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“Can't wait to go back! Best safari experience!”

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Waterbuck Game Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 11, 2013 via mobile

I stayed here recently the last week of June. What an amazing experience! Hannes (the ranger) and lodrick (the tracker) are like batman & robin on the safari, the communication, experience and passion of these 2 is profound and you will see it on every game drive. We traversed southern thorybush reserve and didnt feel like it was ever crowded with too many vehicles. These 2 are alot of fun to be around (lots of jokes and personality!) but will always keep you safe. Nature is nature - unpredictable but we were so lucky to see the big 5 and much more thrilling encounters: black rhino, baby cubs! lion and lioness mating and tracking a leopard eating its kill at night. Kruger is the place of my dreams right now: beautiful sunsets, sunrises & starry nights. The lodge was intimate & wonderful, I'm so glad our original booking at kapama got switched to this place. Comfy beds. Fire and BOMA every night. We felt pampered by all the staff, Antionette (the adorable cook) served us 5 star meals at every course. Everything is home-made down to the biscuits in your room. I really did not want to leave. Til next time Hannes, your wife & staff. Don't think twice book here!!!!!

  • Stayed: June 2013
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Thank AM6143
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ian T, Owner at Waterbuck Game Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded March 10, 2014

Hi AM6143,

I really enjoyed reading your review, I like the comparison to batman and robin, we're also glad you got switched from another camp.
Thank you for your detailed and excited review, we're very glad you enjoyed your time with us so much.
Looking forward to seeing you again soon!

Kind regards,

The Waterbuck Team

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Reviews (121)
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88 - 94 of 121 reviews

Reviewed July 6, 2013

Ok so this is my first safari so I can't say ever but this experience surpassed my expectations. After 5 days in Cape Town and loving our experience and our guides there, we were off to Hoedspruit for our first safari. Me and a group of 5 other friends were supposed to stay at Kapama Buffalo Camp, but due to some error by our agent, he set us up at Waterbuck Game Lodge of Thornybush at the last minute. I was disappointed because Kapama is nice; at least from all the pictures we saw on the website, and when our agent informed us that Waterbuck had 4 rooms and that it would be a "private" area, I was disappointed. We landed in Hoedspruit, and the first thing I see is this fancy Land Rover to pick up the people for no other than "Kapama". However, this turned out to be the best mistake ever. We got to Waterbuck and I felt like I was welcomed into someone's home. The managers, Haanes and Anita met us when we got there. We got a tour of the lodge, and then were shown to our rooms which are nice, clean, and comfortable. Each room has a private deck that opens up into the reserve area (protected by a fence) and it was serene. Cozy and romantic, but again I was with girlfriends so a little lost on us. At about 3pm we met in the welcome area, and were greeted with a nice afternoon snack (it was more like a meal though and they definitely fed us beyond well the whole time there, so thank you to Antoinette the cook there). We filled up and onto our first safari. Haanes was our ranger, and Lodrick our trekker. This was all of our first time ever safariing and it was the best experience. One of the first things we saw was a group of 3 lionesses along with 3-4 cubs that we ended up seeing every day of our time there. It took a little bit before we got comfortable being in this open vehicle with wildlife, but Haanes and Lodrick quickly made us feel at ease. By the end of the first trek we saw 4 of the big 5. The next 2 days were just as amazing if not more. We saw the 5th of our big 5, a cheetah, and a black rhino. After our 2nd day the only thing we felt we were missing were a herd of elephants and a male lion. On day 3 sure enough, they found us exactly what we asked for. I know it's luck to find all these animals, but I was so impressed by how they were actually looking for animals for us, and we were definitely feeling a rush of how exciting safaris can be. They would trek the animals by their foot prints and their sounds and I was blown away. At one point, Lodrick and Haanes trekked a leopard who had killed prey, another night, they saw a chameleon in the dark and Haanes grabbed it from the tree and brought it over to show us before he took it back to the same spot he found it. We loved how passionate they seemed to be about finding the animals even if they've done this and seen them a thousand times before, and that definitely enhanced the experience and I also appreciated how much respect they have for the animals and the environment there. Haanes you kept us laughing . As for the rest of staff there, they were amazing. They accommodated to some dietary concerns that we didn't mention until we got there on day 1 and so thank you Anita for accommodating us. Each meal was a treat and thank you all so so much for making us feel at home and giving us the best experience on our very first safari. Will definitely recommend you to family and friends that go there in the future.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank kina p
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ian T, Owner at Waterbuck Game Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded March 10, 2014

Hi Kina P,

Thank you for your enthusiastic review, we're very glad you enjoyed your time with us so much. Looking forward to seeing you again soon!

