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“Potential but poor delivery”

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Buffalo Ridge Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed December 2, 2012

My wife and I recently stayed at Buffalo Ridge to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. One often attributes a memorable trip to the bush with fantastic game viewing which we did get in the reserve. The lodge is situated on a ridge allowing breathtaking views accross the reseve.

For those people planning a bush trip I believe the ability to drive off road is limited to a few reserves in South Africa and should not be under estimated when planning your trip. Most of Madikwe's lodges allow this but worth checking when you book.

The lodge was however a very under whelming experience. I felt there was a distinct lack of a good manager who could interact with the guests. There are pro's and con's to visiting a small lodge and for me the latter was unfortunately the case. The food was okay but nothing special and with a set three course meal your only choice was to skip a course if you didnt like it as there was no alternative.

We did select the lodge on price, travelling on a book and travel within 7 day price break special which made it reasonable however having been to the reserve on 3 seperate occasions I can say there are better lodges to stay at. The unfortunate proverbial last straw was a mild electric shock one experienced when using the shower, this can be fixed by the lodge but reading some reviews prior to writing this of guests who have have also been shocked, this it is clearly not top of mind.

With a little effort there is no reason why this lodge could not provide an excellent destination

Room Tip: 8 rooms same design. They strech out from the lodge in a single straight line along the ridge. The l...
  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Nic C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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99 - 105 of 152 reviews

Reviewed November 8, 2012

We have been in Buffalo Ridge Safari Lodge on October 31-November 1st. The place was lovely, really connected to the nature, no fence, no garden, just the nature around the chalet: baboons passed 10 meters from us and we could observe small grazers just two meters from the window. The safari was great, with Lazarus who is recognized by pairs as one the best guides in Madikwe. The food was excellent, the staff was caring and the accommodation was excellent, not luxurious, excellent. We had another stay in a luxurious lodge, almost twice the price: Buffalo Ridge Safari Lodge is different. This might be the reason for some mitigated feedback on this site: go to Buffalo Ridge Safari Lodge if you want a very comfortable experience of the South African wild nature in a peaceful and cosy place, integrated in the Nature at an affordable price, otherwise, pay the double elsewhere for the feeling of being somebody special in a luxurious place, up to you ! We did both and appreciated both, indeed, but with the feeling that our experience in Buffalo Ridge was more authentic. Again: people were nice, careful, professionnal, the food was good: probably the bad feedback of AnnieTAustralia and fs495 were analysed and amendments made. Also: they gave us a lift to the other lodge, free though they were not obliged to. See you again, Lazarus, for the buffalos next time !

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Patrice N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 2, 2012

Buffalo Ridge was our last safari in a month long trip to Namibia and Sth Africa, including stays at 4 other lodges. To be fair we arrived from neighbouring Madikwe Hills - a 6* lodge in the same game reserve - simply magnificent. Buffalo Ridge had a lot to live up to - and it failed miserably on many counts. Lack of management - nobody on site - and non-existent safety standards. I received an electric shock in the shower only to find out 12 hours (that's how long the manager took to get round to talking to us) that it is on ongoing problem in two of its 8 rooms. Upon our insistence we were moved late at night. The lodge is in a lovely location and is really very nice, the staff do their best but have no direction. The one plus was Lazarus our guide - we have been on many safaris - on this holiday and previously to Botswana and Kenya/Tanzania - and Lazarus was by far our best guide. If only management could get their act together (and change electricians) it would be a great place to stay but at this stage all I can say is stay away!!

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with friends
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2  Thank AnnieTAustralia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 11, 2012

I traveled to Buffalo Ridge from Gabarone, Botswana, and spent 3 nights there in May. What an amazing experience. The food was delicious, the accomodations impeccably clean, romantic, and beautiful, and the staff were all a delight. One of the highlights: I saw impala grazing outside while bathing in the most insanely gorgeous shower I have ever used in my entire life. We also had breakfast each morning with a herd of elephants that joined us in the watering hole just below the lovey deck where we had our meals. Our guide, Franco, was awesome--knowledgable, patient, and super respectful of all the amazing animals. We saw the big five! I'm not sure why Madikwe isn't as well-known as some of the other safari locations, but we were totally delighted that it still seems a little bit secret.

