I love the elevated balcony, perfect for romantic late afternoon lunch. The mountain views and the lake are breathtaking and tranquility at its best! relaxing and reviving environment away from the city noise, surrounded by nature and the sounds of different butterflies species makes one appreciate the nature. The romantic bonus is to view Hippos by the lake swimming. The staff and the management were very friendly. Good food both breakfast and dinner. We had a splendid wedding anniversary! Everything was just beyond our expectation...the room romantic turndown and the table setting on the elevated balcony was indeed romantic. We will definitely visit the lodge again.
We arrived at the Ditholo Game Lodge Bela Bela on 17.12.18 at 2.30 pm. Our room was not ready, and we waited for another 30 min to get in. Eventually, when we walked into our room 4, I noticed some washed blood drops on the bedding. I decided not bring attention of the stuff to that, because I saw and read from the reviews before that the property needs an upgrade and in places dilapidated. After dinner, we went back into the room and wanted to bring our 2-year-old to bed. As I opened the blanket, I saw more blood spatter on the bed. At this point, I called the housekeeping and they changed the bedding in 40 min!
At around 12 am, while sleeping we were attacked by black bugs about 5mm in diameter. They were crawling all over the bed, couches and on top of us. As we defended ourselves, we squished them, and blood came out leaving the marks on the skin or the bed. At this point the previous blood marks on the bed made sense.
We tried to contact hotel personnel, but there was no one at the reception. The whole property was dark. I called 6-7 different numbers and if they picked up, they just referred me to another number. After an hour of walking around in total darkness, calling the hotel contact numbers and desperately trying to receive any kind of help or attention, we realized that we must leave. At 1 am, we started driving out back to Johannesburg (2,5 hrs. away) taking our child out of this health hazard.
As we drove out, I received a Please Call Me (!!!) from a manager Robert. He regretted the events, apologized and promised to refund us and get back to me in the morning. He did not. Up until this moment we haven’t received the refund despite all the calls that were made and promises received. The property however did not hesitate to cancel our booking made through Booking.com as a no show, which is a lie.
What should have been a family holiday turned out to be a total disaster that caused us pain, suffering and financial loss. First, the necessary maintenance, fumigation and sanitation was definitely not done and the severe allergic reaction to the bites was ignored by the property and. Second, no assistance was afforded to us when we most needed it. It is negligent to lock up the property and leave and definitely not a 4-star level service. What if there was a fire?! Third, I consider the property not returning the money as theft. It also clear to me that this procedure is standard because the marks on the bed indicated it happened before. It just sad that the property acts all so surprised placing people’s lives in danger instead of fixing the well-known problem.
This is the first time this happened to us in SA although we have travelled and stayed in safari lodges all over the country. It is the first time we come across the total negligence, disrespect and disregard for the norms of hospitality and guests.
We're told it's the only game lodge with a hippo enclosure and yes we did see hippos daily! Antelope game lodge with buffalo fenced off.otherwise one can take walks or bike rides and see animals up close. Thatch bungalows equals a lot of spiders. Fortunately the staff was well accommodating and stationed a repellent spray that we kept in the room. Had peaceful sleep (spray the room when you're OUT). The rooms are a bit small for what they called the deluxe suite but with a nice outdoor area, you just want to go in for sleep and enjoy the rest of the day outside. There's a pool, dining area, bar area with an upper deck for a nice aerial view. Very tranquil. The lodge is a bit far from bela bela town (about 35kms) with a bit of off road gravel drive, about 12kms...worth it nonetheless. I'd definitely go back to unwind with nature.
The location of the lodge is stunning and staff very friendly. However the lodge is in serious need of maintenance. the furniture is old and the rooms seriously outdated. Our chalet had loads of mosquitos inside and we were covered in bites. We asked for fishing rods and were told they are all broken so they cant help, asked for pool towels and the staff brought out old torn pool towels. There are no loungers or umbrellas by the pool, so the photos advertised are from long ago. the furniture outside was dirty the entire 4 days we were there. The lodge had no bottled still water and when I asked them to arrange it I was told no one is going into town, so for 4days we could not get still water. The waitress came to us on our last night and asked if we can eat in our room instead of the restaurant, I refused and she then proceeded to bring the menu to my room at 6pm and asked me to place the order quickly because the kitchen was closing early. the staff are not trained and do not offer information. when I asked if there was anyone else who could serve us I was told they only have one waitress and the chefs have to come out the kitchen to help if we needed. When we ordered Chicken schnitzel for lunch we were served a half portion that you can clearly see had been cut. we asked why the portion was so small and we were told that is all they had. I asked for one of the desserts that was on the menu and I was told it is finished cant I just have ice cream, then the waitress said to me that if I insist she will ask someone to make it. I asked for Sprite Zero for my son, the bar tender gave him a coke, I asked him to swop it and his response was "we don't have". The waitress is also the person who works in the Spa. Basically total lack of management and would certainly not stay there again.
You need to book through Central Reservations. They gave me a map to Dikololo which made a 1.5 hour journey into 5 hours. The staff were very friendly and the room nice and clean. The bar had no white wine nor ingredients for any cocktails on their lovely menu. We were told there was no space on the afternoon game drive and not to go on in the morning as the animals were resting. I later found out they had no game ranger. The one game drive we went on we saw the same buck as in the camp plus 4 giraffes and a few zebra. The driver never opened his mouth to explain anything to anyone. To top it off we were charged extra for the game drive. Before writing this I asked for someone at Central Reservations to contact me but they could not be bothered. Definitely no value for money