Kind regards,

The Waterbuck Team

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Reviewed July 5, 2013

I stayed at the lodge recently with friends. The lodge is beautiful, cozy, and the rooms are awesome. Hannes(ranger) and Loderick(tracker) were an amazing pair! They have a true passion for what they do and it was apparent. We got to see all the big 5 and more!!!!! I saw lions every day on our 3 day safari adventure. We saw so much thanks to both Hannes and Loderick. Every safari ride was a true adventure. We even learned some constellations along the way. The night drives were my favorite. It was a an adrenaline rush yet I felt safe all the time. The staff is great. They made such wonderful meals for us and were so accomodating. Everyone was hospitable and my friends and I enjoyed our stay. I would definitely come back here again.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank avani p
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ian T, Owner at Waterbuck Game Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded July 11, 2013

Hi Avani,
We really are happy that you enjoyed your time with us so much! Next time you come back bring more friends!

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Reviewed June 21, 2013

A most fantastic 3 days on honeymoon. The team made a very special effort for an incredibly intimate and romantic set up for us.

The game viewing was awesome with great leopard sightings.

Gareth and Tarryn had the perfect balance of giving us our privacy and entertaining us and were most superb hosts.

A very special time that will always remain close to our hearts!! Thank you!

Room Tip: We had the BEST room - the one on the dam. Saw plenty of animals from our room!
Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
1  Thank Natalie A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ian T, Owner at Waterbuck Game Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded July 11, 2013

Natalie we're thrilled you enjoyed your honeymoon stay with us so much! Why don't you come back to celebrate your anniversary with us every year?

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Reviewed June 20, 2013

The entire staff at Waterbuck has mastered the art of hospitality. Not a single detail was overlooked during our Honeymoon stay at the Waterbuck, from the fresh lemonade when we first arrived to the poems left on our pillows at night. Because of this attention to detail, we immediately felt comfortable and at home. Every part of our experience was excellent. Our room was spacious, immaculate, and had a terrific view of a watering hole where we saw plenty of wildlife. Every meal was more delicious than the last, with something for everyone, whether you wanted to try local cuisine or not. Each safari we went on created its own unique experience and emotion. Our guide and tracker were very informative and attentive. They are both excellent at their jobs and it showed in the wide span of wildlife we were able to encounter. We already decided that we would be making a trip back about halfway through our vacation.

Room Tip: Ask for the room overlooking the watering hole.
  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Ryan E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ian T, Owner at Waterbuck Game Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded July 11, 2013

Ryan, we're very happy you had such a great time with us. We're looking forward to making your next trip just as memorable.

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Reviewed June 6, 2013

I have not stopped missing Waterbuck since I left over a month ago. The whole experience was amazing that I don't even know what to rave about first. The staff was amazing and I am happy to say that I left Waterbuck with new friends thanks to Gareth and Tarryn!

First off, the game drives twice a day were beautiful! Thanks to our awesome tracker, Loderick, and our ranger, Gareth, we saw all of the big five game by the end of our second drive. Gareth was so informative and could answer every question everyone had. You could really tell that this is not only his job but his passion.

My boyfriend and I went into the trip not expecting much from our actually lodge experience. We left there feeling like we had just stayed at an upscale hotel. Everything from the beautiful rooms to the main lodge itself was kept up well and uniquely designed. The nightly dinners around a fire was a nice touch too!

I could go on and on about Waterbuck but I don't want to end up writing a novel here. :-)

I definitely want to return to Waterbuck one day!

Room Tip: Ask for the room that overlooks the water you could get some great views of hippos there.
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank whitekimb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ian T, Owner at Waterbuck Game Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded July 11, 2013

Hi Kim,
Thanks for the great review, glad you loved your time with us. Very much looking forward to seeing you some time soon! Tell your friends!

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Reviewed May 30, 2013

We spent a truly incredible week at this luxurious game lodge. Abundant game and rare sightings made for an exciting photographic safari, we captured some incredible images on this trip!

The staff are well experienced and friendly and made us feel very well looked after. The food was delicious and accommodation extremely spacious and comfortable... overall an excellent and highly recommended bush experience. We will definitely be back...

Room Tip: All the rooms are beautifully decorated and spacious with large bathrooms.
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Lex1979
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Waterbuck Game Lodge

Address: Guernsey Road, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Thornybush Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 12 Specialty Lodging in Thornybush Private Game Reserve
Price Range: $371 - $912 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Waterbuck Game Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Beautifully set on a large watering hole deep in the African bush this amazing lodge awaits your arrival. There are 4 individually set rooms spaced generously apart with a welcoming central lodge area. This area has a bar, lounge, swimming pool and a deck overlooking the waterhole. It is truly a little piece of paradise.Safari's (Game drives) are conducted morning and evening giving our guests a good chance of seeing Africa's famous "Big 5" as well as numerous other species of fauna and floura. These are conducted by extremely knowledgeable and friendly guides anxious to make your experience unforgettable.Please read the comments of our guests below, their words are the best reflection we can give on the experience. Look forward to hosting your African safari experience soon! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Waterbuck Game Lodge South Africa/Thornybush Private Game Reserve

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