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All reviews tracker sam swimming pool watering hole wild dogs outdoor shower high tea water hole other guests safari experience family suite the reserve elephants coming morning drive every afternoon game lodge cape buffalo after dark
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Reviewed June 18, 2012

We looked long and hard for a malaria free game reserve experience in South Africa. As South Africans living abroad we missed the game reserve desperately. We have over the years travelled extensivley through the game reserves in Mpumulanga so this was our baseline.

The setting is pure magic, we overlooked a water hotel and had daily visits from Giraffe, Elephant and buffalo which we watched from the comfort of our room. The room was a dream with an outdoor shower and a bath with unlimited sunlight and you fee like you are outside its a dream. Lying at the pool and having Elephant drinking 2 meters from you is surreal!!!!

Staff were so friendly and our guide Tyrone and tracker Bennet were brilliant, professional, had timing beyond belief and gave us perfect viewings beyond what we could have hoped for.

Only minor side was food. The food was good and their efforts were excellent, but I suspect a lack of access to produce hindered perfect cuisine but still was all very edible and tasty.

We would go back in a heart beat strongly recommended

Room tip: Ensure you ask for one of the rooms that overlook the water hole- essential
Date of stay: May 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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2  Thank jontykarp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed April 15, 2012

We stayed here for 2 nights in April 2012. It was a very long drive to get there from Jo'burg Airport and many of the roads had bad potholes, but we got there eventually! We were welcomed with a cool drink and an orientation of the lodge by Melissa. We then were taken to our rooms which were in separate little lodges in the area near the main lodge. The main lodge had lovely seating and dining areas, inside and out, and a bar and small souvenir shop. There was a library upstairs with plasma TV and a viewing deck.

The rooms were very clean and comfortable, with huge bed with mosquito nets and a lovely bathroom with separate shower, bath and also an outside shower. Nice toiletries are provided and little treats were placed on your bed at night. The bedroom had good wardrobe space with a safe and there were fold back doors to a veranda with table and chairs. Tea and coffee tray was provided, plus insect repellant, torch, hairdryer and lots more. There were 2 leather armchairs but these weren't comfortable - a minor point! You couldn't walk to your room at night without your armed ranger accompanying you, as the lodge is not fenced and lion roam the area. This adds to the excitement of the trip!

Dinner was served outside in the boma. We were paired up with a man and his 14 yr old son with whom we would go on our game drives. Our ranger also ate with us, which was great. He was very very friendly, knowledgeable and good company. The meal was lovely and we chose a good bottle of wine to go with it. There was a choice of main course and we had kudu one evening and ostrich the next. Desserts were lovely. On the second evening we ate indoors in the beautiful dining area.

We were woken by our ranger, Quinnell, at 5.45 and had to be up at the lodge for 6.15, where we had informal tea/coffee and little buns before our first game drive. The landrover we were in had a tracking seat front left, where our tracker Sam sat and helped to find game through sight and through watching for tracks. We were each given a blanket as it's a little chilly until the sun rises higher. It did take a long time to find any game - Madikwe is a huge reserve and the animals are totally wild, so there are no guarantees. We saw more animals overall on our last safari trip to Pumba, near Grahamstown, but not so many elephants or lion. Some of the tracks are very bumpy so it isn't the most comfortable of rides! The reserve wasn't busy - we saw a max of 3 other landrovers and were usually totally on our own, which often isn't the case in some areas of Kruger, Tanzania etc which can be very full of tourist traffic.

We went on 3 game drives - the afternoon one began at 4 pm, after tea/coffee and buns at 3.30. We didn't get back until around 8.30 that night as we went in pitch dark to see where the 8 lion cubs and male lion had been found sleeping! Seeing them in torch light was amazing. On morning game drives you stop for tea/coffee/ hot chocolate and buns and on evening drives you stop for sun downer drinks.

The morning game drives ended around 10am and we immediately had brunch at the pool, again sitting with our game drive companions and our ranger. The food was excellent and plentiful, with a full range of cold meats, fruit, breads,cereals and cooked breakfast. There was no other meal until dinner, but the afternoon tea/coffee and buns kept us going.

Over the 3 game drives we saw so many elephant, including one having a mud bath. We also saw lions, cape buffalo, giraffe, zebra, impala, wildebeest, steenbok, kudu, waterbuck, warthog. We also saw, quite close up, a lilac breasted roller, Kori Bustard, millipede, chameleon, huge spiders, pied crow, drongo, shrikes and a snake eagle disappearing into the distance. Around the lodge there are Klipspringers, whom we saw frequently.

One of the highlights of our stay was the visits of a herd of 15 elephants to our swimming pool for drinks! We were at the pool between game drives, swimming and sitting in the sun. We heard the elephants coming and got out if the pool and picked up our cameras. What a sight! They came back for a second drink an hour later. Great photo opportunities!

Quinnell, our ranger, was excellent - he tried to find any of the animals we wanted to see and was so knowledgeable about them all. The only ones which remained elusive were the leopard, whose tracks we saw more than once and the rhino, one of whom was spotted in the distance, running off into the bush.

Overall we had a great time but would have preferred to stay for 3 nights (we had hoped to do this but it was booked for Easter and we could only get 2 nights). I think this would be the way to get the most from the experience. You also need to arrive by 3.30 if you want to go on the game drive the day you arrive.

