This was the highlight of our honeymoon, if you are not sure where to go on safari go and visit Leon and Arena here you will have no regrets. Everything about this place is great. It is located in the middle (ish) of the Welgevonden Game Reserve which is a malaria free reserve. The reserve itself is fully of animals and they like to visit the watering hole that sits outside the main reception/eating area of the lodge and all four of the rooms overlook the watering hole (although Room 1 which we were in is the furthest from the hole).
There are 4 rooms in the lodge, one of which has a double room for families. Our room was the furthest to the right of the lodge and had a beautiful bedroom and bathroom with a balcony overlooking the path to the watering hole. The indoor and out door shower are great and the bath is huge. We spent the one afternoon we had to ourselves sitting on the balcony looking at the beautiful view and just appreciating where we were.
Your day will result in an early morning and a later afternoon drive. You will grab a coffee before the morning drive (06:00), go out for 3 hours and stop off for coffee and a biscuit (all made by the magnificent chef in the lodge) then back for breakfast which was fantastic. Then you get 3-4 hours to yourself before reconvening about 15:00 for afternoon tea (again the chef excelled herself) off for another drive which includes coffee and cakes, then back to the lodge for dinner. The terrain is varied, there are forests and plains and some areas are extremely hilly.
The food here is amazing, the chef was new when we arrived and was nervous but the pepper soup she made on the second day was one of the best I have tasted and her cakes were fantastic. She also came up with an afternoon tea item which was tortillas with avacado, tomato and onions but served in a totally different way. The breakfasts were very good with a huge choice especially considering we were in the middle of the reserve. One night we had the boma going and it was a lovely atmosphere with great food, another special night on our honeymoon.
Leon manages the lodge but took us out on the drives as their ranger was away. He is a very friendly person who has a lot of experience. Some of my best moments on safari were when Leon was tracking the big cats and he has a wealth of information about the animals and he gave us loads of details that helped our understanding of the different animals. We did see 3 (elephant, rhino and lions) of the big 5 in 2 days, plus hippos, giraffes, water bucks, cheetahs, impala, zebra, secretary birds, klipspringers, jackals, baboons and many more besides.
Arena manages the lodge and the staff and she is the sort of person who makes everyone welcome. She is always around, available for a chat and just makes the lodge a warm and friendly place to be. The two make the perfect hosting couple and have the interests of their guests at heart. One of the many advantages of visiting a small lodge came clear on the first morning when we were tracking lions. Leon just called back to the lodge to say we were going to be late for breakfast and we stayed out longer looking for animals.
A couple of bits of information. This is in the middle of the reserve and there are no fences up so animals can wander around at any moment, so you are taken to bed at night. There is a plung pool and a gym for the more enthusiastic of you however we decided to just relax. The only complaint I would have is that when we booked I should have been told how much I would love it and that 2 days was not enough you need to book 3 at least. This was the highlight of our honeymoon because of the people we stayed with, the food, the location, the views, the staff and most of all Leon and Arena. Although we try not to go back and we were recommended to try other reserves I would go back here and I could easily spend weeks just looking at the views.
All I can say is although it is not cheap, if you want a great safari go here you will not regret it.
- 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
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Hotels.com, Priceline and South African Hotels so you can book your Mhondoro Game Lodge reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.