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“Out of this world - Amazing”
Review of Ulusaba Rock Lodge

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Ulusaba Rock Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Stamford
Level Contributor
76 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Out of this world - Amazing”
Reviewed January 1, 2014 via mobile

My husband and I were fortunate enough to experience Ulusaba in early December. Unlike most guests who fly directly into Ulusaba airstrip, we decided to drive from Johannesburg - an experience in itself. Upon arrival at Ulusaba, we were met by Michelle who took us to Rock Lodge and so began the most amazing 44 hours of our lives!

Knox took us to our room (Rock 2) and we quickly got into our safari gear and headed back to Michelle in the jeep. She took us to meet our ranger (Calvin) and tracker (John). Within minutes we were at a leopard kill! Amazing! We proceeded that evening to see white rhino with a baby. We enjoyed sundowner drinks on the side of a river with hippos.

After an excellent meal with fellow guests, we retired to our room. Next morning we were up bright and early ready for our 5am wake-up call, followed by a 5:30am departure to experience the bush again. Elephants, lions, termite mounds, large snails.....and then.....a surprise pancake with champagne breakfast - outstanding.

Our final safari drive was on a rainy morning, but it was possibly the best one of all because we saw a leopard up a tree being stalked by a lion and then Calvin and John pulled out all the stops to get us to see zebras, which I had said were one of the animals I really wanted to see (along with leopards). Wow!

Our room was great and the bathroom was also fantastic. I especially liked the shower gel/shampoo/body lotion that were provided. You really don't need to take your own as they are very nice quality. In addition, mosquito spray was provided. We didn't really take advantage of the mini-bar that was in the room, nor the laundry service that is included. The swimming pool was lovely too. Comfortable sun loungers that you could fall asleep on (and I did!).

You spend a lot of time with your Ranger/Tracker and the other guests assigned to your jeep (approx 7 hours a day). We had a lovely group of people in our vehicle. John made us feel so safe and his ability to spot animals (including insects) in the dark is phenomenal. Calvin is excellent - very knowledgeable about the bush as a whole ecosystem. They make a terrific team and we would definitely request them again.

I cannot express how impressed we were by Ulusaba and Rock Lodge. It truly is a magical place. The staff are more like friends there to ensure you are well looked after. The 44 hours we spent at Ulusaba were amazing and we are already talking about returning. A huge heartfelt thank you to everyone who made our visit so memorable - a great team.

Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank FairLady80
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 review, January 17, 2014
“The most amazing 44 hours of our lives” that’s quite a statement and thank you for sharing your experience with us. We think Safari Lodge is truly a remarkable place and we couldn’t be happier to share its magic with you. We hope to welcome you home again soon.
Best wishes
Karl Langdon
General Manager of Ulusaba Private Game Reserve
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Level Contributor
52 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 89 helpful votes
Reviewed December 17, 2013

My husband and I just returned from a 4-night stay at the Rock Lodge as part of our honeymoon. Here are some of our thoughts on it...

What we loved:-
(1) Great staff - Staff were very friendly throughout the lodge and our ranger (Ricoh) and tracker (Orange) were immensely entertaining and answered all our questions very patiently.

(2) Game Drives - We got paired with another 4 people (1 jeep sits 6) for all the game drives and they were lovely people. Thanks to Ricoh and Orange, we spotted the Big 5 within 2 days and saw them repeatedly after as well. It is great that they go off-track to spot the Big 5 and the proximity between us (i.e. the jeep) and the animals are quite nerve wrecking. For example, we could have just reached our hand down and touch the leopard! For someone who's only seen leopards behind huge cages, high walls and electric fences in the zoo, it's really quite amazing. On our 3rd day, they started taking an order list of whatever animals we wanted to see. One of the guests in our jeep mentioned she wanted to see a zebra and they looked high and low during the evening game drive (apparently zebras are a rare sight in the game reserve), and they found a bunch of them! Just spectacular. It is great that the rangers are in touch with each other through their walkie talkies and they buzz the station with news of animal sightings. We also love the fact that they control 2 jeeps to each sighting spot so as not to crowd the animals - so no one hogs the view and we all get a turn to see the animals.

(3) Rooms & location - We were upgraded to the Master Suite at the lodge and it was beautiful! It was so huge, with a small dipping pool, our own deck and a living room with floor to ceiling sliding glass doors so we get great views of the bush. With our binoculars, we spotted hippos and once even an elephant drinking at the waterhole.

