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“Pleasant Experience”

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Shumbalala Game Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Sacramento, California
Level Contributor
31 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 107 helpful votes
“Pleasant Experience”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 12, 2011

Shumbalala is a very small property. There are only five guest units, one of which is built to accommodate families. Our party occupied casitas 2 and 4 and they were virtually identical in size and style. Both were spacious and well appointed with higher-end, comfortable furnishings They have beautiful freestanding bathtubs, indoor showers and outdoor showers. But we noticed grime on the floors in both rooms, indicating that they hadn't been mopped or swept in some time. There were a few dead bug squishes on the walls here and there too. Beds, however, do have suitable netting for sleeping protection. It's also important to note that casita 4 is built to accommodate those who are less ambulatory and as we had an older person in our party we very much appreciated this modification to the unit. All units also have fully private decks that look out over the river bed, but not all of them can clearly see the busy watering hole. Of the two units we occupied, casita 4 afforded far better views to observe the animal activity at the watering hole.

We were very pleased with the food prepared at the property, and the staff made up some special requests for us wtihout any question. But we were annoyed that each and every bottle of water and glass of tea was charged against us. We just believe that all-inclusive properties like this should incorporate water and tea consuption into the price of the stay. Similarly, the sundowner nibbles could have been a little more classy than Pringle's and Dorito's chips. Maybe it's just me, but tortilla chips tend to take away from the mystique of watching the sun set over the African bushveld. At least there was wine.

Having said all that, we believe our experience at Shumbalala was fun and full. We truly appreciated our guide and tracker and we enjoyed seeing all the impressive game. Our guide and tracker both went out of their way to accommodate the older person in our party by helping to maneuver her in and out of the safari jeep. Their help really made the experience all the better for our party. By way of observation, we believe the managing couple at Shumbalala recognized the need to obtain a suitable step ladder that will make climbing into the jeeps easier for the next mobile-constrained older guest.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank twoguyswhotravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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241 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
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (66)
Date | Rating
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
15 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 3, 2011

I recently spent 2 nights at this lodge, which is part of the thornybush collection
The lodge has 5 stand alone rooms which are very well appointed. The property give the fell of a large home rather than a hotel very tastefully done as you would do at home, but without going over the top
The staff are professional and friendly so you fell you are visiting old friends , but still showing you that they know who pays their salary the guests
Over the last 20 year I have been on more than 10 safaris and this is right up there with the best . The standard of food was first class for the remoteness , I have stayed in city hotels which could not deliver that quality (see my previous review in africa ) the level of service showed that the staff had been trained well
It obviously helps on safari if you see good game , but again the ranger can just drive up and down tracks or they can demonstrate that they know what they are doing and where the animals are
A rare gem to find , but don't tell everybody as it will be fully booked when I want to go back,

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank alwaysaway16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brighton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
40 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 6, 2011

So impressed! In our first 24 hours at Shumbalala Game Lodge we captured our Big Five bush bounty on film; with our guide Wiehan and Shangaan tracker Herman, consistently locating great game during our two days on Thornybush Game Reserve.

This is breathtakingly beautiful Bushveld... To the west the Thornybush woodland savannah is framed by the Blyderiver Canyon which forms part of the majestic, northern Drakensberg mountain range.

Shumbalala is small, exclusive and owner managed. Hats off to our hosts Louise, Michelle & Ryan, all whom were warm and welcoming, getting the hospitality balance of being attentive and unobtrusive, right.

Fav feature - The top-end lodge and its five suites seem built to maximise its waterhole views: albeit from the privacy of your viewing deck, the bath or alfresco shower, even the wine cellar has floor to ceiling windows and at night we watched game quench their thirst at the lit waterhole – making it a great spot for our dinner!

Game on - We tracked three lionesses in dense bush, when much to our delighted, they stopped for a clear photo opportunity; the trio settled down to relax at a junction in the road. Soon thereafter, at dusk we found and followed the infamous: BambaNyati, a very large adult male leopard, so named as incredibly, he has attempted to bring down buffalo on his own.

