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“Terrific Honeymoon at Djuma Vuyatela”

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Vuyatela Lodge & Galago Camp
Reviewed 13 January 2012

L
We spent a couple of days around New Years at Djuma Vuyatela for the first half of our honeymoon safari and had a great experience.  To put this review in perspective, my wife and I are in our early thirties and like active vacations but in no way spend a ton of time hiking or in the great outdoors.  This was our first safari.

General comments for first time safari goers (this seems to hold for ,all camps) that we would have liked to have known prior to our visit:
1 - you have two game drives per day; the morning one starts around 5:30 am and ends around 8:30 am; the afternoon is from 16:00 - 20:00.  The schedule is not bad once you get into it but it would have been nice to mentally prep for this schedule.

2-  the general reserves that you visit will affect your drives.  Even we picked up that you need to research the reserves for possible animal viewing, but we did not fully comprehend how the topography could affect the drives.  We visited Sabi-sands and Timbavati.  We saw all big 5 at both locations, but truly enjoyed Sabi- sands better, as it seems to have more valleys and the bush was not as dense in areas which allowed for some picturesque views and the ability to spot game from afar.  Whereas Timbavati seemed to be flatter with dense bush (during the wet season).  

As far as Djuma Vuyatela we had a terrific time.

The game drives were the highlight of the trip our guide Ephrim and our tracker Fantoli (spelling?) were terrific.  These guys know the area like the back of their hand and made the days fun.  They had just the right feel of our group; they would joke around some of the time; just let us enjoy the ride some of the time; and teach us facts about the bush some of the time.  All the while constantly finding great animals to view.  Nothing felt forced on our rides which was nice.

Pinki, Patience and the rest of the team provided 5 star service and our villa (#1) was terrific inside and was essentially in the watering hole, which was great.

The only average part of the stay was the food.  They definitely accommodated all requests and we were in the middle of the bush.  We never skipped a meal, but if there is anything they could improve this is the area.

We will definitely visit Djuma Vuyatela again!

  • Stayed: January 2012
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Thank JoTravel058
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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53 - 59 of 118 reviews

Reviewed 10 January 2012

Let me start with an apology to Eugene and the rest of the Djuma staff for taking so long to write this review as you deserve this feedback and I hope you keep giving your guests the experience you gave to us.

My wife and I searched for weeks for a perfect honeymoon destination and chose Djuma Vuyatela based on the reviews on TripAdvisor. As you can tell by the reviews, this place is truly amazing and we couldn't of asked for anything more.

We spent a total of three nights at the lodge back in early September 2011. Simply put, the lodge was beautiful, the staff was personable and friendly, the service was impeccable, the game rides were amazing, and the food was first class. We saw the big five within 3 hours of arriving onsite and in basically every game ride we went on. I have included some pictures from our trip and the website has some live web cams so I would reccomend taking a look (http://www.djuma.com/).

Our experience was unforgetable and I can't the staff enough for making our experience so special. It takes dedication and great management to acheieve what they have and I wish them all the best in the future. I would recommend this lodge to all.

Steve Forbes

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank Steve F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 December 2011

We stayed at Vuyatela in Nov 2011 and visited with my mother and father in law from India. The accomodation is first class, the lodge is beautifully located with a fantastic view of a waterhole. Our first sighting were buffalos bathing in the water. We saw the Big 5 on our first early eveining drive and then many other animals and birds therafter. The breakfasts, lunches and dinners were fantastic (2 of us being vegetarian) and we were able to negotiate portions since our parents have small appetites. Our ranger Texon and tracker Lots were also good. Very patient. Will definately recommend this place for couples, families and friends and definately try and visit again.

Room Tip: Ask for a room with a view over the waterhole
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  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank PratimaMahajan M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 November 2011

What a special place. From the service, to the rooms, the food, and the experience. Would love to go back.

There are many places in Sabi Sands, but Djuma stands out for us. We saw so many special things. From a Lion Kill 30m from the lodge to the Big 5. The staff are very friendly, and it has a home atmosphere.

Would recommend this to all

Room Tip: Room 1 is the one in all the pictures and has a view over the watering hole
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  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank Tyron S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 October 2011

We have just returned from Djuma Game Reserve Sabi-Sand. It was a special weekend as the friends we went with had their parents over from Austrailia ..there first ever experience in the bush. Djuma went all out to make our stay a lifetime memory. Thank you to Eugene & Jaco (the management staff) nothing was too much trouble..even when we had our daugher was ill the first night. Their response, advise and treatment given certainly tested their emergency protocal ! I come from a Health Service background back in the UK and to say we were in the bush...their service and response was fantastic. hankfully, it was nothing life threatening so we were able to continue the next morning on our amazing drives. Our guides Texan and tracker Lots were just awesome. Leopard was the second animal we saw in the first half and hour !! It just got better after that....Large pride of Lion near the watering hole...and the male was certainly not shy.......they were mating right in front of us !! fabulous experince. Then...we tracked the wild dogs !! well that was just an amazing sight...a pack of 19 in total...fighting over the remains of their kill , a little Dyker !! Well...i could go on and on..check out the pictures on their web sight. The whole experience from the fabulous food (of cause the suprise bush braai !!! ) to the spa treatments will not be forgotten. Thank you all we will be back ....helen mark lewis jade boneham

Room Tip: ..well we had room 2 . this room was opposite a watering hole where the daily Elepant came to have...
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  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled with family
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Thank helen b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 October 2011

Had an amazing time at Djuma Vuyatela, some extremely rude Polish guests notwithstanding (to these two, Nie plotek na oczach ludzi. Jest rude, i głupi.).

