It was such a pleasure to travel to the beautiful countryside that was only an hour from home (Port Elizabeth/Gqeberha). Our room was great, with every amenity one could need.
Our ranger, Woody, was extremely knowledgeable, friendly and enthusiastic. One could absolutely see that he loves his job, and his environment, and cares for it deeply.
We have been to a number of game reserves over the years, but I can truly say I have never experienced the "vibe" of Lalibela before - not to sound silly, but it was almost as if all the animals were happy and relaxed :) . There was an overwhelming feeling of peace and contentment, and this surely must be as a result of the passionate conservation practised.
Well done and thank you!
My wife and I decided to return to Lalibela and spend 3 nights at Lentaba Lodge to celebrate our anniversary. The room was extremely clean, spacious, and comfortable. Once again, the food was absolutely delicious, particularly the deserts including the lemon tart and the “eat a mess” pavlova. The staff were very efficient and friendly and the covid protocols were well managed. Our ranger Liezel was professional and knowledgeable, and we saw plenty of game including lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo, cheetah, giraffe, zebra, and lots of antelope. We were fortunate to witness the interaction between 2 lions feeding on a giraffe carcass and 2 lionesses close by, when suddenly one of the lions got extremely aggressive and ended up charging at us. We were also lucky to get up close to a cheetah feeding on a fresh antelope kill.
Overall, we had another enjoyable and memorable stay at Lalibela and definitely hope to be back.
We cannot recommend Lalibela highly enough. From the moment we arrived to the moment we left, it was luxury and excitement in quintessence! This review will primarily cover the adults-only Lentaba Lodge, though I’m sure all of the lodges will offer the same excellent experience.
Each chalet is exquisitely appointed. Ours had high quality accoutrements, leather chairs, original art, and accordion doors to the deck. There were sitting areas both inside and outside, with comfortable lounge chairs on the deck. Our shower and tub faced glass doors off the deck that looked into the valley, making a magnificent viewing experience, especially soaking in the tub at night with the lights off, gazing at the stars. Pure luxury. The lemon verbena toiletries were refreshing.
They thought of all the details. The game drives get chilly in winter months, so there are hot water bottles in the morning for your lap, blankets and ponchos in the jeep, warm hand towels and drinks waiting for you upon your return. After the evening drive, we came back to a warm welcome: our heat was on in our room with the bed ready and a nighttime sweet; the fireplaces were lit in the lodge; and dinner was in just enough time for us to have an opportunity to change clothes and clean up a bit. In fact, everything — meals, rest periods, game drives — was paced perfectly. The lodge has very comfortable common areas, as well. Ours had a view of a watering hole from a lounge deck, where my husband saw a lion, which we then tracked on our afternoon drive.
The game drives began Immediately: from the reception area to the lodge we saw rhinos and zebras, among other animals. The drives themselves were fantastic, although some were more fast-paced than others. Our guide, Ruan, was incredibly knowledgeable about everything, not just the “Big 5.” He shared information about gorgeous birds, plants, trees, and even astronomy. We stopped for all kinds of animals, which was spellbinding for a beginner like me. Some people go just for the big cats — which were incredible — but I was also fascinated by the zebras and warthogs and buffalo. Ruan was patient with all of my questions and went out of his way to ensure that we all had a robust experience. In fact, he always kept us safe, yet we felt close enough to lions, cheetahs (stalking and eating prey), elephants, and so many other animals to feel the excitement of experiencing the animals in their natural habitat.
The food was phenomenal: varied, tasty, and despite what some other reviewers have said, more than ample. Every day we had a pre-morning drive snack, full brunch, full lunch, and full dinner. The meals were well balanced and reflected diverse cultures and tastes. They also honored personal dietary restrictions, such as gluten free. Drinks are incredibly reasonably priced, so you can afford to tip well. Mzi took great care of us to ensure that our drink needs were well managed during our stay!
The lodge sells very reasonably priced Lalibela wear — hats, scarves, jackets — if you need more protection on your ride (it gets chilly in the winter!). I recommend bringing some Hot Hands body or toe warmers for your trip.
In all, I cannot recommend Lalibela highly enough. In the end, I am reviewing only our lodge, Lentaba, but I’m sure the others are equally excellent. If you are in South Africa and are looking for an exciting adventure, Lalibela will absolutely not disappoint.
just the 2 of us!
After 19 years of marriage, and 18 yeasrs of vacations with our children, we did it, and escaped to nature, not too far away from home to the cosy, kind and exciting atmosphere that is LALIBELA.
We had a beautiful time, with wildlife close to the lodge on the day we arrived, some peace, and also some great sharing time with other guests. Our room was great, yummy food, and really fun to be on the game vehicle with our wonderful guide.
I spent 3 nights at Mark's Camp in chalet 1 which is very close to the main lodge area but very private. Sadly it didn't have a view.
When I arrived at the main gate of Lalibela someone was waiting to show me the way to Reception where check in was quick and easy. I was then transported to Mark's Camp and my car left under cover near reception.
My room was very comfortable and I was pleased to have a hand held shower head as well as the dreaded rain shower. There was air conditioning and when returning to the room after dinner the staff had switched it on and the room was lovely and warm. Wifi was not available in the room, only in the communal areas.
The food was mostly very good, plentiful and varied. However, I was surprised to see it served buffet style although there were staff actually serving the food. I found most guests queued for food ignoring any distancing but I waited until no one else was being served.
Drinks were not included in my deal but were very reasonably priced.
There were 2 comfortable lounge areas both with roaring fires and it was easy to find a space away from other guests.
There are two swimming pools at Mark's and the lower one is for over 16s only. It overlooks a waterhole but there were no animals to be seen there whilst I lounged by the pool.
I was very lucky to have most of my game drives alone with the ranger. My guide was Ticha and he was an excellent and knowledgable guide. Many thanks to him! The game viewing was good
Mark's Camp is child friendly and I am not! That is the reason for my rating of 4 stars instead of 5. One does not get a choice of camp if on the SA residents special. If any children are booked, Mark's Camp gets filled before allocating guests to Lentaba Camp. Unfortunately for me, a couple with a young baby arrived on my 3rd day and the baby grizzled and cried during lunch. In my opinion, parents should take a crying baby away from a meal table, especially a communal one. Thankfully the baby was not on the game drive.
The final really nice touch was to be presented with a beautiful coffee table book with lovely pictures of the staff, the reserve and the animals. A great souvenir.
I really enjoyed my stay at Lalibela apart from the baby blip and will certainly return if the opportunity presents itself. Hopefully next time will be to a non child friendly camp!!!