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“Amazing, Amazing, Amazing”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of White Lion Lodge

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White Lion Lodge
Ranked #12 of 33 Specialty Lodging in Montagu
Cape Town
Level Contributor
14 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Amazing, Amazing, Amazing”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 22, 2014

This lodge is maybe one of the best value for money establishments we have ever stayed at. White Lion Lodge offers a very personal experience that is not overly expensive. The all inclusive rate is well worth the money paid and if you are looking for a break away from the rush of the maddening world then this well worth a try. Just a point to remember though is that it is literally in the middle of nowhere with no cellphone coverage yet has internet!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Clinton1975
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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90 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (20)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
  • German first
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  • Any
English first
Geneva, Switzerland
Level Contributor
22 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 11, 2014

The Lodge is beautiful with fantastic rooms, very large, nicely decorated and with lots of well thought details. The location of the Lodge allows for absolute peace and quiet and great night skies. The food is very good and the service faultless. Israel is a very dedicated and interesting ranger doing also great botanical tours. The price is more than reasonable for this kind of accommodation.
BUT
The Lodge is in the south of the Sanbona reserve, which covers 57000 hectares (yes, the size of Singapore) divided in two parts. The southern part is mainly hilly fynbos and on our inbound and outbound self-drives it was totally devoid of any mammals. The birding is decent but you will be lucky to see something bigger directly from the Lodge (we stayed two days and we saw some Oryx). The big animals are mainly in the northern part of the reserve and it will take you 45 minutes of 4x4 driving on a mountain road to reach the entry of the northern part. From there the terrain changes gradually into some kind of acacia veld and you may need one more hour of driving to get to the part where most animals are staying most of the time.
So on a 4.5 hours “game drive” you may have only 1.5 hour of it with 3 hours of “only driving”, some more if you are lucky and the animals have moved nearer to the south/north border. If you insist, and if it is ok with the other clients, you may have a 6 hours drive but it will still be half driving/half game drive. We had such a six hours drive where we had a fantastic sighting of 2 cheetahs relaxing only some meters away from our vehicle, but it still left me exhausted when I was back at the Lodge because of the long road.
When I speak of “only driving” to and from the north, I mean that there is very little to see during this connecting time. This is not only because Sanbona is in an arid region so the natural game density is quite lower than in the north east of the country. It is also because the distance to go is so important that you cannot linger, go slowly and have a look at all the small things and small birds because it will take you too much time. This problem is not addressed in the brochure.
But for me it is precisely the worst point: being shaken for 3 hours without the possibility to really feel close to nature just because the Lodge is too far from the action.

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with family
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Helpful?
5 Thank BigDid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
pitt meadows
Level Contributor
35 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 15, 2014

This african wilderness experience was unlike anything we have encountered. You each have a 5 star luxury thatched roof hut with everything you could possiblly want. fireplace, flat screen tv, beautiful chaise lounge chairs on the deck, outdoor shower, the bed and linens where exceptional- we felt we were in paradise. We chose to stay 3 nights to be able to take in one game drive each day and spend the rest of the day enjoyed our fabulous accommodations reading, having a cocktail on the patio and listening to all the sounds of the karoo. The sliding glass doors of the patio open fully so that one entire corner of the room is open to the karoo, what a treat. The pricing may seem expensive at first but when you think of what you would pay in a hotel for 2 with all meals and bar and a game drive...its actually quite cost effective. Gerry and her staff were excellent and accommodated all our wishes. We are also vegetarian and every meal was a 5 star vegetarian feast. Israel our game driver was exceptionally knowledgable about the karoo and all the animals living in it. We saw the big five except the leopard unfortunately and so many animals. Buffalo, a heard of elephants, white lions, girraff, cheetah, baboons, rhino, steinbock and many other species. Everydrive out what as adventure but be sure to dress REALLY warmly, the drive there and back was very cool. Also it is 1 hr out and back to the main areas where the animals so be prepared for this. I would encourage anyone to stay here to fully experience the karoo. What a place, what a treat. Thank you

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank Jmacpitt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Isle of Wight, UK
Level Contributor
283 reviews
58 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 137 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 9, 2014

