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“Lovely Family Safari”
Review of Monwana Game Lodge

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Monwana Game Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed August 28, 2012

What an experience this trip was from the arrival at the tiny Hoedspruit airport. The little airport only appears to service the local safari lodges, so you are greeted upon arrival by drivers, and then you head to the parking lot where the luggage is brought out by a tracker and you claim it right by the side of the road. Then you drive about 35 minutes on mostly dirt roads to the Thornybush game reserve, and arrive at the Thornybush main lodge, where you and your luggage is transferred to a Land Rover that will take you to the more remote Monwana Lodge. At Monwana we were greeted by the staff and drums upon arrival and shown our lovely accommodations. The lodge we stayed in had a wrap around porch that face the watering hole. There were two separate "wings", one for my husband and I complete with full bath, and another for the kids, also with full bath.
The food and facilities were wonderful. We were not given locks to the rooms--apparently the lodge is so remote there is little fear of theft. Except from monkeys--we had one slip into our room and steal some sugar and cookies from the kids' room.
The game drives were amazing, and our ranger, Neill, and tracker Celebrate were great about finding us new, interesting things to see each day. Some of the highlights were the rare black rhino, the wild dog pack and their pups, cheetah cubs, and the lions feeding. We spotted all of the big five in our 3-day stay plus lots of birds, reptiles, and other mammals.
Our hostess Christie was amazingly helpful and friendly.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank photogalDC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 25, 2012

After parking our rental car at the main lodge at Thornybush, we were picked up and taken to Monwana Game Lodge. As we entered the compound the staff were there to greet us with their drums. Our luggage was taken to our room and we received an informative orientation with cocktails.The room was terrific and the lodge was comfortable with an expresso/latte machine going all day long. The game drives of course are the main attraction and Neil, and the tracker did a great job of finding, and getting us close to the wildlife for photos. The other reviews pretty much cover Monwana, but one thing I would add, if you rent a car to get there, there are about ten miles of corduroy road. We had a blow out on the way out to the black top. Oh, be sure you secure your doors and windows, the baboons and monkeys will come in and rummage through your belongings if you don't.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank tntvlr525
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 24, 2012

Not much I can add to the great reviews below, other than to echo what an amazing place Monwana is. Neill and Christie who were our ranger and hostess were amazing, not just great hosts, but people who we truly enjoyed spending time with. Neill's game drives with the excellent Morris as tracker were packed with sightings, and his knowledge and appreciation for these animals was really great, he's also good at keeping the mood light and getting everyone to enjoy themselves. After the drives I really enjoyed recapping the day with him over a drink at the lodge, just a very genuine person. Christie may possibly be the nicest person we've ever met. She was on top of everything and ran a flawless program at the lodge for us, from meals to drinks on arrival to a special romantic treat for my wife and I, she was amazing, as were the rest of the staff. The lodge itself is great, accommodations are comfortable and luxurious, and don't underestimate the value of the waterhole nearby, the number of animals it attracts is incredible, it's like getting an extra game drive from your porch!

We're already planning our return trip, thanks to all for a great stay!

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank sulliclm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 21, 2012

We stayed at Monwana Lodge for 4 days, and we had the most amazing time. We were greeted by the sounds of the drums as we arrived. Karen, the manager, then greeted us warmly with cocktails, as she showed us around the lodge. Our room was situated near the water hole, which was fantastic, as we got to see the animals coming for a drink every so often.

The safari trips were brilliant. We saw the big 5 in one day! There were so many beautiful animals, so much to see! Ryan and Morris, our ranger and tracker, were both brilliant! Ryan was extremely knowledgeable about all the animals; he explained everything in great detail, answered every single question and was just superb. We enjoyed the food during High Tea, lovely muffins to eat in the morning with a cup of tea, enjoying the beautiful views. It is unbelievable!
The food was spectacular every day, we couldn’t have asked for anymore!
We would like to thank Karen, Ryan and all the staff for a fantastic time at Monwana Lodge. We would definitely like to return!

