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“The only thing better would be a longer stay......”
Review of Jackalberry Lodge

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Jackalberry Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed May 19, 2008

Understated elegance, gracious hosts, ….and the animals ……..an experience you can’t visualize before you go and you can’t describe after you return. Pictures don’t do them justice.

Seven thatch-roofed chalets with sitting area, patios, double sink, soaking tub and indoor and outdoor showers. The "public" areas were comfortable and well appointed with a pool, BOMA area, library, bar, sitting/eating area, internet, a small gift shop and smiles on everyones face. I would want nothing more. Early morning game drives were complete with blankets and fleece-covered hotwater bottles for your comfort and evening drives ending with a warm wash cloth and apertif

The food was excellent, the bar well stocked and every member of the staff could not have been nicer or more accomodating.

Our two nights were fabulous but stay three. I assure you that it will be 72 hours you will remember for a lifetime.

  • Stayed: May 2008, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank ridgecreekhokie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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242 - 248 of 282 reviews

Reviewed April 12, 2008

We enjoyed our stay at Jackalberry Lodge and were especially appreciative of the helpfulness of the staff and the size of the facility. The chalets were the perfect size and spaced so as to insure privacy. Our family used two of the chalets (a double and the family chalet), and found both to be clean and spacious. The family chalet included a sleeping area and a sitting area, which allowed sleeping space for at least three people. The deep tub in the bathroom, and the shower outdoors were nice touches.

The morning began with a game drive at 5:45, just before the sun peeked over the horizon. Our second game drive of the day began at 3:30 in the afternoon and ended after dark at 7:00. Van was our ranger and Adam was our tracker, and both worked hard so that we could see the animals. They were knowledgable and respectful of the animals, enabling us to get very close to lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, and a variety of other animals. The park is not as big as Kruger, yet has a wide variety of animals, and (according to other guests) were easier to locate.

The staff was outstanding, greeting us with refreshments and warm wash clothes when we returned from our drives. The delicious meals were creative. Even though we were out in the bush, the food preparation was excellent.

Our daughter's 13th birthday was on our second day at the lodge, and the cook made a special birthday cake for dessert, and the waiters joyfully presented it, along with a Jackalberry shirt and a giraffe pen. She was very touched by the cake and gifts.

We discovered our other daughter left her treasured blanket at the hotel in Johannesburg where we stayed at before our time at Jackalberry. We had a one hour layover in Joburg, and because of dogged determination of Crystal (on the Jackalberry staff) we were able to have the blanket delivered to the airport. Crystal even called the hotel we stayed at after Jackalberry to check up on our daughter. Wow!

Our 10 and 13 year old daughters thoroughly enjoyed themselves and want to return. If you want a very pleasant, inspiring, troublefree stay Jackalberry is an excellent choice.

  • Stayed: April 2008, traveled with family
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2  Thank k-zootravellers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 13, 2008

We throughly enjoyed our visit at the Jackalberry Lodge. The cabins are comfortable and well appointed. The pool is small but our daughters were quite happy with it; there's not really that much time to spend there if you participate in the game drives.

Service at the lodge was outstanding throughout and it even extended beyond our stay. We had car trouble on our way back and Lee who spotted us at a gas station in Hoedspruit helped us to get the situation sorted out.

The game drives were top notch. We saw a lot of animals; big herds of elephants, a pack of lions on the prowl at night, hippos splashing in the water as well as lots of other animals which the ranger was able to tell us much about. A particularly interesting thing about the drives was that many of the animals we saw were quite active, not just sleeping in the shade. I don't know if this had something to do with the skills of the ranger but we definitely appreciated it.

The food was good and plentiful. The only thing that could be organized a bit differently is the seating at the dinner table. There's one big table at which everybody sits and while this is, of course, a great way to get to know other guests, sometimes you end up in situations that you are not comfortable with; separate tables would provide more privacy.

Overall, we highly recommend Jackalberry Lodge.

