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“"I'll Be Back" sums up our feelings for Chapungu”

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Chapungu Tented Bush Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Turangi
1 review
“"I'll Be Back" sums up our feelings for Chapungu”
Reviewed April 8, 2009

We (a group of 6) spent 3 nights at Chapungu and we all had a wonderful time. The tents are more than we expected, clean & well sized. The meals were great, with more than enough to fill any empty stomach!!
Of course you go for the game drives not for food. The game drives were so much fun. We saw the big 5 and many other animals. Our ranger Eugene was a hall of knowledge & fun; our tracker Service, was a great guide and also very informative on all sorts of things relating to the bush.
The whole experience was one to be remembered with a smile & satifaction.
Our recommendation: Go to Chapungu for an unforgetable time.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Rooms
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Helpful?
Thank Tokaanu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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183 reviews from our community

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Paris, France
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed March 21, 2009

We have spent 2 nights (out of a 6 nights safari trip in SA) at Chapungu.

The camp is very intimist, and we were lucky to be with only 2 other friendly guests at the same time. The tents are wide, nicely furnished, with a comfortable bathroom and an outdoor bath tub nearly in the bush. There was a king size bed, top quality linen and tea facilities. There is a big swimming pool, but it was not that clean.

We have had very nice meals (shared with other guests and our ranger). Efforts were made on the dinner presentation (candles, flowers etc). The staff was friendly and efficient.

Unfortunately the weather was very cloudy, a little rainy and the bush was very green and thick (normal for this periode of the year). However, our ranger Eugene and our tracker Ishmael managed to show us a lot of animals. We would like to thank the other guest who dropped a blanket in front of cheetah cubs, they might be still playing with it !

This nice experience ended badly as we noticed just before checking out that our bags has been thoroughly searched and money stolen probably during our dinner time. This explains why we will not recommend this lodge.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank yaben
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ontario, Canada
Level 4 Contributor
13 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed February 20, 2009

We did a safari at christmas/new years starting at Elephant Plains and then going to Chapungu. When we were booking the trip there were few reviews about Chapungu so I was a little worried that the safari would not as good as Elephant Plains. On the contrary Chapungu turned out to be amazing! The rooms are wonderful, the food was delicious and best of all the game drives were out of this world. Our ranger went above and beyond to find us animals we had yet to see at Elephant plains. The rangers are fun, enthusiastic, knowleable, accomodating and most importantly you can tell that they love being part of the safari experience. If you are considering Thornybush vs Sabi Sands don't worry you will not be disappointed with Thornybush.

  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank probit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC
Level 4 Contributor
42 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed January 22, 2009

Chapungu was just great. Game drives - you will see everything and more. The food is great. The staff is great. The tents (rooms) are great. Now we were there when the outside temp was 105 F so the rooms were hot during the day - fortunately the pool is wonderful. What was most enjoyable was the communal setting (and I normally can't stand that process). People from throughout the world bond and just relax. This is a place you will like yet 3 days should be enough as the 5 AM wake up for the morning drives do push it (especially if you don't go to bed until 3). If you like Spa treatments, sign up - great.

  • Liked — the atmosphere of friendliness
  • Disliked — it was hot - that said, it is a jungle:)
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank vdoran
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austria
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed November 18, 2008

When you book a lodge like this in a private game reserve you are bound to go there with high expectations ... to make it short: Chapungu and the Thornybush Reserve did not disappoint us at all. From the first moment on we were made feel at home, from our welcome to our farewell, also including the game drives the friendlyness of all staff, rangers, trackers was amazing. Also accomodation is perfect - the tents are spacious, quite luxurious and give you the real feeling of being in the bush (including an AC!, a beautiful veranda and an outdoor bath tub!) - i would never trade a luxury tent like this for a "normal" room when on safari if i had the choice. Food: perfect! not one single issue you could complain about, most of the was not only good but up to gourmet standards (but after all you don't go there for the food :-).

Most important thing: the game drives: first of all we wanna point out Jancu, our ranger - we have been on Safari before (Kenya, Botswana, SA before) and we have had very good guides and rangers - but never someone who is equally knowledgeable about animals, plants, tracks, the whole area and at the same time as funny and entertaining and also "at home" in the reserve as Jancu. Safari is not only about seeing wildlife but also about learning new things about what you see and he combined this in a perfect way and mixed it with a lot of stories from his experience. To make it short: we saw Lion multiple times, also Leopard and all the other big 5 in our 2 days there and had not one game drive without one or multiple highlights, also a Cheetah with cubs and another Cheetah. The quality of the sightings is very high since the rangers spare no effort to follow and track also offroad. One thing that you should be aware of: Chapungu does not have a waterhole (at/near camp) and has also has a fence around the camp, the tents are build along a small river bed but it is dry for most of the year - so game viewing from the lodge while you relax in between drives is quite limited (to warthogs or bush buck .... :-). Plus: though Thornybush is a big reserve to cover it is not VERY big, so if you do some drives there you will probably reach the fence or drive along it once in a while (which spoils the bush ambience a little bit). But as I said, all in all: highly recommended!

