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“Superb honeymoon!”

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Garonga Safari Camp
Certificate of Excellence
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Superb honeymoon!”
Reviewed October 13, 2012

Absolutely amazing from start to finish! We booked through imagine Africa for our honeymoon and was given great feedback and information on garonga and we were not dissappointed. Luxury tents were 5* and the food was superb. We had jeff and Patrick as our game driver/tracker and their knowledge of the animals were 100% . Thanks garonga!

  • Stayed October 2012
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
Helpful?
1 Thank Kikihux
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BERNARDO S, Owner at Garonga Safari Camp, responded to this review, October 14, 2012
Many thanks indeed for your feedback.
We hope to see you back on an anniversary some time!
Best Regards
Bernie
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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358 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (97)
Date | Rating
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English first
Huddersfield, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
339 reviews
43 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 119 helpful votes
Reviewed October 10, 2012

My wife and I stayed here for 5 nights in September and loved evry minute of it. The standard of accommodation, the quality of the food and the friendliness and professionalism of all the staff were all first class. The safaris exceeded expectation. Bernie is the perfect host and this camp is the perfect place to base yourself if you want to experince this type of travel



Patrick & Jill

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Patrick K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BERNARDO S, Owner at Garonga Safari Camp, responded to this review, October 13, 2012
Thanks indeed to you both for a very positive feedback. You were great company and I really hope we can see you again here at Garonga.
best Regards
Bernie
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hornchurch, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed October 3, 2012

We stayed for 3 nights at Garonga and had one of the most fantastic experiences of our lives. We cannot put in to words what a fantastic time we had but I will try. Upon arrival we were met by Bernie the owner with a refreshing drink, and then given the tour of the area do's and don't (not many don't's. Bernie is a wonderful person very welcoming helpful and friendly. We were a party of 5 and had our guide Rebel and ranger Jafad what a great team they were. Showed us everything and nothing was too much for them. We will definately be reuturning for another visit when saved enough to do again!!! Food was fantastic cannot fault it all the staff made you feel very welcome and everyone is made to feel special
THANK YOU Bernie and the team Audrey Greenoff, John, Nick Jackie and Peter

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
3 Thank Audrey G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BERNARDO S, Owner at Garonga Safari Camp, responded to this review, October 6, 2012
Thanks very much indeed for your positive feedback.
We very much look forward to seeing you back!
best Regards
Bernie
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Philadelphia
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed September 30, 2012

My wife and I stayed here for 2 nights at the start of our 3-week honeymoon in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, and Victoria Falls. Thank goodness we did, because this was the only place where we saw the big cats - leopard, cheetah, and lion. And not only did we see them, but we saw them UP CLOSE, about 15-20 ft away. Although Garonga and other private game reserves now "share" their animals in a giant, fenced-in area (instead of each reserved having its own smaller, fenced-in plot of land), the area is still tiny when compared to the vast neighboring Kruger National Park. Thus, the likelihood of seeing anything is much higher at Garonga. [Except for elephants - those guys are everywhere at Kruger!]

CJ, our guide, was great. He's laid back and very calm. He's been doing this for a long time so he knows where the animals like and what signs to look for in order to find them. Case in point, we found a family of rhinos because CJ recognized the birds flying overhead that typically clean the rhinos' skin of bugs.

The food was very tasty, the lodging luxurious, and the staff friendly and accommodating.

A note about the Safari Camp v. Little Garonga. I was a bit confused about these separate camps when I was making the reservation, but there's really little difference. The Safari Camp was the "original" Garonga, and is a series of permanent and very luxurious tents located around a dried out riverbed. There's a central lodge where meals are served, with a pool and a bar. A two minute walk from the Safari Camp is the newer Little Garonga, which consists of its own smaller lodge (with its own pool and liquor cabinet) and surrounding permanent rooms. We stayed in the Chiltern & Buckingham Suite, which is definitely enough for two people. I think the only reason you would stay in the more expensive Hambleden is if traveling with children or if four adults wanted to share. One could argue that Little Garonga is a tad more private, but I don't think it makes a huge difference. Those who stay at the Safari Camp do their game drives in one group, and those who stay at Little Garonga do their game drives in another group.

I do have two pieces of constructive criticism for the management:
1. Make the wi-fi free: It seemed a little odd that after paying a fairly large amount of money to stay at a fantastic lodge where everything - including alcohol - is included, why charge a tiny per day fee for the internet?

