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Tuningi Safari Lodge
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Reviews (228)
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Reviewed December 14, 2012

My wife and I spent three nights at Tuningi in mid-November 2012. We were late arriving courtesy of Avis in Sandton, and the first evening drive had already left, but within moments of settling into our lovely room, we were being wowed by South African bird life, sitting on trees next to our balcony. After unpacking, we went down to the watering hole, where we saw Impala, Weaver birds, and an Elephant. I thought that was pretty good - I had no idea!

When the evening drive returned, we all settled down to supper, and watched as a herd of about 20 elephants visited the waterhole, then left, then returned, left and returned again.

All the food was excellent. I know South African food is always good, and Tuningi was no exception at all. The food was fresh, interesting, more than sufficient, well served - you get the idea.

The next three days were epic. The lodges at Tuningi are really lovely, but after the first evening, we were hardly ever in ours. There was so much going on at the water hole that when we weren't out on a game drive or eating, we were sat on the deck looking at the water hole, watching the animals coming to drink. The elephants, at times, were only feet from us. Other animals were much more cautious, but they seemed to realise that humans on decking weren't a threat, so there was always something going on. I took my kindle down to the deck, intending to read, but I never got through a page, the action was so continuous.

We saw all the animals you could want to see. Christo was our Ranger, and he worked intensely to show us everything, but he was never in a hurry to drag us away when there was something good to look at.

I took a walking safari one morning. Seriously recommended! Just being out there, in the bush, even though the wind was behind us, and the Ranger I was with (Stephan) was careful to quietly announce our presence every 100 yards or so, was fantastic. I was able to see a lot of things you'd never get to see in a Land Cruiser, and Stephan told me a lot about the natural history of the flowers, birds and animals that we saw, as well as explaining what native Africans used the various parts for.

All in all, a fantastic three days. I wish it could have been longer, but that might spoil it for our next visit!

Madikwe is a great park. It's big enough to have a complete Eco-system and all the animals, but small enough that you don't feel crowded by other visitors.

Wilma was the perfect hostess, and looked after us tirelessly when Christo wasn't taking us out on Game Drives. It's a long day - most of us spend 8 hours a day at work; while at Tuningi we spent 8 hours each day on game drives, and about a further 5 or 6 hours relaxing, watching animals at the water hold or the swimming pool (which has a drinking place for passing elephants - and they do! We saw them!) and a couple of hours eating. Long, intensive days (if you want them to be), but as we were only there for three days, we wanted to see as much as possible, and we did.

We'll be back!

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Tim T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 6, 2012

We recently stayed at Tunungi for a relaxing breakaway. Heidi was a fantastic hostess who looked after us very well and made us feel at home from the time we arrived to the time we sadly had to depart.

Shortly after arrival we were greeted by a herd of Elephant drinking water in front of the main building, literally at arm’s length away from us below the deck.

All meals were beautifully prepared and served by well trained staff, creating a warm and friendly atmosphere. Possibly one of the best prepared Beef fillets I have ever had.

The rooms are all beautifully appointed with views over the bush veldt. A fireplace centred between the bathroom and bedroom, with a large oval bath as well as an outside shower providing options for both a romantic candlelit bath as well as an early morning hot shower outdoor with sunrise.

Gavin took us out on an amazing Game drive with the highlight being a pride of Lions first feasting on a kill next to a waterhole and then taking a kill away from two Wild dogs just around the corner from them.

Thank you to Heidi, Gavin and the Tuningi team for a very memorable breakaway.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank H101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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1  Thank Andy C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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Thank Oska
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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 drink! Far from the main lodge but private.
  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank AliciaKoch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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