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“A Very Different Experience”

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Stone Camp in Mkhaya Game Reserve
Certificate of Excellence
Maidstone, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
36 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“A Very Different Experience”
Reviewed 12 December 2016

This lodge is so different to the norm. One leaves one's car in secure parking near the entrance and boards a safari vehicle. The first safari has started! A short stop for welcome, paperwork and refreshments and our ranger drives into the park in search of animals, the stars being the rhino, both black and white which we were privileged to see. Interestingly the usually solitary black rhino was trailing behind the white group. We were told this sometimes happened when the white females were in estrus.

The camp with its private, open roundels, friendly and helpful staff and enjoyable meals is well documented. I will only add that the beds surrounded by a large mosquito net were very comfortable and cosy.

We had heavy rain while there and were privileged to see water gradually flow along the normally dry river bed. Our drive that evening was a display of highly skilled 4x4 driving over very wet roads. That, together with the sightings and the information from our ranger, made it an excellent drive.

Stone Camp and Mkhaya Reserve are special. It is not 5* luxury but offers so much more of a 'real' bush experience.

Room Tip: There is quite a long walk to some of the rooms
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  • Stayed November 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Valerie C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ann R, Public Relations Manager at Stone Camp in Mkhaya Game Reserve, responded to this review, 14 December 2016
Thank you for such a lovely review! We love that you love the real aspects... we don't pretend to be 5*, but we do aim to be authentic and unique.
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162 reviews from our community

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    2
    2
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34
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (14)
Date | Rating
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English first
Norwich, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
150 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 November 2016 via mobile

We did the 24 hour stay...4pm to 4 pm. This includes 3 game drives and a bush walk as well as full board. The accommodation in an open fronted, stone rondeval, was very private and extremely comfortable.
The staff were friendly and helpful, and the Game Rangers ( especially Maxwell) were very knowledgeable.
This is a totally different experience and is highly recommended.

Stayed November 2016, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Poppyslane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ann R, Public Relations Manager at Stone Camp in Mkhaya Game Reserve, responded to this review, 12 December 2016
A great review, thank you! Will be sure to commend our staff
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
UK
Level Contributor
77 reviews
60 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 November 2016 via mobile

I took the 24 hour package from 4pm to 4pm and had a great experience. The round stone rooms are beautifully decorated with plenty of distance between them so privacy is assured. The combination of early morning game drives and the late morning game walk are great with sightings of rhinos, warthogs, Impala and Nyala common.

Stayed November 2016, travelled solo
Helpful?
Thank NicholasUk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ann R, Public Relations Manager at Stone Camp in Mkhaya Game Reserve, responded to this review, 12 December 2016
A lovely review, thank you!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
54 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 October 2016

Long story short: we were here to "check it out" in anticipation of a family gathering later in the year. We're going to be back for sure. The combination of safari, food, lodging, and staff makes this a very memorable experience.


The bush: hippos, white and black rhinos (which are all the same colour we learned, but different sizes, different back and hoof shapes, and different temperaments!), giraffes, wildebeests, warthogs, nyalas, impalas, kudus, zebras, turtles, lizards, and others. There are no longer any elephants (sent to the USA) or lions (moved to another reserve). Our guides Sibusosi and Africa were fun and informative. The rides last 2 hours. Having been on rides at Hlane, a sister park, I would recommend the 2.5 hour trip given the overhead of "leaving and getting back" which makes visiting the extremities difficult. 150 minutes for a tour offers significantly more game sightings in further reaches than 120.

The food was tasty, and well-prepared. The food is not high-end restaurant cuisine, but being on safari with no electricity, the food is great, for example, we had a tender and succulent beef ragout served with vegetables and rice as a main course. Surprisingly, the menu did not feature any game. The meats were chicken, fish, and beef. I have to say, for simple fare, it was well done and appreciated by us and the other guests.

They have real coffee available (not instant!). The staff like to push the plunger on the French press immediately but will anxiously wait if you insist on letting it steep for a minute. The wait is worth it.

The rooms are romantic, quaint, rustic, and open. It is somewhat awkward doing “one's business” while a nyala stares at you (the bathroom and bedroom are both semi-open to nature) and you have to put your toothpaste in the safe lest it be stolen as an edible trophy by a curious monkey. Still, if we can watch the animals eat, I don't see why they can't watch us go about our business.

The construction of the private rooms is remarkably old-world and fully functional. The stone design prevents winds from disturbing you in your sleep – though I would have appreciated a breeze at bedtime because it was somewhat hot (27°C) and humid..

The fact that the camp eschews electricity is charming and relaxing. The light of lanterns and the big fire around which the guests eat is truly enjoyable. It is very nice to be digitally unplugged and given the freedom to spelunk about nature on Safari.

Saving the best for last, the staff are very accommodating: professional and friendly. The ladies on staff shared their traditional Swazi dancing after supper which was a treat. Be forewarned, they may ask you to join them! Do it. It's fun!

Room Tip: Ask for a lower numbered room to be closer to camp
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  • Stayed October 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank JimmyMTL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ann R, Public Relations Manager at Stone Camp in Mkhaya Game Reserve, responded to this review, 5 November 2016
We love your detailed review, thank you!!
Mkhaya has never had Lions due to the valuable antelope in the endangered species programme, and the last elephants were moved to Hlane due to drought and impact on the biodiversity - we will chat to our guides to ensure the info is correct ;o)
We look forward to your return, and hope we have game meat on the menu (we usually do)! Thank you for such lovely commendation
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Dublin
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 September 2016

We stayed in Stone Camp with our two sons for two nights and it was truly unforgettable. As you come in on the first game drive you can see so much before even arriving at the camp, and when you do arrive, it's nothing but the finest of accommodation, food and care. Our hut was simply gorgeous, and in the evening festooned with oil lamps when we returned from the evening drive, and we even found hot water bottles in our beds before sleep. The staff are amazing, every meal was delicious, and after dinner we even got to hear singing and Swazi dancing. Abby and her team could not have been more courteous or helpful. Stone Camp was a highlight of our time in Southern Africa.

  • Stayed August 2016, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank HBT34
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ann R, Public Relations Manager at Stone Camp in Mkhaya Game Reserve, responded to this review, 15 September 2016
Such a fabulous review, thank you! Lovely to hear your family embraced Mkhaya so magically - and to hear it was a highlight! TripAdvisor reviews are sent on to Managers, so Abby will share your lovely comments with staff, thank you.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Stone Camp in Mkhaya Game Reserve

Property: Stone Camp in Mkhaya Game Reserve
Address: Phuzamoya, Mkhaya Game Reserve, Swaziland
Region: Swaziland > Lubombo District > Mkhaya Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Speciality Lodging in Mkhaya Game Reserve
Price range (per night): R2 089 - R5 254
Hotel Class:2,5 star — Stone Camp in Mkhaya Game Reserve 2.5*
Number of rooms: 12
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