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Valerie C
Maidstone, United Kingdom

A Very Different Experience

5.0 of 5 bubblesReviewed 12 Dec 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.
Date of stay: November 2016
Room Tip: There is quite a long walk to some of the rooms
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
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Ann R, Public Relations Manager at Stone Camp in Mkhaya Game Reserve, responded to this review
Responded 14 Dec 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.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
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Reviews (247)
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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.

Date of stay: November 2016
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Thank Poppyslane
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.
Ann R, Public Relations Manager at Stone Camp in Mkhaya Game Reserve, responded to this reviewResponded 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
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.

Date of stay: November 2016
Trip type: Travelled solo
Thank NicholasUk
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.
Ann R, Public Relations Manager at Stone Camp in Mkhaya Game Reserve, responded to this reviewResponded 12 December 2016

A lovely review, thank you!

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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
Date of stay: October 2016
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank JimmyMTL
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.
Ann R, Public Relations Manager at Stone Camp in Mkhaya Game Reserve, responded to this reviewResponded 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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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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.

Date of stay: August 2016
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
2  Thank Helen B
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.
Ann R, Public Relations Manager at Stone Camp in Mkhaya Game Reserve, responded to this reviewResponded 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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Reviewed 4 September 2016 via mobile

What a place! Sleeping at semi-open chalets with hyenas howling just outside our door, taking a shower looking at nyalas, spotting black and white rhinos in crazy land rover rides! We learned really a lot about animal behaviour there, especially for rhinos. We also did an overnight bush walk (with camping in the bush) organized by Mkhaya which was a highlight of our trip. Bongani, our guide in the bush walk, has incredible knowledge on animals and their treks. Definetely a place to visit!

Date of stay: August 2016
Trip type: Travelled with friends
Thank phaedra o
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.
Ann R, Public Relations Manager at Stone Camp in Mkhaya Game Reserve, responded to this reviewResponded 15 September 2016

Thank you for such a great review! Wonderful to hear you did the Bush Trails... there is nothing like getting out on your feet to experience the bush. So much more comes alive!
Bongani is our Head Guide, extremely passionate about the bush and conservation. Thank you for these comments - they are being sent on to our managers to relate to Bongani!

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