Karkloof Safari Villas

Karkloof Safari Villas

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About

5.0
#1 of 1 special resort in Pietermaritzburg
4.7 of 5 bubbles
Location
4.9 of 5 bubbles
Cleanliness
4.9 of 5 bubbles
Service
4.6 of 5 bubbles
Value
Karkloof Safari Villas & Spa is perfectly located amidst the serene wilderness of the Kwa-Zulu Natal Midlands and is conveniently within 24 kilometres from the Pietermaritzburg Airport. Envision a magnificent hidden and untouched paradise, where the local wildlife roam free across a lush landscape adorned with waterfalls and beautiful flora. Linked to the main lodge and dining area via charming wooden walkways crisscrossing over gently trickling streams and cleverly hidden amongst verdant trees, are 16 individually decorated and luxuriously furnished villas, all of which feature spacious bathrooms with double baths, secluded wraparound viewing decks, and enchanting views. Become consumed by the awe-inspiring beauty as you stroll, hike, mountain bike or safari through this glorious terrain, rich in wild wonder.
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Property amenities
Free parking
Free High Speed Internet (WiFi)
Pool
Sauna
Free breakfast
Babysitting
Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly)
Airport transportation
Wifi
Hot bath
Indoor pool
Bar / lounge
Restaurant
Breakfast available
Shuttle bus service
Conference facilities
Banquet room
Meeting rooms
Spa
Concierge
Non-smoking hotel
Butler service
Dry cleaning
Laundry service
Self-serve laundry
Room features
Air conditioning
Private balcony
Room service
Minibar
Flatscreen TV
Room types
Non-smoking rooms
Suites
Family rooms
Good to know
HOTEL CLASS
Star ratings are intended to indicate the general level of features, amenities, and services to expect. This property is classified according to Giata.
5.0 of 5 stars
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313Reviews1Q+A54Room tips
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Detailed Reviews
Florian254 wrote a review Feb 2014
Norddeutschland
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Ok, this is going to be a bit longer and I had to do some thinking about it so for those of you who want to have the gist up front (the others will be able to get a more detailed review in several paragraphs): It is (especially with the rand devaluation) fully worth the money and we will most likely come back nevertheless there are area which could and imo should be improved.

So that you know what my comparison is: Southern Ocean Lodge in Australia the Nam Hai in Vietnam, Woodall in South Africa, Tawi in Kenia, Mandarin Oriental and the Anantara in Thailand and some others are my referencepoints when it comes to judging 5 or 7 star hotels and clearly Karkloof wants to play in that league.

After finding this resort in a travel catalogue I was set to trying it out and with a nice flight offer to South Africa the chance came up. Lawrence as a reservation manager dealed with me fast, efficient and very friendly and even though with the 4 night package there came a lot of mails exchanged nothing seemed to be too much for him or too complicated.

The flights were booked without trouble and we arrived in Petermaritzburg and were greeted by lovemore, our driver also for the next days who took care of our luggage and dorve us up to the lodge (the last couple of kilometers is a bit rough but the car was good enough for it). At the reception we received another warm welcome, a nice drink and just behind the buildings we had zebras, nyala, impalas and rhino so all started extremely well.

Now I am going through it a bit area by area:

The Spa: Let´s start with the diamond of this lodge. A very large, bright and sunny area with a charming, friendly, helpful and professionell staff. The treatment rooms are very big and bright as well and it was very fun to have a pedicure and see the nyalas outside or having a lunch close to some warthogs. We had 7-8 treatments each and we enjoyed them very much. If you want to they drive you to and from the Spa, I recommend walking it makes for nice wildlife encounters.

Game driving:Lovemore turned out to be a birding enthusiast and so we had a wonderful time together. We saw all kind of big mammals we even had a jackal howl at us from 5 meters away while we had our GT sundowner, rhinos, giraffe, zebars, you name it. Also lots of birds and the big advantage to other areas is, the animals are not frightened so you can really have close encounters. Giraffes within 20m , zebars and impalas within 10. There even are some nyalas and warthogs who made the ground their residence so close encounters are pretty often. Lovemore did a wonderful job.

Lodging: Large villas in an african earthen decor with a large bath includinh shower, double sink and bath tub, a large minibar (free of charge) a/c, a wonderful view out to the river with some monkeys on the terrace as regular guests, A large bed and a good wifi and all needed and wanted amenities. In the evening port gets brought out and caddles are lit. I recommend having a dinner on your own terrace. Much to be enjoyed with the one main weakness that the ac is blowing directly upon the bed.

Public areas: Well kept in a wooden african decor, a large terrace (perfect for the breakfasts) a nice library and bar and a walk in wine cabinet (very good choices to be had) a lot of nice areas to sit and enjoy the area. A not too big pool with some nice shade from the trees. A very nice garden surrounding everything.

Food: Here we start, there are some points in the a.m. areas as well but the food has a big part for giving only 4 stars: With one notable exception it was well prepared and tasty and it included some local meat (warthog for example) and the chefs as we have seen in a very remarkable moment were more than willing to change as the customers want.

But... it lacked something memorable. Take one example, there is a cheese platter in the evening which is very nice more than generous (as all food is, forget about the salads being light) but it is the same every evening. So what do you do on the third evening? As we said there was no food on the menu that we could not have cooked ourselves and it was far from what we have seen at other 5 star etablissements. Do not get me wrong, it is not bad food in anay way, it is good food but it is surely not 7 stars food.

Staff: Once again do not get me wrong: All the staff we met was more than friendly, more than helpful and very easy to have a nice interaction with. What is lacking for a 5 or 7 star ressort is efficiency in communication and training. One example: The resort has the second most generous all inclusive bars I have ever seen (the best one being southern ocean lodge in Australia) but my request for a Martini led to me showing them how to mix one! Also sometimes there was a language barrier,

There are some more flaws. If you ask people questions during the booking, this should have a result, Living ants in my villa are africa, several dozen dead ones over two days is bad housekeeping as well as not checking regularly what must be replaced or refilled at the villa (minibar!). Not being able to coordinate housekeeping with breakfast times is bad efficiency/training. Do you remember the point of the shade under the trees at the pool? That also lead to fruit etc. raining down.on the loungers! It is very nice if someone comes up and asks you what to drink the moment you go to the pool but cleaning the loungers, replacing spent towels (having some spare ones for guests would help as well) would be as nice as well. But that did not happen (also not in the Spaarea)

This is not asking for things like a cold towel when returning from a game drive or similar luxuries which are in my experience provided in other 5 star hotels, there is I think some lack of attention in areas which are not the Spa and they show. They do have the hardware in place for 5 stars (not 7 again) but the software is closer to 4.

All in all, you get a very good value for money and I recommend a stay there. But for 7 stars, there is a way to go and therefor only 4 stars in my review. It is much about managing expectations.

One last recommendation: There is a wonderful landscape all aorund with lots of animals and as nice as the spa is. Do not miss this part. The waterfall is wonderful and well worth the walk.
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Date of stay: January 2014
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
4.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
4.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Jeanne-GTT wrote a review Dec 2012
Cape Town, South Africa
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Having stayed at some of the best hotels and game lodges in the world, I am not easily impressed. So truly take it from where it comes when I say that I have NO recommendations/improvements that I could suggest to Karkloof. Stunning villa. WiFi, TV and DVD player that work effortlessly, a mini-bar containing all my preferences, and all the luxury one could want or need. Great game viewing, surprisingly - no predators, but plenty of rhino, buffalo, giraffe and plainsgame. Beautiful surroundings - that waterfall! Makoni was our guide was a gem. Every single staff member went out of their way to accommodate us, be it plain pasta or chicken strips for our daughters, or late night dining for us, after some evening Spa time. Excellent Thai Spa, massage was incredible. 10/10.
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Date of stay: December 2012
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Trip type: Travelled with family
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from Karkloof1, Public Relations Manager at Karkloof Safari Villas
Responded 22 Oct 2013
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on Karkloof. As an avid traveller, we appreciate your compliments and comments. Makoni is truly a very special Ranger and we are so glad that you enjoyed your time on safari. We look forward to having you and your Family visit us again.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
wernerDurban wrote a review Jun 2012
Durban
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
The recently awarded World award for :Global Safari Spa of 2012 bears testimony to this unforgettable oasis of tranquility I had the priviledge of visiting last week.During previous trips to 5 star lodges in SA and Kenya,I have never experienced the incredible sense of calm and wellbeing as here at Karkloof.

A rare sight of 3 different kingfishers on one acacia, literally within 5 minutes of entering the game reserve ,was the sign that this was a destination second to none.
Being able to occupy my villa from 8am until 8pm the following day,was in itself a huge point of difference from the spa's competitors.All services in the lodge,game reserve and Thai-run spa, are available at a whim, with warm, accommodating staff on standby at all times.The spacious spa centre comprises 18 different rooms,with windows opening to the glorious valley views and heady scent of Africa at its best......the ultimate sense of relaxation one could ever imagine.. evidently the Thai therapists have been headhunted for their expertise..and it showed clearly.

