We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“was it all a dream?”

Best prices for -
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 4 more sites!
Garonga Safari Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 22, 2009

i look back on our honeymoon at garonga two months later and it feels like a dream. it was simply perfect. When planning our honeymoon back in January, I spent hours on trip advisor deliberating about where to go and for how long. After reading the fabulous reviews on here for Garonga and on the recommendation of James, our patient and helpful agent at imagine africa, we plumped for 5 nights here. At the time, I thought 5 nights might be a bit long, safari was all new for us, we're normally happy lying by a beautiful beach but it seemed like a great place to go.

After a rather tortuous journey from Mauritius, we arrived at Garonga tired and weary. On arrival, we were greeted by Alison who took us to our lodge, told us to relax, take our time, have a shower and then come back for drinks and dinner a bit later. It was magical, all candle lit, the sounds of nature and our room was a haven. After a generous gin & tonic by the log fire, we were completely relaxed and had the first of the many superb meals together under the stars. We were so tired the next morning, we didn't make the first game drive but didn't miss one after that! the drives were amazing, we saw all the big 5 other than buffalo (but who cares about that?!) and loved stopping for our evening gin and tonic and nibbles at sunset.

The staff at Garonga are amazing, totally relaxed, unobtrusive but excellent service. Bernie (the owner) was great, so welcoming and we are in awe of what he has achieved there. Alison was the perfect host, always there when you needed her and a pleasure to talk to. Housekeeping were top notch and there are lots of special touches around the place.

The best bit though has to be the food! You cannot believe that the staff are creating such stunning food, you're in the middle of nowhere! breakfasts were huge and the perfect thing to come back to after the morning drives (better english breakfast than back home!). evening meals were to die for, homemade breads, delicious starters and mains and puddings you would pay a lot for in a london restaurant.

it is the most romantic place, whether lazing by the pool listening to nature, having a sunset bush bath, sitting watching lions and elephants. I cannot recommend this place enough. My wife and I will never forget the time we had here and will definately be back. for now though, the memories feel like a dream.

Stayed: August 2009, traveled as a couple
4  Thank eb02twhg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (379)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
Language

318 - 324 of 379 reviews

Reviewed October 4, 2009

We ( my husband, my best friend and my sister )arrived at Garonga after a really smooth trip from Heathrow, no hassles, no delays and no dramas.
The staff at reception had us checked in and in our fan cooled rooms in minutes with an invite to afternoon tea and a suggestion to go on that evenings Game Drive. The vehicles weren't at all crowded with only 4 or at the most 6 guests on board. The Ranger and Tracker assigned to each vehicle gave us a short safety brief and off we went. Within minutes of leaving the camp area we were swallowed up in scrub bush, driving along well maintained dirt tracks, spotting animals pointed out by the Ranger and Tracker. Just before sunset, we stopped at a scenic point by a river and had drinks and snacks watching an incredible sunset. Then back to the Lodge.
All the meals at Garonga are incredible, spoiled for choice with a touch of the exotic ( if you wanted it ) , there was something for every taste and nothing was too much trouble for the staff. Each night, the meal was served in a different location and a different theme, sometimes all guests together, sometimes at romantic tables for two around the lodge.
The showers were always hot and the beds soooo comfortable. Housekeeping kept the rooms immaculate and left enough towels so that we had the choise of a shower indoor or " al fresco" in full view of the monkeys but not the other guests. The robes, slippers and toiletries just added that little touch of luxury.
The paths thru' the Lodge were lit with lamps and everyone was escorted by staff with torches/flashlights. With security guards patrolling the Lodge area, the animal noises which seemed so near, we much less threatening.
During our visit we spent a night on the Sleep Out Deck, food and drink were catered to the best and we had a great time, listening to animal noises all night long.
Throughout our stay all the staff were more than helpful and really discreet, floating about and refilling your drinks before you even realised it needed a top-up.
We all had treatments at the Sala, everything from reflexology to full body massage. So very relaxing we each admitted to falling asleep on the table. Proof positive that Garonga is a safari for the Soul.
We had a most relaxing break at Garonga, everything was so stress free.
This holiday was not about sighting the Big 5, but we saw so many animals and such incredible scenery that made it a holiday to remember.
Our thanks to everyone at Garonga, it was a great break.

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank BacardiGirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 7, 2009

My husband and I stayed at Garonga Safari Camp for two nights. The camp is fantastic, staff are wonderful, accommodation superb, food delicious and so much wild life to view on the game drives. Before visiting the camp we had spent a week at the Kruger and had seen all of the BIG FIVE except a leopard, but within 30mins of our first game drive at Garonga, we saw a leopard and her two cubs! That in itself made our trip!!!

