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aha Makalali Private Game Reserve

D202 Gravelotte Road, Hoedspruit, Maruleng 1380 South Africa
Traveller (1035)
Outside our room
Room & Suite (91)
Dining (49)
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Breakfast included
$412
Prices are provided by our partners for one room, with variable occupancy rules as provided by the property, and reflect total costs of the stay, including all taxes and fees known to our partners. Please see our partners for more details.

About

4.5
#20 of 71 lodges in Hoedspruit
4.7 of 5 bubbles
Location
4.7 of 5 bubbles
Cleanliness
4.7 of 5 bubbles
Service
4.5 of 5 bubbles
Value
Tripadvisor gives a Travellers’ Choice award to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travellers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor.
Makalali Private Game Lodge is a 4 star graded luxury safari lodge situated on a 26000 hectre private game reserve in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. The lodge consists of 3 camps with 6 rooms per camp. Nestled on the banks of a river one can often view animals in and around the camps. Makalali Private Game Lodge offers game drive twice a day to guests which is included in the rate of accommodation. The reserve is home to the big 5 as well as cheetah and wild dog and a number of other plains game and mammals. Over 250 species of birds have been recorded on the property.
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Property amenities
Free parking
Pool
Free breakfast
Airport transportation
Concierge
Gift shop
Express check-in / check-out
Private check-in / check-out
Secured parking
Pool with view
Outdoor pool
Bar / lounge
Restaurant
Breakfast buffet
Special diet menus
Outdoor fireplace
Sun terrace
Dry cleaning
Laundry service
Ironing service
Room features
Air conditioning
Housekeeping
Room service
Safe
Minibar
Room types
Non-smoking rooms
Suites
Family rooms
Good to know
HOTEL CLASS
Star ratings are intended to indicate the general level of features, amenities, and services to expect. This property is classified according to Giata.
4.0 of 5 stars
HOTEL STYLE
Romantic
Quaint
Languages Spoken
English, Afrikaans

Location

D202 Gravelotte Road, Hoedspruit, Maruleng 1380 South Africa
Getting there
Hoedspruit Airport
43.3 km
See all flights
Phalaborwa Airport
53.3 km
See all flights
678Reviews22Q+A92Room tips

Reviews
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Detailed Reviews
Gavin O wrote a review Jan 2020
Johannesburg, South Africa12 contributions1 helpful vote
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Overall great experience filled with exceptional memories of the Bush drives and hospitality. Certainly a site to visit. The staff were personable and professional at all times. Our game ranger Shadrack made the bush experience what it was - memorable. If you are looking for a value experience visit Makalali and experience a great holiday destination. Many of the guests were foreign visitors and the staff did everything to make their stays enjoyable. Whilst we did not get to see the big five we only missed the leopard. The Lion and elephant sightings in particular were great with Shadrack and Richard giving it their all to track and find them. Just a recommendation to consider is to turn the pool off at night to allow the rooms closes to the main lodge some quiet. Very very good overall experience you could not wish for anything better.
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Date of stay: January 2020Trip type: Travelled with family
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.
Charlie H wrote a review Mar 2021
Majorca, Spain3 contributions1 helpful vote
5.0 of 5 bubbles
We booked a 3 night stay in Makalali Main Lodge, and ended up booking an extra day as we just couldn’t leave!

Our stay started off slightly bumpy, with our transfer being an hour and a half late, but was completely forgotten as the arrival and departure fee was wavered, and we found a delicious 2013 bottle of red on our bed with a hand written apology from the manager, to say all was forgiven and forgotten is an understatement.

The 4 nights were absolutely perfect, from the great service by the very friendly staff and manager, to the delicious food (especially the amazing desserts), clean rooms and beautiful decor and layout of the entire lodge, including the fact that the lodge isn’t fenced off so on arrival you see monkeys in the lodge, and watch the waterbuck and nyala grazing which relaxing by the beautiful pool.

The game drives for us both we’re just indescribable, Chadrick and Richard were absolute superstars, great humour and incredibly knowledgable and so talented at tracking the animals, to the point in the first 3 days we’d seen the big 5, hyenas, a cheetah hunt, warthogs, hippos, giraffes, zebras and more, on top of this we got to stop in the bush during each game drive for coffees and drinks!

