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“Avoid the restaurant!”

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Aha Sefapane Lodge and Safaris
Ranked #2 of 6 Hotels in Phalaborwa
Certificate of Excellence
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Level 5 Contributor
64 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Avoid the restaurant!”
Reviewed July 8, 2013 via mobile

We were referred to the restaurant by our guesthouse (but they were unaware of the current situation) and we had the most outrageous dining experience in South Africa. We live in Cape Town and go to restaurants all the time so we have very good knowledge of what's out there. Well, this restaurant looks like a place for groups, synthetic velvety tablecloths of dubious cleanliness, incompetent waiters, poor atmosphere, but the most shocking thing is the price list: R220 for an ostrich fillet and R190 for a beef fillet. The quality of the food is also terrible. I don't know about the wine as after looking at menu, we decided to take one of our bottles from the car! Corkage is R45. Don't go!!

  • Stayed July 2013
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
Helpful?
1 Thank LolaGina64
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Izelle N, Public Relations Manager at Aha Sefapane Lodge and Safaris, responded to this review, July 11, 2013
Dear LolaGina,

Thank you for taking the time to post your comments on Trip Advisor. We appreciate the candid feedback and have attempted to investigate the incident, but without more detail, we are unable to trace the night in question. We could however find two charges for corkage on our system, both R40, and neither account ordered the meal you mention.

Our Excecitive Chef takes great pride in his menu and it is unfortunate that the dishes were not prepared to your liking on the night. We apologise sincerley in this regard. Chef can unfortunately not recall any complaints on the night, which might assist us in responding to you with more detail.

In terms of the venue not meeting your expections, we can only confirm that Sefapane Lodge is indeed a resort-syle lodge with larger, open plan dining areas. The Boma is very popoluar in summer for outdoor dining and our main restaurant, Calabash Grill is very popular with international guests. It would seem that you were seated in our indoor dining area, which we only utilise on the colder nights of the year. However, we understand your comparison to your other experiences and can only say that we certainly do not aim to, nor can we compete with the cosmopolitan cafés of Cape Town and trust that you might view the property for its intended design and experience.

We appreciate your comments and based on your extensive experience at other dining establishments. Take to heart that we will investigate the corkage cost and bring the food and staff quality concerns to the attention of the operations team.

Should you want a more detailed reply, please be so kind as to contact our Reservations department directly. We hope that you might pass through Phalaborwa again in the future, at which time you might visit again and give us the opportunity to redeem ourselves.

Yours in travel,
The Sefapane Lodge & Safaris Team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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312 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (34)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
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  • German first
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English first
Dakar, Senegal
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed February 7, 2013

Our organization booked the venue for a conference. The reception service and conferece organization team were absolutely fantastic. They accommodated all our needs and were super friendly and helpful.
Unfortunately, our 4 star experience ended there.

The conference venue, the accomodation and the food was really not of a four star standard. We believe that the price did not merit The service and quality of the place. We have travelled extensively across the country and stayed in so many beautiful establishments, and we speak from experience in saying that this place did not meet up to our expectations. The rooms are extremely dated and do not impart a sense of 4 star luxury. The most disappointing factor, however, is undoubtedly the restaurant!!! The dinner was just soooooo bad. There was not one single meal that we ordered that was up to standard across the entire menu and we all had upset stomachs even though we ate different meals. I suggest that the lodge gets a new chef and should revamp the restaurant and it's staff. The restaurant staff appeared to be apathetic and not very friendly which was in stark contrast to the reception staff. Please note that this does not apply to the breakfast or the breakfast staff as the breakfast was adequate and the staff at breakfast were very friendly and efficient.
It is important for us to bring this to your attention so that the place improves and lives up to the 4 stars that it claims to be.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Dani N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Izelle N, Public Relations Manager at Aha Sefapane Lodge and Safaris, responded to this review, July 11, 2013
Dear DaniN,

Thank you for your review on Trip Advisor posted in February. We aplogise for not replying sooner, but can confirm at this time that a new team is in place and we hope that you might travel our way again in the not too distant future, at which time you might take the opportunity to experience our new menu.