(4) Food - Amazing. The reviews here are very accurate. They feed you oh so much and you can't help trying everything and stuffing yourself because the food (and wine) is amazing! Though I must say, for couples looking to spend some alone time together, it may be quite challenging at Ulusaba. Game drives and meals are done on a group basis - you barely get any alone time together unless you skip the game drives (***Not recommended! You may just miss spotting the rare animals, which defeats the whole purpose of going on a safari). Also, they wait for the whole group (i.e. everyone staying at Cliff Lodge and Rock Lodge) to gather before they start dinner, so if you're starving and a group has not returned from their game drive, you will just have to wait till they're back - which we felt was quite unnecessary and inconsiderate.

Some room for improvement:-
(1) Lighting in the room - During the day, it's fine, but at night it was pretty dim. My husband was using a torch light to search for stuff in our bags and in the cupboard.

(2) Housekeeping - Could be more meticulous. One night, there were a couple of 8-inch millipedes wandering around our room. The next night, there were a cluster of eggs (not sure whether they're from an insect or a reptile) on a rack and there were an army of ants having a go at it. The following morning, we saw some droppings around (they may already have been there at night but given that lighting was dim, we probably missed it) before we left for our game drive. When we got back after breakfast, which is also after housekeeping has came in, the animal droppings were still there - untouched. We took note after these few incidents that whenever housekeeping came in, they leave the door wide open - perhaps it doesn't happen every time, but that could be one of the contributing factors. We understand that we are in the bush and the animals / reptiles / insects will come... but perhaps steps should be taken to minimize that.

All in all, we had a great time despite the above! Definitely an experience of a lifetime and we look forward to our next safari!

Room Tip: Master suite is beautiful. I love the little living area downstairs... great reading area during the...
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank SMYong
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
2 reviews
Reviewed December 5, 2013

We just returned from our stay at Ulusaba. Everything about it was incredible....we did not want to leave and look forward to the day we can return! I must give a special shout out to our Ranger Brandon and Tracker Jack who had an huge impact on our experience. They made such a fabulous team, were extremely knowledgeable and both had a great sense of humor, our group was playing and cracking jokes the entire time. They were so good at tracking animals, we started making requests. And if you are in to photography, these are your guys....we were always situated in the perfect position to get the best possible shots. It was easy to wake up at 5am every morning knowing that an action packed day of animals awaited us.

The rest of the staff and lodge lived up to our expectations, which were high, after all the glowing reviews on trip advisor.

There are so many safari lodges to choose from it is truly hard to make a decision, but know that if you choose Ulusaba, you not be disappointed.

Thank you Ulusaba for an experience of a lifetime!

Room Tip: We stayed in Rock Cliff #1 and our friends were in Rock Cliff #2 and both were fabulous.
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Luv2Trvl60713
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 review, January 17, 2014
Thanks for taking the time to share your experience from your stay in December. We will pass on your lovely feedback to Ranger Brandon and Tracker Jack who helped to make your game experience so special. We look forward to welcoming you back soon.
Best wishes
Karl Langdon
General Manager of Ulusaba Private Game Reserve
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
175 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 98 helpful votes
Reviewed November 8, 2013

What can I add to all the great previous reviews… ?! Everything was just perfect: the weather, the location of the lodge, its beautiful architecture, our room, the food, the staff, the game rides…..
Everybody working there was young, clean cut, very polite and well spoken, very friendly with the guests and with each other and seeming genuinely interested in everything you need … Splendid!
We were greeted at the airstrip with cold drinks, big, friendly smiles and a jeep that took us to the lodge. We stayed three nights at the Rock Lodge where we had the Rock Cliff room # 2. In the room we found a nice welcoming letter from the management, together with two nice, high-quality-print books, one about the lodge itself and another about the animals in the area – a nice touch! The room itself was very spacious, with all the amenities expected, immaculately clean, wonderful views from the balcony and a huge bathroom area downstairs with even better views.
The food was constantly excellent and the drinks… whatever you want, as much as you want, whenever you want ….
Our ranger, Dale, was very pleasant, knowledgeable, with a good sense of humor and always willing to help, no matter what that was, like everyone else at the lodge. As about the spotter, Don - the guy was even able to spot a chameleon, on a tree, in the dark of the evening, while returning to the loge-incredible!!! The game: elephants, rhinos, giraffes, zebras, all kind of antelopes, lionesses with cubs, leopards, hyenas, wild dogs, chameleons (!) and others I don’t remember. We even happen to see something apparently very rare: a predator attacking another predator. In this case it was three lionesses killing a young hyena, which in its attempt to savage through the remains of a nyala killed by the lionesses the night before, got too close to the cubs. It was gruesome…