If I could give the lodge 6 stars I would!
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Date of stay: March 2021Trip type: Travelled with friends
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.
marim00die wrote a review Nov 2022
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
I was the lucky winner of the Makalali River Lodge & aha Hotels & Lodges Instragram giveaway, where my husband and I were spoiled with a 2 nights stay, 3 meals per day (including coffee + tea + hot chocolate and game drive drinks & snacks) and 2 game drives daily!

We felt like VIPs from the moment that we arrived at the idyllic and breathtaking Makalali River Lodge. We were welcomed with the best welcome drinks (which is now our favourite drink…just saying) and the most friendly and warm hearted staff and rangers. The lodge itself is surrounded with nature – it is absolutely beautiful and so exclusive!

The chefs are amazing and each menu is carefully planned to really give you the best South African food experience (it really tastes like home as I am a South African myself). Every dish is an experience and the ultimate is the dinner when you relax around the boma while the chef prepare the food – from oxtail potjiekos to braaivleis! To me, there is nothing like freshly baked bread and butter & they even bake their own bread…that was next level lekker!

The rooms have a modern touch to it and the cleanliness and neatness of the rooms are absolutely amazing. The room staff always make sure that your room are clean and stocked with coffee, teas, hot chocolate, milk, towels etc. I have not experienced such amazing service like this before.
The game drives are the absolute best and really something we looked forward to – the 4x4 drive itself is an experience! The rangers really go out of their way to search for the animals and they have so much interesting facts about every animal (from small to big). We have also seen the most amazing animals and sceneries, as well as little animals which were adorable!! It was the most fantastic drives, filled with so much adventure to see some of the animals so close!!! WOW!!!

To conclude, we were spoiled rotten and nothing is too much effort for the people Makalali Private Game Lodge. We absolutely loved every second of this wonderful getaway - it is TOTALLY worth it. I HIGHLY recommend Makalali River Lodge where you eat top quality South African food, stay in luxury accommodation surrounded with nature, while having a wild life experience with the best rangers.

My heart is bursting with thankfulness for this incredible prize!!! I don't have enough words to thank you enough!

Mari xx
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Date of stay: October 2022
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
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.
Peter J wrote a review Nov 2021
Rivonia, South Africa44 contributions16 helpful votes
2.0 of 5 bubbles
We stayed here during the Covid 19 peak and when the lodge got full we were forced to go on game drives with 8 people per vehicle, whilst their marketing on booking advertised only 6 people per vehicle. Only when we refused to do this were we allocated a vehicle with 6 people. They closed the bar at 20h00, whilst the curfew was until 22h00 and luckily we had our own refreshments, otherwise it would have been a problem. the Lodge is beautiful, but is not suited for a quiet peaceful experience. The Game reserve itself has poor sightings, even though the guides try their best. The food was average to good.
I will not return here because it is a high people volume experience, game viewing is poor, service is ok, as is the food, but there are certainly much better places around.
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Date of stay: August 2021
3.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
4.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
2.0 of 5 bubblesService
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.
BushladySouthAfrica wrote a review Feb 2020
South Africa52 contributions2 helpful votes
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
We were treated like special guests from the moment we arrived. The staff are friendly, accommodating and make every effort to ensure guests have a memorable stay, often going beyond the call of duty. Special thanks to Romi, Sam and Thomas for arranging my birthday treat. It was special and unforgettable. Anton and Weaver that conducted the game drives are also excellent trackers and very knowledgeable, they ensured that every game drive was action packed. We resided at River Lodge 2. The room was luxurious and private. We spent lots of time on the deck overlooking the river, it was so tranquil and peaceful. Dinner in the boma was unique and different and the infinity splash pool was a very welcome retreat on a hot afternoon. Our 3 nights there was way too short and we cannot wait to return again to enjoy the hospitality, delicious food and exciting game drives. The attention to detail and service given puts Makalali in a class of their own!!
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Date of stay: February 2020Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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.
debbieg377 wrote a review Jan 2020
Milan, Italy35 contributions35 helpful votes
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Makalali seemed like a luxury place and has a beautiful reception an sitting area upon arriving. The stay in blocks with rooms instead of lodges makes it very cold and less unique.
As vegetarians we asked in advance for food solutions but we found nothing adapted to children and vegetarian. The service is slow and most of the people there do not understand English. Very nice people but impossible to communicate. The Sheets in the room were stained and we had no water one morning before safari drive
Loved the rangers and safari who do their best to show you the most of animals,
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Date of stay: December 2019
4.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
2.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
3.0 of 5 bubblesService
Room Tip: Choose only block 2
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.
911prentonpark wrote a review Oct 2022
United Kingdom299 contributions255 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
We only left Makalali a couple of days ago and are already missing it! We stayed three nights at the main lodge. The bedroom blocks look a little incongruous in design from the outside given the setting but once inside they had everything needed for a comfy visit. Two showers (inside and outside) and a huge bed. Balcony and huge glass windows ensured we could see everything. The main lodge structure and common areas are beautiful. All open air with high ceilings and thatched roof. The pool area is also beautiful and we saw numerous animals just below us as we swam!