Yours in travel,
Sefapane Lodge & Safaris Team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed January 28, 2013

In general good service. However the rooms are old and in need of serious renovation if the 4 star rating is to be believable. Old furnishings in the bedroom with a broken shower door and stained bathroom fittings. The room floor was not entirely clean and animal droppings were lying in the corners. The restaurant provides adequate meals at reasonable prices. The tiny spa is rather underwhelming with all the noise of the main reception outside the windows. Proximity to Kruger is convenient.
Overall it was an average experience and, despite the lovely staff, we would not book here again.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank User764
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Izelle N, Public Relations Manager at Aha Sefapane Lodge and Safaris, responded to this review, November 21, 2013
Dear Usher764,

Thank you for taking the time to rate us on Trip Advisor. Although your stay was in December 2012, we would like to respond by saying that we are sorry we missed this review during our answering process at the time.

Your comments have been taken to heart and we can assure you that our new management team is making every effort to maintain the three- and four-start standards our guests expect. There are also plans to upgrade the Misava Spa facility in the future, to address the fact that it has grown from an ad-hoc value added service to a integral part of the guest experience.

We do hope that you might return to our neck of the woods at some time in the not too distant future, at which point we might have the opportunity to redeem ourselves.

Kind regards
The Sefapane Lodge & Safaris Team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maastricht, Netherlands
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed January 26, 2013

After driving along the Panoramaroute (Mac Mac Falls, Blyde River Canyon, The Pinnacle, God's Window, Three Roundavels) we arrived at Sefapane Lodge. We booked here for three nights. We had a very friendly welcome. After checking in, we went to our roundavel (Hoopoo), overlooking the dam. On the terrace there are 2 chairs and a table. The room was very large and clean, with a large bed, cupboard, living-room area with table, 2 chairs and TV.
The bathroom was a bit dark, not very large (I'm 2 meters, 120 kg), but well-equiped.
Dinner was planned outside with tables under the porch. A few woodfires made the setting very romantic. We had dinner twice: both times the dinner was good. Breakfast is also very good. The staff is very, very friendly.
The safaris were planned by the resort itself. The quality of all three (riversafari with guide Patrick, morning walk with rangers Lourens and David and evening safari -with braai in the Park- with ranger Johan) was very good. We can highly recommend the morning walk because you're "in the film" instead of watching the animals from a boat or car.
Sefapane is a very good gateway for your safari in Krugerpark.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank NoudjeB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Izelle N, Public Relations Manager at Aha Sefapane Lodge and Safaris, responded to this review, July 11, 2013
Dear NoudjeB,

Thank you for taking the time to rate us on Trip Advisor. We appreciate you positive comments and we are very pleased that all aspects of the stay lived up to your expectations. The bush walk in the Kruger National Park that you mention is indeed quite a treat for both our guides and guests and we are pleased you were able to work that into your holiday schedule.

We look forward to hopefully welcoming you back in the not too distant future.

Yours in travel,
The Sefapane Lodge & Safaris Team
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oslo, Norway
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 25, 2013

We came here after being horribly disappointed by the Hans Merensky Club. This place has it all! Atmosphere, good food, fair prices! Highly recommended as your gateway to the Kruger! Very friendly and helpful staff as well!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Elspith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Izelle N, Public Relations Manager at Aha Sefapane Lodge and Safaris, responded to this review, July 11, 2013
Dear Elspith,

Thank you very much for taking the time to rate us on Trip Advisor. We are equally pleased that you enjoyed your experience and that you posted such a positive review. This serves as a great reward for both management & staff who continually strive to offer the best possible experience to our guests.

We hope that you might visit us again in the future!