  • Liked — Amazing game viewing, the tents, the outdoor bath tub, the fabulous food.
  • Disliked — -
  • Stayed October 2008, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank stef2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. Albans, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
23 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed October 8, 2008

Chapungu was the first safari camp we have ever been to and we were not disappointed. We visited Chapungu for three nights on our honeymoon (Sept 08), before going on to a lodge in the Sabi Sands reserve. We were pleased we did the trips this way round, as the second lodge was superior to the tented camp at Chapungu - but that said, you certainly get what you pay for at both. To expect 5* treatment and facilities at Chapungu would be mis-placed, but we had the most wonderful time and were glad to have spent a portion of the trip in the tented camp.

The reserve itself (Thornybush) is great. We saw all of the Big 5 at least three times over in the space of three days and sightings were very good ones. The guide (Eugene) was knowledgeable and friendly and we were impressed with the set-up generally. We didn't have any more than 6 people in our vehicle at any one time - which meant we always got great, uninterrupted, views and the reserve operates a "no more than 2 cars at any one sighting" policy, meaning your photos aren't spoiled by other vehicles in the background. Game drives started at 5am and 3.45pm and typically lasted around 4 - 4 1/2 hours.

Food was good. Dinners were particularly good (always three courses), taking place in different parts of the camp each night. Yes, you have to pay for drinks but they are not pricey.

Accomodation is nice, though the a/c isn't the most effective! The outdoor baths are really great and we were made more than comfortable during our stay.

Would highly recommend as a middle-of-the-price-range option, though if you're hoping for 5* luxury, this probably isn't the place for you.

  • Liked — The food was fantastic, as were the game drives
  • Disliked — not very good a/c in tents
  • Stayed September 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank Kate N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego
Level 1 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed May 9, 2008

We loved Chapungu! The staff is friendly and available but not hovering. The luxury tents are a nice combination canvas walls but with high thread count sheets and a deep soft mattress and air conditioning. Ours had an outdoor tub on the deck but no outdoor shower. The game drives were amazing. We saw loads of animals and the rangers and trackers were knowledgable and informative. The range rovers have great suspension and they were very comfortable (much more so than the jeeps at "another" lodge we stayed at!). The optional afternoon game "walks" let you walk in the bush with an armed ranger (just in case) and see things up close like dung beetles and huge termite mounds that whiz by you when you're after "big game". The afternoon game drives feature cocktails at sundown in the bush, then keep you out after dark to see the animals at night . (Take a jacket). We had amazing waterhole viewing of an enormous herd of cape buffalo at sunset, saw the hippos out of the water in the cool of the evening, (a rare treat!) and the lions coming to drink! The food at camp was delicious (though the "midmorning and sunset snacks" during the game drives were unimaginative) With only something like 8 tents, its an intimate size lodging and dining is around a large communal table. If you enjoy sharing travel tales you'll like the intimate size of the group. There are no "private tables for two". Dinner by torchlight in the boma was exotic, romantic and delightful, but then all of the dinners were delightful. We'd definately recommend Chapungu. We give Thornybush and Chapungu a 4.5.

  • Liked — Size. With only about 16 guests at a time, this is NOT a mega hotel experience!
  • Disliked — I wish the tent was a bit more luxurious, and that the view from our tent was better.
  • Stayed March 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank g00dg0llymissm0lly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Chapungu Tented Bush Camp

Property: Chapungu Tented Bush Camp
Address: Kruger National Park, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Thornybush Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 12 Specialty Lodging in Thornybush Private Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Chapungu Tented Bush Camp 4*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
In the heart of the Thornybush Nature Reserve the nostalgic guest will find Chapungu Tented Bush Camp. Tastefully furnished in old world colonial splendour, in a style and class of a bygone era. Eight comfortable air-conditioned en-suite tents offer private and exclusive accommodation. Boma dinners are an occasion and an opportunity to select a bottle from the stock of fine wines and to savour the finest fare. Settle around a log fire to recount the days’ game experiences before retiring to the lounge for a night-cap, or the comfort of your tent. Our passion for hospitality and the excitement of dawn and dusk safaris in an open safari vehicle, ensuring close and unrestricted encounters with the wild. The more adventurous are encouraged to join an experienced game ranger on a walk as he interprets and discusses Africa's footprint. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Chapungu Camp Hotel Thornybush Private Game Reserve
Chapungu Tented Bush Camp South Africa/Thornybush Private Game Reserve

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