2. Improve the directions: While many guests probably arrange their travel with a tour company, we elected to drive ourselves through most of our 3-week trip. We used a Garmin GPS from the States (loaded with a $99 Southern Africa upgrade from Garmin's website) in combination with maps from our rental agency and the print-out directions from the website to get from Johannesburg Airport to Garonga. We got there without too much trouble, but in the age of Googlemaps and GPS and digital photos, I think it would be fairly easy for a staff member to drive the route, taking digital photos along the way, and post it online. Seems like one day's work and it would decrease the anxiety level greatly.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank nightpie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BERNARDO S, Owner at Garonga Safari Camp, responded to this review, October 1, 2012
Thanks indeed for your feedback, and glad you had a great stay at Little Garonga with CJ and his team.
For Wireless, when planning our rates, the wireless was not available to Guests, and so I had to take out a contract with the local Company who obviously has charged for this, and so until we renew our rates unfortunately we will be charging this very small sum.
In reply to your suggestion about GPS, this sytem is pretty ineffective in rural areas, as it takes shortest or direct routes, but these routes go through private farms with gates locked etc. GPS does not recognise these. Once you get away from the nearest towns to Garonga read the instructions taken from our website.
Thanks again.
Bernie
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New York City, New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed September 23, 2012

We chose Garonga to start our honeymoon, and after a very tiring journey from New York we were met on arrival by Bernie the owner - and immediately made at home.

Everything about Garonga was amazing and the owner and staff are fully prepared for every need - we were completely unprepared for the trip (having got married a day prior to leaving) so left for the South African winter with a New York summer wardrobe - so Bernie immidately pointed us in the direction of the shop so I was able to buy a fleece - and my husband, who said he would be OK Bernie loaned a jacket 'just in case'.

The food was amazing (wedding diet goes out of the window at Garonga) - with the evening meals being the highlight - and they were very considerate for dietry needs.

The game drives were really good, with our guide Jeff and 'tracker' Revel being very knowledgeable about the animals. They were also very friendly and over the course of our stay we were able to get to know them, and them us.

I would recommend Garonga to anyone!

We booked our trip through imagineafrica.co.uk - Ben was very helpful in putting together an itinerary - and made the entire process an enjoyable experience.

Room Tip: All of the rooms are very nice
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Jonathan F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BERNARDO S, Owner at Garonga Safari Camp, responded to this review, October 1, 2012
Thanks indeed for your very postive feedback. It was a pleasure ahving you to stay after your very recent wedding.
Your advice regarding clothing is important; I would certainly suggest Guests read up on our Information Folder on our site regarding clothing etc.
We hope to see you back.
best Regards
Bernie
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reading, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed September 15, 2012

We stayed at Little Garonga for 4 nights for the middle part of our honeymoon.
We have been home for over a week and re-looking at our pictures and telling all our friends and family have brought back all the lovely times we had with CJ and the team!
Hambeldon Suite blew us away and we loved the little sand messgaes we got and enjoyed spending time watching the elephants drinking and the monkeys playing on our little veranda bit!
We were very lucky to see the whole herd of elephants several times and got very close to them, the cheetahs tried to hide from us but CJ tracked them down, so many giraffes that I don't think I would ever get bored of seeing them and our lion sighting was one of those once in a lifetime opportunities - although at the time watching it get more and more angry with us was a little scary!
We did the sleepout and really enjoyed the experience.
We can not fault anything! The team, the food, the accomodation were out of this world.
We will see you for our 10 year wedding renewal :-)

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank sarahvh82
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BERNARDO S, Owner at Garonga Safari Camp, responded to this review, October 1, 2012
Thanks very much indeed for your feedback which is always much valued. Indeed we do hope to see you back on an anniversary.
The sleep out is always remarked on by those who try it, although it's not for all.
best Regards
Bernie
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level 2 Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed September 12, 2012

We stayed at Garonga for 5 nights in July 2012 as the first stop on our honeymoon. The lodge was recommended by Hilary at Imagine Africa who were super super helpful in wading through the massive number of options to hand to pick something that was perfect for us both in terms of budget and experience! Garonga is a beautiful small camp. The tents were even better than the pictures suggest, food was fantastic, lodge beuatifully appointed and amazing trackers and staff! Particular highlights include the way in which Bernie the owner fully oversees the running of the lodge- this means that you feel that your every desire is catered for!! The views from the main building and from our tent overlooking groups of lions or giraffe coming to drink at the watering hole were amazing!! We thoroughly enjoyed the bush sleep out as well as other little honeymoon extras like the micro lite flight, bush massages and bush bath!! Don't hesitate, just go!!!!!!!!!!

Room Tip: Pick a room near the watering hole for the best views!!
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank NeemaLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BERNARDO S, Owner at Garonga Safari Camp, responded to this review, October 1, 2012
Thanks indeed for your positive feedback; it was great having you over to stay. The Microlite flight is a great way to see the whole reserve for those who don't mind a little Aircraft.
Keep well and all the best
bernie
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Garonga Safari Camp

Property: Garonga Safari Camp
Address: Selati Portion 12, KT 143, Phalaborwa, 1390, Makalali Private Game Reserve 1380, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Limpopo Province > Makalali Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Makalali Private Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Garonga Safari Camp 4*
Number of rooms: 9
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Garonga Safari Camp Hotel Makalali Private Game Reserve
Garonga Safari Camp South Africa/Makalali Private Game Reserve

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