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Reviewed March 14, 2015

We had a holiday of a lifetime at Tanda Tula. It was a dream come true.
We saw all the big 5 and much more. The staff are amazing and the food and service excellent. There was nothing that we could fault. Its got to be the best safari experience anywhere. 5 star camping. We would recommend it to anyone who wants to see the real Africa. We would go back tomorrow if we could.

  • Stayed: February 2015, traveled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank lizzy1946
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 6, 2015

Those privileged enough to experience the Timbavati will know about the special leopard sightings that happen here more often than anywhere else. Here, in fact the whole Big % experience can be properly lived, enjoyed and made to come truly alive.

But you are an experienced Bush traveller and you both know the experience can be far deeper and richer than a 5-item tick-list, and you want to whole gamut of birds, all the creatures and the joy and humbleness of being in and coming alive in nature's wilderness; and this is where Tanda Tula sparkles, the Staff, Owners, Rangers, Trackers and well all the staff, just make being there such a joy.

  • Stayed: March 2015, traveled with family
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Jon Q
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TandaTula, Owner at Tanda Tula Safari Camp, responded to this reviewResponded March 8, 2015

Hi Jon

Thank you for your review. You are absolutely right, there is far more to the African bush than the big 5 (although always exciting to encounter!) and our team try to share their knowledge at every opportunity. We are extremely fortunately to be in such a diverse and unique nature reserve and hopefully we will be able to share more of this with you in the near future.

All the best,
Don and Nina Scott

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Reviewed February 27, 2015

The safari was the main object of our journey to South Africa and Tanda Tula was a destination which delivered an exceptional safari experience which would be difficult to better. Guide Scotch and spotter Jack got us up close to all of the “big 5” on several occasions and we saw so much more as well. We met most of the rangers from the camp, all of whom were knowledgeable and committed but during our 5 days at the lodge we felt that we got to know Scotch well and appreciated the way he took account of what people were interested in seeking them out in a comfortable safari vehicle handled as gently as possible to minimise the impact on the terrain. Each drive was unique and special highlights being just metres from leopard cubs, a rare pack of wild dogs, seeing hippos mate or, on the 10th and last drive just sitting at the waterhole as a herd of 30+ elephants bring their young to drink.
The game drives are long and unhurried – unless Scotch gets wind of a rare sighting, but in a collaboration of well managed private game reserves the proximity of vehicles to wildlife is controlled to ensure that everybody gets a viewing and, more importantly, that the animals do not become distressed.
There is no better way to finish a morning game drive than the bush breakfast every day different – the best meal of the day.
The “tents” are perfect, very clean, spacious and comfortable with everything you expect from a hotel room and a private deck ideal for watching the elephants passing. The lodge is spacious and stylish and the pool perfect for relaxing and watching the wildlife at the adjoining watering hole. The staff were delightfully friendly though the burden of having to bring 5am tea and coffee to the tent, drive and guide for 7 hours, often host at dinner, escort guests back (and forth) to their tent at night as well as double check transfer arrangements seems an onerous one to heap on one person when there are a team of rarely spotted managers at the camp.
You never go hungry on safari and despite best intentions the lunches were too tasty to skip, as vegetarians though we found the no choice dinners uninspiring and while the idea of changing the dining location nightly adds variety we were disappointed at having to eat outside our tent one evening, we like company on holiday.
But, after all these words – a wonderful experience, come here on safari, we’ll be sending our friends and hope to come back. Cheers Scotch.

  • Stayed: February 2015, traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
2  Thank HighburyExplorer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TandaTula, Owner at Tanda Tula Safari Camp, responded to this reviewResponded March 1, 2015

Thank you for a wonderful review.

The entire Timbavati does indeed follow strict protocol when it comes to game viewing, to make sure the animals do not feel stressed while at the same time providing fantastic game viewing for our guests.

Bush breakfast is a big hit for all out visitors, and as you know no-one ever leaves hungry!

We look forward to welcoming you back to Tanda Tula in the near future!

