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GrandTour04390499767

Monwana for the win!

Review of Monwana Lodge
5.0 of 5 bubblesReviewed 4 weeks ago
Words can not express the amazing experience we had during this trip. I have actually been to the park for a safari before but this time at Monwana we were blown away. It is my absolute favorite lodge and we will definitely be coming back and recommending it to friends and family for years to come. Not only is the staff amazing, kind, and fun, the lodge is absolutely beautiful and thoughtful. All the rooms, including the common spaces, are beautifully designed and comfortable. The main bar and resturant area has a great patio where you can look out to a large pond and multiple different animals just walk right up and drink water. Unreal! We also got a chance to meet the owner and he's also an amazing person who cares about his staff, the animals in the park, and of course the experience his visitors have. The facility is sustainable with solar, water filtration, and cleaning systems that are state of the art. They really do respect the nature, animals, and people that surround their lodge. We got a tour and we were thoroughly impressed. Don't miss out on any of the game drives. The staff are extremely knowledgable and skilled at finding amazing animals to experience. They also have great practices to go above and beyond to respect the animals which creates a trust and comfortableness with the animals to allow the trucks to get close without disturbing them. It's an unreal experience to see a lion or elephant so close and in person. The food during the whole stay was also fantastic! We really enjoyed hanging out in this lodge, going out on game drives, eating good healthy food, and spending time with the staff. What an incredible place and amazing people running it. Cheers to Monwana for doing it right!
Date of stay: June 2024
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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
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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.
MORE Family Collection Lodges and Hotels, Marketing at Monwana Lodge, responded to this review
Responded 4 weeks ago
Wow, thank you for your amazing review! We’re thrilled that Monwana exceeded your expectations and we appreciate your kind words.
Your compliments on our staff, beautiful design, and unique experiences mean the world to us and we’re glad you enjoyed every aspect of our lodge.
Thank you for your amazing recommendation. We look forward to welcoming you back soon for more unforgettable moments!

All the best,
Your Monwana Family
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
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Reviewed 7 June 2024

The short review is that Monwana is an absolute dream and anyone thinking of visiting should 100% do it.

The detailed review is below...

I spent four nights (May 28th - June 1) at Monwana with my partner and his family, which I think was the perfect amount of time. After asking staff, they also agreed that 4-5 nights is the sweet spot to be able to see and do everything without it becoming redundant. With only 6 "rooms" (they are really more like villas) on the property, our group occupied 3 of those which made our experience extra intimate. It felt like we had the entire lodge to our group. The rooms were spacious, clean and well stocked with items you may (or may not) need during your stay. The kitchenette had bottles of liquor, coffee/espresso pods, bottled water, fruit and small snacks all ready to be consumed by you as everything is included in the nightly rate. My favorite part of the rooms were the heated bathroom floors and bathrobes included (two sets, one thinner kimono style and another terrycloth). The bathroom does not have any sort of curtain/privacy screen to the outside (just glass), but the only visitors who would ever see you are on four legs or with two wings. I believe plug types C and M were in the rooms. The laundry service was seamless and all of our items were returned folded and clean the next day.
The food was incredible and no one in our group got sick. As someone with a sensitive stomach, I made "safer" choices by avoiding meat or raw fish dishes, but others in my group who ate it all were satisfied and totally fine. No one in our group got hungry during our stay as there was always something being offered (early morning breakfast, regular breakfast, lunch, tea time, dinner). We had dinner in a different spot each night, including the wine cellar, which was a fun way to make it feel like you weren't in the same "restaurant" each night.
The game drives were more than I could have ever imagined. I give full credit to our guide, Colin, and tracker, Benny. I'm sure the other guides and trackers are just as lovely, but our group really got along with Colin and Benny and I don't think we would have had as much fun without them. We asked a lot of questions and between the two of them we nearly always got an answer and in the absence of questions Colin would point things out and tell us cool facts as we drove. Colin's driving skills were also extremely impressive. The vehicle is an absolute tank and powers through any terrain which can make for an obviously bumpy ride, but between Benny's signals to Colin to slow down for a bump coming up and Colin's own observations the rides were very pleasant. As someone who gets motion sickness, I chose to sit in the first row of seats (least amount of bumps whereas the 3rd row of seats experience the most bumps) and I took Dramamine for each drive (although I likely didn't need to). The vehicle is open, there isn't a top, which means you're exposed to the sun/bugs/branches/etc. Our visit was in their Fall/Winter season, so the mornings and nights were chilly (roughly 55 Celsius) and I wish I had brought a winter hat/beanie and gloves. Blankets were provided for every drive and a hot water bottle (heating pad) was provided for the morning drives. The vehicle has binoculars, safety glasses and a checklist of the animals you've seen for each person. The lodge also provides large woven bags to bring on the vehicle with you, so no need to pack one. The morning drives depart at 6, so the wake up call is at 5:30 and the night drives depart at 4pm (16:00). We thought we were going to have more time to relax during our stay but between the action at the watering hole, spa appointments (which deserve their own review) and meals we really didn't have too much down time. This can be adjusted to your liking, though, if you would prefer to have more time to lounge between drives. We went on one walk which was about an hour. It was very gentle terrain with frequent stops and more focused on foliage and smaller details of the bush that you may miss on drives. I'd recommend wearing boots/covering your legs fully on the walk since you're moving through tall grasses.
If you've made it this far I hope I've convinced you to book your visit. My partner and I are already talking about when we should go back. I know there's a lot of competition between these sort of luxury lodges, but ultimately, what I think sets Monwana apart is their attention to detail. The heating pads on the cold morning drive, staff remembering your name, notes from staff left on the bathroom mirror. It's all incredible and I truly got home sick as soon as we left. I immediately wanted to go back. I could go on for much longer, but I'll end it here so you can go and book your stay!

