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Olievenfontein Private Game Reserve
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Reviewed October 9, 2016

We have been at the Olievenfontein Lodge in September for one day (the only guests that day!). The accommodation has spacious, nice rooms, a nice pool and the staff has been very friendly. We could even see giraffes directly from our terrace. However: It is in the middle of nowhere and is SELF-CATERING EXCLUSIVELY!!! You can not really buy anything there (maybe a piece of deep-fried meat – if you are lucky), and so YOU NEED TO BRING YOUR FOOD TO THIS PLACE!!! Unfortunately this has not been mentioned in the booking.com page (and the staff knew this!). NO WIFI at all!!! You can imagine how our day has been …

  • Stayed: September 2016, travelled with family
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Thank Dietmar_Bohn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed December 30, 2015

What a wonderfully relaxing and enriching experience!

The management team of Johan and Jen were welcoming, friendly and helpful. The rest of the staff were equally friendly and helpful, as well as being wonderfully efficient. The rooms were spotless and nicely equipped, pretty much exactly as described in the information blurb on the website. I'm sorry Henry R, but nowhere on the website could I find reference to aircon and the ceiling fans were no more noisy that any others I have come across anywhere else - maybe you should actually go to the trouble of reading up on the places you choose to book at?

The reserve itself is absolutely beautiful! Pristine, unspoiled bushveld in a flat valley set between two ridges in the Waterberg. Game numbers seem to me to be about what I would expect to be appropriate to a well managed eco-system - plenty to see, but not to the point of numbers that would result in overgrazing. Despite this, Johan informed me that it is generally necessary to augment feed for about three months of the year. I'm writing this sitting on the veranda outside our chalet watching half a dozen blue wildebeest, a dozen or so zebra, a small herd of impala and a sounder of warthog - all with their young - grazing less that 200m from where I'm sitting. Henry R, perhaps you are confusing a zoo with a game reserve?

The game drives up to the plateau on the top of one of the ridges were very enjoyable and pretty much what we have come to expect - sometimes seeing a wide variety of game and other times not much at all. However, even when there is not much game to see, the differing vegetation in different areas of this small area is amazing and there is abundant bird life. Johan might not be the most chatty of of guides, but regularly pointed out interesting things on the drive, including stopping to pick "stamvrug" (wild milk plums) for those of us who hadn't tasted them before to sample, picking fronds of Boekenhoudboom (wild beech tree) seeds for those who wished to attempt to germinate them at home, venturing off road to get us closer to the eland and zebra herds and accompanying us all to view and discuss a pelvis and spine with attached skin spotted next to the road - in the absence of a skull, he eventually concluded that it was the remains of a particularly large brown hyena. He was clearly very knowledgeable and quite willing to answer questions in detail, being fluent in both English and Afrikaans (one of our party is a Brit). Monique717, I can fully understand your disappointment at your picnic being washed out, but on our arrival Jen very clearly explained to us that picnics are only available during off peak times when the lodge is quiet enough to enable them to arrange them (almost lucky you - we wanted to arrange a picnic too, but couldn't due to the lodge being fully booked), and that game drives were undertaken three times a day on a strictly first-come, first-served basis. I further understand that he people you saw going on a game drive after you were informed that no further game drives were going to take place that day was in fact the owner of the game reserve. Whilst I can fully understand your disappointment, I guess the owner is entitled to go on a game drive whenever he wishes to?

From what I could see, the walking trails on the reserve are clearly marked and vary from easy 2 or 4 km rambles, to hikes up into the ridges for the more adventurous - we were advised against trying these due to a couple of very active leopard in the vicinity (Jen explained to us that they very definitely prefer not to lose guests to the leopards :) ). Being somewhat lazy, we stuck to the easier rambles, which we thoroughly enjoyed - because no hunting is allowed on the reserve, the animals are very relaxed and do not startle easily, allowing one to approach to within 50 - 100m before they move off.

I was somewhat intrigued by Henry R's vitriolic criticism, given that this flew directly in the face of our experience and therefore decided to explore some of his criticisms. The chalet next to the septic tank he complained about did not smell at all of sewage and the group staying in the chalet confirmed that they have previously booked the chalet and have never experienced this to be a problem. On enquiry, Johan confirmed that the sewage line from the chalet to the septic tank did block whilst Henry R and his group were staying there, entirely due to the group flushing sanitary pads, tampons and condoms down the toilet, in direct contravention of the standard request in the bathroom not to do so.

As far as the complaint related to having to pay extra for extra guests staying in a chalet specifically designated to sleep a specific number of guests is concerned ... really? REALLY? Tell me Henry R, do German lodges (I understand that you are German?), allow guests to stuff as many extra guests as they want to into their chalets that are advertised to sleep two only, without extra charge?

