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“Magical experiences”
Review of Lakeside Lodge

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Lakeside Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Hay-on-Wye, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Magical experiences”
Reviewed June 14, 2013

Saga all-inclusive. Beautiful, remote location. Wonderful close encounters with chilled lion, cheetah, rhino. Expert rangers who respect animals & environment. Genuinely friendly staff. Lovely, abundant, colourful fresh fruit, salad & veg. Amazing drives down steepest road in southern hemisphere.Winter is best time to visit-cold at night but not humid & grass low for spotting wildlife. I listed 27 animals & 31 birds.Rhinos are desperately & cruelly threatened by poachers. Please take action! I am veggie but i ate a caterpillar & it wasn't that bad! Our gorgeous young ranger Evan showed us so much, one day he stopped the vehicle & gently covered a tiny bee-fly with his cap & showed it to us (god knows how he spotted it).

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
4 Thank Brenda C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Teignmouth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
42 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
Reviewed June 13, 2013

We have just returned from a 7 night stay at Lakeside Lodge (4th-10th June) and I usually leave it a few weeks before giving my TA report but I'm eager to write this all down now whilst it is still so fresh in my mind. First of all, you have to appreciate that to get the best safari experience does involve a long road journey. It took us about 4 hours in total from J'burg and the last section of the road is pretty bumpy but this all adds to the experience! On arrival there did seem to be a bit of confusion as to where the group we arrived with should go, having been given a welcoming drink, we were left to drift away, some of the guests having lunch, some not realising lunch was being served. This did seem to be the overall impression of the Reception being a little hit and miss with their service. However the same cannot be said for the catering staff here who work so hard to make eating experiences memorable either in the open air Boma or on a picnic lunch (see photos). The food is fresh and tasty and they are happy to make up any South African dish which you would like to try. We travelled with Saga on an all inclusive deal and the lodge is very generous with as much wine as you can drink (good quality lovely SA wine) and the spirits are branded too. The rooms are fairly large (we stayed in 43) and we had a great view of the lake with a lovely terrace to sit out on but no sun all day and this didn't help with the temperature of the room which was constantly cold as there is just one small wall heater. The bathroom has no heater in it so be prepared for damp towels not drying out. There is no TV or radio in the room but this added to the relaxation of the place as you can just soak up the sounds from the wildlife that surrounds the lodge. Animals do come close and I was kept awake several nights by the sounds of them right outside our room which does take some getting used to but lovely at the same time. Overall though, it's the Rangers that make this place so special and our holiday so memorable. The itinery is full on with our first game drive within a couple of hours of arrival and the drives last up to 3 hours each but each drive brought us some special sights and we were lucky enough to see cheetahs close up on the lower escarpment. This lower escarpment is reached by an incredibly steep road which all adds to the thrill as the views are amazing. Our Ranger was Evan and he went out of his way to point out as many animals, birds, insects and plant life that we could handle - his enthusiasm was infectious and made our holiday one to remember. The other Rangers aloocated for our group were Ross and Fin - both as knowledgable and eager to show us as much as possible - these guys really do love what they do and it shows! As mentioned already, Lakeside Lodge is an open property where animals do wander into the camp as this happened one evening when a group of us were in the bar at 10pm only to have Evan appear with a fully loaded rifel to escort us back to our rooms as another Ranger had spotted a herd of elephants heading to our camp! Luckily we made it back safely but it certainly all added to the 'experience'! The only other thing I would add about the game drives is that it is exceptionally cold in the early mornings and as soon as the sun sets so be prepared by taking warm clothing although the Lodge does have a handy shop which sells fleeces, hats and scarves.
This was our first safari and we couldn't have wished for a more successful trip staying in one of the most tranquil places we've ever been to and coming away with so many special memories - thank you! If you have any questions about Lakeside Lodge please feel free to contact me.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
6 Thank Sarah D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wyong, Australia
Level Contributor
115 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 103 helpful votes
Reviewed May 23, 2013

