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Pamela L

Amazing Safari where you feel like Family

5.0 of 5 bubblesReviewed 20 Apr 2024
My husband and I stayed at Makanyi for 5 nights for our honeymoon, and we were completely blown away. The lodge, grounds and our room were gorgeous, and the food was incredibly delicious. The animal sightings were amazing - not only on the two game drives a day, but also while sitting in our room or in the lodge (not only did we see impala, zebra, monkeys, elephants, warthogs from the comfort of our room, but I also happened to see a leopard one morning while enjoying my morning tea!). However, the "X" factor about Makanyi that really made the difference for my husband and I was the staff. Everyone is so incredibly welcoming, and truly made us feel like family. My husband and I have travelled quite a bit, but Makanyi was one of the few places where we felt our eyes become misty on depature. We live on the other side of the world (Vancouver, Canada), and we are already planning our next trip back! If you are debating about whether to book - just book, you will not reget it.
Date of stay: April 2024
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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
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Reviews (214)
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All reviews our honeymoon outdoor shower safari experience once in a lifetime baby impala stay nights private patio luxury safari spa services intimate setting plentiful food tea coffee amazing variety wealth of knowledge the entire staff huge bathroom off track
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Reviewed 25 March 2024

Wow wow wow… Makanyi we loved every minute spent with you. We have just arrived home from a 4 night stay, it was truly amazing. I couldn’t fault one thing. You are made to feel so special whilst you are there by every single person you come across. The Safari drives were simply amazing we saw so many wonderful sights with our Tracker and Guide, their skill and knowledge was just mind blowing. Thank you guys (Alfred and Themba) xx
Then… the food, absolutely outstanding, I have never stayed anywhere before where every meal has been as good as that, we travel regularly (and love food!!) Simply amazing…again thank you all. (Head chef Amos you really are the best!) Xx The Lodge is so beautiful and the rooms were outstanding. The staff here can’t do enough for you to make you feel at home and help with anything you need at any time. I wanted to cry when I left and I’ve never before felt like that leaving anywhere. Thank you so so much for making our trip so special. Makanyi is absolutely wonderful and WE WILL be back. Xxx

Room tip: Don’t even think about it … book!
Date of stay: March 2024
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Thank lucyr766
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.
Jessica Gold, Owner at Makanyi Private Game Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 28 March 2024

Dear lucyr766,

Thank you for such a wonderful and moving review! We are so happy you loved your stay with us and that you were made to feel special and a part of our family. We look forward to welcoming you back soon!

Warm regards,

Jessica

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Reviewed 21 March 2024 via mobile

If we could have rated higher than 5/5 we would.

We arranged a 5 day stay in Makanyi to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary.

Having been on safari before we undertook a lot of reviews and chose Makanyi and boy were we right.

From the moment we arrived and welcomed by the amazing Cecilia , Rico and Carmen we knew we were going to have the trip of a lifetime . Every day we were made to feel like VIPs . Everyone was so welcoming and friendly .

Our lodge was 5* plus , with every amenity possible, with a huge deck overlooking a large waterhole frequented by numerous wildlife .

The Chef Amos and his team were genius’s. The food was amazing . From the home made cakes before the morning game drive , to the breakfast choice, then lunch , then high tea before the evening game ride and finally dinner, every meal was an experience supplemented by copious amounts of superb wines and soft drinks.

Game drives were superb , led by Carl and Rondi our tracker , we had them to ourselves the whole week . Knowledgeable , caring, humorous , we had some great adventures locating the wildlife, which was plentiful, including an amazing array of birds and reptiles, as well as the big 5.

If you’re a hobbyist photographer, then this is paradise. Carl (lead ) and Rondi (tracker) did everything to ensure they got into the best positions to take some great shots, and their knowledge of all the animals and fauna was extensive . They really made the game drives , adventures.

If you’re after a place where you see the big 5 in a couple of hours this is not the place for you . The extent of the estate is huge and would take days to traverse . We just set out each morning and evening to enjoy the surroundings and company . Quick change after the evening ride and into the bar for pre
dinner drinks served by the head barman Amanda then onto a superb dinner. All to be repeated next day . If you fancy a spa treatment , can definitely recommend Lucia .

If you’re deliberating over booking , just do it , you won’t regret it . Fantastic!!
We’ll be back , hopefully for our 25th anniversary.

Date of stay: March 2024
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Thank SK1000
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.
Jessica Gold, Owner at Makanyi Private Game Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 28 March 2024

Dear SK1000,

How wonderful to read your beautiful review of your recent stay with us - thank you!

I am delighted you had a wonderful time and indeed we hope to welcome you back for your 25th anniversary!

Warm regards,

Jessica

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Reviewed 12 January 2024

Our time at Makanyi was pure MAGIC --- it was truly one of the most incredible weeks of our lives.

My husband and I made the mistake of staying at Makanyi in the earlier part of our trip that no other hotel/lodge afterwards felt as wonderful as Makanyi. We were completely spoiled! We found ourselves comparing every other place to Makanyi which in my opinion is truly the gold standard of great hospitality.