Kind regards,
Don and Nina Scott

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Reviewed February 27, 2015

What a wonderful way to get a taste of Kruger, the world's largest game reserve! Tanda Tula boasts truly excellent guides, who know every animal, every bird, every species of flora and a vast amount of history. Most important, they have studied the habits of the animals, and can teach you not just what you are seeing, but the behavior of the different species. Where some guides may show you a leopard and let you watch for a few minutes, Tanda Tula guides will stay around to watch and talk about what the animal is doing and how it interacts with its environment. They will teach you how to track the animals, should you wish, and adjust the vehicle to help get the best possible photos. Because they know the trails and habits of the animals so well, you are almost assured of seeing what have been labeled the "super seven" or "big five," as well as many other species. We had only to ask Civilized, our guide, "Will we see a rhino today?" Lo and behold, he magically found one or more rhinos for us to study...not just see, but study.

A day can be pretty full, with a summer 5AM wake up (6AM in winter), a 4-hour game drive and breakfast, often outside of the lodge in the forest area. Then there is time to wash up, nap or take a bush walk. Lunch is about 1:30 and there is a second game drive from about 4-7:30. Dinner is late, about 8. The jeeps used have three tiers of seats, and, although they can hold up to 9, when I was there, none had more than 6 and most had 3-5 people. Thus, you were not at all crowded.

Meals are well done, and provide a blend of African, as well as western dishes. There is always a blend of meats, fish and vegetables to accommodate even the most hard core vegetarians or carnivores. They are served communal style, so you can meet and talk with other guests and never feel alone. Different members of the Tanda Tula community - guides, managers, and other staff join you for dinner as both resource people and friends. Actually, everyone at Tanda Tula is a friend. The lodge makes a point of both introducing everyone to their staff and of having many staff talk about their work.

Rooms are a delight - tastefully designed and spacious. The bath has both a tub, with salts to soak in, as well as an outside shower. Should you want special treatment - champagne, a dinner outside - they will make it happen.

Truly, Tanda Tula is a gem!

Room Tip: All the safari tents are lovely.
  • Stayed: February 2015, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Toni N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 22, 2015

I don't know where to start describing how amazing both the Tanda Tula camp, and the staff are.

Our ranger/tracker pair were Ginger and Isaac were excellent. They took the time to point out all the different animals, birds, etc. -- while at the same time tracking (literally!) the more difficult to find animals. In the end, we saw all of the big 5, giraffes, hippos, hyenas and wild dogs -- and had incredibly up close viewings of both a leopard and a white lion!

The food was out of this world. Three (buffet style) meals per day, but never the same thing twice. Morning wake-up-call tea service, sun downers, and full (open) bar where they happily keep the drinks flowing. Added bonus: the bartender has a fresh drink (flavored iced tea, lemonade, etc.) that he makes daily. Not alcoholic, but perfectly refreshing for the heat.

The accommodations were the perfect blend of rustic: zip up tent, deck, etc., and luxury: super comfortable queen size bed, separated bath room, outdoor (private) shower. As well, because of the "open" nature of the camp, not only did we have animal sightings looking out, but looking in! More than once were we able to see impala, nyala, and kudu inside the camp! And not as a nuisance -- just chowing down on the local vegetation and drinking from the onsite watering hole.

Our fellow guests were a good blend of ages and nationalities. There were other americans, and aussies, and europeans; there were retired couples, other honeymooning couples, and everything in between.

But so far I've probably described most of the other luxury camps as well. What really set Tanda Tula apart to me, was how much they treat their guests like family. It would be impossible for me to single out any one example (there were just too many), but I think it's mostly because *they* are family. Both our Ranger and Tracker's wives also worked at the camp, another staff member has a brother that also work their. The atmosphere of being amongst family isn't an affect, it's just reality.

I know I'm going to miss names (so apologies in advance), but THANK YOU Ginger, Isaac, Smiling, Dale, Dan, Henry, Thabo, Happiness, Pretty, Maggie, Ruth, Scotch, Foreman for just an incredible trip and experience!

Room Tip: Tent 1 is special, but other than that, I believe all the tents are more or less the same.
  • Stayed: February 2015, traveled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank mbhide
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TandaTula, Owner at Tanda Tula Safari Camp, responded to this reviewResponded February 24, 2015

Thank you for such a wonderful review. We are truly fortunate to have such an amazing team, or rather an extended family! As you say, fantastic game viewing is one thing, but without a high level of service and genuine hospitality it is difficult to set yourself apart from the rest.

We take immense pride in our team and thank you for reminding us how special each family member is.

We look forward to welcoming you to Tanda Tula again in the near future.

All the best,
Don and Nina Scott,
Owners

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