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“A Five-Star Experience!”
Review of Pondoro Game Lodge

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Pondoro Game Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 18 September 2014

Book your stay for as long as you can because once you check in you are not going to want to leave. The beautiful rooms are situated along the river and there is a nice separation between each so you feel very private and in nature. We stayed in a suite and took outdoor showers while elephants and giraffe walked past along the river and groups of monkeys hung out in the trees. At night, we took a Jacuzzi underneath the stars with the sounds of the bush all around -- truly magical. The food was great and I ate more than I think I've ever eaten in my life. Breakfast was my favorite. The dinner highlight was a communal table by lamp light with fires lit down by the river. I wish this was the dinner situation every night, since it was a great way to further get to know the other guests. It also would have been nice to be able to have a meal choice for dinner, since South Africans eat very meat heavy. Lize and the staff were all so sweet and accommodating--they truly made you feel at home. All this would have made for a great experience on its own, but the game drives were the highlight of course! Robbie and Sam were a great tracking team with an incredible knowledge of the animals who made sure we saw it all. Sam once followed tracks out into the bush on foot and temporarily scared a cheetah away from its Impala meal -- the cat was so close and we never would have known it was there without their expert knowhow and it allowed us to to get right up close to it while it digested its full belly. This was truly a once in a life time experience (or as many times as you can!) not to be missed and Pondoro makes sure every detail is taken care of so you can just relax and enjoy. My only regret that I was too tired from the early morning game drives to take full advantage of the extensive wine list, but it was a worthy trade-off. I did a lot of research before choosing Pondoro and this place did not disappoint on any level -- look no further than this place! A big thank you to Robbie and Lize as well as Sam and all of the staff for such a great trip!!!

Room Tip: All the rooms are fantastic - you really can't go wrong. The big difference between the suites a...
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  • Stayed: September 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank gibbyone
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 October 2014

Dear gibbyone,

Thank you very much for taking the time to write a review.

I am very glad to see how much you enjoyed your stay with us and that you enjoyed everything from the meals to the safari drives and our gorgeous rooms. It has been a pleasure to take you out on safari.

Greetings from the bush,

Robbie and Pondoro family

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292 - 298 of 763 reviews

Reviewed 18 September 2014

We love this place! Great accommodations. The food was excellent every night. The game viewing was amazing. We saw 3 lionesses and 10 cubs devouring a kudu. We were so close...I felt like I was in a National Geographic film! Yes, you will enjoy your stay here.

  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Thank Kathleen 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 19 September 2014

Dear Kathleen B,

Thank you very much for taking the time to write a review.

Glad that you loved Pondoro and that we managed to bring National Geographic to life right next to your safari cruiser!

Greetings from the bush,

Robbie and Pondoro family

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Reviewed 17 September 2014

My family and I were in South Africa for 2 weeks on vacation. Our last four nights we stayed at Pondoro Game Lodge. It was absolutely amazing. The staff at the lodge made you feel right at home. The food was excellent!!! For the game drives my family and I had the owner, Robbie, as our ranger and Sam as our tracker. They are so knowledgeable and experienced it was truly amazing. We tracked leopards, rhinos, wild dogs, even lions! We were so close to all of the animals it took my breath away. Robbie is so dedicated to make sure his visitors see the big 5 during their stay at his lodge. He doesn't just stay on the paths during the game drives, he goes into the brush, drives over trees, anything to see an animal! He and his wife, Lize are so friendly and make sure you have a great experience at their lodge. I HIGHLY recommend this lodge to everyone and anyone who is thinking about going to South Africa. The lodge is usually for couples and honeymooners but it was a great spot for a family vacation as well.

  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Thank Jessica L
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 19 September 2014

Dear Jessica L,

Thank you very much for taking the time to write a review.

Wow it looks like you were really lucky and saw a lot of animals. African wild dogs are not seen regularly and that must be a highlight on any safari. Glad to see that the staff made you feel right at home and that you appreciated the cuisine. I will let Sam know of your appreciation.

Greetings from the bush,

Robbie and Pondoro family

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Reviewed 14 September 2014

Look no further. All the reviews are true. You could spend a lot more money on game lodges, but why would you? It doesn't get better than this. The lodge and rooms are gorgeous and the food was outstanding. The best part was the staff and how friendly they all were! Our guides, Rul and Ransom, were amazing guides and managed to find all the animals in the short time we were there, which was three nights/four days. The guides were alot of fun and had a lot of knowledge of tracking animals and information about the animals. Liza and Robbie have done a fabulous job of running Pondoro as a top notch game lodge.

  • Stayed: September 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank traveltoofar
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 19 September 2014

Dear traveltoofar,

Thank you very much for taking the time to write a review.

Thank you for the accolade. Yes, happy staff is friendly staff and it gives me joy to read that the best part of your stay was the friendly staff. I will pass your gratitude onto Rul and Remson who are not just great guides, but very good people as well.

Greetings from the bush,

Robbie and Pondoro family

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Reviewed 13 September 2014

From check-in to check-out Pondoro was fabulous! Liza & Robbie are top notch people and know how to run a business. Vanessa, the Assistant Manager; Andries, the tracker; the Chefs and our waitresses, Linkie & Gerish are all great. The food, wine and accommodations were 5 star! The safari drives were just outstanding. Robbie seems to know everything about everything out there in the bush! Being able to see those beautiful animals in their habitat is indescribable! Coffee with Amarula in the morning to our sundowners drinks in the evening on safari just put things over the top for me! Ponodoro is fabulous...what an experience!

  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled with friends
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
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Thank Ruth A
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 19 September 2014

Dear Ruth A,

Thank you very much for taking the time to write a review.

It gives me great pleasure to see how much you enjoyed your stay with us. I will pass your thanks onto Vanessa, Andries, the chefs, and Linkie and Gerish. They will be thrilled!

Greetings from the bush,

Robbie and Pondoro family

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Reviewed 10 September 2014

We weren't that lucky with the wildlife on our game drives, but the lodge made it up than up for it.
The rooms are decorated in perfect detail and I felt right at home. The restaurant area also wonderful as were all the people of Pondoro. What a luxury!

Room Tip: Any room is good. The interiors ar wonderful.
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  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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Thank VeroTop
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 19 September 2014

Dear VeroTop,

Thank you very much for taking the time to write a review.

I am glad to see that you had a wonderful time with us. I read from your review that you feel that you were not lucky with wildlife during your stay, but from the sightings logbook it looks like 4 of the Big 5 were seen at least twice during your 2 night ( 4 safari drives ) stay and that you only missed out on leopard. I hope to welcome you again at Pondoro in order to rectify the situation and show you the elusive leopard.

Greetings from the bush,

Robbie and Pondoro family

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Reviewed 8 September 2014

Pondoro makes your safari dream trip come true! The food, the service, the staff, the drivers and trackers and the accommodations are first class. Every game drive was an adventure and Robbie never let us down. It was a truly wonderful stay.

Room Tip: Not sure there are any bad rooms, but the river view rooms were exceptional.
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  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled with friends
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank Polly P
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 10 September 2014

Dear Polly P,

Thank you very much for taking the time to write a review.

Glad that we could make your safari dreams come true and that I managed not to let you down. It has been a pleasure to drive your group and I hope to welcome all of you again at Pondoro sometime in the not too distant future.

Greetings from the bush,

Robbie and Pondoro family

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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: $1,040 - $1,706 (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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