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Ulusaba Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 3, 2014

For years I'd wanted to do a safari and had done endless research on countries, regions and bases and Ulusaba topped all I could wish for. The staff make every visitor welcome, and nothing is too much trouble. As an all inclusive resort you hope for quality and Ulusaba delivers big time. From the second you are collected at the airport by your cheery faced tracker to the moment you leave, delivered back to the airport you feel totally at one and part of the team.
Having spent a week in Cape Town we flew to Jo'burg for a connection on a Fed Air flight. They were very helpful and the their little lounge is small and relaxed. The flight to Ulusaba had me and other passengers straining to see any sign of wildlife on the short flight. Upon landing at UlusabA we were greeted to a glass or two of champagne and an introduction to our Tracker, in our case David. We were then taken by one of the open Land Rovers to the lodge itself. We were met by Kim the Lodge manager, who outlined the daily running and process, all with a big smiley face, a feature of all staff. We'd hired a river room which was reached by connecting walkways including the swinging platforms so beloved of I'm a Celebrity.
Our room was spotless, with bags of space, a massive bed, deep bath and walk in shower. We also had a fridge that magically refreshed itself with wines and peanuts etc.
The daily pattern was 5.00 am tel call and quick up and about for a hot beverage and muffin in the mail lodge where you hooked up with your Ranger, we had Phil, a very amiable and knowledgeable guide. We were on the road by 6.00 am latest and would head out on the dusty roads to look for game. On our first morning drive we saw up close and personal 4 of the big 5 being Lion, Leopard, Elephant and Rhino. About 9.15 we'd stop in a safe spot for a cuppa and than back on the road ending up at the lodge by about 10.30 am fro breakfast. Full English fry up if you wished and cooked how you liked it. Whilst sitting on the dining platform overlooking a small dried river bed you'd often spot kudu, nyala, babaoon etc. After breakfast we'd retire to our lodge to chill out, sit on the porch and read or just watch the kingfishers and other birds drift by. Lunch is set at 13.00 to 15.00 but sometimes we'd load up on breakfast to give us more self time. The walkways connecting the rooms also took you to a viewing platform overlooking a small reservoir replete with hippos and crocs, kingfishers etc and you could while away a few hours just observing. We'd meet back in the main lodge for 16.00 before heading out on the afternoon drive. It got dark about 18.00 and then strong torches would be used to locate nocturnal animals, including lions. Whilst out we would stop for a sun downer, a gin and tonic in the setting African sun is something special.
We'd be back at the lodge by 20.00 and time for a rapid shower, and a swift change for dinner. I can't over emphasise that some people changed for dinner, some didn't, it was left to what you felt comfortable in. The dinners were group affairs with most people starting at the bar with the days safari stories, before the head chef would come out and tell all the guests the evening menu with some witty asides, then Robin, the wine connoisseur would describe the background to the evenings wines, but again, you could choose what you wanted.
After everyone had eaten smaller groups tended to occur as everyone chatted amiably over a tipple of their favourite. Not many stayed late or drank too much as the swaying walkways and early alarm call were a solid deterrent.
Unlike the public reserves the game here tended to be quality not quantity but even so we witnessed herds of elephant and buffalo on separate occasions. We saw leopards copulating, cheetahs stalking impala, lions assaulting buffalo and also a pride war as two separate sets of male lions were determining dominance via tooth and claw. On one occasion we were woken by a lion roaring his presence, Ranger search showed he was approx 100 yards from our lodge.

MAGNIFICENT

Room Tip: We liked the River Rooms as they afforded good locations.
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  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank roymcp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VLELondon, General Manager at Ulusaba Safari Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded April 9, 2014

Thanks for sharing your experience. We are delighted to read your comments about your first safari and was happy you chose Ulusaba. The River Rooms are a favourite with many of our guests as they’re so close to all the action! We hope you’ve got the safari bug now and look forward to welcoming back to Ulusaba soon.

Best wishes
Karl Langdon
General Manager
Ulusaba Private Game Reserve

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208 - 214 of 395 reviews

Reviewed March 9, 2014

We stayed at rock lodge first and moved to Safari part way through our week. So I'm going to try and avoid repeating everything I wrote on that review.

Safari Lodge has a few more guests than rock lodge, at something like 12 rooms, but they are much more spaced out.

We stayed in River 4 which is about 5 minutes from the main lodge, which you did know about when it was raining hard.

