft knock on the door early in the morning. After a cup of tea we started on our morning safari with Rul and Ramson. We saw lots of animals, for example all the big 5 and many others and Rul and Ramon did their best to take us very close to get nice pictures. We really had a lot of fun with them!
After the safari we always got a delicious, big breakfast. Then we had some time for ourselves. In the afternoon, after a tasty little lunch, we started on our afternoon safari with little picnic during sundown.
And when we came back, a mouth-watering dinner was already waiting for us.
To make a long story short:
Food was delicious, the chalet beautiful and especially the safari trips were awesome!!
Everything was just perfect.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Geli 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 review, May 28, 2013
Dear Geli R

Thank you very much for taking the time to write a review. It is so nice to see how much you enjoyed your stay with us. We do our best to make that dream holiday come true and I am glad that we could fulfill yours.

Greetings from the bush,

Robbie and Pondoro family
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Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
105 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed May 10, 2013

Exceeded our expectations! Lodge has authentic & stylish look along with an intimate and indulgent feeling. Safari guides and staff dedicated to insuring we had the kind of safari experience we were seeking (sought out the animals and birds of particular interest to us). Food excellent and loved the dinner set down at the river amid candles - magical! A memory to last a lifetime!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank justdme
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pondoro, Owner at Pondoro Game Lodge, responded to this review, May 17, 2013
Dear dlanz

Thank you very much for taking the the time to write a review. I am very glad to see that we could exceed your expectations and that you enjoyed a fantastic safari experience.

Greetings from the bush,

Robbie and Pondoro family
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Lusaka, Lusaka, Zambia
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed May 2, 2013

Stayed for three nights over Easter in the buffalo suite. The staff were incredibly welcoming and could not do enough to make the stay relaxing and unforgettable. Food is excellent and there is plenty of it - dinner round a communal table next to the river on the last evening was just wonderful. The game drives were great with a really exceptional guide and tracker - their excitement as seeing lion cubs and a cheetah was infectious and testament to how much they invest of themselves in the place. The lodge staff were always extremely pleasant and helpful without being over-bearing. Would not hesitate to recommend or re-visit!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Helen 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 review, May 17, 2013
Dear Helen F

Thank you very much for taking the time to write a review. It is as always heartwarming to see how much guests have enjoyed their stay. Glad that you enjoyed everything from the safari drives to the food and excellent service.

Greetings from the bush,

Robbie and Pondoro family
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Beijing, China
Level Contributor
1 review
Reviewed April 28, 2013

Pondoro is the best experience we had during our trip to South Africa. The safaris they offer are truly wonderful, and the ranger (Rul) and the tracker (Ramson) working for us are very professional and knowledgeable. Not only can they track animals from their footprints and feces, but they also have sharp eyes: amazingly enough, they can even find a small chameleon on a tree branch at night!
The service is also great. The room is large and clean, attentively decorated. The outdoor tub can give you a very nice experience. The food is absolutely delicious, and we tasted the BEST lamb steak in our life. The drinks are reasonably priced, and you can enjoy bottles of wine or beer without worrying about your purse. Most importantly, I believe, all the staff are really considerate and helpful, and this is not something you can always expect during your trip. Highly recommended!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Jason H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pondoro, Owner at Pondoro Game Lodge, responded to this review, April 29, 2013
Dear Jason H

Thank you very much for taking the time to write a review. I am glad that you enjoyed your stay with us and that you found everything from the rooms to the safaris and food to your liking. I will relay your compliments through to all the staff.

Greetings from the bush,

Robbie and Pondoro family
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
3 reviews
Reviewed April 24, 2013

Experience of a lifetime. The staff truly take pride in their environment, they respect every last detail and it shows. They are extremely attentive, and caring. You really feel like you are family when you are there and not just another customer.

  • Stayed April 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Leelews
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pondoro, Owner at Pondoro Game Lodge, responded to this review, April 24, 2013
Dear Leelews

Thank you very much for taking the time to write a review. Fantastic to see that you had the experience of a lifetime at Pondoro. We pride ourselves in responsible ecotourism and are so glad that you noticed. Nearly all the staff meetings held at Pondoro are about finding ways in improving the guest experience and to say that you felt like part of the Pondoro family is a huge accolade.

Greetings from the bush,

Robbie and Pondoro family
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 Pondoro Game Lodge

Property: 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 #3 of 19 Specialty Lodging in Balule Nature Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
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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