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Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

My wife and I stayed here for 4 nights as the first part of our honeymoon trip. Having never done a safari before we were a bit apprehensive but it has always been top of our bucket list and ended up picking N’kaya after being sold on the experience by our travel agent.

We arrived weary after a days worth of travel to be greeted at the waterfront lodge where we did some initial check in details and got a refreshing iced tea.

A few minutes later, Andres (the fantastic tracker at the lodge) picked us up and took us through the bush to the lodge, nestled away in the heart of the reserve. This is where we met Chantelle, one of the staff at the lodge who gave us some hot towels and showed us around the site.

There is a main communal building which is where you have breakfast, dinner etc. A lovely setting and great place to meet the other guests and staff, who sit with you and provide some great chat throughout your stay (and some excellent South African shots, Andre! )

There are 4 lodges which are very spacious with 2 bathrooms, 1 bedroom and a living area. The best part about the lodges themselves is all the small touches the staff provide. I won’t spoil the surprises but you come back in the evening looking forward to seeing what is left on your pillow!

The lodges all look inward towards a small pool which has some sun loungers. We didn’t use the pool but seemed nice enough! The pool often gets a few friendly visitors from the nearby wildlife.

The star of the lodges facilities is the hideaway. A small thatched covered area looking directly onto a watering hole where you see all sorts of animals making their way past for a drink. We seen elephants, hyenas, buffalo, giraffes and more whilst sitting enjoying a drink.

A day itself starts early; wake up at 5:30 for leaving at 6. You get greeted by Benji (our amazing guide and host) for tea, coffee and biscuits before setting out on your drive. At around 8:30 you stop for coffee, muffins etc with amazing views across the landscape. Returning at around 9:15 we were greeted by either Chantelle or Andre with a warm towel and letting you know breakfast arrangements.

I’ll pause here to talk about the food. My wife has quite a few intolerances (gluten, dairy and a few others) so we were slightly worried about what might be available. These were completely unnecessary concerns as genuinely, we have never experienced better service in terms of catering for her requirements anywhere we have been before. Every single meal and snack had a delicious option that met all of her requirements. The food itself is of such a high standard, thank you Lucky and Lene for this, really meant a lot!

After breakfast, you have free time until high tea at 2:30. During this time we mostly stayed at the hideout enjoying whatever animals passed by. After high tea you then set off on your second drive at the day around 3:30pm. Again you have a stop for some drinks and snacks before heading back in the night with Andres spotting animals in the dark with a spotlight, massively impressive!

Returning to the lodge, again greeted with hot towels, you then go for a fantastic 3 course meal. We tried loads of food we have never even thought about before and couldn’t be more impressed. We even got a special dinner one night since it was our honeymoon.

I’m not one for exaggerating so I say with complete sincerity that this was the best trip my wife and I have experienced. The staff absolutely make this place and if you have any doubts in your mind about booking just ignore them, you will have the best time and everything you need catered for.

The drives themselves are fantastic, we seen everything we wanted to see and more. The star of the show was seeing a 3 week old wild dog pup leaving its den for the first time! Very special. You very quickly appreciate the skill and expertise of Andres and Benji when it comes to tracking the animals.

Thank you again Andre, Andres, Benji, Chantelle, Lene and the rest of the team for such an amazing experience, we will be coming back sometime and promise to return with some Scottish drinks for you to try Andre!

Calum & Michelle

Date of stay: September 2019
Trip type: Traveled as a couple
Thank calum37
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NKaya_Manager, Manager at N'kaya Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 4 weeks ago

Good day Calum and Michelle.

We thank you for taking the time to write this lovely review. We enjoyed hosting you here at N'kaya and are thankful for all the great feedback, and that we could play a small part in your honeymoon trip.

Kind regards.

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Reviewed September 13, 2019 via mobile

As a family of 4 adults we spent 3 nights at this fantastic lodge. I cannot recommend it enough. Airport transfer is about 40 minutes to waterside lodge and from there we had a further 20 minute drive in the land cruiser with Andreas who would be our tracker on game drives. Chantelle welcomed us to the lodge, took us to our bungalows and answered any questions we had. (There is Wifi, phone signal and an electric fence!) Each bungalow has a bedroom, a lounge and two bathrooms. The lounge area was converted to a bedroom in the second bungalow so our son and daughter could each have a bedroom with en-suite. The communal area has a lounge, fully stocked bar, inside dinner table and outside dining overlooking the waterhole. We were fortunate to be able to eat all our meals outdoors. The food was beautifully presented, very delicious and there was lots of it. Benji our guide usually joined us for meals so we could chat about what we had seen on our latest game drive. We had 6 game drives and each one was different and very exciting. Benji and Andreas made sure we saw the big 5 and then some. We were amazed (and sometimes a little scared) at just how close our animal encounters were. It was also lovely to watch the animals at the waterhole either from the hideout or when having our own meals. Thank you to Benji, Chantelle, Andreas, Andrew and all the staff at N’Kaya for making our safari experience an unforgettable one.