The treehouse is an amazing spot and I'd certainly think about spending some time in that room when we go back, it's a fair walk from the lodge, and you do have to cross a number of swing bridges but the views and wildlife were simply stunning.

The staff were amazing, Rico and Orange our tracker and guide made the holiday for us. Everyone else was great too, we had a couple of issues with the room when we arrived, you come to realise these things happen and go with the flow, but they were sorted our quickly and with no fuss.

Was amazing to see how everything changes when there's a lot of rain, the difference in animals behaviour, the roads become a bit of a challenge and the 4x4 experience becomes part of the holiday, we rescued 2 other vehicles stuck in the mud.
Seeing the river in flood and where the bank we watched hippo's from the day before was amazing to see.

I have so many pictures I'm so pleased.

Perhaps the most difficult question is is rock lodge or safari lodge better.
The elephant just across the river from our room at safari was certainly a factor. Safari lodge grew on me more an more the longer I stayed there. Yes there was a day the roof leaked over the table, baboons and thatch without much rain can make for some interesting experiences. But that was part of it.

They are both great places to stay, and would I stay at both again maybe, but at the end of the day safari lodge probably just won the day due to it's amazing close to nature location.

Room Tip: Treehouse is a way out but you'll see hippo's every day ply anything coming to the lake for...
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  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank CHR1515
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VLELondon, General Manager at Ulusaba Safari Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded March 31, 2014

Thank you very much for sharing your Ulusaba experience. We’re delighted to read feedback and I’ve passed on your comments to Rico and Orange. I’m glad you managed to sneak in a spa treatment during your stay! We hope to welcome you back to our Ulusaba family soon.

Have a magic day!
Karl Langdon
General Manager
Ulusaba Private Game Reserve

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Reviewed March 2, 2014

This was our second trip to Ulusaba within 4 months - loved it so much the first time couldn't wait to go back! Everything about the place is simply superb, especially the staff. Kim and Blair (just to name a couple of the front of house staff) were so welcoming, and nothing was a problem! Then there are the game drives - Wow! You get so incredibly close to the animals it really is quite unbelievable, our ranger Brandon and tracker David were so knowledgeable - and so much fun - many laughs were had! I unfortunately injured my knee whilst out on drive, but the treatment, care and attention shown by all staff was wonderful. The third visit is already booked - and the countdown is on till our return!

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Kat B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VLELondon, General Manager at Ulusaba Safari Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded March 31, 2014

Two trips to Ulusaba within four months! We are thrilled to hear that you enjoy Ulusaba so much and thank you for sharing your wonderful comments. The entire team looks forward to welcoming you back for your third visit very soon.

Have a magic day!
Karl Langdon
General Manager
Ulusaba Private Game Reserve

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Reviewed March 1, 2014

4 weeks ago we arrived at Ulusaba safari lodge...we absolutely loved it. Everything was fantastic and first class. The staff could not be more helpful;.....our Ranger, Sean,was so knowledgeable about every type of animal and bird we saw as well as being great fun. He and James our tracker,made sure we got to see what we went there for and the Amarula hot chocolates were the best on the early morning safari drives!!
We will definitely be back to visit Ulusaba Safari Lodge.

Room Tip: We stayed in the Elephant rooms which we really liked. Some of the other rooms at Ulusaba are a bit...
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  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled with family
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Thank ARoberts10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VLELondon, General Manager at Ulusaba Safari Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded March 31, 2014

We really appreciate all the feedback we receive from our guests especially regarding our staff. Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback with us. We’re delighted that you loved your safari experience at Ulusaba and that the Amarula hot chocolate every morning was a welcome treat, a must for every visit. We hope to you see you again very soon.

Have a magic day!
Karl Langdon
General Manager
Ulusaba Private Game Reserve

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Reviewed February 26, 2014

This is our 3rd visit to Ulusaba & this is the only place on the planet we ever go back to on holiday.

We stayed 7 nights in a safari room-well some of the time anyway & the rooms are totally adequate for what is required. A friend had a Elephant room and this was larger, but that was about it. The tree house suite was fantastic and if you can stretch to the cost you won't be disappointed.

The game viewing in February was very good even though the bush was very green. The game is there but is brought to life by the knowledge of your ranger and guide. Philip & Anton were ours and Phil's knowledge is encyclopaedic, I cannot recommend those 2 highly enough.

There is a fantastic selection of top flight South African wines which you are more than welcome to choose from and the wine cellar makes for a lovely dinner setting for a special evening or 2. The food selection is excellent and there is plenty of choice.