  • Stayed: June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank 2_Wanderers_09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 14, 2009

We honeymooned in Little Garonga for 5 nights and can't say enough good things about our stay. From the moment we arrived we were so well looked after - the staff were wonderful. Our ranger (CJ) was fantastic and with him we saw lions, rhinos, elephants, hippos, crocodiles, cheetahs......the list is endless. The food was some of the best we've ever tasted (thankyou Maria) and anything we asked for was catered for. Bernie has set up a fabulous place to visit and we can't recommend it enough.

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Monty007Uk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 11, 2009

We've just returned from a 5 night stay at Garonga as part of our honeymoon. The whole experience from beginning to end was out of this world and I would recommend it to anyone!

From the moment we arrived, the welcome we received from Bernie and his staff made us feel totally relaxed and right at home. The 'tents' (far too luxurious to be called that really!) we wonderful - so different from anything you would find in a hotel! The mixture of the adrenaline filled game drives and the complete relaxation of the lazy afternoons around the pool or on your private deck made it the perfect escape for us.

I must make a special mention of our guide Julius and tracker Opie. Both were so knowlegdeable and worked hard to find us the animals we wanted to see. After 3 weeks of very few lion sightings they managed to track them for us on our last night. The highlight had to be on our last morning when found a female leopard dragging her impala kill back to 3 tiny cubs! We got so close to the animals, it was better than we ever imagined.

Back at camp the food was exceptional, huge thanks to the cooks and waiting staff. Bernie varied where food was served each night.... a romantic candle-lit dinner for couples around the pool, a large group meal inside or a braai (BBQ) in the boma. It was great not knowing what to expect when you arrived back from your evening drive!

There are so many things that make Garonga special.... the complimentry massage and champagne for honeymooners, the bush bath and of course the sleep out which was a magical experience I will never forget.

If you ever get a chance to visit Garonga - go, you'll have a holiday of a lifetime!

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank kellybach1977
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 12, 2009

We visited Garonga on honeymoon and were stunned by the high quality of the rooms (very romantic!) and the level of service that we received, as well as the great game that we saw close up!

The tented rooms are beautiful and the camp holds a maximum of 12 guests. It's an open camp (so anything can cross your path day or night). There are lots of complimentary extras and one off experiences with this fantasic camp; a bush bath (a bath out in the open in the evening, surrounded by tea lights), picnic lunch in a treehouse (a 3-course meal out in the open by yourselves), a sleep-out (which I wasn't brave enough to do!), and a complimentary massage for honeymooners.

The service was out of this world - Bernie made us feel welcome, Tamsin was great front of house and nothing was too much trouble, Charlene did the most amazing massages, and the guides would go out of their way to ensure that you saw the greatest variety of game at VERY close range! There were also only around 4 to 6 people in each vehicle when you went out twice a day so there's plenty of room to spread out (or to duck and avoid the odd branch or spider!). There's also blankets and plenty of drinks and food available on each drive.

Oh yes, and the food is fantastic as well! We've both put on about half a stone each as the food and wine was just too good to turn down. Vegetarians are catered for very well.

We would highly recommend Garonga for a heavenly safari experience that will meet all your expectations and more!

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Nikki1979
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 19, 2009

We visited Garonga for 4 days for our honeymoon in South Africa. Really it is fantastic. It is an amazing combination of superb staff and lovely surroundings that makes it so great. Virtually everything was faultless with delicous food, super comfy room, bed etc. etc. and we could not have wanted more. I am surprised I am writing this as I am normally very hard to please.
The camp is relatively small which makes a huge difference with only 12 or so guests. It also feels extremely un-commercial which makes it exceptionally relaxing and easy going. Really a great atmosphere, lovely rooms, superb staff and we saw lots of game too.
Highly highly recommended for a honeymoon, or anything else.

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank ukproptoppy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
Also consider these accommodations in or near Makalali Private Game Reserve
13.4 mi away
Kurhula Wildlife Lodge
Kurhula Wildlife Lodge
#2 of 2 in Balule Nature Reserve
289 reviews
3.9 mi away
Makalali Private Game Lodge
Makalali Private Game Lodge
#20 of 103 in Hoedspruit
335 reviews
12 mi away
Rukiya Safari Camp
Rukiya Safari Camp
#82 of 176 in Kruger National Park
66 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
9.7 mi away
Bushriver Lodge
Bushriver Lodge
#7 of 103 in Hoedspruit
363 reviews
16.6 mi away
Mafigeni Safari Lodge
Mafigeni Safari Lodge
#3 of 6 in Gravelotte
23 reviews
20.6 mi away
Blyde River Wilderness Lodge
Blyde River Wilderness Lodge
#33 of 103 in Hoedspruit
165 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Garonga Safari Camp? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about 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: $547 - $1,098 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Garonga Safari Camp 4*
Number of rooms: 9
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Travelocity, Orbitz, Priceline, Agoda and South African Hotels so you can book your Garonga Safari Camp reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Garonga Safari Camp Hotel Makalali Private Game Reserve
Garonga Safari Camp South Africa/Makalali Private Game Reserve

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing