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Sibuya Game Reserve: 4 -Star Luxury Tented Camps and Lodge
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Reviews (329)
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Reviewed 21 September 2016

From arrival at the reception lodge at Kenton-on-Sea where we were met with an incredibly warm welcome and water bottles for our stay, we knew this was going to be good. We boarded our boat and travelled the short journey up the river, stopping off along the way for our guide, Kent, to show us various birds, interesting points along the river, and to offer us wine! We arrived at Forest Camp to another warm welcome from David, and were shown around the camp and to our "tent" (more like hut - yes there is tarpaulin and canvas, but it's a permanent structure with hot and cold water & lighting!). Having been apprehensive about this, I was thrilled to discover it was very luxurious and spacious: a fire in the corner, sofas, blankets, a deck overlooking the river (room no. 8 has the best view) - incredible! Every little thing has been thought of: mosquito spray by the bed (not needed), fleece ponchos for cold days, rain ponchos for wet days, a booklet to mark off the animals you see.
Food and drinks are fully inclusive, and these guys are perfect hosts offering you drinks and constantly topping you up. Both my partner and I follow gluten, dairy and egg-free diets and these guys nailed the food for us. We had let them know well in advance, but even so, the catering staff came up trumps with either modifications to the same menu for everyone else or with an alternative that was no less tasty. All guests eat together which, once you get used to big group conversations, is actually really nice. The numbers vary at each mealtime because there are always people leaving/arriving. The guides eat with you too - so you get you to know them more. After an evening spent chatting with Daniel - our dedicated guide - we headed off to our room - where they had lit a fire for us and turned on lights, making it very welcoming to come back to. Being out in the open, you do hear a lot of animal noises but I would say this adds to the experience - being woken up at 5am by a bird singing didn't worry me.
You are up early (6am) for the morning game drive, but this is worth it when you get to see giraffe, ostrich, antelope, buffalo, zebra...and more. Daniel is a pro at spotting game in the distance, and also knows a hell of a lot about birds, flora and fauna. Sibuya is a small game reserve compared to Kruger etc, but that makes it a more personal experience - Daniel stopped the vehicle numerous times to talk to us about flowers, birds, the history of the area - he has such a rich knowledge and delivers it genuinely yet with wit (when appropriate!). Hospitality is not just reserved for the Camp - on the morning drives you stop for tea & coffee at a good lookout spot, before continuing your drive and then heading back for breakfast. And afternoon drives follow a similar pattern - drive for a while, spot animals, stop somewhere for "phuza".... afternoon drinks and snacks! Seriously, these guys never stop feeding you or supplying you which alcohol!!
Food and drink aside, the animals are incredible and each game drive (normally a morning and afternoon one each day) is different. We saw rhino and elephant (as well as more giraffe, zebra, antelope, etc) on our first afternoon drive and we were so close! The guides are sympathetic to the animals - respecting their boundaries - but also try and get you as close as possible for a great experience...we came face to trunk with an elephant at one point and actually had to reroute our vehicle in a very muddy area when it was obvious he was following us to let us know this was his territory! The lions are kept in a separate area due as they can't be in the same park as the rest of the animals because they have access to the river which is a public area, and lions are considered "man-killers". The small pride currently has three babies - and wow wee they are cute! Despite the rain on day 2, they stayed out to see us :-) Sibuya means "we will return" and this is such an apt name. The hospitality is out of this world - nothing is too much trouble and everything is done with charm, grace and genuine good spirit. The accommodation is excellent, and the game drives are informative, interesting and breath-taking when you get so close to the animals. The team spirit at Sibuya is obvious, and their passion and commitment to conservation is a joy. I would have no hesitation in recommending this game reserve to anyone - just be sure to take plenty of warm clothes as it can get chilly. But with such warm hospitality throughout our stay, the temperature isn't what I will remember! Thank you to everyone - and I mean everyone - at Sibuya for such a fantastic experience: we hope to see you again one day.

Room Tip: Tent/Room 8 has the best view over the river
  • Stayed: September 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Lu2n
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
carol f, Owner at Sibuya Game Reserve: 4 -Star Luxury Tented Camps and Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 30 September 2016

Warm greetings to you Lu2n & your partner.
We're all positively glowing from your wonderful comprehensive Review - thank you for your kind words - it makes our passion & hard work so worthwhile when we can share it with appreciative guests such as yourselves! We're very proud to tell you that just last week Sibuya was a finalist in the Lilizela SA Tourism Provincial Awards in four categories - for 'Service Excellence' in the Tourism Industry & we won 'Best Wildlife Encounters' in the Adventure Province - the Eastern Cape! Such an incredible honour & tribute to our dedicated & passionate Guides who share their knowledge & passion so readily. In October we travel to the National Finals in Johannesburg - hold thumbs! We sincerely hope you do get to return - we look forward to welcoming you back & sharing the magic of our little piece of paradise once again. Wishing you happy days & thrilling adventures, Carol & the Forest Camp Team.

