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“Just perfect - I felt like crying when we had to leave!”

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andBeyond Ngala Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Sydney, Australia
Level 6 Contributor
497 reviews
108 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 247 helpful votes
“Just perfect - I felt like crying when we had to leave!”
Reviewed July 11, 2009

Ngala Game Lodge, there is simply no place like it. I thought that I had stayed in five star hotels before but no hotel I have been to anywhere in the world even comes close. I didn't want to leave, it was perfect.

From the moment you walk in, all the staff know your name and you have NEVER seen attention to detail until you come to Ngala. Everything has been thought of and every time you think the surprises are finished they pull out another one: dinner in a new location, a surprise breakfast table set up in the middle of the African bush, fetching you a drink when you're by the pool, running you a bath before you get back to your room in the evenings. These guys are faultless.

The lodge has lots of places just to lie down and chill out: the deck, by the pool, the games room, outside the shop....to just settle back and enjoy the African bush.

Every meal was like eating at a top restaurant - the food is simply exceptional and in 4 days we did not eat the same thing twice. The effort they go to to make every meal unique is most impressive.

The rooms are gorgeous - beautifully laid out with stunning bathrooms full of the best quality lotions, creams and gels.

And of course there are the game drives. You won't be disappointed!
Even out in the bush every detail is considered: hot water bottles under your blanket on the morning game drive, even cocktails under the moon in the evenings, and a driver and spotter with every car.

This was the best place we have ever stayed. If you want a true honeymoon, the perfect romantic getaway or just downtime with a real difference that you will remember forever, definitely come to Ngala!

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank aimoverseas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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england
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed June 24, 2009

We visited Ngala for 7 nights in June. You did read that correctly - 7 nights of safari !! It is a long time to go on Safari but I have to say, Ngala made everyday different and we had a wonderful time. The lodge itself is really nice with great rooms, a lovely pool and plenty of areas to relax. The best thing about Ngala is the food and the staff. The food is amazing and the staff are simply superb. You will really be looked after here.
Our ranger and tracker were brilliant. They really work hard to find you what you want to see and we were lucky enough to be around when some lions killed a buffalo. We only saw it because they tracked for hours to find the lions!
We were lucky enough to spend some of our time in the Safari Suite which is stunning. If you get the chance to stay in the Suite you will have a fantastic time. We had a few chilly days while we were there and the fires that were lit in the Suite made it really cozy. We were then lucky enough to have some really good weather and got the chance to use the Suite swimming pool.
I could go on and on but if you are lucky enough to go to Ngala you will not be dissapointed. It's a wonderful place. Be prepared to put on a few pounds - the food really is gorgeous!!

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank concordeEngland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wellington, New Zealand
Level 6 Contributor
118 reviews
57 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 191 helpful votes
Reviewed June 4, 2009

We spent four nights at Ngala in mid May. I was a bit worried that four nights would be too long, as many people and many itineraries only include two to three days. But I think four days/nights were perfect, as it meant we could experience everything the lodge has to offer. I would hate to have gone for only two or even three nights and had to leave feeling I was going too soon.

We arrived at the airstrip and were met by our ranger, piled into the car, and promptly had to chase an impala off the tarmac so the plane could take off. Welcome to Africa! A hint though - when you depart, check with the pilot that you are getting on the right Federal Air flight. That it is going to the destination you want, and that it is supposed to be picking up YOU personally (ie give your names). Someone got on our flight and ended up in Jo'burg instead of Phinda because the pilot didn't check their names, and as a result we almost missed an onward connection but thanks to the staff at Ngala and the pilot of another Federal Air plane (the one that was supposed to go to Phinda) arrangements were made to get us back to Jo'burg in time to make our connection (with andBeyond's assistance at the Jo'burg end).

We did not get tired of the game drives - we looked forward to and enjoyed every one of them, even with a 5 am wake up call. Ngala Game Reserve is larger than the area in Sabi Sands covered by Dulini and Exeter (other andBeyond properties), and this means you drive for longer, or faster, to get to the animals. But the upside of this is that you see groups of animals. Big herds of buffalo or elephant or wildebeest. We didn't see these in Sabi Sands.

We booked Ngala directly through andBeyond.com, who also organised our flights, transfers etc, and they did a superb job. The canvas bag with our information that we received at the jo'burg airport became our "safari' bag which held our hats, sunglasses, gloves etc.

