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“Disappointing Clifftop”
Review of Clifftop Lodge

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Clifftop Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed December 12, 2012

not so good sorry to say - We decided to get ourselves spoiled after a hard year and really wanted togo to a 5 star lodge.. I was quite happy that you have proposed Clifftop
as I have been there some time ago and was great.

To start off with, we arrived there and the pick up arrived about 5
seconds after us (after we informed them as requested when we came through
Vaalwater) with a group that was delivered at the gate to go back. No
porter, just the ranger, which was so busy with seeing the other guests
off that she did not pay us much attention and told us to just leave our
baggage at the vehicle for her to load.. (the previous time I got there,
there was a hot towel and drinks at the car parking to welcome us to the
lodge with ranger and porter to make sure we are welcomed)

We arrived at the lodge (and yes I was already grumpy then with the bad
reception) to see that the place deteriorated from when I was last there
and was told in length by the assistant manager that the decks was redone
and a hash job was made etc etc.. Then I asked about loungers for the
pool to be told we must please fill it in in our comment card as they
asked the Gupta's so many times before for it and it does not happen. By
then I was really not pleased.. I don't care who owns the lodge.. Gupta's
or not... I expected more professionalism from staff at a 5 star lodge.

When we got to the room we where told that since there is no loungers we
should just use the cushions from the couches and throw them on the floor
to lie on?? The hash maintenance job clearly extended to the rooms..
Besides that, the one fold door did not have a key so could not be opened,
safe was locked and kettle did not work.. By then I was really critical
and the paint that starts peeling off from the window frames and the water
damage on the lounge suite and the cigaret burn mark on the bedding did
not make it any better.

We where asked if we want to have lunch which we gladly accepted, but had
to go ask for service after about 15 minutes waiting and no single
interested person in sight and had to get up twice more to get servicedŠ
Killed the last bit off my mood that was left.

The game drive started of well until the ranger complained that the
assistant manager give him a hard time because he brings guest home to
late after a game drive (as if we need to know their internal problems)
but besides his unprofessionalism that can be attributed to his age
(around 22) and perhaps forgiven, his knowledge of the veld and game was
good. What was scary was that he was the "senior" ranger there. The game
drive the following day with the lady ranger was a total disaster..
Limited knowledge of the veld or animals (or perhaps she just did not feel
to share it with her guests) an also was extremely bad at spotting game..
Most of the game was spotted by the guests which was quite unusual. It
was so bad that no one bothered to join her game drive again in the
morning.

Two good things that I must also mention is the recover of the butlers
after the initial disastrous startŠ Two butlers that served us rest of
the time (after the initial butler "Advice" gladly disappeared for the
rest of the weekend) Joseph and Lazarus was excellent and nearly made up
for the total bad impression the management and rangers left. Secondly
the cook must get 6 stars.. The food was exceptional.

So if ever your future clients just want to go for a good culinary
experience, this is definitely the place to go.. If it is for an overall
5 star bush experience please pick something else!!

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Louisa v
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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202 - 208 of 266 reviews

Reviewed November 4, 2012

Bar the poor state of the room, doors wouldn't close easily, things weren't as clean as the should and excuses for this and that, the service and caring attention of all the staff and the ranger were very good. Sue, the manager on duty when we went recently was caring and took the time and trouble to ensure that everyone enjoyed themselves. Sebastian, our ranger certainly found more game then on many previous trips to this reserve and his knowledge and passion were palbable.

Room Tip: Ask for one of the newly refurbished rooms with a view over the river Sterkstrom from the deck.
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank arcjnb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 4, 2012

Thanks to all the staff @ Clifftop for a wonderful, fun filled but relaxing weekend. The rooms are great and the pool attached to each room is just the most fabulous bonus. The Game drives were great and the food was also pretty good. This is the 3rd lodge I have stayed at in the Reserve and I can honestly say it rates number 1 so far. :o)

Room Tip: All the rooms have fabulous views and their own pools.
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank Leo G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 2, 2012