THE STAFF - From the moment we arrived, we felt right at home. Every single staff member that we got to know over the next week treated us like we were part of the family from day one and we got to know some of them quite well too. It's really wonderful when you know everyone by name and you get to hear their inspiring stories too.We were blown away by the attention to detail & attentiveness that the staff members provided, and these little touches are what made us feel so well taken care of. (For example, I really liked the hot chili peppers and Lorraine brought them for me with every single meal)

GAME DRIVES - Carl, our guide, and Robert, our tracker, were the BEST. We had a blast with them and learned so much about the animals, the circle of life, their behaviors & tendencies, etc. What we enjoyed the most was tracking the animals and "earning" the sightings rather than just stumbling upon them! Every morning coffee break and sundowner was so special, and we could feel how genuinely passionate they are about what they do. Even though the days can feel long, we looked forward to every single drive with Carl and Robert.

THE FOOD - Omg, where to begin!? I don't think I've ever eaten so well in my life. Every single meal from breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack to dinner was an A++. Tons of pescatarian & vegetarian friendly options and every meal was incredible. And shoutout to Amanda at the bar! The drinks were also A++ and we really looked forward to the happy hours before dinner everyday.

THE FACILITIES - We were so spoiled with the quick turnaround laundry service and thoroughly enjoyed the outdoor shower, the AC, comfy beds and swimming pool. Everything was so clean and fresh.

Our week at Makanyi was definitely THE highlight of our trip and we already can't wait to go back. This is the first time in my life where I cried at checkout because I was genuinely so sad to say goodbye to the wonderful staff. Thank you so much Cecilia, Lillian, Distance, Lorraine, Amanda, Carl, Robert, Lucia, Catherine, Ishmael, Tact, and anyone else I forgot to mention!

Date of stay: December 2023
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Thank Lydia H
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.
Jessica Gold, Owner at Makanyi Private Game Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 28 March 2024

Dear Lydia,

Thank you very much for your wonderful and detailed review of your stay with us. The team is thrilled you had such a wonderul time with us and we hope to welcome you again soon!

Warmest regards,
Jessica

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Reviewed 9 December 2023 via mobile

We recently experienced a 5-night, holiday of a lifetime, at the magical Makanyi Lodge - Private Game Lodge. Our first safari experience we and it exceeded ALL expectations! The lodge itself is extremely high 5-star standards, a beautiful home, huge bedroom with living area and stunning bathroom plus outside shower and full wrap-around veranda - each lodge was equally large and stunningly equipped, the very personal service this small team offer was truly something else. From the moment we arrived, Lillian and Nicky plus the whole team welcomed us like ‘family’ - helped by the fact that the maximum capacity is only 16 people and over 14’s only. We realised that a private safari is so very special, tucked into the Timbavati private reserve of over 220 square miles, we saw ALL the animals very up close and personal. The food at Makanyi was also superb! A truly talented chef and team, with a wonderful mixologist for post-evening safari cocktails!!
As for the massage and facials at the bespoke spa, they were some of the best I ever had.
The tracker team we were with; Alfred and Temba, had a massive wealth of knowledge and experience, it was like travelling round exploring each day for 6 hours in a living documentary. They were perfect gentlemen and answered every question we had.
The silence of the bush, the fresh air, all weathers, lack of contact to the every day - was simply sublime. I’ll somehow never get used to morning coffee and sundowners in the bush with sunrises and sunsets to take your breath away! I was so sad to leave this African ‘family’ ……. A real deluxe place to stay, but equally a gorgeous place to leave a tiny piece of your heart. ❤️
Thank you to every single team member at Makanyi - you were all so very special and an asset to the lodge. Thank you @jessjessgold for sharing your vision into a reality that we can all share - truly blessed. If anyone gets the chance to go - you must! 🐘🐆🦁🦓🦛🦏🐊 (we saw MANY lions, leopard, elephants, hippos, rhinos, zebra, giraffe, wilderbeast, water buffalo, impalas, warthogs, hyenas, wild dogs, crocodiles, vultures and SO many different birds - truly magnificent! )
Dreaming to get back as soon as we can!

Room tip: Pack layers of clothing - we experienced various weather in November.
Date of stay: November 2023
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Thank Travellingsista
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.
Jessica Gold, Owner at Makanyi Private Game Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 12 December 2023

Dear Travellingsista,
Thank you so much for your beautiful and warm review of your recent stay with us. We are so happy that it exceeded all your expectations and that we could share this little piece of heaven with you.
We hope to welcome you again in the near future.
Warm regards,
Jessica

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Reviewed 2 December 2023 via mobile

Stay 4 nights if you can. Sumptuous accommodation in our own gigantic suite with fireplace, deck and plunge pool. Great food. Lovely attentive staff. But the reason for Safari is the game viewing and this was outstanding, made possible by our guide/driver and his tracker. We encountered elephant, lions, buffalo, rhinos, zebra, giraffe etc etc. we also learned a lot about reading animal tracks and about animal behavior. This is a lodge on its own private reserve in the Greater Kruger area where we were generally the only vehicle - just us and the animal we were watching - not jockeying for a view in the midst of a large caravan. Also outstanding is the availability of the resident photographer who gave a short course in camera management and helped us edit our photos into a first rate album.

Room tip: October was a great time for Greater Kruger. Only one day of rain during which the animals seek shelter and are harder to spot.
Date of stay: October 2023
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Thank elsie f
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.
Jessica Gold, Owner at Makanyi Private Game Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 12 December 2023

Dear BarterIslandBonsai,
Thank you for your review of your recent stay with us. We are delighted you enjoyed all the aspects of it! We hope to see you again soon.
Warm regards,
Jessica

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