The food was ok - breakfast omelette was particularly good, and the staff were all very friendly. There were only 8/10 guests in total in the main lodge at the time of our stay so we had much attention. My wife was celebrating a special birthday and on our second evening the staff set up a romantic dinner for two complete with birthday cake and singing. Lovely! We especially enjoyed chatting with Yolanda and Kevin (the chef)

Of course we didn’t stay here to experience food and comfy bedrooms! The main event were the game drives. There are two per day and alarms need to be set for a 5.30am start (they ring at 5am to make sure you are up!) . The drives last at least three hours and during our trips we saw so many wonderful animals. We were really lucky with our guide and spotter team. I know all the other reports claim their teams are the best but in Wonderboy (yes honestly!) and Floyd we had the stars. Yes they were focussed on showing us the big 5 - which we did see (several of them on multiple occasions ) but equally keen to show us the huge variety of less renowned creatures at Makalali. We loved stopping for morning coffee and evening G&Ts in the bush too. We were only 6 guests who all got along well. 6 seemed to be an ideal number.

I’ve never been on a safari trip before and initially the cynic in me suspected that much of the experience was being choreographed. However on our second night drive we witnesses four lionesses kill an impala and Wonderboy managed to manoeuvre us to within 10 meters of them - scary, definitely very real and nature at its rawness. Nothing scripted at Makalali!

It wasn’t all perfect and we had issues with both our transfers on arrival and departure but these in no way detracted from a wonderful experience. Thank you Team Makalali!
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Date of stay: October 2022Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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.
Stephen E wrote a review Jan 2022
Bozeman, Montana99 contributions49 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
For me, the bush is always about the game viewing. Anybody saying the Big 5 are a slam dunk here had a different experience than we did. On the last day of our three-day stay, our guide gave us the choice of Cape buffalo or wild dog. We'd seen plenty of buffalo in Kruger National Park, so chose the wild dog, and we saw one lone dog calling to his pack.

The leopard was sheer luck, as we encountered one going on the hunt, as we returned to the lodge at the end of a marvelous day. The black rhino we saw immediately charged us as we came around a corner in the bush. But there are not slam dunks or canned appearances as some would have you believe. Yes, guides communicate via radio, the same as I do when guiding people in Yellowstone. No doubt, communication increases your chances. But Pilot, our tracker, did an amazingly diligent job of tracking to get us on a pair of white rhinos.