There are just not enough superlatives to describe this part of heaven on earth,barely 20 minutes drive from Pietermaritzburg.From the raw food menu avaliable,.. to the sense of timelessness ..,to the passion displayed by the owner Fred Worner for sharing his piece of paradise, ...to the choice of organic local products used..this stay was one which will be etched in my mind for many years to come..I departed knowing, that all is well with my soul.
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Date of stay: May 2012
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Trip type: Travelled solo
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Vivek B wrote a review Aug 2019
1.0 of 5 bubbles
They charged me twice for my accommodation for a stay in June and have not had any decency to reply to my requests or process a refund. Shocking service, dont ever use them !! I keep chasing and get no reply. They have taken R3800 from me.
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Date of stay: June 2019
1.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
1.0 of 5 bubblesService
1.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Room Tip: Dont go there
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
HolidayApril wrote a review Mar 2015
Durban, South Africa
3.0 of 5 bubbles
A great place all in all, but in my opinion extremely overpriced. Food was good, staff were excellent, but the lodge and rooms could have been a lot more. The spa treatments were good, but the spa temperature was extremely hot, which actually made it uncomfortable. The treatment rooms could be updated and towels looked quiet old and worn. These things should not be an issue when you are visiting a 5 star spa and paying these rates. The actual property is really beautiful and well looked after.
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Date of stay: March 2015
1.0 of 5 bubblesValue
3.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
linsay k wrote a review Jul 2018
cape town
1.0 of 5 bubbles
So sad to see such a lovely place go to the dogs Rceeption was hostile none od usual friendliness no special touches All gone spa smells of wet thatch I cancelled my day and went home Where are all the animals gone
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Date of stay: July 2018Trip type: Travelled with family
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
RedPepper823 wrote a review Nov 2017
Johannesburg, South Africa
3.0 of 5 bubbles
We were so excited to finally get to experience Karkloof Safari Spa – we had high expectations from friends who had been, from the years of awards and the seven star marketing pitch. We didn’t realize at all that we were arriving to new ownership –where the spa and the now “safari villas” would have two different owners. We had definitely come for the combination of the two and felt the disconnection immediately – from the spa packages being optimized for external visitors rather than guests to the fact that there wasn’t even a spa menu in our room. The staff across both properties were not cohesive or clear in their new independent communication. For example, in the spa I was told that I could not swim in the pools without paying an extra 400 rand because I didn’t book a package (just an internationally priced massage)… on the other hand, my husband who arrived an hour later was toured the pools and not told he had to pay. On the villas side, the info book in the room was just a price list of activities available with no descriptions and not even any basics about the property --- for example, no mealtimes were listed – we had to ask as no one told us the times either. Because of lack of information, we missed the fact that there were waterfalls to visit, had no idea how much meals cost (not printed on the menus) and had to ask our safari guide a lot of basic information about the property. The kicker to the lack of cohesiveness and information was when we went on the game drive and I had a glass of wine. At check-out they charged me for the full bottle and at first refused to remove it. I would have loved to have finished that bottle at dinner but it was never even offered nor was I told before it was opened that I would have to pay for the whole thing. The other odd experience was that there was a year end function happening on the Saturday for a company and those guests were loud and quite drunk – taking over the pool and not contributing to what we anticipated as a peaceful spa-like environment. They goodness we were able to have dinner served in our room. Overall, I was disappointed because I don’t think any 5 star experience should have a guest feeling underinformed or confused. It lacked the seamlessness that I had anticipated given previous glowing reviews. We paid a lot of money for a special experience. We could have gone on a last minute rate to a 5 star safari lodge fully inclusive for the same price we paid for room, breakfast and one game drive a day and had a much better overall experience.
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Date of stay: November 2017
2.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
3.0 of 5 bubblesService
Trip type: Travelled with family
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Yvonne S wrote a review Apr 2019
Pretoria, South Africa
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Air conditioner and underfloor heating in room not working. Spa treatments are good but it is disappointing that floatation pool, inside hot pool and jacuzzi outside was not working-according to spa lady the jacuzzi was not on because it had been raining- 3 days of sunshine???Roommenu extremely expensive. For 1 small hamburger and small cheesecake they charge R215-00. I cannot recommend this establishment for overseas or local travellers.
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Date of stay: April 2019
3.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
4.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
4.0 of 5 bubblesService
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Mandy M wrote a review Apr 2019
5.0 of 5 bubbles
It was amazing coming back home to what my late Husband created and to see how it has all evolved . A very emotional couple of days, but so wonderful to see it now thriving with the extra land and abundance of healthy Game. The food was delicious , healthy and presentation, outstanding. It was a 7 star experience . The frienliness was very noticeable . The room was spacious with all the amenities one needs and the view overlooking the valley was fabulous. To wake up to that in the mornings is a special treat. The Spa has an amazing ambience to and I loved spending some time there . To be recommended . Thankyou so much . X
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Date of stay: April 2019
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Prashantha M wrote a review Dec 2018
2.0 of 5 bubbles
A beautiful located hotel with so much potential, that just goes unfulfilled! Maybe it was was a 5 star venue, but it certainly isnt now. If you are a seasoned traveller this hotel falls short of all the touches that make a 5 star experience, yet they are more expensive that other much better 5 star venues. The room was suffiecient but it was marred by the fact that my husband spent the weekend trying to catch the bats in our room! In total 8 were caught! There were also cochroaches and ants in our villa. The food was abit hit or miss. The staff though friendly seemed to lack leadership or direction. Curtains hanging of the rail and crooked lampshades in the dinning room are just unacceptable for a so called 5 star venue. Be advised, your money is better spent eleswhere.
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Date of stay: December 2018
1.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
4.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
2.0 of 5 bubblesService
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Room Tip: Stay at home
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from Karkloof-Safari, General Manager at Karkloof Safari Villas
Responded 06 Dec 2018
Dear Prashantha, We appreciate your honest feedback regarding your recent stay at Karkloof Safari Villas. We review each and every comment received by our guests with the utmost attention to detail, as we strive towards creating a truly exceptional stay for each and every person who visits our neck of the woods. Most importantly, bats or no bats, experiencing the majestic nature of the wild inside your villa is not ideal. Upon making us aware of this, we have taken immediate action to investigate this and remedy the problem, while not harming the delicate wildlife eco-system. As the management team, we are truly displeased to hear of your recent experience while staying with us and would like to engage with you personally to better our services. We really do pride ourselves on understanding your needs, while making a sincere and concerted effort to improve our service and 5-Star experience. We will touch base with you personally within the next few hours to rectify this. Thank you, The Karkloof Safari Villas Management Team
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Vivek B wrote a tip Aug 2019
4 contributions7 helpful votes
1.0 of 5 bubbles
"Dont go there"
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Prashantha M wrote a tip Dec 2018
1 contribution3 helpful votes
2.0 of 5 bubbles
"Stay at home"
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Nompumelelo M wrote a tip Apr 2017
Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa9 contributions3 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"All rooms overlook the beautiful mountains valley or ruver"
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zakharia56 wrote a tip Feb 2017
Northwood, United Kingdom13 contributions11 helpful votes
3.0 of 5 bubbles
"rooms facing the valley are good.most rooms are facing the valley"
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Merelvanh wrote a tip Feb 2016
London, United Kingdom1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"All suites are amazing!"
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Not the right property for you?
There are more places to choose from in the Pietermaritzburg area.
ALSO KNOWN AS
karkloof hotel pietermaritzburg
LOCATION
South AfricaKwaZulu-NatalPietermaritzburg
NUMBER OF ROOMS
16
Prices are provided by our partners, and reflect average nightly room rates, including taxes and fees that are fixed, known to our partners, and due at time of booking. Please see our partners for more details.
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KARKLOOF SAFARI VILLAS - Specialty Resort Reviews (Pietermaritzburg, South Africa)