  • Stayed: January 2008, traveled with family
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2  Thank FinnFeb2008
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 4, 2008

I was pleasantly surprised at the service and amenities of the lodge. The food was really outstanding. Order the "rack of lamb". No, I'm not kidding. It was possibly the best I've ever had.

The lodge is very informal and pleasant. Very clean and well cared for. Remember, don't plan on dressing for dinner. Slacks are fine. No need to take hiking boots or shoes. Sandals work well. The only walking we did was around the lodge grounds.

Jackalberrry provided insect repellent that we needed when riding in the bush, and having dinner in the open air main lodge.

A computer and email connection were available free of charge. There was a library, TV, small souvenir store and a pool.

  • Stayed: November 2007, traveled with friends
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1  Thank burghborn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 2, 2008

Spent 2 nights here and it wasn't enough!! The rooms are spectacular, food is great, and the animals on the game drives are unreal. The resort is small, quiet and has a real family feel. The rooms have an indoor/outdoor shower and a large tub for relaxing inbetween game drives. The pool is small but does the trick. There is a lounge with games and books to borrow and an internet connection if you feel the need. I would HIGHLY recommend this resort! My fiance and parents all loved it!

  • Stayed: December 2007, traveled with family
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3  Thank TorontoTraveller26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 30, 2007

Stayed 2 nights in November and had an amazing time. The place is small but adequate. The rooms are large, probably bigger than my DC condo.

They have a large comfy bed and the bathroom is just as big. It has a large bathtub, shower and an outdoor shower.

The safaris were neat. We saw all of the Big 5 and zebras, giraffe, and so many more. The guides are so knowledgable and the enjoy teaching you about the animals. The trucks you go out on are nice and comfortable and stocked with rain jackets and blankets.

Food was also very good. Breakfast you can order eggs how you want them with different meats. Lunch and dinner were also good. It's basically a set menu for dinner with a choice of 2 entrees.

We really enjoyed ourselves and have been raving about our experience there to all of our friends. Would definitely recommend here vs. any other lodge and reserve. Our guide had worked in Krueger national. He said there were 2 great places for game watching, Thornybush is one and I can't remember the other. The difference being that all guides in Thornybush, even though they work for different lodges, are all on the same walkie-talkie system so they alert each other with sightings so that you have more of an opportunity to see things.

  • Stayed: November 2007, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Hrlandry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 27, 2007

Well, this was the less expensive choice we made during our safaris and I must tell, it was the best one.

The staff is so friendly and let you feel welcome immediately. The rooms are so fantastic, big sleeping room, nice bathroom with a bath with a view (we stayed in the Bush Chalet) and a wonderful terrace with look into the bush.

Food at breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner was excellent and we really enjoeyd the time.

What was extraordinary good compared to the other lodges were the game drives with Ranger John. We saw all the big five and a lot more and hundreds of interesting birds. John knows a lot about all these animals and we learned so much about the bush. What an amazing time!

I read lot that Thornybush is only a small reserve and Sabi Sand is much better, but we felt like beeing in a big zoo with lots of ohters in Sabi Sand. Thornybush is large and you never get the impression its fenced.

So I just can recommend Jackalberry without any doubts! It'S a fantastic place to stay!!!!

  • Stayed: November 2007, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Kiki68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Jackalberry Lodge

Address: Guernsey Road | Thornybush Private Nature Reserve, Kruger National Park 2128, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Thornybush Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 12 Specialty Lodging in Thornybush Private Game Reserve
Price Range: $881 - $993 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Jackalberry Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Jackalberry Lodge is a small, intimate establishment set deep in the Thornybush Nature Reserve, on the edge of the Kruger National Park. With just 7 rooms, all en-suite and tastefully furnished - you are guaranteed peace and tranquility during your stay. Locally sourced and expertly made meals are served outside under the stars, or pool-side depending on how you feel that day. Morning and evening game drives take you exploring in open vehicles with professional rangers and trackers, as you experience the abundance in wildlife, fauna and flora that that the African bush has to offer. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Jackalberry Hotel Thornybush Private Game Reserve
Jackalberry Lodge South Africa/Thornybush Private Game Reserve

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