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“"Beyond all our expectation!"” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Tuningi Safari Lodge

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Tuningi Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Leicester, England, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“"Beyond all our expectation!"”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 26, 2012

This is the first time I've ever written a review of a holiday I've been on, but felt compelled to share this most amazing experience. From the moment we arrived at the Tuningi safari lodge we were met with smiling faces and the warmest of welcomes. The lodge itself is stunning. We stayed in "Little Tuningi" which is set back, a two minute walk from the main lodge. Please look at the website as the photos are a true reflection of the lodge itself. Little Tuningi is slightly more expensive but well worth it.
The main lodge overlooks an amazing watering hole which was visited by elephant and impala everyday. To sit with a glass of wine in hand just metres away from them was stunning.
Then we were introduced to "Cornelius" our safari ranger/guide. He really made our 6 drives truly memorable. His passion, knowledge and commitment to the animals was really infectious. On the first drive he managed to find two lion brothers who had recently been in a fight with each other, one still baring the bloody scars!. Then we came across a pride of lionesses and their cubs. Suddenly all their heads looked up as they spotted possible prey. They slowly stood a moved towards the bushes and lay looking patiently. We sat for about an hour as the sun went down just meters away from them. One lioness headed off into the bush alone but unfortunately came back without a catch and they headed back to the cubs. An amazing experience to see these predators in their natural surroundings.
All the drives were magical in their own way but the highlight was the last night when we came across a large lion laying between some bushes. Cornelius got us within 3m of him and as we sat there in awe of this magnificent animal he let out 3 bellowing roars which echoed across the hills. The most amazing thing I've ever heard!.
This was our first safari and is so addictive we are already planning our return next year. Whether its your first safari or you've been fortunate to have been before, Tuningi lodge has it all. A huge thanks to all the staff for making our stay beyond our wildest expectations, and a special thanks to Cornelius who allowed us to see things we never imagined.
We will definately be returning. Andy and Kate.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Andy C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (54)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Wilmslow, Cheshire
Level Contributor
43 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 20, 2012

This was our third safari, having visited singita on our honeymoon & mala mala a few years back. Tuningi more than equalled them. The lodge was fabulous, our room delightful and the staff excellent. We were made to feel extremely welcome & the unpretentious manner of the lodge was right up our street. We were there at the same time as a previous reviewer Alicia & echo her thoughts about how special you were made to feel. We shared her birthday surprise & also got a little surprise of our own when we returned to our lodge to find a bathroom strewn with rose petals, tea lights & fizz in celebration of our 10th wedding anniversary! It's little touches such as this that make you feel so special & the staff excel at this.
The food was excellent & Ria quickly overcame my fussy eating habits, willingly adapting menus for me. Francs the barman was just fab, always so smiley & obliging. The other waiters were also smashing, Dunhill & Petrus were always cheerful & Petrus became my hero when he got the spider out of my bathroom! Wilma & Heidi were great hostesses & nothing was too much trouble.
Christophe was our ranger & he was excellent. He really did his best to find us everything & was delighted for my hubby when he managed to spot a leopard on the last drive achieving the big five collection. He was knowledgable & enthusiastic, telling us lots of fascinating facts & pointing out the little things. Every morning he set up a table for coffee & hot chocolate out in the bush & each evening he found the perfect spot for a sundowner. We didn't experience this on our last safari & it's a really nice touch.
Madikwe as a park isn't quite as established as some other parts of the Kruger being only twenty years old & doesn't have quite as many big cats as in Sabi Sands. However whilst you may not see quite as many cats or be guaranteed a sighting what we found was that the experiences you do find are more exciting. We were lucky to find a pack of wild dogs & their pups & witness them go off hunting. When we found the lion pride it was just delightful to see the little cubs playing & then laugh as they decided they would try to get an elephant! They didn't have a chance! Even more amazing was to witness the two lionesses calling their brood back. To feel the vibrations rock the land rover as these two lionesses roared was quite something.
One of our most magical moments happened right back at the lodge. Just happily bathing in the pool suddenly a boy elephant appeared & stopped to have a drink out of it. To be less than a metre from such a majestic animal & look right into his eyes whilst taking a swim was unbelievable. The watering hole at Tuningi provided hours of viewing. At one point we counted 28 elephants quenching their thirst & having a bath, and other visitors included buffalo, wild dogs & hyenas. We would quite happily spend a week just sitting out on the deck waiting to see who came to visit.

Tuningi really is five star and deserves to do well. It has every element required for a great stay & great value for money. It is definitely up there with some of the most expensive safari lodges & in my opinion better than some of them. As we took off back to Johannesburg in the little plane, the sight of Christophe tipping his hat to us brought a lump to my throat. We left a very special place that was perfect for celebrating our wedding anniversary and we certainly won't leave it ten years before we return.