Date of stay: May 2024
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Alexandra G
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.
MORE Family Collection Lodges and Hotels, Marketing at Monwana Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 12 June 2024

Thank you for your beautiful review! We are thrilled that you found Monwana to be an absolute dream and appreciated every detail of your stay. Your kind words about our game drives and our team are much appreciated.

We’re glad our attention to detail made your stay special. We can’t wait to welcome you and your partner back for another incredible experience at Monwana.

All the best,
Your Monwana Family

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 June 2024

Monwana was truly an exceptional experience in every way. From the game viewing, to the lodging, to the food, and to the staff, every aspect was fulfilled to the highest degree imaginable.

From the second you pull into the front gate, it is clear that Monwana has carefully considered even the smallest of details. The staff is ready and waiting for you arrival with cheerful smiles and the warmest of welcomes that makes you feel like a long lost family member coming home for the first time in decades.

Though there is always something you can be doing at Monwana, the staff allows you to constantly move at your own pace, extending game drives if the animals deem it necessary, moving meal times to accommodate schedule changes, and even allowing for bush walks on request. The lodge is setup to make you feel like you are the only people there, and thus you feel simultaneously extremely comfortable and engaged.

Each meal is both comforting and unique, offering plenty of choices to please even the pickiest of eaters, while also allowing the more adventurous to try unique cuisines they likely have not yet seen. If you are lucky enough to be there for a group breakfast which features the open flame "English muffins" you MUST have two of them, I promise you will not regret it.

We were fortunate to stay in the cabin furthest from the lodge, and as a result were constantly greeted by animals below our back deck, even getting lucky enough to have a large bull elephant take a few sips from our plunge pool while we were relaxing a few feet away on the deck!

Most importantly to us, we had 8 phenomenal drives with our Guide and Tracker, Colin and Benny. There simply isn't enough room here for me to properly explain how much we enjoyed spending each day with them. They were the utmost professionals in terms of their ability to show us all of the game we dreamed of, and answer any questions we might have had about it. Without having to explicitly say so, they made it clear that they're immensely passionate about their jobs, and their passion was infectious, making each and every member of our group excited to wake up early and get back out on the reserve every morning. Without obvious effort, Colin and Benny made us feel like family, and made our safari experience better in every way possible. They make a tremendous team, and any guest at Monwana would be lucky to have them by their side.

Although the experience would have been great had we not seen a single animal, we were fortunate to see all kinds of game on each and every drive including a baby leopard, several adult leopards, multiple lion prides, rhino, giraffe, elephant, multiple owl species, hippo, and countless other beautiful animals.

I would be remiss if I did not mention our butler Robbie, who had one of the most infectious laughs that I have ever come across, and was always top notch in his explanations of our wine and cuisine.

Monwana was elite in every way you could imagine, and made me personally recommend safari to many friends who had not yet taken the adventure. I hope to one day be fortunate enough to return, as I'm sure Monwana will be successful for many years to come.

