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jacolienengelbrecht
Pretoria, South Africa

Excellent

5.0 of 5 bubblesReviewed 20 Sept 2022
Everything about this lodge is amazing, excellent service, food, friendly, helpfully, knowledgeable. Going out of their way to make us feel welcome and comfortable. Game ranger Weaver and Small are the best! A lodge to visit more than once.
Date of stay: September 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
Review collected in partnership with this hotel
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Reviews (684)
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Traveller rating
530
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All reviews the river outdoor shower bush experience the main lodge game reserve cape buffalo off road unique experience romantic dinner went the extra mile our honeymoon food was amazing fantastic stay private lodge wild animals three nights out of this world
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Reviewed 28 August 2022

Amazing and fantastic place with lovely staff alway happy, sunny and available. During out stay every day sarvice has been perfect. Dinner near fire light and Safari experience unforfettable. To come back!

Date of stay: August 2022
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank ecervi2022
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.
Reviewed 28 August 2022 via mobile

We stayed three days at the River Lodge and ended up having very mixed feelings about the place. The 11 km / 30 minute approach road is appalling, and the arrangements for transferring from the parking area to the main lodge and eventually to your suite took another 30 minutes.

The suites are very private with good views from the balcony, often of passing wildlife as the whole lodge area is unfenced. The room is vary large with a good shower, bath etc, indeed seemingly luxurious. However, there are no chairs or desk within the room – one had to bring some from the balcony if you wanted to sit indoors, and very little storage space. We had no rubbish bin on the first day, and no telephone at all during our stay, despite being told to ring for a guard to accompany you to the lodge during the dark hours. And, of course, no means of contact with the staff in an emergency.Our promise early morning call never materialised. The website photos show a minibar in the fridge and nice wine glasses, but the reality was two bottles of water and just two tooth mugs. On the plus side you can have a log fire, and there are electric blankets on the bed.

The food was varied and very adequate without being exceptional in any way, and the lodge staff unfailingly courteous, helpful and well-meaning. It was early days after Covid, so many were new and a touch hesitant, but with the right training will gain confidence and skill.

On the whole the game drives were disappointing, despite the wide variety of game. There was the usual comfortable specialist vehicles with blankets etc., and coffee/cocktail stops morning and evening. But one was very aware that is is a small game reserve and tightly fenced, full of imported animals that are at various stages of timidity or tameness. Our guard spent a great deal of time talking to each others to pin down the Big 5 and very little time explaining anything about the birds, small mammals or fauna. He had been there 22 years and had become rather blasé , preferring to leave all spotting to his colleague on the bonnet and drive at high speed ( up to 40 km/hr over dreadful tracks) and crash through the off-road vegetation to reach a prized spotting: unethical, uncomfortable and unprofessional. For many visitors seeing the Big 5 is perhaps their main priority, but the lodge should offer much more by way of caring for their environment and educating guests about every aspect of the reserve.

We were left with the impression that this was lodge in transition, and going the wrong way: downwards. Nearly all staff are desperate to learn and to please but they need more help and encouragement than the present invisible management seem to give. We are blessed with having spent much time in Africa and have much to compare Makalali with, and at present it is neither above average, nor good value for money for the overseas visitor who pays twice as much as a SA resident. We wish it well, but it will need to sort out the detail and refine its offer if it is to appeal to anybody other that the first time safari traveller.

Date of stay: August 2022
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
2  Thank JohnWilson
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.
Reviewed 24 August 2022

Perhaps one of our most comfortable stays of all time. From the very moment we entered, the staff treated us with respect and love, making you feel like you were on an actual vacation. Lovedailya , Delight, Peace and our cook were exceptionally gracious, providing us with the best they could. The property itself is mesmerizing, and with such a staff, you are guaranteed to have one of the best experiences in your life.

Date of stay: August 2022
Trip type: Travelled with family
1  Thank Anajali1976
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.
Reviewed 18 August 2022 via mobile

This place is just fantastic
The location is just 4 to 6 hrs from Joburg. We came by road the scenic road was great.
Makalali have very good and well trained staff. The rangers are good. We saw all the big 5. Had daily morning and evening safari. The cabins are clean and you get a view of the rivers , we had the pleasure to see many animals around the place.

Date of stay: August 2022
Trip type: Travelled with friends
1  Thank Maua 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.
Reviewed 10 August 2022 via mobile

Courteous n very very helpful staff. The manager Lovedaliya was always there 2 make our stay more comfortable.
Rangers Delight n Peace were awesome in game drive. Simply outstanding n loveable guys.
Had Impala deers n elephants for company at the resort.
Rooms were big n neat.
Welcome drink was special.
Will visit again.

Date of stay: August 2022
Trip type: Travelled with family
Thank NitinD330
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.
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