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank bluesun508
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 14, 2012

We stayed at Buffalo Ridge for 4 nights in August 2012 and were very pleasantly surprised. We only found out (after we had paid in full!) that the lodge was completely run by the local tribe so we were quite aprehensive. We needn't have worried at all. The staff were exceptional. Extremely well trained and attentive without being over bearing. The rooms were well appointed and beds very comfortable though the beds had angled edges which were stylish but impractical as they jutted out too far from the mattress.
The food was good and abundant - too much if one needed to complain about anything!
Lazarus was our giude and he was entertaining and informative. He was brilliant with my kids. We didnt see the wild dog as a bush fire had ripped through Madikwe a few days before so they had moved their den. we did however see lion, buffalo, rhino, brown hyena and elephant and my husband saw leopard o his way in at 9am in the morning! All in all I would definately recommend this lodge for value for money. They do need to work on a little maintenance - the blinds look a bit shabby in the main boma; and the wind blinds dont zip up so it was exceptionally chilly as the cold snap hit the reserve. Rooms were clean though and all else appeared well maintained. Perhaps they need to train a handyman for their general maintenance - if he was trained half as well as the rest of the staff, he would be exceptional. My kids are ow asking when can we go back!!! Loved it.

Room Tip: All rooms had a fabulous view over the reserve and all were extremely quiet and well appointed. We h...
  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank Grannymac1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 18, 2012

This was my first experience on a safari and I worried about having five days there. I needn't have worried for a second. We chose this lodge because aside from it having the big five and it looking stunning, it was also ethical. It was built by the villagers and the profits go back into the local community. We flew in which was the most amazing experience as we had to fly over the landing strip twice to clear giraffe and zebra. The lodges are stunning and far more luxurious than I ever thought they would be, the staff couldn't do enough for you and the whole place was really chilled out. The game drives themselves were brilliant and we saw everything, wild dogs, rhino, buffalo, lions (even a lion catch it's supper!) cheetah, elephants giraffe, zeebra the list is endless, we weren't lucky enough to see a leopard but then few people are! It was lovely when you got back of an evening to see the flickering lights of Gaborone and the biggest surprise to me - the food. My word, the food was simply amazing particularly when you think you were in the middle of a game reserve. I cannot rate this lodge highly enough, I would go back here again and again and again and if you get chance to fly in rather than drive - do it!!

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank CazMold
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 31, 2012

Buffalo Ridge is truly a wonderful place. Set up on the ridge the views are magnificent. We were there with friends to celebrate my husband's special birthday - one he will never forget. Godfrey and his staff truly made our stay with them a very memorable one. We had Room 1 which was great, close to the Lodge and we had a very nice outlook. The rooms are very well equipped and we especially liked the messages left in flowers on our bed for this special occasion. We stayed for 3 nights and the chefs Lesago, Josephine and William provided us with delicious meals. On our last night at Buffalo Ridge they had set up a special table for us by the bonfire and Johannes served us very well. I cannot thank Lazarus, our guide enough - we had so much fun whilst learning so much. He never disappointed us and each Game drive was different to the other but just as exciting. He found us the BIG 5 and the bonus was a sighting of a pack of wild dogs. Lazarus as do all the staff have such passion and pride in what they do.
Don't expect TV, internet or telephones - it is really nice to be away from it all and really experience the bush in this wonderful setting. The staff are there if you need them.
We had sad hearts when we left Buffalo Ridge and I will especially miss our exhiliarting safari drives with Lazarus in the trusty Land Rover.
Thank you and we will return
Lynne J - Australia

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank LRJ58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Buffalo Ridge Lodge

Address: Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa
Location: South Africa > North-West Province > Madikwe Game Reserve
Hotel Style:
Ranked #20 of 23 Specialty Lodging in Madikwe Game Reserve
Price Range: $472 - $1,353 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Buffalo Ridge Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 8

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