The following morning, first light and five minutes into our game drive, we saw four White Rhino having a lie-in on the soft sandy road! With dense bush, its great that, seems like the animals on Thornybush reserve make use of the roads, as much as the humans do... We left the rhino in peace and further along the road, we found a frantic, Spotted Hyena, chased by Wildebeest. Up close and personal, we also saw a black rhino and; two sets of rhino mums with calf's, a herd of Buffalo and Elephant uprooting trees like they weighted no more than toothpicks!

On our last morning we woke to the sound of a lions roar and from the picture window bath, was entertained with Vervet monkey gymnastics and a Nyala browsing closeby!

Twitcher’s Treasure Chest - Thornybush revealed: a preening Wahlberg Eagle, seven Whitebacked and Hooded vultures, Wooleynecked Stork, a Burchell’s Coucal, Greater blueeared Starling, Redcrested Korhaan, African Hoepoe, Arrowmarked Babblers, Magpie Longtailed Shrike, Lilacbreasted Rollers, Emeraldspotted Doves, Goaway Birds and Redbilled Hornbills harvesting an ants nest!

Chef Rhulani - served up a feast: ostrich fillet on a merlot jus with sweet potato cake & slow roasted oxtail with punpkin fritters and basmati rice. Tantalizing selection of high tea and desserts all yummy scrummy.

Shumbalala Game Lodge = Game viewing adrenaline highs, decadent exclusivity, attentive service and indulgent relaxation.

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  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank SingleonSafari
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
melano
Level Contributor
19 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 16, 2011

It was great!
My first time in Africa and the Shumbalala team has given me marvelous memories to remember!

Gently staff members....so many cute details in the rooms, at dinner or even at the bush-apero. It was so cosy and familiar....to good ...it should be really secret!

Our first experience with wild animals, and we saw so many amazing things...thank you from the heart!

Corina and Manfred Wyler

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank MelanoSwiss33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stamford, Connecticut
Level Contributor
44 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 13, 2010

My husband and I stayed here for three nights during our honeymoon. The grounds and room were so beautiful, peaceful and romantic. Our guides were very knowledgeable and we saw just about all the animals we could see over the course of our stay. The food was delicious as well and the staff extremely hospitable. I would love to go back some day! I would highly recommend Shumbalala.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank kitkat77774
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
tadley, hampshire
Level Contributor
9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 7, 2010

Fantastic place, great staff, beautiful location, game drives were amazing. Ranger and tracker were excellent.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled on business
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Helpful?
Thank rebecca92
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Egham, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 17, 2010

We booked in at the Shumbalala Game Lodge at the last minute, without knowing too much about it, however we quickly realised we had stumbled upon a gem. The main lodge and rooms were beautiful, the food was incredible and the drives were fantastic. It was the staff though that made our stay truly unforgettable. Each and every one were friendly, professional and hospitable. We just wish we could have stayed longer.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank MAH167
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Shumbalala Game Lodge

Property: Shumbalala Game Lodge
Address: Thornybush Game Reserve | Greater Kruger, Kruger National Park 1380, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Thornybush Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 12 Specialty Lodging in Thornybush Private Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Shumbalala Game Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
It’s a vast, wild place where the lions roam at Shumbalala Game Lodge, deep in the Thornybush GameReserve, one of the country’s great tracts of untamed game-viewing.Set as it is in a dry, singeing savanna of Mopane, Acacias and Umbrella thorns, quartered by easterly-flowing rivers densely shrouded in giant figs, fever trees and phoenix palms, the land is an ancient tapestry of natural wonder.Over-head the Loeries call their sharp warning while horn-bills swoop in an ungainly ballet between trees whilst vultures elevate on thermals portending an electric storm.As you push on through the bush it is the serendipity of nature that amazes most as your vehicle skirts art deco zebra, dozy giraffe, bright eyed bush babies, wildebeest (made, it is said, by the committee of left-over parts) and the rest Africa has to offer.It is even more of an adventure when you stumble upon a leopard lazing in the V of a Jackalberry tree or; a hyena giving you a lazy yellow eye in the gathering dusk; a majestic bull elephant crashing its way through the riverine thicket in search of sweet reeds or; a surprise sunrise encounter with a lion pride on the prowl.This is the world of Shumbalala. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Shumbalala Game Hotel Thornybush Private Game Reserve
Shumbalala Game Lodge South Africa/Thornybush Private Game Reserve

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