Rock lodge is lovely but more compact in the public areas and therefore we prefer Safari lodge, probably best for the 1st time if you do a couple of nights at each and then make you own choice for your next visit!

The viewing platform at Safari lodge is a 800 metre walk across rope bridges and raised wooden walkways, a lovely walk looking down on the game below & a great way to spend a couple of hours watching hippos, crocs, fish eagles, elephants & any other animal that chooses to visit the dam.

The staff are fantastic and nothing is ever too my trouble. The 2 general managers are Karl & Llane and they are legendary, without them Ulusaba would be a poorer place. Kim & Blair (the the rest of the staff) manning Safari Lodge are great examples of what hospitality is all about.

If you are considering a safari please go to Ulusaba you will not be disappointed.

We hated the whole experience so much we have already booked to go back next year!!

Thank you to all at Ulusaba & keep it up, you have set the bar high

Mark & Anne-Marie

Room Tip: Pay your money and take your pick, there all great.
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  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Antipest
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 15, 2014

We have just returned from a three night stay at Ulusaba where the four of us stayed at the magnificently appointed Cliff Lodge. There have been a plethora of superlatives from earlier posts on tripadvisor which normally puts you on alert but I have to say we pretty much have to agree with all of them. The people normally make the experience and this was most definitely the case here. Calvin and John looked after us on our game drives and displayed great patience in dealing with us, shared their vast knowledge of the wildlife and bush with us and even assisted with photographing techniques.
At the lodge Antoine and Shane could not have done more to make the rest of the day more comfortable. Antoine always had our glasses full and Shane's culinary skills never left us hungry with a diversity of menu that could have shamed a top restaurant.
Every day was a new adventure and although it is an early start you look forward to it - we saw pretty much everything thanks to John and Calvin, traversing even the most unlikely ground to get a better angle on a lion or leopard without been obtrusive to the animal.
We had a brief tour of Safari lodge which was also stunning but our preference was where we had chosen. We sadly missed out on a boma experience with the Shangaan dancers but that leaves us an excuse to go back again....

Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
1  Thank scubanut62
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VLELondon, General Manager at Ulusaba Safari Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded February 24, 2014

We are delighted you enjoyed your stay in Cliff Lodge. We feel incredibly blessed that our job is to try and ensure all our guests have a unique bush adventure when staying with us. Credit goes to each and every member of our Ulusaba Family who represent the true spirit of the Lodge and aim to create the magic we hope you experienced. We look forward to welcoming you back soon.
Best wishes
Karl Langdon
General Manager of Ulusaba Private Game Reserve

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Reviewed February 11, 2014

We have just returned from 6 nights at Ulusaba, 3 of these nights were spent at Safari Lodge and the other 3 at Rock Lodge. I am reviewing Safari lodge here. We stayed in River room 2, which is an absolutely gorgeous room with a large sitting area, sundeck, very large bathroom and the best of the room was it's position, the sundeck overlooks an area which attracts all the wild animals, whilst we stayed here a herd of over 30 elephants came right outside the room, as did a number of other animals.

The main lodge provides the communal area and this is where the delicious food and drinks are served, every meal we had was really good and introduced by the chef. We also requested private dining in the wine cellar which provided for a really special night;s dining in the stars and alongside the dry river bed.

The drives were the really special part of this experience, we were lucky enough to have two great guys for our drives, Rico was our ranger and Orange was our tracker, together they made the 7 hours a day we spent with them extra special. They went that extra mile to find animals that you asked them for and on most drives we saw 3 or 4 of the big 5 and one morning saw all 5 in the one drive. Over and above that Rico and Orange were really friendly and we had a great laugh with them as well - as far as we are concerned the star of the show!

This was our first experience at Safari and now we are hooked and intend to return to Ulusaba next year!

Thanks to everyone on the team for making our stay so memorable and so so special.

Room Tip: River room 2 provides the best outlook and facilities
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  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank GaryWhite40
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ulusaba Safari 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 #1 of 2 Specialty Lodging in Ulusaba Private Game Reserve
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Ulusaba Safari Lodge 4.5*
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Safari Lodge is built along the banks of the dry Mabrak riverbed. The 11 rooms at Safari Lodge include a Treehouse Suite overlooking the nearby Xikwenga Dam as well as three other room types: Safari, Elephant and River Rooms, some of which have private plunge pools. Kids over the age of 12 are welcome to stay at Safari Lodge. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Ulusaba Safari Hotel Ulusaba Private Game Reserve

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