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“An exceptional safari location worthy of the best!”
Review of Ulusaba Rock Lodge

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Ulusaba Rock Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 30, 2012

With the words “location, location, location” Sir Richard Branson’s Ulusaba Rock Lodge has got it all. Wonderful and friendly staff, amazing views of the bushveld, exceptional food and wine, accommodation second to none and wildlife in abundance. The experience is extraordinary unique, from the moment you arrive, to be met with a glass of champagne at the reception, until you leave with a tear in your eye. But I’m running ahead of myself now.
This was a special birthday/anniversary trip for my wife and we stayed for four nights, our first time at Ulusaba, but not the first for Sabi Sands and the Kruger. Ulusaba's facilities and staff are superb; everything is done with calm professionalism and quiet confidence.
We were met at the Reception by Phillip our Ranger and taken to the Rock Lodge perched high on a koppie, as you drive up the road you get the start of an amazing view over the bushveld, which just gets better as you get higher up to the lodge. We were met by Richard the lodge manger and given a full tour of the facilities available, along with more outstanding views. The hospitality from all the staff was really great, going out of their way to make you feel at home and part of an extended family. Richard was an amazing host, and his staff backed him up 100% in all departments.
Our accommodation was excellent; we stayed in The Master Suite and were thrilled with it. Luxurious, clean and spacious split on 3 levels. First the superb bathroom, followed by the second level bedroom and its plunge pool outside. The lower level is an elegantly decorated sitting room with a balcony. The balcony gave us an easterly view over the bush, adjoining koppies and the dam below, we were already crossing off wildlife sightings as we unpacked. We saw 3 of the Big 5 from here and on the last morning a pair of mating Lions just below us.
Food was of a high standard with a good choice at all meals. Breakfast after the morning drive is just right, as we still had lunch, tea snacks and evening meal to come. The evening meal is perhaps the culmination of culinary skill, an a la carte experience not to be missed. The chef personally explaining her menu choices for the night, how they were prepared and included some amazing variations. The wine choices also complement the food and are normally chosen by Richard. If you are not a wine drinker, then there is a bar that covers the remainder from beer and spirits to some outstanding cocktails and champagne. All food and drink is included and after our first meal at Ulusaba we understood why the well equipped gym is close by.
The pinnacle of our stay was of course the game viewing and this was exceptional. The big five in abundance, as well Hyena, Giraffe, Hippo, Zebra and the numerous buck species, that appear out of the bush. My wife’s favorite is leopard, which on our last safari in the Sabi Sands we missed, on mentioning this to Richard on arrival, he was quick to assure us that at Ulusaba we would see one every day. To his credit Phillip our Ranger backed him up, and we did. In fact on our first drive, the very first sighting was a female leopard (Mitzi) hunting Impala near the airstrip. (could it get any better)? Well it did – Following lions as they hunted buffalo at night, 3 pairs of mating lions, rare black rhino, the young bull elephant with his mock charges to his ultimate threat, two white rhino mesmerized for over 10 minutes 50cm from the front of our land rover and the leopard with a kill in a tree.
However the ultimate sighting had to be the mating leopards in a tree with their kill, along with four hungry lions below them looking up longingly for the scraps that fell.
Thanks to Phillip and Kaizer for a truly amazing four days of game viewing, with so many “firsts”, even after +20yrs of visiting game reserves. Also the game walk and the close encounter with those old dagga boys at the foot of Rock Lodge, truly exciting, but never in danger thanks to your skills.
A must do is the visit to the telescope on a clear African night, lions roaring not too far away, for a truly out of this world experience. Again Phillip excelled with his knowledge of the planets, stars and galaxies above.
The highlight of our stay, even with all the amazing firsts in the game viewing had to be the very special last night, Richard and his team laid on for us. Dinner for two on a balcony overlooking the bush, with the moon rising and a delicious chocolate birthday cake for my wife (it was as if by magic you knew it was her favorite). Many thanks Kathryn and Richard .
I do however have a small complaint to make, Richard you and your staff at Ulusaba have spoilt any other safari trips for us, having set the bar so high. All other trips in the future are going to find it difficult to match up against those outstanding 4 days at Ulusaba. I suppose the next trip will have to be the Safari Lodge.
We will definitely be coming back.
To those of you who are thinking about a Safari trip of a lifetime, look no further!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Karrst
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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130 - 136 of 186 reviews

Reviewed July 27, 2012

During our Kruger trip we passed a couple of lodges, all very nice, we ended in Ulusaba rock lodge (Richard Branson place) and this was the best, quality guests, rangers and trackers and a beautifull appartement/house, nice plunge pool, i needed it. My wife and i drunk a beer, then there was no beer anymore in the fridge, we phoned for another beer and they arrived within 3 minutes with a huge bowl with ice and ten bottels of beer. Yess, it was hot, i really appreciated this move. If you visit Kruger do not forget to visit this place, of cource it is expensive, but what the hack you only live once.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank bernardvanommeren
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 13, 2012

As with most reviewers, I completely agree that Ulusaba's facilities, accommodation, food, staff and overall experience are nothing short of superb. From the greeting until departure, your every wish is fulfilled with grace, professionalism and confidence. I stayed purposefully 2 nights at the Rock lodge and 3 nites at Safari lodge to have both experiences and that was worth it.