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Reviewed 18 September 2016 via mobile

I recently stayed two nights at Sibuya's Forest Camp and highly recommend the camp for anyone wanting to experience a luxury tented camp. The staff were friendly and welcoming. Our game guide, David, had a great sense of humour and was extremely knowledgeable about the birds and animals of the reserve. He obligingly stopped for photographs and tried to make sure we good good views. Our first game drive had us only a few metres away from grazing rhinos and elephants. The rooms have an unique decor and very comfortable. I would love to visit again.

Stayed: September 2016, travelled with friends
Thank Tanya H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
carol f, Owner at Sibuya Game Reserve: 4 -Star Luxury Tented Camps and Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 23 September 2016

Hi Tanya H - We do our very best to give our guests an informal but informed & personalized stay so we’re very happy to hear that you appreciated the team's efforts. ...great to be the 'highlight' of your tour! Thank you for the kind words! We're very proud to tell you that just last night we won a Provincal First in the SA Tourism Lilizela Award Ceremony to showcase Service Excellence - we were rewarded with a first in the 'Wildlife Encounters' section - such an honour & credit to our wonderful Rangers who share their passion so willingly. We hope one day that you'll return to share the magic. Best wishes from us all.

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Reviewed 31 August 2016 via mobile

We are a family from Spain.
We've been in many game reserves and we can say that Sibuya is the best one: good staff, comfortable and clesn tents in the middle of the wilderness, unique environtment and delicious food. We are also very satisfied with our enthusiastic ranger, we learnt so many things about the wild animals. Professional attention, small groups of people.

Thank you so much for making us feel that our money was well spent.
Highly recommended
Well come back for sure

Stayed: August 2016, travelled with family
Thank Oriol C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
carol f, Owner at Sibuya Game Reserve: 4 -Star Luxury Tented Camps and Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 1 September 2016

Greetings Oriol C to you & the family! Thank you very much for posting such a great Review - we like to hear that our guests have enjoyed their time with us & that they've made wonderful memories. We're passionate about what we do & love to share it all so it's very rewarding to hear that you appreciated our efforts. Lisette, in catering, will be delighted to hear that you thought her meals were delicious - pleasing everyone is such a challenge! 'Sibya' means "We will return"... so we look forward to welcoming you back to share the magic. Wishing you happy days & good memories, Carol & the Sibuya Team.

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Reviewed 25 August 2016 via mobile

The most beautiful game lodge destination with all the comforts and great game experiences - love the river camp, the boat drive to the camp and specially our five stars tent. very friendly and helpful staff, good food and drinks. We had a very nice and memorable time.

Stayed: August 2016, travelled with family
Thank Sepiedeh M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
carol f, Owner at Sibuya Game Reserve: 4 -Star Luxury Tented Camps and Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 26 August 2016

Greetings Sepiedeh M - It's great to hear that you enjoyed your stay at River Camp - thank you for posting a lovely Review. We really like to hear that we're coming up to expectations & giving our guests a memorable stay...thank you for the kind words! We're very excited to announce that we've just heard that both River & Forest Camps are in the Provincial finals of the SA Tourism Lilizela Awards for Service Excellence. River Camp won the National finals last year - a great achievement! Please wish us luck that we do it again! We hope that one day you'll return to share the magic of Sibuya. Best wishes from Carol & the Sibuya team.

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Reviewed 28 June 2016

Safe to say, that there are seldom moments, when despite advertising- the product is beyond mere advertising and say-so. Sibuya Tented Camp is unbelievable! From the 'Ox-Bow' islands, the wide Kariega River- the birds, the game along the banks- the staff and facilities at reception- it is difficult to go on. Then the boat ride to the reserve- splendid and simply wonderful. We were a huge group of family and friends and treated like royalty. How to rate this? 1000 out of 1000 - from the staff- the food-the service, the attention to detail in everything- the accommodation- even the game came out to play and showoff to us. 'We' were a birthday group- oh my- the staff were simply amazing- Thank you to everyone there.

Room Tip: This is a tented camp game reserve and a magnificent Bush Lodge, every position is super special
  • Stayed: June 2016, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Beverly Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
carol f, Owner at Sibuya Game Reserve: 4 -Star Luxury Tented Camps and Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 29 June 2016

Belated Birthday Greetings Beverly Y! We were honoured that you chose to celebrate such a special milestone Birthday with us at Sibuya - thank you! Your fabulous Review has been extremely rewarding & meaningful for all those on duty over the week-end & has left them literally glowing to have achieved such an accolade - makes all the hard work really worth the effort! Thank you! We look forward to welcoming you back in the not too distant future. Wishing you happy days & breath-taking adventures in the year ahead! Carol, Nick & the Sibuya Team.

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