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Benjamin G

SCAM; 6 lions are captive in a pen. NO elephants, no giraffes.

1.0 of 5 bubblesReviewed 14 Apr 2024
SCAM. This lodge has captive lions in a pen, and NO Elephants. This is why they demand 100% deposit upfront. Avoid this place at all costs, they literature is deceiving and we had to contact prior guests to learn that the lions are captive. This is not the African experience we hoped for, we cancelled.
Date of stay: April 2024
Room Tip: SCAM. Lions are captive in a penned in area, NO elephants, NO giraffes.
Trip type: Travelled with family
1.0 of 5 bubblesValue
1.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
1.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
1.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
1.0 of 5 bubblesService
1.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
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Rocco Gioia, Owner at Elandela Private Game Reserve & Luxury Lodges, responded to this review
Responded 4 weeks ago
Mr Benjamin Graves you made a booking which you said you were going to "love", over the phone. Thereafter your friends booked at a different lodge and you wanted a full refund in order to stay with them at their lodge. We offer a special online booking with a 40% discount with T and C that it is non-refundable. You accepted the terms and conditions and we refused the refund. You threatened negative reviews if we do not pay your full deposit back. We refused to be blackmailed. You were never at Elandela and have absolutely no idea what we offer: in other words the true scam is this review.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
The listings of booking offers for each property take into account the compensation paid to us by our partners. Prices shown may be for varying room types. Prices displayed are the lowest available, corresponding to the least expensive room type available, as provided from our partners as of the time of the user’s search.
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Reviewed 5 January 2024

Disappointing experience if you are looking for Africa feeling.
This review is difficult as the lodge has all basics to be a great lodge and make the experience for its customers unique, but for whatever reason they do not do it.
It starts with a mediocre welcoming, we were coming over the Christmas days and there was no whatsoever christmas spirit in the lodge. You dont want that fine, at least give us Africa feeling. Where is the fire in the evening, where is the possibility to enjoy a sundowner at the fire and maybe meet other guests and hear what they did see in the bush? The food has nothing to do with African food, they serve Pasta, Pizza, and fish. Despite the fact that they serve the same fish the next day, the quality of the food was not good, maximum mediocre. We would have loved to have more local food on the table. However, I did ask and they accomodated me the second night and made us a venison steak, which was excellent. Therefore, why are you not serving more local food, that you can obviously execute excellent?
We had to sign a waiver, but there is no security information. We know the bush, but it is needed to advise customers that if Hippos show up, it is a dangerous situation; that you have the most poisonous scorpios around during that time and what to do. We saw one but only read in the news about their possibility to be fatal at the airport. Especially when children roaming around that is important.
The rooms are fine and clean, my only advise is that you should have moskito nets on all beds, not only on the master beds. In the camp itself you can see the Rhinos (their story is described on Elandela Homepage) and girafes, zebras, baboons which is excellent. The pool area is there but again not warm, not welcoming. The pool itself was not really clean when we were there.
The sightings are not the best. They are having their own game reserve and you can see the white lions - guaranteed - which was a fantastic experience, you can also see the Rhinos. However, we didnt see anything in their lower game reserve around the camp and we dont understand why you would not always drive in the upper game reserve and make the sightings more realistic. We also did the Night Safari but the same outcome. They are offering trips to Krueger NP and Blyder River Canyon, which is a benefit but we didnt use it as we were only there for 2 nights.
The team is trying their best to accomodate and therefore we cannot say anyhting negative about their team, they are friendly and always try to accomodate. Especially the game rangers are very experienced and very engaged. I hope people can understand why I am writing that this review is difficult. We also saw so many excellent reviews beforehand and wonder how that is possible, only idea that these reviews come from the other camp and there everything is perfect. Why ? I leave it to the Management and the Owners to evaluate that in case they care.
I would not recommend to go to Elandela River View Lodge Camp. We have seen many camps throughout our lifes and it was just a disappointing experience throughout. Especially as we wanted to hand over to our kids the same excitement that we have for the bush but that failed. If you go to see the white Lions, then I recommend a max stay of one night and move on to another camp.

Date of stay: December 2023
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Thank sonjasM1833KE
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.
Rocco Gioia, Owner at Elandela Private Game Reserve & Luxury Lodges, responded to this reviewResponded 9 January 2024

Hi Sonja! Reading your review objectively I understand that all your contradictions made the writing difficult. Thank you for the many compliments! There are 2 main complaints and at no stage were you put under a false impression. I want to remind you that I informed you telephonically before your arrival that the lodge has no Christmas decorations because of a special request. I provided your own fully lit Christmas tree in your room. Secondly I informed you that on the nights of your visit, there will be no fires or barbecues. You checked out on the morning of the 25th and our Christmas dinner fire barbecue and traditional dancing was held on the evening of the 25th. Lastly as you know it was raining a lot and the game drives could only be offered on the roads we knew were safe to drive on. The indemnity you signed is intended to make you vigilant at all times and not go of the walk ways. We are proud of the team and the effort they put in to ensure a dream holiday for our guests - as per your own mention of all the full marks reviews. Although we cater for the tastes of many cultures we do attend to special request as you quite rightly described your steak as perfect. In short we appreciate the many compliments but feel your discommendation is not warranted.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 October 2023

Great location with friendly staff and good restaurant !