The accommodations were stunning. Food was quite good and tea in the bush was served with great, quality snacks and a nice variety of drinks. All staff was outstanding and very professional. I'd come back here in a heartbeat.
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Date of stay: January 2022
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
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.
Lynette P wrote a review Feb 2021
Sandton31 contributions50 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Makalali River Lodges consists of 3 lodges with 6 beautifully appointed huts in each. Apart from the extremely comfortable, nicely sized accommodation with large inside and outside showers and all the necessary amenities including coffee machines, bar fridges, separate toilets and fire places, the service is friendly, attentive and the meals excellent. I have been twice in 3 months, the first time with family and two young grand children and the second time with couples. The game rangers and trackers are excellent Wiseman and Booi and Marvel and Siphiso made sure our game drives were interesting, did their best to accommodate our needs and went out of their way to make each game drive special!
Makalali is great value for money, is run by a superb team of people and I will be back!
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Date of stay: February 2021Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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.
Kirstie H wrote a review Apr 2023
3 contributions1 helpful vote
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Had a truly amazing time. The Main Lodge is well maintained, well cared for, extremely clean and had such friendly staff. A special mention to Rudolph on the bars, Edward our security man who walked us back to our room safely each night, Peace and Small our 2 Rangers who gave us the most incredible experience on our game drives and also the Reception Manager who organised for us to move from the River Lodge to the Main Lodge. It was also very nice for the Hotel Manager to introduce himself to us during our stay and check we were enjoying our stay. They really couldn't have done enough for us. I would definitely recommend and I would definitely return, thank you all for a wonderful stay. Only constructive comment I would say is please give the edges of the pools over in the River Lodge camps a clean as a build up of green around the edges which doesn't make it inviting to swim in. Otherwise amazing... and thank you
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Date of stay: March 2023
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
Trip type: Travelled with friends
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.
Answer from Mary D
Basel, Switzerland9 contributions2 helpful votes
I think this is more about safety reasons... when we were at makalali there was also a family with kidds (the kidds behaved better than many adult) ... have you allready mailed makalali? i would check with them... if they say no it might be because of insurances... but I dont think it is a problem...
Johannesburg, South Africa219 contributions70 helpful votes
yes there are hair dryers in the room. Enjoy your stay!
Marli Britz wrote a tip 14 Apr
9 contributions1 helpful vote
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"The food and catering can do with a few minor improvements. "
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rubenj wrote a tip Mar 2024
Honolulu, Hawaii16 contributions2 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Be prepared to be in the jungle with minimal connections outside. Internet was spotty at best."
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LOTRfan wrote a tip Mar 2024
Jessup, Maryland330 contributions327 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Expect to have your stuff transferred at the Main Gate to the Toyota landcruisers they use. The roads in the reserve are very rough."
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John wrote a tip Mar 2024
London, United Kingdom21 contributions27 helpful votes
4.0 of 5 bubbles
"Always close the door behind you when you are on the terrace, as Monkeys tend to be inquisitive."
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Andrea T wrote a tip Mar 2024
2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Go for a couple of days at least and do as many safari trips as you can. Bring a good camera and a hat with a strap for the open jeep rides."
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PRICE RANGE
$329 - $847 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
ALSO KNOWN AS
makalali private game hotel hoedspruit
FORMERLY KNOWN AS
Makalali Private Game Lodge
LOCATION
South AfricaLimpopo ProvinceMarulengHoedspruit
NUMBER OF ROOMS
18
Prices are provided by our partners for one room, with variable occupancy rules as provided by the property, and reflect total costs of the stay, including all taxes and fees known to our partners. Please see our partners for more details.
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AHA MAKALALI PRIVATE GAME RESERVE - Lodge Reviews & Price Comparison (Hoedspruit, South Africa) - Tripadvisor

Frequently Asked Questions about aha Makalali Private Game Reserve
What are some of the property amenities at aha Makalali Private Game Reserve?
Some of the more popular amenities offered include free breakfast, a pool, and an on-site restaurant.
What food & drink options are available at aha Makalali Private Game Reserve?
Guests can enjoy free breakfast, an on-site restaurant, and a lounge during their stay.
Is parking available at aha Makalali Private Game Reserve?
Yes, free parking and secured parking are available to guests.
Are there opportunities to exercise at aha Makalali Private Game Reserve?
Yes, guests have access to a pool during their stay.
Does aha Makalali Private Game Reserve have airport transportation?
Yes, aha Makalali Private Game Reserve offers airport transportation for guests. We recommend calling ahead to confirm details.
Are any cleaning services offered at aha Makalali Private Game Reserve?
Yes, dry cleaning and laundry service are offered to guests.
Which languages are spoken by the staff at aha Makalali Private Game Reserve?
The staff speaks multiple languages, including English and Afrikaans.
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