On leaving, Quinnell patiently wrote out very good directions for us to get to Pilansberg Reserve, telling us to drive through Madikwe and out by a different gate. This was great - it took about an hour and we saw more animals on our way! An excellent couple of days!

Date of stay: April 2012
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4  Thank Joy7mr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed April 3, 2012

They say everything happens in life for a reason. This could no be more true when it comes to how we ended up at Impodimo. We had originally booked five nights at Kapama Karula in Kruger for our family visit to South Africa. Thanks to the cyclone in February, Kapama was mostly devastated. With the help of the wonderful folks at African Anthology and Impodimo, we managed to secure a booking for the same dates and expense. So much for the background of how we ended up at Impodimo. Now about Impodimo.
From the moment you arrive you notice something different about Impodimo. There are no fences! The wildlife is free to roam the property, and does quite often. We are not talking a few Impala lurking about, they have had everything from elephants, wild dogs, lions, and leopards on the property.
The day we arrived we were welcomed by dozens of elephants drinking right from the pool! It was the most amazing sight! (see our photos). From our room we watched the daily migration of Kudu, elephants, Rhino, wart hogs, Impala, and animals I had no idea what they were, drinking from the watering hole only a few dozen meters away. Who needs game drives? At Impodimo the big five some to you!
Speaking of game drives, Impodimo leads the pack! Other game lodges are consistently calling the Impodimo rangers on the radio asking where the animals are. We began to joke that other lodges guests were eating the dust of Impodimo. Only Impodimo seems to use both trackers and Rangers. Other lodges use what appears to be glorified drivers.
The food at Impodimo is 5 star. The accommodations equally as wonderful!!
The senior staff could not be more engaging and friendly.
All that said, and keep in mind that I recommend Impodimo 100%, there are a few things that you need to be aware of, and hopefully will in no way alter your decision to stay at Impodimo.
First and foremost, everything except your room and meals is extra at Impodimo. That means that you will pay for any and all drinks you have with dinner, including bottled water, soft drinks, juices, wine and spirits. You will have complimentary coffee, tea, and juice with breakfast and lunch, and punch and or a glass of sherry when you return from the evening game drives, but the traditional sundowners on those evening game drives will cost you. They will even charge you for a whole bottle of wine if you only have one glass of wine on a sundowner. We only found this out upon checking out.
The second issue is the general staff. While polite, they are not engaging and not the friendliest we have met in South Africa. They do not wear name tags and will never speak more than a few words if spoken to. At meal times, they stand around and stare at you. After a few days, we found this a bit creepy.
Thirdly, Impodimo uses a "cruise ship" style meal seating style. Guests are not given the opportunity to meet other guest who are not in the same game drive vehicle as them. We spent every meal with our ranger and those we had already spent most of the day with. We would have welcomed a chance to meet the guests in the other vehicles, however, since Impodimo does not host a social hour, we did not have the opportunity to do so.
Please, please do not pass up a chance to experience the magic of Impodimo. Just be advised of it's little quirks and be prepared to add a substantial sum to your VISA upon departure. While most game lodges in SA offer guests the basics like bottled water, juices and even house wines, al of the above will cost you extra at Impodimo, so budget accordingly.
There is no doubt in our minds that when we return to Madikwe, we will stay at Impodimo. We highly suggest you do the same.

Date of stay: March 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
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3  Thank PDX_1st
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 30, 2012

We had an overseas client to entertain and secured a last minute booking at Impodimo. We were delighted to have had the luxury of the deluxe family unit. Two bedrooms, on either side of the unit comprising the lounge, dining room, kitchen, deck and a slash pool on the lower deck. It also overlooks the main water hole. The elephants use this as their bath, splashing, trumpeting, rolling around in the mud, before heading off to the main swimming pool, to drink from it ! One of the highlights of this lodge, elephant herds drinking from the swimming pool. An unforgettable sight and experience.
We had a lot of fun on the game drives with Cornel our ranger and Sammy the tracker. Sammy is excellent at spotting Buffalo, we all thought he was mad when he pointed into dense bush and said a herd of Buffalo. He turned out to be right on two occasions.
We saw a fair amount of game, the lions were fantastic as we got really close but unfortunately we didn't see the wild dogs or the leopards.
We enjoyed the food and the wines. Not being fond of meat,I can't comment but everyone at our table spoke highly of the game dishes.
The staff was friendly, well trained and professional.
We will highly recommend this lodge

Room tip: Rooms 1 to 3 overlook the main water hole as well as the Deluxe family unit
Date of stay: March 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled with friends
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1  Thank Bernadine70
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 18, 2012

Excellent end to end - from getting there to location to the fact that is open and animals are all over - (Elephants go to drink at the SWIMMING POOL :=)

Service is outstanding and food VERY GOOD

Game drives are fun and it is perfect for a couple of days in the bush. We saw a ton of animals and the radios between the hotels help a lot to know where the game is which makes it fantastic to guarantee success

Room tip: Choose the ones near the waterhole so you can see animals from your deck at night and during the day - takes a ranger to escort you to your room with a rifle but it is true for all rooms... a nit further from the reception but worth it
Date of stay: March 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
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Thank travelww40
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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