With all the praise, I must share honestly that as a solo traveler I was disappointed. The single supplement is extraordinary (about 85% of double occupancy) which I support with the understanding that the lodges are full. However, when I arrived, there were only two rooms taken the first nite and the next three nites were half full. It was only the 5th night that the Lodge "almost" filled up.

Before booking, I enquired as to whether solo guests had positive experiences and was assured the staff "are highly attuned" to making your stay enjoyable. I also mentioned that I was coming during Valentine's Day and would that bring any issues.. again I was told that all meals are "group". On my first nite, because the lodge had only one other party who wanted to dine separately, I was asked to dine alone...so I took my meal in my room. On valentine's nite, the tables were all set up for couple's so I sat alone at a table among the other four separate couples tables. By the second course, they brought a traveling Minister to sit at my table...odd.

I completed the feedback form on my departure on 19 Feb and received a response on 30 May with a 5% credit. I found this resolution to be incompatible with trying to restore my confidence and address the reality of my disappointing experience as a solo traveler.

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled solo
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1  Thank shandmade
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management response:Responded June 26, 2012

Dear Susan,

Thank you for your recent feedback on Tripadvisor.

Following my initial letter to you at the end of May, I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely apologise again for the shortcomings you experienced during your stay at Ulusaba. I realise I addressed certain aspects of your stay in my previous letter but clearly we fell down on other aspects too and therefore I would like to contact you directly to discuss this matter further. I have your details and will be in touch very soon.

Kind regards
Jon Brown

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 29, 2012

My disappointment is a personal thing, though. I didn't expect that there would be so many children. In fairness we had a Land Rover with all adults. The children were all well behaved, but since there is a communal dinner, it would have been more desirable for us to be able to have our conversations with adults only. The manager and his wife were sooo friendly and so were the staff. We stayed in the Rock Suite and it was nice. We didn't mind that we could hear people outside and we didn't mind the glass walls in the shower, although some people might be put off by this. We could not use the pool as it was overtaken by the many kids at the lodge. This lodge is up on a mountain, so you can not walk about, especially at night when you need to call for an escort to take you to the main building. Food was generally very good. The Ranger Duard and the Tracker John were wonderful. I would recommend this property to anyone wishing to take a safari with children.

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank ciraulo1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 25, 2012

My wife and I stayed for three nights, this being the first time on safari in SA its tough to judge the quality of Game on the reserve, so I will avoid being judgmental on that front.
Accommodation quality was superb, we stayed in a rock cliff room and were delighted with it. Luxurious, clean and spacious, with a bathroom with a view! The only downside was the bathroom being downstairs meant it was quite an obstacle course after a few glasses of wine in the evening. Some reviews complain about the sound proofing, we didn't experience any issues at all.

The hospitality from the front of house staff was great they really went out of their way to make you feel at home. Vikers the manager was an amazing host. The game rangers were friendly too.

Food was of a high standard that you expect and ordering off menu was deemed perfectly acceptable. All drinks and food are included, I was hesitant about this as I thought it would mean they would scrimp on quality, but this was not the case both food ingredients and quality of spirits were high.

I thoroughly recommend the rock lodge, if you are hesitating don't.

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank RST1974
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VLELondon, General Manager at Ulusaba Rock Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded May 18, 2012

Thank you for your lovely comments about your recent stay with us at Ulusaba. We are delighted to hear that you and your wife had such an enjoyable stay. I will be sure to pass on your comments to Vickus as I’m sure he will be pleased to hear them. We look forward to welcoming you back to Ulusaba in the future.

All the best and have a magic day!
Karl Langdon
General Manager of Ulusaba

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Reviewed March 4, 2012

Unbelievable experience,Staff passionate about wildlife,super service levels.

  • Stayed: February 2012
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1  Thank Hausberger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 18, 2012

What a fantastic place.... Stayed two nights at Rock lodge and two nights at Safari Lodge.
The food is second to none and the staff (everyone) are some of the best I have ever seen. The rooms are out of this world.

The game drives are wild (funny that) Saw the big 5 on the first day and they only got better. Take a walking safari if they are doing them, it is very exciting (gets the heart going a bit) but the rangers are well trained and I was more than confident with them. During our walking safari we saw an elephant not to far away and the ranger was very relaxed in fact when he found a small snake skin he was more nervous about that then the elephant.

Wish I could go back every year.

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank GMYewLodge
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

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: $15,555 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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