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“Fabulous Beyond Words!”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Jackalberry Lodge

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Jackalberry Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Level Contributor
13 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Fabulous Beyond Words!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 8, 2014

We stayed at the Jackalberry Lodge in early October 2013 (only now getting around to submitting our review). We booked a tour through Lion Word Travel, a deal we found on the site "Travel Zoo," so we did not select the Jackalberry Lodge ourselves. Through "dumb luck" we ended up with this unbelievable, unforgettable experience.

First, the accommodations could not have been better. Small, luxuriously comfortable without being pretentious, delicious meals and drinks, friendly accommodating staff, air-conditioned individual casitas. You will read people's reviews (including this one), see the pictures, but being there is something quite indescribable. They truly do have everything just right.

But having said all of this, you are there to see the animals, right? And in this, you will not be disappointed. More "dumb luck." Did you know that when you go to Kruger, you can't go off-road? Your Jackalberry Lodge guides know where the animals are, and they will take you there, wherever "there" is. We saw the big 5 (lion, elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros) numerous times, and that was great, but it was the many more animals, birds, sunrises, sunsets, trees, plants that made our outings so fabulous. Sitting safely in your jeep, off-road, positioned first in front of and then behind 20 elephants as they forage in and around you is indescribable. Listening to the myriad of bird calls. Watching the graceful movements of the many varieties of antelope. Seeing Dumbo for real (really!). What about those majestic giraffes? Truly, you will not be disappointed. Doesn't matter if you don't see all the big 5 on your outing (maybe the leopard just isn't there that week); you will see and experience so much more. You will be comfortable, safe, eat good food, be with wonderful people -- what more can you ask for?

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank SeattleBea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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253 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (59)
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English first
Cape Town
Level Contributor
25 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 3, 2014

Just returned from Jackalberry Lodge after another great visit. The lodges have been upgraded and rooms are super comfortable. The size of the reserve has recently increased by about 20% as well. Rangers (Reece!) are tops; great game viewing in pristine African bush.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank Dave1q
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rancho Palos Verdes, California
Level Contributor
17 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 4, 2013

The lodge was outstanding, from all of the staff to the rooms and the location. The staff paid attention to each guest's needs and desires. They even made gluten free meals for one of the guests, and special meals for vegetarians. The "cook" was exceptional and very friendly. When the weather permitted, dinner was served around a beautiful fire and the natural sounds of Africa in the evening. At each dinner one of the rangers joined the guests and participated in the conversations and answered any questions from the days adventures. The "host" of the lodge. Atasha was wonderful. After each safari, she awaited the guests arrival with fresh hand towels, and inquired about each experience with great enthusiasm. About the safaris: one must understand that this is on a private game reserve, but you never get the feeling that it is one very large zoo, because it is not. It is the wilderness and the animals are wild. If you want to see the "big five", go with any ranger (some have called them guides) and take your photos. If you want to experience Africa and all that it has to offer, request Willie. With Willie as your ranger, you will quickly learn it is not about a check list of the animals you saw. It is about becoming one with this part of Africa, all of the sounds, smells, sights, and animal behaviors. Yes, as others have said, Willie is passionate about his craft, and he does spend time on foot, rifle in hand, searching for fresh kills and elusive wild animals, and each time he returns, you learn more about Africa, and for that I can not thank him enough. One time out, we were driving along the dirt road, and Willie stops the jeep and says, "do you smell that?"; none of us did, but we soon learned how to identify the smell of a day old leopard kill, and soon after, all of the other jeeps came to see. Of note, there are other lodges on this private reserve, and you do see other jeeps, but they have a "rule" that no more than two jeeps can be at any one sighting, which is really admirable. I would highly recommend Jackalberry Lodge, and Willie to anyone who wants to experience something beyond a safari.

Room Tip: All room are excellent. Two rooms have views of the small watering hole and are open to the bush (6...
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank OCinnamon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
89 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 25, 2013 via mobile

An unbelievable three night stay at Jackalberry Lodge exceeded my expectations 1000 fold. The rooms were clean and spacious with great air conditioning, the food was excellent, and the staff could not be more accommodating. Now the game drives....we were a group of 12, so we were 6 per jeep. Although I can honestly say I had a remarkable experience seeing "The Big Five" and more, unfortunately our ranger was not as passionate and informative as what we heard from ALL of the other 6 passengers in the other vehicle. While all 12 of us seemed to have viewed the same animals (sometimes on different days), we learned more from our traveling companions about the animals than from our ranger. They heard all and more, from their ranger, Willie, and sang his praises during, and after we left Jackalberry, leaving us to feel that our experience could have been a better one, had we had Willie as our ranger. I absolutely loved every minute of my time at Jackalberry, but found myself a little perturbed that my ranger was more interested in hooking up with his buddies for beers at night, than taking the time to make our experience equal to that of our traveling companions. I absolutely recommend Jackalberry Lodge without a doubt, but try to get Willie.

Stayed November 2013, traveled with friends
Helpful?
2 Thank Osolemio1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
El Paso, Texas
1 review
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 21, 2013

A Very nice facility. The guides are excellent and there is reasonably good access to all the animals you will want to see. We saw all the big 5 but the only negative there was we had the more experienced guide (Willie) and we spent a good amount of time simply searching for the ever-elusive leopard. To their credit, Willie and Timba did finally track one down to complete our big 5 experience but we did lose a fair amount of potential game viewing time to that search while the other group got to see more animals since they let us do the "leopard hunting" and than got to take advantage of our success (all units are in radio contact). But it was still definitely a great overall experience. The food is actually quite good and you will not be disappointed, but it is NOT as over the top pure 5 star great as some posters have indicated. Also if you are getting up in years, the rooms are not particularly well lit, so reading anything at night can be somewhat of a challenge. Admittedly small negatives, but simply want to point out some areas that others have chosen to ignore. I would still be more than happy to go back.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank EPBUCKY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canada
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 19, 2013

I have travelled quite extensively and I must say this was one of my favorite places that I have ever been too. The rooms were wonderful - private, clean, cosy, with great views. It was the ideal place to relax. Luxury out in the bush! I was really impressed with all of the staff who always went out of their way to be helpful. I am a bit of a dessert fanatic and I can honestly say that their cook made the best pie I have ever had in my life. We got to see all big 5 animals and many more up close. They have a significant number of return travelers - some guests had been there about a half a dozen times and some told me that they had been to many other lodges and liked this one best. This place is truly a gem!

  • Stayed October 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank CanadianTravellots1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
16 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 13, 2013

We visited Jackalberry as part of an organised tour and was amazed at the experience and luxury whilst on safari.
We stayed in our own little hut which was completely luxurious, we didn't have to worry about a thing as our days were planned out, staff would remind us and prepare everything.
All staff could not do enough for you and to top it off the safari experience could not have been better, great vehicles and well organised trips with stop offs for drinks and nibbles.
Rangers had extensive knowledge of the environment enabling us to learn about all aspects of life in the wild from the plants to the insects and animals.
Would definitely recommend as I would love to go back! Saw the Big 5 (more than once) amongst others!!

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank McNulty1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Jackalberry Lodge

Property: Jackalberry Lodge
Address: Near Hoedspruit, Kruger National Park 1380, 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 (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Jackalberry Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 7
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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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