Date of stay: August 2019
Trip type: Traveled with family
Thank JulieR4674
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NKaya_Manager, Manager at N'kaya Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 4 weeks ago

Good day Julie.

Thank you very much for taking the time to write this review, we really appreciate it. We are thrilled to hear that you enjoyed your stay here at N'kaya and that you got to see some fabulous wildlife. It was a pleasure hosting you here at N'kaya.

Kind regards.

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Reviewed June 21, 2019 via mobile

Our last place of accommodation on our 10 day safari Andre and Lene were the perfect hosts. The accommodation was spotless and comfortable, the food delicious. Our game drives were successful and the offer of bush walks also available if time allows. The knowledge of the animals in the area was fantastic and the guides are happy to answer your questions and share their wealth of knowledge. The opportunity to sit in the hide to try and spot the wildlife at the watering hole just outside the boundary is a must. Thank you N’Kaya for a wonderful end to our fantastic holiday.

Date of stay: June 2019
Trip type: Traveled as a couple
Thank U5845NDemmaw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NKaya_Manager, Manager at N'kaya Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded June 27, 2019

Good day Emma.

Thank you for taking the time to write this lovely review, we really appreciate the feedback, and are glad to hear that you had a lovely time here and that you enjoyed seeing all the lovely animals we have here on the reserve. It was a pleasure hosting you here at N'kaya.

Kind regards.
André.

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Reviewed June 19, 2019

The N’Kaya Lodge in Thornybush reserve provided us with the best possible opportunity to see and interact with animals in the wild in full security. Each time we set out on a drive, we and our tracker and guide , did not know what we would see. This element of uncertainty and surprise, the need to track animals their movements and footprints created an element of excitement and adventure. I will not list all the animals we saw for we saw the big five plus impalas, warthogs, koudous, zebras, ostriches, giraffes and so much more. Andre (our guide and host) and Andrew (our trackers) were incredibly knowledgeable, but most important clearly had a passion for what they did which made all the difference.
A lookout shack allowed visitors to watch animals that came to the drinking whole without being seen by them. Zebras, Kudus, Impalas, Giraffes are some of the animals we saw at the drinking whole. It provided for very tranquil afternoons in between meals and safaris. For me it was a type of meditation.
The small intimate nature of the lodge was perfect for the setting. The cabins were spacious, comfortable, well decorated and immaculately clean. Andre’s wife is a chef and each meal reflected the great care she took in quality, variety and presentation. One dinner was a braai (BBQ taken to a fully new dimension) cooked and served in an outdoor enclosure with three different meats and a variety of side dishes.
I think it is important to underline how well the lodge was run and the attention given by all the staff to the visitors. For us, the overtly luxurious hotels we saw advertised in websites would not provide the feeling of being immersed in Kruger National Park. While we were fully protected at the lodge and while on safari, we could feel and see the animals living freely. N’Kaya lodge was nested within all this, as an integral part of the environment. Unstated luxury is in fact a good way to describe it.

Date of stay: June 2019
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
1  Thank deni o
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NKaya_Manager, Manager at N'kaya Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded June 27, 2019

Good day Denise.

We thank you for taking the time to write this lovely review, it is always heart-warming to hear great feedback and recommendations, We enjoyed your company and had a lot of fun on the game drives. Glad to hear that you loved the Braai.

Kind regards.
André.

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Reviewed May 19, 2019

Our four night stay was just absolutely amazing, thank you to all the staff for making this such a memorable experience. I traveled with my daughter, she arrived the day before me and was made so very welcome by everyone. Our lodge was beautifully decorated and really comfortable. The standard and quality of food was amazing and it was beautifully presented. What can you say about the game drives ? Words can’t express just how incredible they were and the knowledge of our driver and tracker was awesome. We saw all the Big 5 and much much more. Thank you for everything , would we recommend N’Kaya ———-ABSOLUTELY

Date of stay: April 2019
Thank myrnaanne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NKaya_Manager, Manager at N'kaya Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded June 27, 2019

Good day Myrna and Lauren.

Thank you very much for taking the time to write this review, much appreciated.

Thank you for the recommendation and we are thrilled to hear that you loved N'kaya and that you had an enjoyable time on the safaris.

Kind regards.
André.

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