Yours in travel,
The Sefapane Lodge & Safaris Team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amersfoort, The Netherlands
2 reviews
Reviewed January 20, 2013

The last part of our honeymoon to south africa we stayed in the sefapane lodge , next to the krugerpark. We stayed here four nights. We had a lovely lodge with views on the small lake. From our terrace we could enjoy the nice weather and the lovely birds. On arrival there was a complemenatry bottle of champagne on the room. Great start! The large rooms are typical south african lodge style. Very cosy and romantic. The food in the restaurant was very nice so we only had dinner in the hotel. Very friendly people keeping us smiling all the time. We did some nice trips. We went on a full day safari with a guide. This is all arranged with staff from the hotel. The guide is in kontakt with other guides, so the know exactly where to go to see the animals. We saw the big 5 in one day. Lucky , but as well thanks to our “Ranger- guide” .
Went as well on a romantic river safari. Saw beautifull hippo´s and even a crocodile.
On our last day we were surprised by the owner of the hotel. He took the two of us on a private honeymoon trip to krugerpark by sunset, with some nice snacks and champagne! Driving through the krugerpark at night was very exiting! The best end of our honeymoon.
Very good service and a beautifull resort.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Kjell B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Izelle N, Public Relations Manager at Aha Sefapane Lodge and Safaris, responded to this review, July 11, 2013
Dear kjellkwek,

Thank you very much for the positive review you have posted on Trip Advisor. We were privileged to have hosted you during such a special holiday and trust that you might choose to take an anniversary back to Africa and our side of Kruger. Let us know!

Yours in travel,
The Sefapane Lodge & Safaris Team
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas
Level 6 Contributor
2,371 reviews
168 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 981 helpful votes
Reviewed January 14, 2013

We have stayed at another hotel in this gateway town and decided this time to stay at Sefapane. We were not disappointed however there were some issues. Our room (along with our traveling companions) was next to the small lake area, which is beautiful during the day light hours, however just out out back door were dogs that barked all night. These no doubt were not part of the hotel complex and was just something we had to accept. As a tip---I would suggest you not get a room that backs up to this "dog area". Also if you plan to go to the restaurant after dark take a flashlight along with you. The room was fine however the A/C struggled to keep up with the high outside temperature. We had dinner at the hotel and was not that impressed with the quality of the food. All of us did however manage to get enough to eat from the buffet. The wait service was very slow and at times we could not get the attention of anyone to bring us additional drinks. We were offered an ice cream desert after dinner and found that you must go to a separate section of the dining area to get that "treat" and by the time the soft serve ice cream was drawn and you got back to your table it was quickly melting and mess. Some in our party just tossed their.All in all our stay was good, the room was more than acceptable and the grounds are fantastic even though the are is beginning to show its age.Also forget about the internet as you are on a holiday.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank texaswillie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Izelle N, Public Relations Manager at Aha Sefapane Lodge and Safaris, responded to this review, November 21, 2013
Dear texaswillie,

Thank you for taking the time to rate us on Trip Advisor. Although your stay was in December, we would like to apologise for the fact that your review was accidentally overlooked at the time.

Your comments have been taken to heart. You will be pleased to know that we have a new Chef and Management Team at the lodge, who have all three already proven to be a great asset to both the F&B and Operations department. We look forward to growing with them in the years to come.

As you know, Sefapane Lodge is located on the outskirts of the Greater Kruger National Park and because of circumstances outside of our control, WiFi signal and power supply is sometimes unreliable, but we believe it is indeed part of the experience to do a digital detox when visiting the bush.

I am pleased that you rate your overall stay as good and hope that we might have the opportunity of hosting you again the not too distant future.

Safari greetings,
The Sefapane Lodge & Safaris Team!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Aha Sefapane Lodge and Safaris

Property: Aha Sefapane Lodge and Safaris
Address: Koper Road | Off R71, Phalaborwa 1390, South Africa (Formerly Sefapane Lodge and Safaris)
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > Limpopo Province > Phalaborwa
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 6 Hotels in Phalaborwa
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Aha Sefapane Lodge and Safaris 3*
Number of rooms: 50
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
At only 1km from the Kruger Park, Sefapane is a green oasis with large indigenous trees and beautiful tropical gardens, offering thatched rondavels and luxurious self catering Safari houses, an excellent a la carte restaurant and swimming pool with sunken bar. Full day, evening, walking and river safari are organised by the lodge either in the Kruger Park or their Private Game Reserve in the Greater Kruger National Park. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sefapane Lodge And Safaris Hotel Phalaborwa

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