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank Naomi_0682
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 16, 2012

We cant recommend this place highly enough. I have been on safaris before, but not on a private reserve. The difference was massive because you're not restricted to roads where the game steer clear of, and you get to see the animals up close. The lodge itself is small (in a good way) and the managers Karen and Ryan bent over backwards to make our stay comfortable and we weren't disappointed. We will definitely go back to Monwana without a doubt, the best start and the highlight of our honeymoon trip.

Room Tip: The honeymoon suite overlooks the watering hole and is the biggest in the lodge.
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  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank PennyTee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 12, 2012

This was our first camp in our first safari trip (hopefully not the last), and it was perfect. We were three couples, and we had the entire camp to ourselves. Monwana is very small; it can hold 14 people but they don't like to have more than eight at one time. Karen and Ryan, the camp manager and ranger made us feel like family, waiting for us when we arrived and at the end of each safari drive with a warm towel, a drink and a smile.It is a very intimate setting. Food was excellent - they have a great chef. Valentine, the bartender/waiter/overall helper was terrific - even chasing the warthogs away before they joined us in the gazebo. At night, there were hot water bottles in the bed to keep us warm (it was their winter). And, of course, the wildlife sightings were spectacular. We saw the big five within the first 24 hours. We saw a cheetah hunting and then with its kill, a lion (Marvin) roaring to his pride, and the females answering, a lioness chased up a tree by a large herd of cape buffalo who only wanted the lion to come down, elephants playing around a watering hole, a leopard posing for us, and much more! Ryan and Morris (the tracker) were great, taking great care that we saw all that we could, while always making sure we were comfortable and not in danger. Ryan really cares about the animals and the bush. Hurry up, though, as Ryan and Karen may be leaving this fall.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank tbird67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 3, 2012

My husband and I had the pleasure of staying at Monwana 2 weeks ago to start off our 16 day honeymoon in South Africa and Victoria Falls. Where do I even begin. From the moment you arrive, you know that you are in for a very special treat. Karen, who is wonderful, greeted us with some delicious beverages and a very warm welcome. We took a tour of the entire lodge, which is gorgeous, and then went off to our beautiful suite, which was spacious, romantic, and just plain perfect! Our suite happened to be located directly in front of the watering hole which was simply amazing. Each afternoon, after the morning game drive and a delicious breakfast, my husband and I would lay out on our balcony and just relax while watching the animals come right up to our suite. The food is unbelievable, from breakfast to lunch. We could not believe how incredible everything that we ate was.

We were so lucky to have an amazing Ranger (Ryan) and Tracker (Morris). We saw everything and more. On our very first afternoon drive we saw elephants, rhinos, and lions. You can't possible understand what it is like to see these animals in the wild until you experience it. We definitely got out fill of the BIG FIVE..

On our last night we arrived in our room to find that the staff had set up a table, lanterns, candles, a beautiful bath and champagne for our private dinner. It was amazing. Do not hesitate to stay at Monwana. It is truly and experience that you will never forget. We feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to stay here and meet such wonderful people!!

Room Tip: All of the rooms at this lodge are perfect. It is small and only holds about 12 people total at any...
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  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Melissa L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Monwana Game Lodge

Address: Guernsey Road | Thornybush Private Nature Reserve, Kruger National Park 1380, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Thornybush Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 12 Specialty Lodging in Thornybush Private Game Reserve
Price Range: $687 - $859 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Monwana Game Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Monwana Game Lodge is nestled deep in the African bush, at the Thornybush Private Nature Reserve - adjacent to the Kruger National Park. Monwana is a small, intimate lodge offering all the comforts you'd expect from a 4-star luxury safari lodge, while still being down-to-earth and comfortable. 2 Family suites at this lodge make it ideal for anyone traveling with children. Morning and evening game drives through the reserve are hosted by professional trackers and game rangers. They will do their best to make sure you see as much as you can on your stay, offering interesting information about the fauna and flora you encounter, to enhance your experience. There are no fences between the Thornybush Reserve and the Kruger National Park, so animals have free range around the whole region, making it perfect for the Big 5 and a whole range of other animals. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Monwana Game Lodge South Africa/Thornybush Private Game Reserve

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