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“This is a 5 star camp with great service, wonderful food and a friendly owner”

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Garonga Safari Camp
Certificate of Excellence
London, Canada
Level Contributor
163 reviews
53 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 117 helpful votes
“This is a 5 star camp with great service, wonderful food and a friendly owner”
Reviewed 4 February 2012

My wife and I visited Garonga Safari camp recently and really enjoyed our experience, even if we experienced a little scare with flooding. The food and service were excellent, I especially enjoyed the massage (as she was an expert at getting ride of muscle ache from 11 hours of flight).

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank Canadian G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BernieHoedspruit, Owner at Garonga Safari Camp, responded to this review, 29 February 2012
Thanks indeed.
Great to have you here.
We hope we will see you again some time.
best Regards
Bernie
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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352 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (94)
Date | Rating
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English first
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 January 2012

My wife and I stayed at Garonga as the first part of our honeymoon. The rooms where very clean, it seemed to have been cleaned 5 times a day by our stealth cleaner who we never met! The food it that of any 5 star hotel, My wife especially loved the breakfast scones. Everything is thought of, Our trackers / guides Patrick and Josia where not only very knowledgeable but highly entertaining on the quieter moments of the game drives (not that there where many!) They always seemed to the first to everything that was happening in the park. We had a wonderful picnic up the tree house, again 5 star. I can not recommend this place high enough and can see why it is so highly rated.

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank LeeHedger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hertford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
371 reviews
91 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 158 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 January 2012

3 couples booking a tour of South Africa, we were recommended Garonga by the company who put our package together (Freedom Africa, excellent all the way). We thought that a safari here would be 'ticking a box'; something we hadn't yet done in our travels.
How amazed we all were by the experience, it is not now just a box ticked, but an appetite whetted for more. Garonga provided the base from which we could see the big five and it proved to be so much more. Looked after from the moment we arrived, relaxing, luxurious accommodation, great food and fabulous service. The early starts we thought would be trying, but no, not at all. From the moment we heard the call 'knock, knock' outside our tent (they couldn't knock with knuckles because the tent was a combination of adobe and canvas, hence no surface on which to make a noise), to the end of each game drive, we had a wonderful time.
Our guide and tracker were Musa and Reul - they made our stay complete. What great guys they were; dedicated, friendly, knowledgeable and fun. We saw so many young animals as we were lucky to be there in the right season; spring! Baby elephants, rhino, zebra, impala, lion cubs etc etc. Even Hyena babies who are gorgeous and fluffy (unlike their parents!).
Musa and Reul would ask us what we would like to see, then take us, stopping en route to see a special bird or to stop and explain and demonstrate the building of a termite mound. Morning tea and coffee was served in the middle of the early drive with cake, and g&t's etc served with olives, snacks etc during the early evening drive.
The middle of the day was relaxing as some would catch up on sleep after the early morning - the early drive would end with breakfast, a shower then a delicious snooze. Some would read and others would relax in the hammocks listening to the sounds of the animals. Swimming in the pool during the warm day with a great view of the watering hole where the elephants would arrive to quench their thirsts.
I loved the little fairy who would visit our tent each time we left, sweeping, smoothing the bedcovers, straightening curtains and generally ensuring we were thoroughly spoiled. We had Offrey to walk us to and from our tent in the dark and Robert and Tsepo to cater to our every need in the bar. We ate with the other guests sometimes, and others, just a table for the 6 of us.
We dined on ostrich steaks, kudu, guinea fowl and warthog (delicious), all the food was tasty and well presented with a description by the chef prior to each meal.
We didn't meet Bernie the owner as he was away, which was a shame as we would loved to have told him how much we had loved our stay.
We loved the location, the service, the rooms, the communal areas, the animals in their natural settings, the staff, the food, but best of all and what really made our stay great, were Musa and Reul.
Garonga is lovely, go there if you can!

Room Tip: Only 6 rooms, all good.
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  • Stayed October 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank SueWithaView
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
12 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 January 2012

We have just stayed at Little Garonga for 3 nights as part of our honeymoon, and can't rate it highly enough.

Everything was fantastic, from the beautiful room to the delicious food to the exemplary service from every single member of the team and, the whole point of being there, brilliant game drives.

On our first trip out into the bush with our excellent guide Musa we saw a family of lions tucking into dinner and were able to stop and watch from no more than 3 metres away. The drive the following morning saw leopards, and the final drive saw cheetahs! Loads of other wildlife too (including a group of elephants trundling through camp on our first afternoon to drink from the fountain!) all very accessible in this beautiful reserve.

Highly recommend doing the microlight flight, a massage with Monique, the outdoor bush bath and the picnic in the tree house. We wish we could have stayed longer and done the sleep out under the stars as it looked like a fantastic experience - but it's just another reason to make sure we go back!

  • Stayed January 2012
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Helpful?
4 Thank FoodWineSand
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 December 2011

My husband and I stayed at Garonga in May 2011 for 6 nights on our honeymoon. It was well worth the long flight from the U.S., and we would definitely go back!

We contemplated splitting up our trip between Garonga and a beach resort in Mozambique. However, we opted against this because we didn't have long for our honeymoon and didn't want to spend all of it flying. We didn't regret this decision and, in fact, would have liked more time at Garonga.

