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“Wow” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Ulusaba Rock Lodge

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Ulusaba Rock Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
86 reviews
64 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 99 helpful votes
“Wow”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 26, 2007

We stayed at Rock Lodge Ulusaba for 3 nights in early November and cannot wait to save up to visit again!! We had a nightmare journey - thank you British Airways - and ended up arriving a full 24 hours late but from the minute we arrived all the stress and aggravation was dispelled by the fantastic staff and the service we received. We also cannot thank them enough for being so flexible and simply adjusting our stay so we still stayed 3 nights at no extra charge for our missed first night's accommodation. After all the nightmare problems we had with BA we received numerous faxes and phone calls from our travel agent [--] (who was fantastic at rescheduling the remainder of our trip!!) and Ulusaba made sure we received all those communications promptly. From the champagne on arrival to the stunning accommodation you really feel this is a very special place. Our room at Rock Lodge had fabulous views out across the bush and we were able to spot game from our balcony or watch the hippos in the lake through binoculars. Bathrooms are similar size to the bedrooms with great Virgin spa toiletries. Minibars are all included in the room cost and include champagne, chocolates, fine wines etc. There's no tv in the rooms but I would almost guarantee you won't miss it! You are introduced to everyone in the lodge on your arrival from the chef to the spa therapists and they are all so wonderfully friendly and yet, not at all in your face if you just want to chill out and be left alone. Meals tend to be taken together with the other guests in a large house party style except lunch which is separate, but if you want to take dinner on your own terrace or have a private dinner they will happily arrange this for you... the food is fabulous, menus are described by the chef each evening and the food is varied and plentiful.... as is the wine to accompany it. We had massages at the spa which were really great and 15% of the proceeds went to a local charity arranged by Virgin which was a nice touch. But the animals and the game drives... all I can say is wow. We saw all of the Big 5 on our 6 game drives and more besides. .. we were lucky enough to see a 2 week old elephant, young lion cubs feeding and playing, and on our last night a lion kill. You have the same ranger and tracker throughout your stay and I cannot say a big enough thanks to Philip and Joseph for our fabulous experiences. Sundowners and morning coffee in the bush is a treat and the walking safari is definitely well worth the effort.. even if you are tired after 5am wake up calls! We also had the opportunity to visit Safari Lodge which is the other accommodation at Ulusaba and that too was really lovely. Children can stay up at Rock Lodge but not at safari if that was to be a factor in anyone's decision making. There were so many special treats incorporated into our stay so we never knew quite what to expect and perhaps that is why we're so looking forward to returning some day... or maybe it was just the fabulous sense of relaxation, excitement, wonderment and thorough enjoyment we experienced. Truly a special place and to anyone going - you lucky things! and to anyone thinking of going - do it! It can be tricky to book as they have so few rooms and get very full - we booked 14 months in advance with our travel agent [--].

  • Liked — rustic luxury and the fabulous service
  • Disliked — nothing!
  • Stayed November 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank Maldivesgirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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170 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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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 (53)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Fleet, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
81 reviews
53 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 18, 2007

We got married here and stayed at Rock lodge for 4 nights. We stayed in the Makwela dawn suite. The room was amazing, it had everything there to make a perfect stay. We got to see the magnificent seven, which is the big 5 plus cheetah and wild dogs. Our ranger and tracker, Sam and Simon were such nice people. Not only were they great at tracking and teaching you about the animals, but they really care. We saw on occasion a tree trunk in the road, other vehicles would drive around them, our great guys would always stop and move it out of the way. They explained that by going around it, you increase the width of the roads and this is bad for the environment. We had a few massages here and they were amazing, the first time I’ve ever fallen asleep during one! The whole team here are full of smiles and make you feel so welcome. If you are looking at booking here...... don’t hold back, just go, it’s worth every penny. We gave them three times what we originally going to give as a tip.
I won’t mention much about the wedding; as if you are getting married here I wouldn’t want to spoil the many surprises. But it was the best day of my life. I just can’t wait to go back.

  • Liked — Everything
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed September 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank mackay-7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tonbridge, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
17 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 20, 2007

My wife and I stayed here for part of our Honeymoon a few years ago. Simply this place was utterly fantastic. The facilities, staff, food everything was bang on.

When we stayed there were only 2 other couples there with us, so it was so quiet and peaceful. My wife had a massage in the Virgin Spa whilst watching the elephants at the waterhole just down the hill!

The guide - ours was Dave, were unbelievably knowledgeable and seemed to be loving his time in the bush as much as we were.

I'd love to go again - maybe next time!

  • Liked — The outddor shower.
  • Disliked — Nothing.
  • Stayed September 2003, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Duke33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 14, 2007

I booked my trip to Ulusaba 10 months in advance so after reading endless Trip Advisor reports and other reviews I had a worring high exectation of the property. I need not have worried.

From the moment you arrive at the airfield ( soon to be improved so not so many lodge hops needed) you are welcomed into the Ulusaba family. Our ranger for the four days met us, his name was Wes and although I know all the rangers are fantastic we would never go back without Wes being our ranger it would almost seem disloyal.