There was also a wonderful, surprise dinner. On our second evening, when returning from an afternoon game drive, out of a sudden we noticed in a distance (before going uphill, to the lodge) a lot of lights, lights in the tree (just like on Christmas) and when we got closer also heard the sound of the drums. There was a very interesting song and dance show performed by the people of a village nearby, followed by a tasty buffet dinner. On the last morning, there was a surprise breakfast when returning from the game drive, in the middle of nowhere, with pancakes made to order, champagne and … anything else you want…
We didn’t really want to leave but this was just the beginning of our trip to South Africa and there were so many other places to see. We’ll surely be back ….

Room Tip: Our room (Rock Cliff # 2) was excellent, but I do not think there are any bad rooms
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank worldnomad_01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed November 4, 2013

Stayed at rock lodge, amazing experience, staff are out to make sure your stay is nothing but perfect. You are greeted at the airstrip, and a nice bottle of bubbles on ice waiting for you.
Ryann who collected us was our game driver, he was fantastic his knowledge of the wildlife was incredible, he had a person who has never really taken an interest in birds becoming a bird watcher, well done Ryan! He did everything in his power to make sure we had an amazing wildlife experience. We'll done to everyone associated with rock lodge it's a team effort. Heather

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Heathergeorge00
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Surfers Paradise, Australia
Level Contributor
63 reviews
51 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 156 helpful votes
Reviewed October 28, 2013

Would totally give ULUSABA 6 stars! its seriously an overall AMAZING experience! from the initial booking via emails, to the Transfers in/out, the welcoming, the location, views and STAFF! there is not one thing anyone could fault here! Take the federal air transfer (if you get motion sick then take a pill) We were greeted by Dale our Safari / Game guide, a few champagnes on arrival into the airstrip then a quick 5 min transfer to the lodge. and WOW! Amazing. seriously words cannot describe how amazing this place is. the view up high of the sabi sands and reserve takes your breath away. Everything is included, food, drinks and whatever else you want / need! on arrival to the lodge got a welcome Jack Daniels or 2, then moved to our room, where thry brought the entire bottle for me to keep for the stay. lol. (this is just how good the service is) 5am game drives with breakfast on the safari, seeing everything you can imagine! AND AS FOR GAME DRIVES...... the BEST! they dont stick to the road, they actually go BUSH, running over trees to get you up close to the wildlife! all i can say is i CANT WAIT TO COME BACK, and bring a group of people! WELL DONE!!! by far the best hotel ive stayed at! o and if you get a chance go and check out PRIDE & PURPOSE, their volunteer / community program, bu take some gifts for the kids :)

Room Tip: both lodges are totally different but you get a better overall view from rock lodge. the entry room...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Ritchie G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NYC
Level Contributor
53 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
Reviewed September 26, 2013

I stayed at Safari Lodge for two nights and Rock Lodge for another two. Although we enjoyed both, I would definitely say our favorite was Rock. The views are just phenomenal...our room (dusk suite) had its own plunge pool and wrap around porch. We stayed at the treehouse suite in Safari, and although it was also beautiful--the hippos and baboons are very loud at night! :)
But what really made our stay at Ulusaba unforgettable was the staff. Our guide Sean was incredible---he was such a wealth of knowledge and we were lucky enough to have the jeep to ourselves for a day and a half. We saw the Big Five, cubs, a kill + countless other beautiful animals & birds. I can't imagine a better safari experience...we were treated to two breakfasts in the bush, drinks at night with the hippos, star-gazing, and other magical experiences we will never forget.
If you're like me and do A LOT of research before your trips, look no further. This is a trip you will never forget.

Room Tip: Our dusk suite was amazing...private plunge pool, wrap around porch and stunning views. If you are...
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank elisaanyc
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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