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“Best ever”
Review of Pondoro Game Lodge

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Pondoro Game Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 23 June 2012

Pondoro was at the end of great South Africa trip and we were not sure how that would turn out. But it exceeded all expectations. People - Robbie the GM and ranger is just too good,..calm...knowledgeable..hard working and very very patient. He made sure that all of us got to see what we wanted to see and it was real effort to find the elusive lions that day...But the icing on top was tracking the most beautiful leopard over 3 days protecting its kill...(see pics) Rul, the tracker was also too good..
Now for the room -- the suites are very beautiful and quite exotic as they open to the view of Olifants river.. Open air Jacuzi and shower and a viewing deck are all mind blowing...We stayed in Earth Lodge
Food was awesome, each day a different dish and my son's and my specific needs were especially looked after (we are not red meat eater and beef is totally out)..
All in all, we would definitely suggest Pondoro for an exclusive experience, this is the place...for a luxurious but personalised experience!!

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled with family
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Thank Monica M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 26 June 2012

Dear Monika M

Thank you very much for taking the time to write a review and for the generous and kind words! I will inform everyone at the lodge. Thanks again for all the info provided.

Greetings from the bush,

Robbie and Pondoro family

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502 - 508 of 761 reviews

Reviewed 22 June 2012

We stopped off in South Africa on our way back from Rio de Janeiro to Perth WA to break the journey & asked our Travel Agent to plan 10 days in Sth Africa for us.
He organized Pondoro for 4 days & told us this lodge "punches above its weight"
He was certainly right magnificent luxury surroundings,superb & plentiful cordon bleu cuisine,terrific game rides twice a day where we got to see Leopard,Lion,Cape Buffalo and Rhino along with Giraffes,Zebra,impalas,Jackal,Wart hog you name it.
Highly recommend Pondoro for a genuine Africian Safari experience & magnificent,location,accomodation,food & staff
Andrew & Jill Neale
Perth WA Australia
June 2012

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank aneale298
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 25 June 2012

Dear Andrew and Jill

Thank you very much for taking the time to write a review. It is heartwarming to see that you enjoyed your stay with us. Very kind of you to say that we manage to punch above our weight!

Greetings from the bush,

Robbie and the Pondoro family

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Reviewed 15 June 2012

On entering the West Oliphant Kruger Gate I started to get a sense I was going in the wild, untamed part of Africa. My 15km dusty dirt road drive terminated in a green recluse on a river. Beautiful traditional built lodges on the Oliphant riverbank, with two bull elephants grazing about 30 metres away. I have just returned from the morning Safari in which we had a very close & long encounter with a leopard. Wow. The service staff are attentive and the ranger and tracker totally there for the guests. I got a great price online, totally recommend this place for singles or couples wanting to encounter African top 5.

  • Stayed: June 2012
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Thank Francis B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pondoro, Owner at Pondoro Game Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 18 June 2012

Dear Francis B

Thank very much for taking the time to write such a lovely review. Very nice photo of the male leopard. One can really get a feel for how close you were to him.

Looking forward to your next visit and to meet your wife.

Regards from the bush,

Robbie and Pondoro family

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Reviewed 9 June 2012

We have just spent 3weeks in southern Africa at 7 different game lodges and Pondoro is in a league of its own. Being family run they take a personal interest in providing quality. We stayed in the "rock" suite. The location in the Balule private reserve on the Olifants river was fantastic. We viewed game from our deck. Eric our tracker and Mark our driver for the game drives were both fantastic. We saw black and white rhinos, lions,leapards ,giraffe,zebra,elephants,waterbuck,bushbuck, lots of birds. 4 male lions eating a giraffe. We visited in late may and the early morning and night drives were cold so pack a polar fleece. Daytime in low 20's. The food was incredible far better than what we expected and the best of any lodge we stayed at. The drinks are not included but very reasonable. Also it was cheaper than other lodges that include local beverages. We would definitely return.

Room Tip: The luxury suites were beautiful
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  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank soccermom60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pondoro, Owner at Pondoro Game Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 12 June 2012

Dear soccermom60

Thank you for taking the time to write such a wonderful review! It is good to know that you enjoyed everything, from the room to the food and safari's. I will also let Mark and Eric know about your reccommendation.