Yes, gloves. The game drives especially in the mornings are very cold - windchill in the cars means you need a hat to cover your ears, gloves and scarf, and a good warm wind resistant jacket. I ended up wearing TWO fleeces and polypropylene underwear and I was still cold some mornings sitting on the back row of the vehicle, though they do provide blankets. Temperatures during the day though were very warm, and it is nice to be able to relax at the various spots around the lodge (it was too cold to swim in my view). We were too early in the winter to have many animals at the waterhole, though we did see some bushbuck there one day. The children running around screaming almost scared them away - one downside of being at a lodge that accepts children I guess. They did seem to be enjoy themselves chasing the squirrels and birds, and the staff were wonderful with them, so I would recommend Ngala to families.

The rooms are excellent. Our only complaint was that the lighting near the closet/bags area was poor, but the bathroom was large, the complimentary laundry is a godsend, there is plenty of space, the bed luxurious. Everything and more than we expected.

Do make sure you book a private dinner. And if you are there for a special occasion, make sure they know that. I won't say anymore because the surprise they had for my husband's 50th birthday was all the better because it was a surprise. The morning walk is also worthwhile - you won't get any exercise but you will learn more about tracking and the bush.

Our only disappointment was probably the wine on offer. That said we were jetlagged and with early mornings you really don't have time or inclination to over-imbibe! Whilst I disagree that the food is top class, it is still good, though varies in quality. The chocolate brownie dessert was to die for, and the breakfasts are excellent.

Compared with other lodges, Ngala is very good value, the staff are wonderful (special compliments to our ranger Dylan who is a darling) and I highly recommend it.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank LindaNZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UK
Level 1 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed May 16, 2009

Ngala was absoultely fantastic. Excellent service, food and attention to detail. The room and surrounds were gorgeous. The food was first class, fine dining at its best.

You can go on two game drives per day one at 5am the other at 3pm, in between you can relax by the pool or read a book in many different relaxing spots and eat till your heart is content!!

There is a lot of attention to detail with dinner served in a different place each night to give you a different experience (romantic, a fun group dinner etc). On our third night we were served dinner outside our room surrounded by lanterns, they had even run a bath with bubbles and candlelight a lovely way to end a game drive.

This is one of the best holidays my husband and I have ever had, we cannot say enough good things about South Africa and the service levels (not to mention the animals and scenery)!

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank cvpUk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Taichung/TWN
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed May 5, 2009

We stay 4 nights at the Ngala Game Lodge. Only can confirm what the previous writers already have expressed so well. It was perfect in anyway it could be just done. The camp, the people, the food, the experience with our rangers, Sipho and Sam, all this together make unforgettable short holiday. The time stopped there with no phones, internet, TV, mobiles, etc. For couple of days you do NOT want to know about anything what is happenings in the world. This is so awesome good!!!!
Most important, &Beyond support local community (village) so every guest to the Lodge automatically supports this noble idea!
Can and would recommend this location to anyone, with no hesitation. What a great place and people.
Peter&Stella

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank abcimex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed May 4, 2009

My husband and I stayed at Ngala for 3 days with our 2 young children (aged 2 and 4). The staff, lodge and game drives were fantastic. While most hotels and BnBs in SA seemed to be very anti-children, Ngala was the opposite and was very accomodating with our kids, even taking them on the game drives (we paid for private drives but this was not even an option at most other game lodges we looked into). Our ranger, Megan, and our tracker, Norman were wonderful. Very friendly and very knowledgeable. Our room was beautiful and the food was delicious. We plan to go back. We absolutely loved Ngala and would recommend it to anyone.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank achahn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Beaverton
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed April 25, 2009

Ngala; what an experience! All of the staff were incredibly helpful and friendly from arrival to departure. The lodge staff made our stay completely enjoyable and carefree. A particular highlight was the beautiful dinner prepared each evening and set in various locations around the camp. The camp itself was just an incredible setting.
Our Ranger and Tracker were the best! Ray and Jimmy were a great team; smart, capable, incredibly informative and just plain nice guys. It was my first safari and they made it an unbelievable experience (yes, we saw the Big Five and more) and we trusted them completely.
I would say Ngala struck a perfect balance. Yes, it was luxurious and the staff were incredibly attentive. However, everything was still casual enough that it seemed in keeping with where we were and the nature of our trip.
Personally, I could not have asked for anything more.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
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Helpful?
Thank Robert6046
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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