Date of stay: May 2024
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank mslade50
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.
MORE Family Collection Lodges and Hotels, Marketing at Monwana Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 12 June 2024

Thank you for your fantastic review! We are thrilled to hear that you enjoyed every aspect of your stay with us.
Your kind words about our team is greatly appreciated. We’re thrilled to have made your safari experience so special and that you are eager to recommend it to friends. We look forward to welcoming you back to our lodge soon.

All the best,
Your Monwana Family

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 June 2024

I don't even know where to start. Your first experience is being greeted by the friendliest staff washing your hands with fresh hot water and herbs... Just gets better from there. Cottages are beautiful, elegant, understated and include all the amenities (including an outdoor shower to go along with the indoor shower). We watched giraffes and elephants only a few meters away from our livingroom multiple days. The lodge and food are just over the top. They feed you constantly! We had four dinners, all different, all in different places including the wine cellar and the dry riverbed. Every meal was amazing, using local ingredients and lots of creativity. Bar was awesome too, with many great wine choices for each meal. And then there was the safari (the reason you're there). U.N.R.E.A.L. We saw the big 5 on multiple days along with so many other amazing animals. Our guide Taya and our tracker Ismael were absolutely amazing - completely made the experience so much more fun and rewarding. Literally could not imagine a better experience.

End of day - I don't know how you could find a better place, experience or staff on any other safari lodge. We will be back.

Room tip: Come hungry...
Date of stay: May 2024
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Dan C
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.
MORE Family Collection Lodges and Hotels, Marketing at Monwana Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 12 June 2024

Thank you for your wonderful review! We are delighted to hear that you enjoyed your stay, from our warm welcome to the unforgettable safari experiences. Your kind words mean the world to us. We’re thrilled you found our lodge exceptional and can’t wait to welcome you back for another amazing adventure.

All the best,
Your Monwana Family

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 June 2024

It was our first visit to Thornybush Nature Reserve - which itself proved to be a reserve of breathtaking surroundings. From the moment we arrived at Monwana lodge we were enveloped in a dual universe of total luxury and raw natural beauty.

The warm welcome we received upon arrival, the personalised attention throughout our stay, the friendly smiles and engaging conversations… It felt like every single team member went above and beyond to ensure that we not only felt like royalty, but family.

It truly felt like “coming home.”

During our (far too short :) two night stay we had a romantic dinner under the stars, a ‘bush breakfast’ in a riverbed, watched elephants drink from the waterhole as we lounged by the pool, ate like kings (the food! the flavours!) and while we did not make time to visit the gym (which overlooks a dry riverbed often frequented by wild animals) we did go on a bush walk - something we highly recommend if you are visiting during the cooler months, as it is an opportunity to experience and learn about the African bush on a whole different level.

Our game viewing was outstanding. We saw three different leopards, witnessed incredible leopard – hyena interaction, a herd of what must have been almost 500 buffalo, a lion pride hunting said buffalo, the famous ‘Mapoza’ male lion who’s reign we learnt is sadly coming to an end, a wake of vultures feeding of an elephant carcass (an old female who had died from natural causes), a pack of wild dogs playing in the water and so much more. But it was our guide and tracker team (Dan and Fanoti) whose knowledge, passion and great sense of humour made the drives unforgettable.

We hope to return soon 😊

Alice and Gino

Date of stay: May 2024
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Thank Safari03320322031
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.
MORE Family Collection Lodges and Hotels, Marketing at Monwana Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 6 June 2024

Thank you for your glowing review! We're glad you enjoyed your first visit to Thornybush Nature Reserve and Monwana Lodge. We're delighted that you enjoyed the personalised attention from our team and had unforgettable experiences on the game drives with the team. We can't wait to welcome you back soon!
All the best,
Your Monwana Family

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 June 2024

Where does one start?
* Most stunning location located in one of the most beautiful places in South Africa.
* Amazingly beautiful new/renovated lodge with the most beautifully equipped rooms
* Quiet and Private rooms
* Amazing, delicious food and drinks
* Game drives are done safely with the finest attention to detail
* 5 stars might be an understatement
* So nice to see friendly smiles the entire day coming from all staff members
You will not be disappointed when visiting

Date of stay: June 2024
  • Trip type: Travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Waldo K
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.
MORE Family Collection Lodges and Hotels, Marketing at Monwana Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 6 June 2024

Thank you for your amazing review! We're thrilled you enjoyed our stunning location, beautifully equipped rooms, delicious food, and safe game drives. Your kind words about our staff are greatly appreciated. We can't wait to welcome you back for another fantastic stay!
All the best,
Your Monwana Family

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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