Clifftop is the only lodge in Welgevonden that is accessed by a private road, which means no other vehicles ever pass the lodge like all the other lodges which can all be seen when game driving. It is one of the most beautiful locations I have ever been to, perched high on a cliff overlooking the meandering Sterkstroom river and age-old ciffs on the opposite side. In summer aparently, 3 waterfalls splash down these cliffs.
Ursula, Sue and the team are outstanding!! They are friendly, efficient and the food and service was excellent!!
The 8 rooms are all similar and no 3 is wheelchair-friendly. The rooms are huge , so is the bath and we enjoyed the outside pool and shower during the afternoons. There is also an inside shower. The rooms and lodge are beautifully docorated and very different to the standard game lodges.
We never had to dine with other guests, which probably is the one most outsanding feature at this lodge. At breakfast and lunch each couple sat at their own table and dinner was a highlight as tables were privately placed in lovely little nooks, at the pool or the cellar etc.This is really how a lodge should function!! One go to lodges to be able to get away from it all, enjoy nature and have time alone with each other, not with others!!
The gamedrives were excellent and we saw the pride of lions, who's teritory is close to the lodge, at 3 occasions. It was wonderful to be able to spend time watching them before any of the other lodges' gamevehicles arrived . Our guide, Sian, grew up in the Lowveld and had a great knowledge and love of the bush.
We are planning to return to the lodge as soon as possible. If you really want to relax and spoil yourself, this is the place for total privacy!!

Room Tip: Hut 1 is closest to the main area and no 8 the furthest away, but quite a walk!
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank ritaSouthAfrica
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 1, 2012

28.09.2012-30.09.2012!!! We went to Clifftop for our 1 year wedding anniversary !!! First of all the lodge are beautifull - the decor stunning !!! The staff were going out of their way to make our stay amazing, the are so friendly and helpfull - from the cleaning ladies, chef, butlers - Ursela and Sue are such warm people !!! Then there is the Rangers - Odette you were excellent, and our encounter with the elephants and lions were awesome !!! We will never forget that game drive !!! The food = 5* !!!!! We will go bach there anytime !!! One of our favourite game lodges !!! Thank you so much !!!

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Albie B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 27, 2012

We stayed here as a wedding present from my brother and sister-in-law, who also stayed at the same time. The staff were super friendly and helpful, the rooms were just beautiful and the views were spectacular. Odette, our ranger, was very accommodating (even agreeing to leave half an hour earlier than the schedule for our last morning drive) and we had some awesome drives. The food wasn't the best I've ever had, but being a chef means I'm usually overly picky and critical. It certainly was very filing and more than enough!

The day before we arrived they'd had a fire through almost half of the reserve, which meant that some of it was very black and burned out....but I think that also meant spotting some of the game was a little easier, as their camouflage was gone!

Would definitely recommend Clifftop Lodge. A perfect setting, nicely secluded so you don't get disturbed by other rangers, lovely staff and great drives!

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

Pity was there for a company off site but managed to enjoy the views and do a "game" once! the staff are lovely professional and very friendly and the rooms are beautiful. Food was excellent and plentiful also.
The weather was warm during the day and cold at night.

Room Tip: All 7 rooms have the same view of the mountain valley
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled on business
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1  Thank Loomi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Clifftop Lodge

Address: Welgevonden Game Reserve | East Gate Entrance, Welgevonden Game Reserve 0530, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > Limpopo Province > Welgevonden Game Reserve
Amenities:
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 17 Specialty Lodging in Welgevonden Game Reserve
Price Range: $475 - $766 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Clifftop Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Clifftop Exclusive Safari Lodge is an exquisite bushveld hideaway, a unique resort, where service is understood and luxury is elegantly understated. The setting is breath taking and provides a beautiful African backdrop for a world of easy going elegance.All 8 suites have a private deck with plunge pool,thatched sala and indoor and outdoor lounges. The en-suite bathrooms have both indoor and outdoor showers, separate bath and bath consumables. The suites are non-smoking and have air conditioning, direct dial telephones, hairdryers, hotel stationery, mini bars, room safes, electric blankets and tea/coffee making facilities. Private Wine Cellar dinners are available by prior arrangement.The Lodge is situated in the 36000ha malaria-free Welgevonden Game Reserve in the Waterberg Mountains, offering the Big 5. Gate entry fees are applicable and are charged per person per night.Halaal, Kosher and any other special meal requirements are catered for by prior arrangement. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Clifftop Hotel Vaalwater

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