Not sure how they ever managed to build such a unique property in this remote location, but we are certainly glad they somehow managed. Overlooking the free-flowing Oliphant River, this property was everything we hoped it would be. The staff was extremely friendly, service was great, food was very good (and plentiful), spa treatments were very good as well. We were particularly very impressed with Rul and Andres - they were a tremendous tracking team and they were able to find the animals nearly every time before other guides could do so (saw all the Big 5 plus much more within the first 24 hours).
It is worth pointing out that the Balule Reserve is higher, drier and more hilly than a number of the more southern Kruger private reserves, so if you are looking for the wide open plains and huge herds of animals more common in Central/East Africa this may not be what you have in mind. The property itself also has more of an "integrated with nature" rather than traditional luxury feel to it (i.e. resident monkey population and animals crossing the property throughout the day). However, we loved every minute of our time spent there, and the beauty of the river and related abundance of wildlife below the bar/dining area blows away the watering holes or seasonal streams featured by most game lodges.
Big props to owners Robbie and Lize - a great overall first experience in the African bush and we already can't wait to get back!
- 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
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Pondoro Game Hotel Balule Private Game Reserve
- Pondoro Game Lodge South Africa/Balule Nature Reserve