After about a 14km drive on a gravel road, the second half of which is more appropriate for 4wd, but we took it very slowly and the car survived, you arrive at the lodge. The welcome was lovely and it turned out we were the only guests there for the first of our 3 nights. We were shown to our very lovely room, all mod cons to a high standard. The view from the room (indeed all 4 suites) was pretty much of a mountain face, pretty much in your face. Given where and what we had driven through that was a little disappointing. However for the amount of time you spend in your room it possibly doesn't matter.
The food was good over all, after a sticky start over me being vegetarian. I had advised them when booking under the 'any dietary requirements' section. I had a lot of tomato and cheese. Full breakfast is served but not until after the morning drive, so about 11, this leaves a short time gap before lunch, which is too much too soon, but you need something as the after noon drive leaves about 3. The evening meal is ready almost as soon as you return from the afternoon drive about 8, and is a social affair with your fellow guests. Leisure time is limited unless you forgo a game drive, you are back at the lodge between about 11 and 3 and have to fit in breakfast and lunch in that time
Israel, the driver/guide is a font of knowledge for all things flora and fauna and his driving skills are to be commended. It is tough terrain in more than just some places, making for an interesting journey. It is an hours drive to the gate of the northern park, the lodge being in the south, and at least a further half hour before arriving at possible sighting locations. So prepare yourself for a cold and blustery trip. 1 and a half hours each way at 40km in an open sided land rover is not fun, well at least not after the first time. Wear or at least take all your warm clothes, and a hat and gloves would not be out of place even in summer at the early and late hours. For our last drive I was wearing nearly all my clothes plus the blankets and both ponchos, that just about did it.
Our sightings were sporadic to say the least, which having been out for 5 hours or more at a time is disappointing. I know others had more luck and they are wild animals but that is why I booked for 3 nights, to increase our chances. we did 5 drives. Had good sightings of elephants twice, one distant sighting of 3 lioness (1 white) a couple of buffalo twice, a herd of springbok and eland once each, reasonable giraffe viewing, some zebra, good sightings of rhino twice. In fact on our last drive that was ALL we saw in 5 hours, and it seems non of the other rangers saw anything either.
Two other couples had been here before and both commented how few animals there were this time. In fact one skipped their last evening drive as well as the last morning drive.We could have done another early drive on our last morning but frankly I couldn't bear the thought of another 5 am start, 3 hours freezing in a truck and possibly not seeing anything - maybe I missed everything we will never know.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Gardengel-IoW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Southam, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
61 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 24, 2014 via mobile

When you enter the gates to San Bona game reserve you have a 15 minute drive over gravel tracks to the lodge and the last bit it quite bumpy. On arrival you are welcomed with refreshing towels. From this moment on it only gets better ( and better). There are four lodges, all exquisitely furnished, and the main house. The lodges face north in a deep valley and are laid out so that they are quite private. The normal programme is to have a game drive each day starting at 5.30 and an afternoon drive on the first afternoon to learn about the flora and fauna. We chose to only have the one early morning drive and one night drive starting at 7.30. The guide, Israel, has an amazing knowledge, most of it first hand from his upbringing in this type of country. The only disadvantage to White Lion is that it is one hours drive to get to the start of the area where most of the game is. Game drives are a lottery but our last day was excellent with close up contact with elephants and giraffes. White Lion is effectively all inclusive with all meals and drinks included and we paid just under £1000 for a couple for three nights with all game drives included. The staff cannot do enough to make your stay enjoyable, informal and friendly.

Stayed February 2014, traveled with friends
Helpful?
1 Thank howard c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
60 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 13, 2014

Absolutely fantastic experience! Wonderful staff and service! Food; wonderful and I'm a fussy eater! Cannot believe how yummy ostrich is; like a tender, sweeter beef. The views from the bungalows are stunning and beautifully appointed! Little touches like the zebra themed door to the bathroom etc...amazing bath! Just simply put; brilliant in every way! Now the drives; beyond spectacular! We actually saw two male cheetahs take down an eland! Rare and amazing experience!

Room Tip: Bring comfy clothes & shoes for the drives; blankets, food, drinks & binoculars already supp...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank scorpiofi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gosford, Australia
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 22, 2014

White Lion Lodge is a luxury experience! It is a breath of fresh air as a holiday destination and was a fascinating retreat that provided informative and authentic safari experiences.

The setting is absolutely divine and the quality of the accommodation and food was outstanding. We were warmly welcomed when we arrived and settled into our rooms. There is no time wasted at White Lion, we went out on a drive shortly after we arrived in the afternoon.

A special mention to Israel- he is the real deal! He is a fantastic guide and has an intuitive sense of the Sanbona Reserve. His nature drive is a highlight- so informative and interesting.

We were not disappointed by the safari drives- we saw so many animals (the white lion, the tawny lions, elephants, zebra's, hippopotamus, rhinos, baboons, kudu and springbuck within close proximity, some very close. It is a fantastic memory to have of our South African trip and definitely one of the highlights.

White Lion Lodge is a special memory for my whole family. We loved our time there and learning off Israel. The conversation around the breakfast and dinner table with the other guests and staff were very engaging.

Thank you to all the lovely staff at the Lodge for making our stay so comfortable.

Ross, Gerri, Carole and Sheree Hansen

Room Tip: All rooms are outstanding
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank Gerri143
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about White Lion Lodge

Property: White Lion Lodge
Address: on the Sanbona Wildlife Reserve, Montagu 8000, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Western Cape > Montagu
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free Parking Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #12 of 33 Specialty Lodging in Montagu
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The White Lion Lodge is situated on the Sanbona Wildlife Reserve a 3 hours drive from Cape Town. Sanbona is home to free self-sustaining White Lions, the Big Five and the endangered riverine rabbit. The privately owned White Lion Lodge offers luxury accommodation, exceptional personal service and delicious cuisine. The Lodge lies in the southern part of the Reserve and is set along a tranquil, remote river valley offering an ultimate Karoo experience. ... more   less 
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