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“Incredible first safari experience”

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Garonga Safari Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 12 December 2016

We were extremely excited about staying at Garonga, and it delivered in every way! This was our first safari experience, and Garonga is a perfect way to introduce you! From the moment you arrive you are made to feel special and incredibly well looked after. We opted for the private 4 seater plane to arrive into the nearby airstrip which we thoroughly recommend....for some amazing views and a thrill. We saw four giraffes from the drive from the airstrip to the lodge - an amazing way to start! The lodge is set around a main outdoor infinity pool, a perfect place to have a dip and cool down with a glass of wine and look over the views below (you can see wildlife directly from the lodge) The tents themselves were more like luxury lodges with tented roofs - to give the full safari feel, but protect you from weather, bugs and heat. They are a great size, and you needn't forgo luxury just because you're in the African bush! Food and drink are plenty and included, so you can relax and enjoy several cold Castle beers after your days game drives. The twice daily game drives were of course the highlight; having never been on safari we didn't know what to expect, and were not disappointed! We saw it all, including a pride of 11 lions 5 metres from our vehicle, and a herd of 8 elephants. We even saw an elusive Cheetah on the drive out of the lodge on our way home. Our whole experience here was truly amazing, Bernie the owner has got it spot on, with all the touches you need whilst not being fussy, and feeling like a genuine wildlife adventure. We cannot wait to come back!

  • Stayed: December 2016, travelled as a couple
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Thank h0llyb1234
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 30 November 2016

My husband and I returned this summer to Garonga, the site of our honeymoon 13 years ago, with our two sons, ages 9 and 11, and my husband's parents in tow. My father in law has Parkinson's Disease, so we decided to come to South Africa for a week and stay only at Little Garonga, where we rented all three rooms, rather than travel around to different lodges. This was the best decision we could have made, and the week was absolutely magnificent. Everybody loved it. Coming to Garonga is like being at the home you wish you had! Everything is fully arranged and Bernie and his staff think of everything you might want just one step before you do, but at the same time, it is such a comfortable place that you can sink in and enjoy from the moment you arrive. The staff is warm and exceedingly professional, the rooms are SPOTLESS, every meal is DELICIOUS....every one of us was so sad to leave.

Additionally, I point out that my father-in-law has Parkinson's because the staff was extremely attentive to his needs without being overbearing or embarrassing to him.

Coming back after 13 years, my husband and I were so happy to find that the Garonga of our memories was as special and perfect as we had remembered it.

August also was a great time to be there - the weather was incredible. Not a raindrop ever, and very comfortable temps. It's so dry, however, that you should remember to bring lots of sunscreen, lip balm and body lotion to stay hydrated.

Food and drinks are included in the room price, and it's very relaxing to come, know what you are spending, and never have to take your wallet out during your stay.

The massage sala is a special treat - make sure to take advantage of that! (it does cost extra, but very reasonably prices and wholly worth it)

Room Tip: Little Garonga is perfect for groups or families traveling together.
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  • Stayed: August 2016, travelled with family
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Thank moromo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 November 2016

Outstanding experience in every way. Superb accommodations, excellent driver and tracker Louis and Richard, wonderful food and great staff. Manager Charmaine (sp?) most helpful when we needed to see a doctor in Hoedspruit )and with all our other "issues")

  • Stayed: November 2016, travelled as a couple
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Thank msgrumps
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 November 2016

While Garonga and Little Garonga are undoubtedly the perfect spot for a most romantic honeymoon, you don't need to be young or in love to appreciate the wonders of the African Bush, courtesy of Bernie and his staff. The Makalali Game Reserve offers all the Big Five, together with a huge variety of other flora and fauna, and the expert guides at Garonga are great at ensuring that every game drive is full of sightings. In the three days we were there, we were lucky enough to see a pack of wild dogs (including seven pups), black rhino, elephants (including a one-week old baby), lions, hippos ... the list goes on! The ultimate safari experience is the Sleep-Out - a night alone in the bush on a raised platform with just a double bed and an outdoor toilet for company ... oh, yes, and of course the animals that come to drink at the water hole below!

Back at the 'ranch', the six 'tents' (what a misnomer!) at Garonga and the three more luxurious bush 'huts' (another misnomer - they've got aircon!) at Little Garonga are wildlife hospitality at its very best. We stayed in the Hambleden suite at Little Garonga - a huge, luxurious bedroom, sitting room and bathroom complete with copper bath, indoor and outdoor showers. Our terrace boasted a luxury seating area together with a private infinity pool overlooking the water hole. On our arrival, three warthog were checking out the slope below our pool; during our stay we also welcomed impala, baboons, monkeys and squirrels to our deck.

The staff at Little Garonga are warm and welcoming but totally professional - nothing is too much bother. The food is excellent (thank you Venetia!) and the service is perfectly judged; not too intrusive, but there when you want it. Our ranger, Cee-Jay and his tracker, Phineus, were very informative, patient and knowledgable. (Cee-Jay has promised me a leopard next time!)

In summary, yes, it's pricey, but it's well worth it - you won't have a better safari experience anywhere in Africa.

Room Tip: If you want to be close to nature, go to Garonga; if you want air-con, choose Little Garonga.
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  • Stayed: November 2016, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Sue B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 November 2016

It was our outstanding visit while honeymoon. Staying at Garonga Safaria Camp is not a choise it is to be there if you want to see great nature and lovely service.

Starting with a welcome drink, the manager showed us the camp, explained a lot and was very smart. Every day we had at least two safaris, breakfeast, meal and a night meal. The tent´s were amazing and we could have had a look at two waterholes next to us. The tent itself was with a great bed, two showers (one inside, one outside, big bath, safe, etc. ppp)

All was safe. At least 37 people are working there and the look for your safety especially at night. They´ll even move with you to the bath to for safety.

The first safari in the morning was allready the outstanding. After 5 minutes we had the luck to see an impala dead in the tree which was because there was a lepard arround and REALLY we saw this one 10 minutes later and also the next day again. Lions, cheetah, rhinos, crocodiles, hippos, elephants, wild dogs, ..., the got everything there and the guides are usually very good (only the last one didn´t explain a lot and we didn´t have a tracker, so watch to get a tracker with you !)

Also we did the sleep out (sleeping outside of the camp in a tree house next to a waterhole). It was amazing and we hardly recommend to do so too as you get a good meal with you, a lot of drinks and even a little breakfast.

Garonga Safari Camp is outstanding good. They always try to give there very best and you feel thankful to get this experiences.

Room Tip: Allways get a tracker with you while doing safari ! Otherwise it can get boring. Try the sleep out !
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  • Stayed: October 2016, travelled as a couple
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Thank larsschlacht
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Garonga Safari Camp

Address: Selati Portion 12, KT 143, Phalaborwa, 1390, Makalali Private Game Reserve 1380, South Africa
Region: South Africa > Limpopo Province > Makalali Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Makalali Private Game Reserve
Price Range: R3 970 - R14 733 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Garonga Safari Camp 4*
Number of rooms: 9
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Also Known As:
Garonga Safari Camp Hotel Makalali Private Game Reserve

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