My friend and I were desperately looking for a last minute safari experience near Johannesburg for bank holiday weekend. After deciding the Kruger was too far for only two nights, our agent found us this absolute gem on the Thursday morning, leaving Friday. We were due to be collected from the main gate at between 1 - 1.30pm, however ran in to bank holiday traffic and roadworks on the way, and had to call to say we would be 45mins late - this was no problem at all, our first indication that John and Dominique were highly accomodating and welcoming.
John greeted us with a smile and a beer (or gin and tonic!) as we waited for the other guest who was 5mins behind us. You leave your car at the security manned main car park and John takes you on the 45min journey to the lodge through the park, this is where your drives begin! We were lucky enough to see a Leopard kill having being dragged in to a tree on our way to the lodge, as well as some general game, so it is a good start.
We were met at the lodge by Dominique with a hot towel each, and the rest of the staff singing a welcome song and offering drinks. You can tell instantly that the service is going to be impeccable and we were never disappointed throughout.
In summary, the four game drives we went on were enthralling. John is a young enthusiastic and funny ranger, with a good eye for tracks and a steady wine pouring hand! We went as two good friends, but the lodge would be perfect for a group of 2 or 3 families who know each other as it only holds up to 10 people and you could have a real laugh. We were lucky as the family and couple that were also at the lodge were very friendly and social and we had most meals as a group. We did ask, but what if that isn't the case, and Dominique said they are also psychologists in trying to read peoples moods, and if you were e.g. a honeymoon couple then they would definitely sit you at a seperate table or even a romantic candlelit meal on your own balcony!
The lodge is a very modern refit from last year, with free wifi, complimentary bar, AMAZING large sunbathing sofa around a small pool, with 6 sunbeds also on a nice viewing deck of the waterhole. As we arrived, there were 6 Zebra, 4 Warthogs and a monkey around the watering hole which is a stones throw from the reception, quite an amazing sight for our check in.
A quick afternoon tea (including home made lasagne and dessert!) before getting right into the action on our first afternoon/early evening safari.
Snippet details; Rooms have a great outdoor shower, you also get a direct radio in your lodge to contact John in emergency through the night. We didn't spend a cent in the few days, it's all inclusive. John is as enthusiastic as any visitor, staying out an extra hour to get an evening view of a Lion who was chilling 5metres away from our truck... the pictures are outstanding. For every drive you are given a hotwater bottle in your seat - an absolute godsend!! Also, leaving times in the morning are negotiable if the group prefer to sleep until 6.30am to leave at 7am instead of a strict 5.30am start policy! The chef, Francis is very talented and we had a steak on evening one, and Lamb in mint sauce on night two. Also he makes fresh bread every morning to have with your cooked breakfast!
Negatives; a few spiders in the bathroom but you are given two cans of insect spray and the bed isn't a prob as has misquito net. It's hard to think of anything else!
Perfect for couples, as friends you will have a good laugh and the alcohol flows freely, and as a family then the kids are very well catered for. John and Dominique are the perfect hosts (have an amazing trip to the US guys!) and the small number of guests mean you get a custom built safari experience for your exact desires. Strongly reccomend.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Mhondoro Game Lodge is a luxury 5-star accommodation in Welgevonden Game Reserve, a malaria-free and Big 5 game reserve in Limpopo, South Africa. Its main lodge and private villa have recently been rebuilt and the interior of its suites have been refurbished, offering a tasteful mix of African chic and contemporary design. The luxurious, child-friendly lodge has quickly become famous for its new underground waterhole hide, connected to the main lodge by a tunnel, offering an easy, safe and above all unique opportunity to be amongst the animals drinking at the waterhole in front of the lodge. Mhondoro is the only 5-star safari lodge that has this feature. Mhondoro is family friendly yet private and quiet to accommodate small groups to relax and explore the abundantly present wildlife during game drives. For those who prefer to indulge in ultimate relaxation or work up some sweat, the spa and gym are at your disposal, including a team of qualified and experienced beauty therapists. The pool, sauna, bar and lounge are available for all guests during the whole day. Mhondoro is located a 2 hour and 45 minutes' drive from O.R. Tambo International Airport, making it the perfect safari destination for those who arrive in South Africa in Johannesburg. Even quicker is travelling by a small plane - it not only takes you there in less than an hour, but it also offers an amazing experience flying over the Welgevonden Game Reserve as you approach the runway. ... more less
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