We spent three nights at Tintswalo over Christmas. The, our first safari, was one of the most incredible experiences we have ever had and we will always remember our time there.
We saw elephants and zebra even while we were simply driving under our own steam to the lodge. In 6 game drives, we then saw the big 5 regularly, once all 5 in one day. But equally amazing for us was the myriad of other game we saw, equally rewarding - giraffes, wildebeest, zebra, baboons, hyenas, many types of antelope as well as many different bird species. The lodge's drive cars seem to be the most comfortable in the Manyeleti reserve, which is used by 3 or different game drive companies. Unlike most others, we had open top cars in which they never had more than 6 people - so much more comfortable than some of the other game cars. After the first day, we were lucky enough to share one car only with our 2 friends we were travelling with. Equipped with warm ponchos (for when it drizzled once), sun cream and insect repellant - they think of everything. The drivers and spotters are so knowledgeable and friendly - Thank you Eric (our spotter) for your amazing stories about the wildlife and trees. Thanks Dave (or driver / guide) for never tiring of our endless questions. And thanks both of you for going the extra mile to find the elusive cheetah, an experience we will never forget. Manyeleti is amazing as a game reserve because the number of vehicles permitted is very restricted, and no more than 3 vehicles are ever allowed near the big game which makes the experience all the more personal - but all the drivers share information ensuring that you are never far from an interesting find, be it a leopard with an impala in its larder up a tree; or a whole pride of lions tucking into dinner.
We stayed in one of the suites at the main lodge (Baker). This was the furthest one away from the lodge along a wooden walkway. Some reviews have complained about the distance but, I do not understand this (only a 3 minute walk), as it feels wonderfully secluded and gives a great view of lots of birds in the trees. The suite was faultless and luxurious, which is expected given the price of the suites. A roll top bath and separate shower room each with a beautiful view over the savannah. A lovely plunge pool - so nice to cool down in with temperatures reaching into the 40Cs on 2 days. Very well provided with tea / coffee, sherry, cookies; wonderful toiletries. Everything was kept spotless.
The food at the restaurant was always very good with a selection of really interesting dishes for lunch and dinner, often introducing us to African dishes. House wine (Alvi's Drift) was included in the package. As wine lovers, we thought originally of exploring the great wine selection when we were shown into the wine cellar (where they later set out a wonderful meal just for the four of us). However, the house wine, in several varieties of red and white grapes, was so good, we never explored further. Breakfasts after the morning game drive were varied and always excellent.
One of the most special things about Tintswalo is the staff. Everyone there seems very happy and is genuinely determined to ensure you have an amazing experience in every respect: telephoning you in your suite when an elephant has arrived at the watering hole by the main lodge to give you an opportunity to come and watch; arranging Christmas dinner for the four of us in a room in the main lodge of our choosing; asking us which drinks we would like to be put on board the game drive car for our sundowner experience; our waiter Kenneth always greeting us by name.
We left this place refreshed, exhilarated and just so grateful for what we had experienced. It is a privilege to live like this for just a little while, and one that we will never forget.
Thank you Tanya and everyone on the team for helping to make our dreams come true.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A private safari lodge within the pristine Manyeleti reserve adjoining the Fenceless boundary of the Kruger National Park. Private plunge pools, big 5 game, amazing cuisine. Manor house can take children with a fantastic children's program. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Tintswalo Hotel Manyeleti Game Reserve
- Tintswalo Kruger National Park