You are welcomed with a glass of champagne and a walk round the property. Rock lodge is amazing the views from the large dinning / sitting room are breathtaking and the Ostrich eggs Chandelier is simply awesome ( no I am not American!).

The staff , everyone of them are friendly , helpful, interested in what you have seen on your game drives although I am sure they hear the same stories week in and week out they just make you feel very special.

You go on your drives and eat family style. The lodge was less than half full when we went so we soon bonded with our fellow house mates and had a great laugh together over the four days, though honeymooners do not be put off there is plenty of time to spend privately if you so which.

We stayed in the Makwela suit which is named after a female Leopard that has stayed local to the lodge for many years. We caught up with her and her cub several times and she is beautiful, as is the suite named after her with plunge pool and fantastic facilites.

If like me you can not decide between Rock or Safari let me try and help. Don't do as I have heard others surgest 2 nights in each , you really do not need to as you can use eithers facilties for food .For the sake of 5 minute drive why pack and unpack on the same day! Rock lodge is the original and for me the views are what its about and I think its safe to say the lounge area is better because of those views.

We felt the bar facilities at Safari were nicer with more wines on display in the open fridge and the week we were there the food was ever so slightly better in Safari when we ate there but the food in lodge was aslo extremely good, we just felt safari chef was a touch more delicate. We stayed at lodge so you may read this thinking there is bias involved. I was happy with the decision I made but you do get the luxury of the watering hole at safari and the chance to eat breakfast with the game. Safari lodge is more purpose built and has more of a hotel feel to it, for that reason I wil always go for Rock. If your gettigin married which ever lodge you staying at , get married at Rock on the lower veranda , what a setting!

Remeber though you are going for the game drives and they are fantastic fun and imformative. In January when we went the bush is thick and the trackers and rangers jobs much harder. They found us some incredible game ( the big 5 on day one). These guys work together for years and their understanding and awareness of the area is just great to see.

One last thing, if the small plane journey is a worry for you and is putting you off going to Ulsuaba, I too am a nervous flyer and was worried but infact I enjoyed the flights . Sit near the front and just seeing the pilot in action keeps you calm, don't let the worry of these flight hinder your adventure, it really is nothing to worry about.

We will go back for sure , enjoy your trips too.

  • Liked — OUr Room / Main Reception room
  • Disliked — Leaky shower
  • Stayed January 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
10 Thank Waterglades
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
london
Level Contributor
19 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 29, 2006

We stayed here for 4 nights before going to Mauritius. It was everything I had hoped it would be and more. From the greeting at reception (with a bottle of Veuve being opened just for us) to the suprise upgrade to a 2 bedroom suite and the amazing view of the bush - everything was beyond perfect. The staff can't do enough to make your stay memorable. The chef comes out before dinner every night to discuss the menu options with you and tell you how everything is cooked. One night I didn't fancy the options, so she asked me what I wanted and prepared it for me. The rangers are incredibly knowledgable and actively searched out the more elusive animals. I will never forget the hour spent tracking a wounded leopard, only to find her hunting the other female that had strayed into her territory. We were no more than 4 feet away from her and followed close behind as she hunted the intruder. Another highlight was a pride of lionesses all totally focused n a stray impala and totally ignoring our jeep just a few feet away. There are too many fantastic memories for me to mention - but this place is incredible and we can't wait to return.

The only thing I disliked was the recommended tip for the ranger, the tracker and the rest of the staff. On top of the several thousand punds we had already paid to stay here, the management suggested we should leave approx GBP 50 EACH per day. So for 4 nights it would have cost us an additional GBP 600 in tips. However, this is optional and we left what we considered to be fair.

All in all, a wonderful holiday. So good that when we left for Mauritius, neither of us wanted to leave. A truely magical place.

  • Liked — Everything!!
  • Disliked — Recommended tips too high
  • Tips/Secrets — Just go!!
  • Stayed September 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank larasboyz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Level Contributor
49 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 99 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 11, 2006

We absolutely loved Ulusaba's Rock Lodge (we stayed a few nights at the Safari lodge as well). Both are unique in their own ways. The best thing about Rock Lodge is that you get spectacular views from your balcony of the entire game park all around you. You can just stand in awe at the silent and stunning nature below. The dining table has wonderful African chairs with high backs and antlers on top, the leather couches in the sitting area are a wonderful spot to take in a drink, and the bar/sitting area is all encompassed by floor to ceiling windows for great views. Our room had a spiral staircase with funky decore and also floor to ceiling windows in the bathroom area. The gourmet food is absolutely the best, the friendly and charming staff will quickly make you feel at home. There is no gym at the Rock Lodge (there's a small one at Safari lodge) but the small pool is a nice retreat at the end of the day.

  • Stayed February 2006
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Nomadgal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ulusaba Rock Lodge

Property: Ulusaba Rock Lodge
Address: Sabi Sand, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Sabi Sand Game Reserve > Ulusaba Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 Specialty Lodging in Ulusaba Private Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
With panoramic views overlooking the miles of African bush, there are 8 rooms at Rock Lodge, including the Master Suite, Makwela Suites, Rock Cliff rooms and the two bedroom Rock Suite, some of which have private plunge pools. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Ulusaba Rock Hotel Ulusaba Private Game Reserve

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