3 nights room 43.
Lakeside Lodge 4 star but would say 3.
We were told,we were upgraded to Ravinside but it was closed for maintenance.
Is a 3 hour drive from Johannesburg the last 15-20km is all on dirt road. A rough bumpy ride, then drive though the reserve gates and its about another 3km drive to the Lakeside Lodge. You are given a drink on arrival. I found reception a little disorganised they'd new we were coming but wanted a booking number, which were never given, so she didn't know what we were doing for the 2days.
I am finding it a little hard to be as unbiased after a request to go and play golf was denied, the reason being that I was told by reception that lady and son ran Legends golf and they were in a meeting the ENTIRE day and it couldn't be organised, surely there are not only 2 people to run a golf course and this is the one with the extreme helicopter flight to the 19th hole. i just found this too hard to believe or the girl at reception didn't explain properly. After the morning safari and breakfast there is basically nothing to do except sit around and look at the views or lay around the pool. I was a little annoyed and asked reception what can I do all day the only choices I was given was a boat trip on the lake or she said they would open the spa for me. If I wanted to sit around the pool I would of stayed home!
Anyway I will try. The room is fairly large but basic. A very african look the high thatched rooves with the ceiling fan, cane style furniture and very soft low wattage lighting makes it hard to see. There are the tea and coffee making facilities and a larger than normal bar fridge with nothing in it. The bed is hard and every time you move the springs 'boing' but it does have an electric blanket because it does get cold. The bathroom and toilet are separate. There is a wall heater which isn't that hot but does take the chill out if the room.The bathroom looks like it has been tiled by unprofessionals, crooked uneven cuts and patched up where it leaks with some sort of painted putty. The vanity has water damage. Shower is in the tub and the rose is the finest of sprays you can almost count the number of holes but this could have something to do with conserving water, but there is a leaking tap in the hand basin. There is no hair dryer. A little verandah with 2 chairs overlooks the lake, please note don't leave the door opened unattended the monkeys come in and steal things.
Meals are at an allocated time 9:00, 1:00 and 7:00 in the large dining area you sit with your safari guide and the people in your safari at all meals. The first night was a choice of a few options eg soup/salad, then chicken/ beef and desserts. Set up on the table for breakfast was a plate with yogurt, fruit, slice cold meat, a piece of Brie, croissant, pastry and slices of fruit. Then you can order eggs with hash browns, tomato, bacon and mushroom. The second morning was a buffet. Didn't try lunch any of the lunches too full from breakfast. One night they had dinner outside. A BBQ with buffet which included salads, hot vege, soup and dessert. The tables were all set up around a fire pit. This was nice, and the final night was an indoor buffet in the restaurant. They do have a well stocked bar reasonable prices.
Safaris are morning 6:00am and evening 4:00pm included in package. It is an open 4wd with seating for 10. Make sure you bring a beanie, scarf, jacket and gloves it is absolutely freezing in May. You do get to see many animals giraffe, cheetah and lion if lucky, hippo, rhino, impala, warthog, eagle, elephant, gnu to name a few.
Little things and attention to detail makes places special and memorable. This place lacks this. Things I noticed, the glass on framed pictures had that greasy film over them, the smoke detectors need batteries changed they keep beeping, unused chairs stacked in a corner rather than out of sight and a couple of individual arm chairs in the dining room could be cleaned and patched up, didn't leave bottled water in room daily.
If I was ever to return to Entabeni I would chose somewhere else to stay just not impressed with the customer service and lack of help by the desk staff. But i must say the safari guides go out of their way to your stay memorable.
My advice to management is if they want to see what great customer service is like send the staff down to the western cape....they know what service is all about!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Location
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Helpful?
1 Thank aussietraveller59
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Michelle B, Client Liaison & Branding Executive at Lakeside Lodge, responded to this review, May 28, 2013
Dear Aussietraveller59,

Thank you for taking the time to review our property. It is heartening to read that your trip was overall a pleasant experience but are concerned it was not the memorable time we aim to create for all our guests. Please rest assured that the concerns noted have all been taken up with Senior Management and corrective action taken where applicable. We apologise for the breakdown in communication experienced – especially regarding the offer of golf and other activities. We pride ourselves on going the extra mile and ensuring our guests enjoy a truly Legendary time with us. Thank you for the kind words regarding our Rangers – we will pass the compliment on to them. We do hope that this incident does not deter you from visiting our Conservancy again when you are next in South Africa.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Coventry
Level Contributor
41 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed May 13, 2013

Just had the first week of a 2 week South African holiday at the Lakeside Lodge, Entabeni. The final 50 minutes of our drive to the Game Reserve were off the tarmac roads and so we new we really were going away from the madding crowds. The Lakeside Lodge and the guest accomodation are beautifully located alongside a lake. Our lodge was comfortable with plenty of room and had all necessary facilities. They are not luxurious but you shouldn't expect them to be in the middle of a game reserve!