Then onto the complaints of racism. There happened to be two separate black families staying at the game reserve at the time we were there. Both families were visibly surprised when I described Henry R's accusations of racism against management to them. One of guys I spoke to spontaneously responded "there must be something wrong with that guy!". On enquiry, I was informed that the unpleasantness appeared to have started after one of Henry R's party, who happened not to be white, seriously damaged the hoisting mechanism of the rather expensive umbrellas at the swimming pool, apparently due to not understanding how the mechanism worked. Reportedly when Henry R, as the head of the group, was requested to please ensure that his party did not do any more damage, but rather request assistance, he took serious umbrage and publicly and vociferously accused Johan of racism. Justified? The black families I spoke to did not appear to think so. Some people, it appears, are just impossible to please!

In conclusion, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay, find little or no merit in the complaints posted and would happily recommend Olievenfontein as an amazing venue for those seeking peace and quiet!

Room Tip: All of the chalets have beautiful views!
  • Stayed: December 2015, travelled with family
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1  Thank Kevin F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed May 3, 2015

Having travelled to many places around the world, Olievenfontein has been the top place my family and I have been to.
One instantly feels the burden of the world has been taken off one's shoulders.
You would want time to stand still, as every moment is a joy in its own right.
Our 8 years old, enjoyed reading a book in preparation to going back to school after the break, the setting where he was reading the book, just had to be seen to be appreciated, deep in thought reading the book, with Giraffes in the backdrop of scenery.
During the game drive, the manager has successfully grabbed the attention of our "Tech savvy child" away from the iPad, and had him interested in nature, wild life. Now he owns a book to identify the foot prints of different animals.
We absolutely felt amongst friends and family being there, and a return visit is something we all look forward to.
Time there has definitely flown past, but we have the lovely memories we have made there, memories that keeps us wanting to come back.
My family and I have returned home. with much more appreciation of Africa, nature and beauty.....
Son is now a big fan of animal channel on National Geographic.

  • Stayed: April 2015, travelled with family
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1  Thank GlobeTrotter41221
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed February 15, 2015

We decided on Olievenfontein, for the mere fact that it looks quiet and tranquil. Me, my husband and 2 year old son stayed there for the weekend and was really disappointed in the fact that the manager was not willing to take us on a game drive (even though we paid for it - picnic) Our picnic was supposed to be at 10:00 but unfortunately it rained, when we asked the manager later the day (when the sun came out) if there are any game drives he responded and said No, but in fact people did go on game drives, the next day a group of people were also out on a game drive, even though the manager knew that we PAID for the game drive and that we really wanted to go on one, he never even considered calling us to join! Why go to a private game reserve but you are told that there are no game drives? One thing to consider before making a booking!

  • Stayed: February 2015, travelled with family
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    • Cleanliness
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7  Thank Monique717
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed December 26, 2014 via mobile

We went here with a group of 10 adults and stayed in different cottages. We did not enjoy our stay at all for the following reasons:

- Eventough the hole complex is very nice and we'll looked after, the cottages themselves are only on a very basic level: No air-conditioning (only big fans, which are very noisy), tiny rooms, small TV. Apart from that, no bar or shop facility is provided. Moreover, one cottage was placed directly near to the septic tank - the smell was very unpleasant.
- This would have been alright if not the pricing would not be so unfair and in our case just excessive. As I said, we stayed in different cottages: Although we were told that every client hat to pay the same amount, for the people of our group it differed between 1100 Rand and 650 Rand per person and night. Although the cottage of the other groupmembers was much nicer, we had to pay most. Furthermore, we booked the hole cottage on Booking.com - and then we're forced to pay 50% more for a third person. This is just ridiculous; we felt ripped off. At the end, we payed 13.200 Rand for 3 person for 4 nights in a basic self-catering cottage - this was the maximum we had to pay in 2 weeks travel through Southafrica (and we stay only in very upmarket and luxurious places). When we complained about this, we got a very harsh answer from the management.
- We ordered breakfast for the first day. Again, very expensive - and just bad. When we asked for a fried egg, we were told in an inappropriate way that we had to accept what was offered and our wishes would not be heard.
- Some members of our groups were black. Twice, the manager made racist comments - an absolute no-go. They did not feel welcome.
- The game reserve does not have too many animals. Therefore, the "game"-drive was quite boring. Also, the manager seemed not motivated and made no comments at all on the drive.
- While the black travelgroup members were told, that it was a quiet place and they had to calm down, no such comment was made to a big group with several wild kids - chilling at the pool therefore got embarrassing.

Stayed: December 2014, travelled with friends
7  Thank Henry R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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