Greetings from the bush,

Robbie and Pondoro family

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Reviewed 6 June 2012

Every aspect of our week at Pondoro surpassed all our expectations.
The rooms were beautifully designed, private, and comfortable.
The food (and wine) was extraordinary.
The safari experience was stunning. We got up close to all the magnificent animals but highlights included following a stalking Leopard for a couple of hours and being mesmerized by a pride of Lions that included two playful cubs.
Superlatives can't describe the level of service from all the staff & their genuine desire to help.
This is the first time we're experienced outstanding attentive service that is not overt or in your way. I think it relates to the all staff having a real and personal passion for Pondoro itself and for the wildlife.
Robbie and Mark are just extraordinary. Their knowledge of the animals and communication skills are incredible.
This realy is a magnificant place to experience.

Room Tip: The "Rock" and the "Wood" Luxury Suites were fantastic
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  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with family
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3  Thank MurrayBSydney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pondoro, Owner at Pondoro Game Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 6 June 2012

Dear MurrayBSidney.

Thank you for the wonderful review! I will make sure to pass your remarks on to Mark and all the staff at Pondoro.

Regards from the bush,

Robbie and Pondoro family

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Reviewed 5 June 2012

From the first welcome to the drives to the dinners, probably my favourite location for a vacation ever, and I've been to over 30 countries. Pure luxury with a taste of being in the middle of nature. Amazing massage by Innocentia and excellent cleaning and pampering by all the staff. Saw the big five within 3 days and the open, quiet LandCruisers were key to really feeling a part of the wilderness (everyone else we saw had closed canopies in noisy trucks and we felt sorry for them). Eric and Mark are obviously very experienced in tracking and running drives. The mongooses on-site are hilarious too! Only drawback was the bumpy drive to get there, but the nice shuttle service vehicles and staff made it a non-issue.

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled solo
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2  Thank Rob182168
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pondoro, Owner at Pondoro Game Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 1 August 2012

Dear Rob 182168

Thank you for taking the time to write a review. It is a great honour to rank as your favorite destination amongst all the 30 countries and places that you have travelled to.

Greetings from the bush,

Robbie and Pondoro family

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Reviewed 2 June 2012

I was schedule for a last minute business trip to South Africa for the first time. I could not do such a long trip (24 hours+ flight from Canada) without taking a couple personal days to experience a Safari. So I start searching on the net and found Pondoro Game lodge, all critics were positive, I decide to give it a go ! Booked a two day stay at Pondoro and a short 1 hour flight from Johannesburg to Hoedspruit, arrived on Saturday morning, the staff at Pondoro took care of arranging the transfer from the small Hoedspruit airport to the lodge, everything went has planned and the safari adventure was ready to start !

Well I have not been disappointed, It exceeded my expectations, the staff is very courteous and friendly, the game drive are a lot of fun, the ranger and tracker very knowledgeable, food wonderful, accommodations superb, I think I got my moneys worth and more, met a lot of interesting people and to top it all I saw the big five !

The only negative for me is that it was too short ;-) I will have to return with my better half.
Stayed from May 26 to 28

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled solo
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Thank GDinKanata
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pondoro, Owner at Pondoro Game Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 3 June 2012

Dear GDinKanata. Thank you very much for taking the time to write a review. It is wonderful to know that you enjoyed your stay with us and that you managed to top it off by seeing the Big 5. Looking forward to your next visit, this time with your better half. Greetings from Robbie and the rest of the staff at Pondoro.

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Additional Information about Pondoro Game Lodge

Address: Balule Private Nature Reserve, Kruger National Park 1380, South Africa
Phone Number:
Region: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Balule Nature Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 22 Speciality Lodging in Balule Nature Reserve
Price Range: $1,031 - $1,703 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Pondoro Game Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set on the cool riverine banks of the Olifants River (largest in Kruger) in the 40 000 ha Big 5 Balule Private Game Reserve inside the greater Kruger National Park, Pondoro offers its visitors comfort, sophistication, elegance and a canvas on which to create a truly unforgettable African safari.In this small, very exclusive 16-bed lodge ( owner managed ) you will discover the only way to experience the African bush. In addition to luxurious accommodation and the caring attention from trained professionals, our visitors are lavished upon with international fare and humble African hospitality.Meals are an extraordinary culinary experience where Traditional African Cuisine fuse effortlessly with modern European trends.To compliment the food, select any of our fine wines from our extensive wine cellar. Vegetarians are specially catered for. All meals are served on a wooden deck high up in the tree canopy overlooking the Olifants River (weather permitting).Between game drives in open safari cruisers, nature walks and peaceful afternoon naps, enjoy a dip in the sparkling rock pool, a spot of sun bathing or browse through the library. The Pondoro bar is the ideal spot to quench your thirst and grab a snack. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Pondoro Game Hotel Balule Private Game Reserve
Pondoro Game Lodge South Africa/Balule Nature Reserve

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