The facilities in the main building include a very nice dining room, a bar and a gift shop. You may think a gift shop is a little out of the way but if you have forgotten a hat or need extra layers for chilly mornings or evenings then you will appreciate it's presence. It also sells post cards for those who like to write home. There are 2 swimming pools available for those that like a dip.

There is a mobile phone signal in most of the reserve and wi-fi in the public areas near reception and in the dining room and bar.

We were on a fully inclusive package with SAGA and meals are all buffet style. There is an egg station to get your eggs cooked any way you like in the morning together with cold and hot choices. To arrive back from an early morning game drive and sit down to a good breakfast was a real treat. They do not have every cereal under the sun available but there is sufficient choice and of course always plenty of fresh fruit on offer. Yes there is usually bacon but it is not quite as good as the bacon in the UK, and of course HP sauce!

Not all meals are eaten in the dining room. We had 2 picnic lunches out in the reserve and they were magnificent in every way. One day we had breakfast and lunch in the restaurant at the magnificent Legends Golf course which is located on the lower escarpment. Have a look at Entabeni Legends 19th hole on You Tube. Golfers will be thrilled.

on 4 occasions we had our evening meal around a log fire in a Boma, twice under the stars and twice inside.

All that and the animals have not been mentioned yet. For those that have been to a game reserve before all the usual suspects are present. Elephant, Giraffe, Rhino, Zebra, Wildebeest, Impala, Bushbuck and Hippo plus many others. There are Lions on the lower escarpment together with Leopards on both lower and upper escarpments but there is never any guarantee that they will turn up on parade.

For those that like birds there are many different varieties and these are not overlooked by the Rangers when out on a game drive or on a walk. Only accompanied walks are allowed away from the Lodge for obvious reasons.

Our Rangers were Ryan, Veronica and Jan. All very knowledgeable and good company.

I must mention the Food and Beverage manager who makes sure the Lodges throughout the whole Entabeni complex are kept stocked. Drinks not on the inclusive list were not expensive.

There are reserves with more animals but the overall experience was fabulous.

No hesitation in recommending this holiday destination.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Forger25
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
20 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed April 12, 2013

Great week on safari. The accommodation was very comfortable and the food was great. The safari experience was superb made really good by our rangers Jenny Veronica and Ryan. They were so knowledgable about the flora and fauna and their enthusiasm for their job was catching. All the staff were very friendly and the service was very good.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Englande
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed March 13, 2013

I stayed at Lakeside Lodge in the Entabeni Private Game Reserve as a tour guide on three occasions. It is a magical place and my clients, from Israel, were thrilled. The staff is great, from management, kitchen staff, reception to the rangers. Professional, helpful and knowledgebleable, the rangers are the highlight of the Entabeni experience. Although not to be compared with big game parks like Kruger, this place has a charm like none other. Well worth a visit.

  • Stayed February 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank HerculesSnyman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 12, 2013

We checked in early on Friday afternoon, were escorted to our room by our Ranger, Simon.
Thereafter had a lunch lunch, which was very tasty! The game drives were great and ranger Simon very knowledgeable. We especially enjoyed the drive from the Upper Escarpment down to the Lower Escarpment and back! We also had the opportunity to see the birth of a baby zebra!
All the meals were excellent, we had dinner at Fig Tree (in the bush) on the Friday night, Saturday night was an enjoyable Boma Dinner. The food is excellent, with lots of variety. I especially enjoyed the omelettes at breakfast! All staff are very friendly and most accommodating. The rooms are well appointed (bear in mind that the rooms do not have a TV - not that you need to watch TV!) Our room had a great view of the Lake Entabeni. We were greeted by a troop of vervet monkeys outside our room on Sunday Morning! I recommend this for a couples retreat, I think children would be bored. Had a great weekend and would recommend Lakeside Lodge as the perfect getaway - only 3 hours from Johannesburg. We shall definately return!

Room Tip: Ask for a room that overlooks Lake Entabeni - in some rooms the lake is obscured by trees.
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Rec_Africa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Lakeside Lodge

Property: Lakeside Lodge
Address: Sterkrivier Rd | Upper Escarpment, Entabeni Game Reserve, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Limpopo Province > Waterberg > Entabeni Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 7 Specialty Lodging in Entabeni Game Reserve
Number of rooms: 24
Also Known As:
Lakeside Hotel Entabeni Game Reserve

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