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“Fantastic experience”
Review of Pondoro Game Lodge

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Pondoro Game Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 22 September 2014

My wife, daughter and I had a fantastic experience spending 5 days at Pondoro and wish we could have stayed for another 25! The staff and accomodation were amazing and second to none. Robbie & Lize were wonderful hosts, Eric (our guide) and Sam (our tracker) were great on our daily rides (very knowledgable and willing to go anywhere in the 4x4 to find the Game) and the restaurant served exceptional meals and the service top notch.
We saw the Big 5 twice over, a black rhino decided to charge our 4x4, a leopard eating its kill within 2 metres of us, a lioness drinking at the Tree House watering hole (try the picnic at the watering hole), cheetahs, Cape buffalo, elephants by the dozen, the list could go on and on.
I would recommend Pondoro to everyone and we hope to return one day. Thanks to everyone at Pondoro for a wonderful time.

  • Stayed: September 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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Thank Paul R
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 Paul R,

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

It has been a pleasure to host you during your 5 days at Pondoro. I am very glad to read that you enjoyed everything from the safari drives to the food and the service. We look forward to your next visit.

Greetings from the bush,

Robbie and Pondoro family

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288 - 294 of 763 reviews

Reviewed 22 September 2014

Pondoro Lodge, unexpectedly, gave us 2 vacations. The first one was the one we had hoped for: fabulous Game Treks with really knowledgeable really dedicated trackers. Their first objective was to make the guests happy by showing them animals, even when that meant staying out a bit longer than planned, or going for a special quick look at a lion that was nearby. The treks were very special. We had not expected how delightful the rest of the stay would be, with staff who really wanted you to have a good time during meals or in your chalet. They attempted to meet every need in a warm, friendly way. It was a really, really nice change from the normal pro forma hospitality found during most travelling. We had a wonderful time at Pondoro Lodge and I highly recommend it without reservation (actually – you had better make reservations!).

Room Tip: There are several separate chalets 'outside the wire' and a few rooms inside the wire. The...
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  • Stayed: September 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank quartzicon
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 quartzicon,

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

I am very glad that we could provide you with a 2 in 1 vacation. Thank you for noticing the extra mile that the guides go by staying out later or packing everyone back into the car during dinner if there is a special animal close by the camp.

Greetings from the bush,

Robbie and Pondoro family

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Reviewed 22 September 2014

Pondoro was genuinely one of the best hotels we have ever had the pleasure of staying in. The whole experience from start to finish was amazing, even driving from the gates to the Lodge and seeing wildlife crossing our path.

During our game drives, we saw the big 5 (including a leopard eating his kill) as well as a number of other animals. The guides were extremely informed and knew exactly where to go for us to see everything.

The room was incredible and the meals prepared were amazingly tasty.

Definitely somewhere we would stay again and recommend to anyone without hesitation

  • Stayed: September 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Linda M
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 Linda M,

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

Look like you had a wonderful time and thank you for saying that Pondoro is one of the best hotels that you have ever stayed in. Our guides really try their best to be informative and to balance that with great animal viewing.

Greetings from the bush,

Robbie and Pondoro family

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Reviewed 18 September 2014

At first sight I knew this would be an experience that would be with me for a lifetime. Robbie & Lize and all the staff were fabulous. Don't miss this opportunity to see lions, leopards, elephants, rhino, hyenas and many more animals. The setting was beautiful. Every game drive was exciting and highly educational. The food was first class and delicious. The staff went out of their way to make us comfortable and happy. Thank you Robbie and Lize. I'll be back.

  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled with friends
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank Kathy M
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 Kathy M,

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

It feels so good to read that this safari experience will last you a lifetime. Yes the guides are really trying their best to provide informative as well as exciting drives.

Greetings from the bush,

Robbie and Pondoro family

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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
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
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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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
    • Service
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
    • Service
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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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: $1,048 - $1,715 (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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