Frequently Asked Questions about Karkloof Safari Villas
Which popular attractions are close to Karkloof Safari Villas?
Nearby attractions include The Old Mushroom Farm (6.5 km), Rock Paper Scissors (6.3 km), and The Old Mushroom Farm Community Garden (6.5 km).
What are some of the property amenities at Karkloof Safari Villas?
Some of the more popular amenities offered include an indoor pool, free wifi, and free breakfast.
Which room amenities are available at Karkloof Safari Villas?
Top room amenities include a minibar, air conditioning, and a flat screen TV.
What food & drink options are available at Karkloof Safari Villas?
Guests can enjoy free breakfast, an on-site restaurant, and a lounge during their stay.
Is parking available at Karkloof Safari Villas?
Yes, free parking is available to guests.
What are some restaurants close to Karkloof Safari Villas?
Conveniently located restaurants include Black Olive, The Orchard House, and The Spot Bistro.
Are there opportunities to exercise at Karkloof Safari Villas?
Yes, guests have access to an indoor pool and a sauna during their stay.
Does Karkloof Safari Villas have airport transportation?
Yes, Karkloof Safari Villas offers airport transportation for guests. We recommend calling ahead to confirm details.
Are any cleaning services offered at Karkloof Safari Villas?
Yes, dry cleaning and laundry service are offered to guests.
Does Karkloof Safari Villas offer any business services?
Yes, it conveniently offers meeting rooms, a banquet room, and conference facilities.
Is Karkloof Safari Villas accessible?
Yes, it offers wheelchair access. For specific enquiries, we recommend calling ahead to confirm.
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