Also the game drives here are fantastic. The explanations during the game drives and the overall care; just top!
Also the room, bathroom and the decks; everything is in a perfect shape.
Many thanks for hosting us Francisco and Great compliment to your devoted staff!

Date of stay: October 2023
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Thank Jose En Rini L
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.
Rocco Gioia, Owner at Elandela Private Game Reserve & Luxury Lodges, responded to this reviewResponded 25 October 2023

Thank you for your review which once again describes true value for money on your dream South African photo safari - perfect service, perfect cleanly maintained rooms and bathrooms and fantastic game drives! It is also a great pleasure to host appreciative guests such as your selves!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 September 2023

We stayed at the reserve for 3 nights and 4 days from 7th-10th September. Actually we still haven’t checked out, but we can’t wait to share our experience here. Since it’s our first safari experience, we really appreciated the effort taken by the staff to make it extremely comfortable and memorable.
The food is of very high standard and they are very careful to take care of any allergies (which was important for our family).
Entire staff team led by Francis was super focussed at making sure our needs our met and we enjoy the holidays. Almoha was outstanding in sharing his knowledge, taking care of our meals and also walking back with us to drop us to the room when we wanted.
Our hero of the trip has been our guide Lucky - he is outstanding - thanks to him we saw much beyond Big 5. We even got to witness the lion roar in front of us, all thanks to his experience in this field!
I would highly recommend this reserve to friends and family.
Thank you Elandale
From,
Shubham, Ranjita and Samaira

Date of stay: September 2023
Trip type: Travelled with family
Thank gudiya99
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.
Rocco Gioia, Owner at Elandela Private Game Reserve & Luxury Lodges, responded to this reviewResponded 10 September 2023

From all of us here at Elandela a big thank you for your super rating and review! We strive to make great memories because we understand that especially family visits represent huge expenditures of money and precious time, made specifically to share good times and build precious moments together. It is clear that this was achieved in your visit to Elandela and thank you for a strong recommendation to any family wanting to experience the African Wildlife together!

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Reviewed 11 August 2023

I had an unforgettable experience at Mandela Game Reserve in South Africa. The staff's hospitality was truly exceptional, making me feel welcome and valued throughout my stay. Their knowledge about the wildlife and dedication to conservation added depth to my safari adventures. The services provided were top-notch, from comfortable accommodations to well-organized guided tours. Every detail was thoughtfully taken care of, enhancing the overall enjoyment of my trip. I highly recommend Mandela Game Reserve for anyone seeking a remarkable and well-serviced safari getaway. I would like to highlight that Francisco, the manager, was truly accommodating and great at the service. His charisma was unparalleled.

Date of stay: July 2023
Trip type: Travelled with family
Thank 890asheshk
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.
Rocco Gioia, Owner at Elandela Private Game Reserve & Luxury Lodges, responded to this reviewResponded 13 August 2023

Wow what a fantastic review! Your recommendation and fantastic compliments are much appreciated by the whole team and we are so happy to read that your photo safari adventure at Elandela Private Game Reserve exceeded your expectations and that the service our friendliness of our staff and well organised tours have made cherished memories for ever. Our warmest greetings and thanks for having chosen Elandela Lodge as your South African photo safari destination!

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Reviewed 7 July 2023

Actions speak louder than words. This was my 2nd stay at Elandela. The lodge and room was amazing, and AMAZINGLY QUIET. The food and dining room service were great.

But the guides make Elandela special. My guide's name was Lucky, and he was amazing. On a night we weren't seeing much, he did not give up in trying to find wild life. At one point he spotted a leopard in near dark conditions about 75-100 feet from the trail. He said he can tell when there's something dangerous nearby by the sound of the birds.

I would highly recommend this place to anyone serious about going to the Kruger and Hoedspruit area. If I ever have the chance to go again, the lodge I stay at will never be in doubt.

Date of stay: July 2023
  • Trip type: Travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Thank kkrock1
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.
Rocco Gioia, Owner at Elandela Private Game Reserve & Luxury Lodges, responded to this reviewResponded 12 July 2023

Thank you so much for this absolutely clear recommendation to book at Elandela Lodge to have the best photographic safari anywhere! "
I would highly recommend this place to anyone serious about going to the Kruger and Hoedspruit area. If I ever have the chance to go again, the lodge I stay at will never be in doubt"
No more can be said and coming from an experienced traveler prospective visitors to South Africa must heed your advice!
We wish to welcome you back soon!

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