These tourists were continuously going on about how they had seen ‘far more animals in the Masai Mara’, and speaking with great authority, although they have probably only been to Africa a half dozen times. I have lived in various African countries for a combined period of almost 30 years and have been on HUNDREDS of Safaris in settings from Savannah to Bushveld to Desert to Delta etc, and I feel I should explain something…

The Sabi Sands is attached to the world famous Kruger National Park. The former is the best place on Earth to view “the Big 5” at close range, and the latter is by far the most Mammal-diverse African reserve. To quantify this, whilst the Masai Mara (which is amazing! I am not disparaging it) has slightly less than 100 species of mammals, Kruger has 149 counted thus far. Where the wonderful Masai Mara and Serengeti are without parallel, is in the sheer number of animals they have – particularly during the migration. 95% of this number, however, is made up of a very few species – Wildebeest, Zebra and Thompson’s Gazelle notably. In terms of biomass, this is one of the two greatest migrations on Earth (the other being South Africa’s sardine run) and it is amazing.

Personally though, I am more impressed by diversity than biomass, as it speaks of a more pristine habitat. I would not trade the 5 leopards and 20 lions we saw in our two days at Djuma for 50 000 wildebeest and 20 000 zebra (we saw wildebeest, giraffe, zebra, elephant, buffalo, rhino and all usual suspects in addition of course).

For diversity, and pristine habitat, the Sabi Sands and Kruger are immaculately preserved. Regions of Kruger, and all of the Sabi Sands, have never been used for any form of agricultural or economic activity. The bushveld habitat they support, never influenced by cattle over-grazing, is as it has been for countless millennia, and it is an extraordinary privilege to be able to participate in it. Both nights while we had dinner at Djuma, we watched leopards from the deck. An amazing opportunity, and something I’ve never experienced anywhere else in Africa.

I would say the following. For complex environment and diversity of animals, the Kruger National Park. For opportunities to view the big 5, Sabi Sands is without any peer. For sheer bio-mass, the Masai-Mara Serengeti (though it has less diversity). For unique habitat, the Okavango Delta (though it has fewer animals). For waterhole experience, Etosha in Namibia.

Facilities at Djuma are excellent. The drivers are knowledgeable and passionate about the bush, and the accommodation luxurious. I loved both the huge bath and outside shower, and the small plunge pool overlooking a dry river bed was a great place to unwind. The separate lounge was great to enjoy afternoon tea and coffee, and I thought the ‘modern-township-type-art’ was incredibly clever, contemporary and yet tasteful for the bush.

Personally I would have liked a slightly larger wine selection, but that’s only as someone who has now settled in Cape Town! Food was tasty and ample, and the staff serving and preparing it were both friendly and professional.

I am confident people visiting will have an amazing time.

Room Tip: Rooms 1 and 2 best.
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  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled with friends
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4  Thank Alexander T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 October 2011

This lodge is located in the world-renowned Sabi Sand Game Reserve. The area is well known for being the best place in the world to view leopards in their natural environment. We were only at Vuyatela for 2 nights and in that time we enjoyed 5 separate leopard sightings. I had a video camera with me and managed to capture more than 50 minutes of leopard footage. Needless to say we also had excellent sightings of lion, buffalo, elephant and rhinoceros. We were so satisfied with our game viewing experiences that we decided to opt out of our last game drive.

The accommodation at Vuyatela is some of the best available in the Sabi Sands. Vuyatela also offers some of the best 'lodge based' game viewing in the world. We saw dozens of different wild animals from the comfort of the lodge including a leopard and a genet.

The food at the lodge was of a high standard, though perhaps not as sophisticated as the food we've had at some of the more traditional Sabi Sand lodges.

The staff at Vuyatela were all incredibly friendly, helpful, welcoming and informative. A helpful tip: if you would prefer dining alone, instead of at a communal table, simply ask the lodge manager to organise this for you. The lodge normally seats guests at one or two large tables but when we enquired we were told that this could be changed on request.

Room Tip: Room 1 is best.
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  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled with friends
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3  Thank Craig W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Vuyatela Lodge & Galago Camp

Address: Djuma Game Reserve, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Region: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Sabi Sand Game Reserve > Djuma Game Reserve
Amenities:
Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Speciality Lodging in Djuma Game Reserve
Price Range: $153 - $217 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 5
Also Known As:
Vuyatela Hotel Djuma Game Reserve

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