I am really embarrassed to say this, but I had concerns that I might get bored at Garonga and with the game drives. Boy was I wrong. The game drives are AMAZING! Every day is a unique experience. The surroundings are so beautiful that it doesn't really matter if you come across any game (though you definitely will). The guides are all very knowledgeable and a lot of fun.

If you really want to relax, this is the place to go. There are no TV’s, radios, newspapers, clocks, telephones, or email. (If you REALLY need phone & email, I think Garonga's office has these available for your use.) Further, there's no gym nor can you just get up and go for a run around the grounds because of the wildlife. I don't mind not having the TV and all of that, but being a runner and avid hiker, I was a little concerned about feeling like I was "confined" on my stay. Honestly, I never missed the "freedom" of just getting to go out on my own. The day was packed with so much other stuff that it never even crossed my mind.

The meals are fabulous. I think another reviewer said the best eggs Benedict they ever ate was at Garonga, well I second that. You should definitely try the eggs Benedict! It will change your life.

The one thing that can have a huge impact on your visit, which you can’t control nor can the Garonga staff control, are the other guests that are there at the time of your visit. Though you don’t have all of your meals with the other guests, you do have a large number of them together and you are sharing game drives with them. We were very lucky to have some really lovely people staying at Garonga at the same time as we were there. However, there was one couple that joined Garonga part way through our trip, who probably should not have opted for a safari vacation. So, I would like to reiterate, that there are no TV’s, radios, newspapers, clocks, telephones, or email. If you absolutely must have these things, you are not ready for Garonga. Though, I’m sure the great Garonga staff would be more than happy to help provide you these things, it really defeats the purpose of being on a relaxing getaway.

  • Stayed May 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank TexasRunnerGirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
20 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 December 2011

Garonga fully deserves its 100% five-star rating on TripAdvisor. My wife and I spent a week there at Easter 2011 and loved every moment.

We were met at the airport by one of the friendly staff, taken to Garonga where we were met by the owner (Bernie) who served us ice-cold drinks and showed us around.

A typical day involves an early morning safari drive, then back to camp for a wonderful breakfast, then resting or swimming in the afternoon, before the next safari drive. Then back to camp for dinner and entertainment (chatting to your drivers, getting to know them better - great fun).

The food was fantastic - I am vegetarian (no meat, no fish) and a special meal was made for me every day - some of the tastiest food I have ever had. The chef comes out and announces what the meal will be, which is really nice. Some dinners are had as a group (i.e. the up to 12 people staying at Garonga, plus Bernie), whilst other dinners you have on your own as a couple. The bar is also very well stocked (lots of Disaronno and Coke for me!)

The setting is great - brilliant views and excellent facilities. The game drivers are very good at finding animals (including a specific animal if you ask them). We saw zebra, lion, giraffe, whartog, elephant, impala, kudu and more!

There are a number of additional activities you can do, which I would highly recommend. These include sleeping out in the bush one night, having a picnic lunch up a tree, taking a microlight flight over the park, and taking a luxury bath in the middle of the camp! We did all of these and loved every one. Even if you are only there for a couple of nights, I would strongly recommend the sleep out - you are packed up with a fantastic three-course meal (plus drinks!) and at the end of your game drive you are dropped off at the sleepout deck (which is very safe). You get to spend a night out in the wild, with great views over a lake, and are then picked up in the morning.

Overall, I really cannot speak highly enough of Garonga. We would love to go back in a few years. If you are thinking of going then I would strongly recommend it!

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank ajbrown141
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 November 2011

After a long 16 hour? journey from London to Garonga Park, we were greeted by Bernie Smith the owner with a welcoming smile and an ice cold drink, surrounded by peace and serenity at it's most simplest form.

Our lodge was superb in every sense. The view, the quietness, the interior. We met with our guides later that day, who called themselves the 'A-Team', and that's exactly how to describe them. From our very first game-drive, Patrick & Josiah took us under their wings and showed us an experience of a lifetime. We were taken to see a pride of lions, rhinos,male lions, zebras, kudus, wilderbeast, birds, elephants and leopards. They spent all their time making us laugh with pranks, jokes, whilst always taking care of our safety. Patrick & Josiah are an absolute credit to Garonga Park, and we felt very sad to leave the camp after a 4 night stay. The staff were very welcoming, the food was excellent, especially the cooked english breakfasts on arrival from gamedrive,thankyou Bernie for recomending the "Truckers Breakfast". We were lucky enough to share the experience with a wide range of couples from all over the world, including a couple from USA aged 88 and 90 years old!!! It was one of the most amazing experiences we've ever had, and would fully recommend it to anyone thinking of going on safari. Rating is a definite 10/10!!!

  • Stayed October 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank mooky69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Garonga Safari Camp

Property: Garonga Safari Camp
Address: Selati Portion 12, KT 143, Phalaborwa, 1390, Makalali Private Game Reserve 1380, South Africa
Region: South Africa > Limpopo Province > Makalali Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Makalali Private Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Garonga Safari Camp 4*
Number of rooms: 9
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Garonga Safari Camp Hotel Makalali Private Game Reserve

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