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“African paradise”

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andBeyond Ngala Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Emirate of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Level 6 Contributor
180 reviews
69 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 107 helpful votes
“African paradise”
Reviewed April 10, 2012

Just returned from Ngala and it was a life-changing experience! Beautifully-furnished lodge in the middle of the Timbavati Reserve adjacent to Kruger National Park. Staff are simply the best ever. Elliot our game ranger and Norman our tracker were outstanding. Saw the big five on our many game drives. Took our 2 sons (ages 12 and 15) along and they were treated so special by everyone. Many other families stayed at the lodge during our stay but there were couples and honeymooners as well. They welcome you upon arrival and tell you that you are family and it is true. We stayed 4 nights and I would recommend a similar stay vs rushing in for a night or two and then stressing out if you don't see all the game on the first drive. We flew into Nelspruit and flew out of Hodspruit. The former airport is a 3 hour drive while the latter is less than an hour. If you can afford it take the closer airport. The drive from JNB is 6-7 hours.

The food at the lodge was excellent and the head chef was recently featured in a local magazine for the variety and quality of the meals served. They prepared special kids meals when our boys needed a simple alternative. Nice pool in immaculate grounds for something to do during the hot afternoons. There were 20 - 30 other people at the lodge with us yet we rarely saw them other than at mealtimes. One last point - all drinks (including alcohol) are included which is a nice touch.

For the price and service we could not imagine a better option. Highly recommended!!

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank DRNJ1960
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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448 reviews from our community

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English first
Bray on Thames, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
174 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 102 helpful votes
Reviewed April 1, 2012

Second visit here and thoroughly recommend it without hesitation.

GREAT rooms, FANTASTIC safari guides, WONDERFUL wildlife. Bliss!

Seeing a leopard up a tree, a pack of 20 wild dogs and much much more were experiences never to forget.

The ultimate surprise though......turning a corner in the bush and finding one of the resort staff cooking us pancakes for breakfast, accompanied by coffee with Amarula. Stunning!!!!

I simply cannot rcommend this place highly enough.

Room Tip: All rooms are great.
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank fotowizz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York, NY
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 30, 2012

The best way I can sum up my three-night stay at Ngala Lodge is with a conversation I had about five or six times with experienced safari-goers:

Them: "Where are you going on safari?"
Me: "Three places -- ..., Ngala, and ..."
Them: "Ngala Tented Camp or Lodge?"
Me: "Lodge."
Them: "Oh."

Here's the deal. Ngala is a very nice property, the staff is extremely kind and eager to please (that's the reason I went with very good rather than average), and I had a pretty good time there. For family trips, it might be a great place to go. For our honeymoon, it was not ideal.

Ngala was our second of three game reserves for a honeymoon safari trip. It was unquestionably our least favorite, but in fairness to Ngala, the other two destinations were absolutely exceptional. Had Ngala been our first destination, our experience may well have been different. It felt like summer camp. An extremely nice summer camp, of course, but that wasn't the vibe we were looking for on our honeymoon. Were we planning our trip all over again, the one change we would make is to omit Ngala altogether.

I realize these comments are vague. We did have specific issues, but they were so particular to our experience there that I wouldn't even hold them out as a critique of Ngala, and it would be nitpicking anyway. Ngala is a very nice property, but as we discovered too late, there are many nicer ones.

Room Tip: Rooms to avoid, if possible, are those farthest from the main camp area -- i.e., the ones next to th...
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank fjackhoulihan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington, DC
Level 4 Contributor
35 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed March 6, 2012

The accommodations were clean, very comfortable, with great food, and incredible service. I can't say enough about the people: Momma Connie, Dennis and Nate took excellent care of us. Even managed to get a prescription filled for me. Derrick and Norman were our ranger/tracker dynamic duo. We saw the big five in the first two game drives--and we were there "off season". We booked our trip through &Beyond---that's how we ended up at Ngala and I am very grateful. What makes Ngala unique is that it is owned by a nonprofit committed to conservation. Also, you can go off road in this private reserve which is how we were able to see the Leopard. South Africa is a beautiful country and culture that's great to visit anytime of the year.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
3 Thank CP12345Washington_DC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed February 11, 2012

I had been at Ngala several times, but this time was different.
The welcome was warm, the accommodation cosy, the food excellent, but the rangers caused stress. The first game drive set up was a vehicle full of tension with a guest who's laptop had just been stolen at the international airport and a ranger who couldn't deal with a tensed situation. We got stuck twice out of two game drives and this spoilt the experience quite a lot. Fortunately the camp manager reacted accordingly and rearranged the game drive set up by splitting the group onto two vehicle with two new rangers. Our ranger was great on the first game drive, but that faded away throughout the remaining game drives by wanting to go back to the lodge while we were watching the interaction between a cheetah and a leopard or driving off while we were photographing. It was challenging to keep the spirit high and very manageable through the support of the wildlife. We had just amazing sightings.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled on business
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Helpful?
4 Thank RohoYaChui
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ireland
Level 3 Contributor
8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed February 9, 2012

Ngala Safari Lodge lived up to our expectations as a luxury destination with (most importantly) very good wildlife viewing. The cottages are excellent, and the service is just top notch. One thing that Ngala really has going for it is the food. We stayed at Phinda as well, and despite being behind Phinda in terms of the accommodation, the food more than made up for it. Great! The wildlife viewing was just amazing for us, though I realize we may have been lucky. We stayed two nights and managed to get incredible wild dog sightings as well as a fantastic male leopard in the day time, on top of lion, elephant etc. One thing worth noting is we took advantage of the andBeyond Stay for 3 Nights and get 4th Free offer, which we spread out over Ngala and Phinda. Personally, 2 nights was fine with us but I'm sure it would be very easy to stay longer in the lap of luxury!

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank the_hesh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
paris france
Level 5 Contributor
51 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed February 9, 2012

A surprising place Swimming pool, birds & little animals coming around at breakfast time.
An open dining room with lanterns hanging from the trees along with the candleabra and very good food. The baker Carolyn bakes breads and dessers that are five star. Moses our "butler"
was so wonderful we wanted to adopt him. The safaris are great and one can see the big five plus. There is also a water hole in the garden, fenced off of course. Mama Africa (Connie) perfectly arranged everything including music, singing and dancing. P E R F E C T

Room Tip: All of the hut/cottages are the same other than a family suite
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank lucille75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about andBeyond Ngala Safari Lodge

Property: andBeyond Ngala Safari Lodge
Address: Mpumalanga, Kruger National Park 1380, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Ngala Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Specialty Lodging in Ngala Private Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Number of rooms: 21
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The romance and mystery of Africa come alive in 20 thatched cottages tucked under a dense canopy of tamboti trees at Ngala Safari Lodge. Exuding classical safari charm, the spacious veranda, with its wonderfully comfortable armchairs, looks out onto a popular waterhole. For pure indulgence, the Safari Suite offers an elegant sitting room, private swimming pool and exclusive use of a safari vehicle. Mouth-watering meals are served in the shade of an enormous weeping boerbean tree, while a large swimming pool lies on the edge of thick riverine woodland. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ngala Safari Hotel Ngala Private Game Reserve
AndBeyond Ngala Safari Lodge Ngala Private Game Reserve, South Africa

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