Just magical!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Oska
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
21 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 18, 2012

My husband and I have just returned from our stay at this magical place. I think the biggest compliment a traveller can give an establishment is crying when they leave and planning their next trip back. That was me when we drove out of the gates this morning! The only words I have are amazing, amazing, amazing!! From the moment we were welcomed into the front entrance until the moment we said our goodbyes it was a weekend that will never be forgotten. Nothing was too much for any of the staff members and everything was done with a smile and a real sense of actually wanting to help and wanting to make your stay perfect, which it was. We went there for my 30th Birthday and the staff went all out to make my birthday the best yet. A birthday cake which was super yummy, singing and a romantic turn down complete with candles, rose petals and champagne were just some of the little touches you receive without expecting it or even asking for it. They simply do whatever they can to make you feel special. From the amazing meals to the beautiful rooms and the excellent staff there is no other lodge tha I think will have the same soul and absolute uniqueness that Tuningi offers. Wilma and Heidi make you feel like they have known you for years. Friendly and warm beyond words. Frans makes the best cocktails and both him Dunhill and Rea will go out of their way to satisfy your every whim. Frans piña coladas are amazing! Gavin is one of the best game rangers/guides/trackers./miracle man we have ever had the pleasure of encountering (we have been on many game drives at various reserves). He actually tracked on foot I might add, a pride of lion!! Spectacular!! In my opinion there is no other lodge in Madikwe worth spending money on, this place is top notch!! Thank you to everyone at Tuningi for making my birthday unforgettable!! I cannot wait to return.

Room Tip: We stayed in room 8 which had a great view and was right by the second pool where elephants come and...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank AliciaKoch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Liverpool, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 13, 2012

Well Alyson and i have just arrived back from our honeymoon and although all of our destinations including south africa and mozambique where fantastic Tuningi was just perfect. Not only was the accommodation exemplary and the service first class but Tuningi's real charm lies with the employees from Frans to Lorraine Heidi you have accomplished a brilliant workforce who really know how to create memories for life, well done. As for the rangers well they deserve a special mention. Christo thankyou so much for our walking safari the best day cheers! Cornelius you are a top guy and you should be very proud of the memories you have left us with, thankyou! Oh but the biggest thanks of all goes to our main man Gavin Thanks Gav you really made our adventure complete and we were very blessed to have you as our ranger and now as our friend. thanks again big man and we will see you 2013 with the kids!! be warned haha!!

Room Tip: Just ask the management Heidi really does think of everything
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank sean-alyson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
19 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 28, 2012

Setting is very nice, lodge is superbe as were the game drives (Cornelius did a great job). Food is excellent. I am all about spending the money for a great experience but here the value, price equation is out... in South Africa, the competition for luxury lodges mean you can get equal or better for less. Shop around. Now, the unfortunate truth is not many places cater to children in any way so if you can afford it, do it.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Rikou M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
26 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 11, 2012

Madikwe was a the first stop of our second safari in Southern Africa. It was a very good start, given that our previous trip had been superb and we had very high expectations as a result. Tuningi Safari Lodge didn't disappoint. Yes it's luxurious and all that and food is good, but what matters to us most is the game viewing experience, and the lodge also excels at that.

Our guide Christo was superb, very attentive to the guests' needs. We told him we wanted to see wild dogs. He found them (and worked very hard to locate them - we had to drive to a distant part of the reserve - Madikwe is massive - accepting the risk of missing them). We wanted to see black rhinos. He found them too (ok he was also lucky, but he truly tried hard and was as excited as the rest of us). His enthusiasm was infectious. Madikwe was the only place where we had excellent, viable sightings of wild dogs and black rhinos. Both were amazing.

What was also truly unique was the super productive watering hole nearby, with sweeping plains behind it. Hundreds of animals - zebras, giraffe, wildebeast, impala, lions, ostriches -- congregated there. It looked like a scene from East Africa's open plains or Etosha's famous watering holes. Amazing. Once there were lions stalking the game and a leopard, all within a radius of 100m. One didn't know where to look. There was something happening at every corner. I now have serious trouble picking the best photos from some 500+ shots that I took at one sighting.

What I aslo liked about Christo was that he's a photographer himself and is sensitive to needs of serious photo enthusiasts.

As for the lodge itself: beautiful setting, super functional and spacious rooms. Good food and service. Two pool areas, both with good opportunities to spot occasional off-site visitors, both birds and game. An on-site watering hole with a large and shaded observation deck - perfect for setting up your camera on a tripod for some excellent photo opportunities. The watering hole was frequented by game, including elephants (one day, more 30+ of them splashing in it, and the bull mating with the females).

Summary: Madikwe is seriously underrated. It's vast, provides excellent game viewing, offers excellent accommodations (Tuningi is one), and it has the advantage of being malaria-free. Both lodge and reserve highly recommended.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank HakanE65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 30, 2012

There are not enough adjectives to describe what an amazing place this is! The food, staff, service and accommodation is incomparable, and the game viewing is plentiful, intimate and spectacular. Cornelius, our game ranger, totally made the holiday for us and went that extra mile for us on every game drive. I loved every second and cannot think of a single bad thing to say about this place (which is rare for me). If you are coming to SA and want the ultimate safari experience then this is the place for you!

Room Tip: Little Tuningi has private houses a short walk from the lodge for those wanting a bit more space and...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Bruce M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Tuningi Safari Lodge

Property: Tuningi Safari Lodge
Address: Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa
Location: South Africa > North-West Province > Madikwe Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #13 of 23 Specialty Lodging in Madikwe Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Tuningi Safari Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Tuningi Safari Lodge, situated in the world renowned Big 5, malaria-free, Madikwe Game Reserve, proudly showcases this protected areas African success story in magnificent style! Tuningi offers guests superior accommodation enhanced by an impressive Big 5 safari experience and personalised service in a friendly and relaxed environment. The Lodge welcomes children and in doing so, avails them of the opportunity to experience the wonders of nature, wildlife and our delicate eco-system first-hand. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Tuningi Safari Hotel Madikwe Game Reserve

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