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“Wonderful Honeymoon Safari”

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Elephant Plains Game Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 13 June 2012

We visitited for 3 nights for the first part of our honeymoon and stayed in the Honeymoon Suite. It was an amazing experience in every way and loved the attention to detail and the family feel to the place. The suite is luxurious yet appropriate to the setting, we had elephants just 50m away from our balcony one afternoon. We loved having Willie as our guide, he had such great enthusiasm and clearly loved his job. Him and his wife (spa manager) showed their kindness when we forgot our travel documents and they travelled out to White River (2hrs away) en route to their vacation to bring them to us! Thanks to Elephant Plains we now have the safari bug, what a fantastic and different way to experience the world!

Room Tip: Honeymoon suite is very private and luxurious.
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  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Nicky W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 25 June 2012

Hi Nicky
Thank you for your kind feedback. We are glad that you enjoyed your stay at EP as part of your honeymoon! We always try to go the extra mile, so we're glad that we could return your travel documents safely to you. I will also mention this to Willie and Atasja. Please visit us again one day, maybe even as part of an anniversary?! Regards, Marlet Swart

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Reviewed 4 June 2012

My only issue with Elephants Plains is they have now cruelly spoilt any future holidays that we’re likely to take, as nothing will ever quite compare to the overall experience we had staying here!

We stayed for 4 days after touring parts of South Africa, having never been on safari before I was hoping this would be the highlight of our trip-and I’m pleased to say to exceeded all expectations. We were in Hazyview the previous night so the drive wasn’t too long. The lodge is best accessed via the Gowrie gate, you’re on a gravel track when you leave the main road for a while up until and after the gate but it was easily driven in our Volkswagen Polo!

We were greeted with a refreshing drink and our luggage unloaded and the car was taken and parked by one of the staff. We had booked one of the suites (Lion) but to our surprise we were escorted along with our luggage to the honeymoon suite! This was via meeting a male Kudu and the resident leopard tortoise. So a special thanks to EP for upgrading us we weren’t treated so well by anyone else in SA in this respect and it was phenomenal.

The suite has the dimensions of a small house, an open plan living and bedroom area, his and hers wash basins, huge bath, open fire place, indoor and outdoor showers! The outdoor decking area is HUGE, complete with sun loungers, day bed, table and chairs and plunge pool, However all this comes second to the view, you’re set away from all the other rooms and there is a watering hole just in front of the suite. We saw monkeys in the trees in front of our suite, elephants in our garden, impala, countless birds and baboon, I even had a visitor to our room in the form of a Baboon in our fridge! I can’t say that the staff didn’t warn us to keep the door closed though but he was far more scared of me than I was of him believe me……

The property manages to pull off being luxurious while being rustic, impeccably maintained yet ‘natural’. When choosing EP we’d read many reviews on TA with the only slight negative we’d picked up on was potentially the food. I’m pleased to report we had no issues with the food, for all our meals we found the food to plentiful in choice and great in quality, I really enjoyed the breakfast specials, and Boma’s. My personal highlight (although everything was good) was the Braai, a superb array of meats was offered, the ribs were particularly good my only regret was that I didn’t want to appear too greedy when no one else got up for seconds!

So last but not least the game drives. This is what we came to EP for and all of the other stuff while perfect was a welcome bonus. We were greeted by our Ranger Louis and introduced to our tracker Fanoti, I’ll touch on this more later but we couldn’t have hoped for a more genuine, knowledgeable and friendly pair than these two were.

Whilst we were there (winter) the daily drive routine consisted of 0530hrs wake up call for a 0600hrs game drive or ~3hrs, a bush walk at around 1000hrs then an evening drive at 1530hrs lasting ~3hrs. Within about 3 mins of our first drive we were greeted by a heard of elephant-what a start! Louis would park up and get us the best vantage point to take pictures of and enjoy the animals, not to worry if you didn’t have the best vantage point where you were sitting, he’d move to allow you a better view to take pictures etc. You really got much closer to the animals than we ever thought was possible, and you got as close as Louis deemed was safe. What I respected about Lois was his respect and obvious love of the wildlife in the reserve, your experience is important but so is the animals welfare, for example at night only certain animals can have the spot line shone on them. It certainly enhanced our experience having someone who obviously enjoyed his job and had a passion for the wildlife and their wellbeing.

The main thing on peoples agenda is most likely to see the ‘Big 5’. We saw 4 of the Big 5 on the first drive only missing lion, then saw them the next morning! We even saw all 5 on one drive, as well as seeing 3 of the Big 5 on one drive. The safari element surpassed all my expectations, just driving around in the bush was a great experience while Louis and Fanoti were tracking, when we found something of interest we’d stop and enjoy the animals while Louis told us many interesting facts about the animals and answering any questions anyone had. Fanoti either had the best eye sight of anyone I’ve ever know or magical powers, as his ability to spot even small creatures like chameleon or snakes in bushes was uncanny! Sundowner drinks enjoyed in the bush on the afternoon/evening drives were a highlight, we had a great group in our jeep.

There are so many highlights but the best was while watching a mating pair of Leopard, a group of Buffalo charged a pride of stalking Lion. The female Leopard suddenly ran away while the male stayed, the reason being a lioness turned up, we watched with bated breath as the lioness came to within inches of where the male Leopard was concealed in the long grass.

The staff really are a credit to EP without exception they were courteous and friendly, special mention to Mohammed in the bar, and Remember and Walter the waiting staff who always had a warm smile and welcome for us.

It was really difficult to leave EP, which signifies what a special place it was for us. Just sitting on our balcony, watching the wildlife-magical.

In South Africa there are a couple of safari choices, you can self drive, get a guide in the national parks, or visit a private reserve such as Sabi Sands. We decided on EP as we hopped it gave us the best chance of seeing the most variety of wildlife in a concentrated period of time. If this is your goal then this is the best option in my opinion. Given what you get EP offers great value, I found the drinks very reasonably priced, less than I’d pay even in a supermarket in the UK.

I’m already planning our next trip back to Elephant Plains. Thank you for what is definitely the experience of a lifetime.

Andrew & Alison

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank Benjii
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 25 June 2012

Hi Andrew & Alison
Thank you for the very kind feedback. We are delighted that you enjoyed your stay with us. It sounds like you had some amazing sightings! I will make sure to tell our staff about your compliments. We believe that the vibes of a business can make or break it and therefore we pride ourselves in our young, dynamic team of staff members. Thanks again and we are looking forward to welcoming you back to the lodge sooner, rather than later. Regards, Marlet Swart

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Reviewed 29 May 2012

Where to start…
Food: Lots of it. It’s impossible to be hungry while staying here.
Staff: Simply brilliant. Everyone is kind, attentive, and helpful.
Game Drives: The staff does an excellent job ensuring that you have a great safari experience. We saw TONS of animals and learned a great deal about all of them.
Price: It’s not cheap, but it’s the least expensive of all the high-end private reserves. Others go for well over 3 times the cost here but EP does a great job in pampering you (if that’s what you’re looking for). For me the cost was totally worth it given the commitment the game drives that EP gives. They really work hard to make sure you encounter and learn about the wildlife.
Oh and seeing herds of elephants from the bedroom window, doesn’t get any cooler than that.

Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
2  Thank Counpig98
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 25 June 2012

Hi there
Thank you very much for your kind feedback and all the compliments. We are glad that you enjoyed your stay with us. It would be great to welcome you back again one day! Regards, Marlet Swart

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Reviewed 24 May 2012

My wife and I spent 6 days at Elephant Plains Lodge and rate it as the best holiday ever. The lodging was first rate, the food excellent, and the service extraordinary. The staff was very attentive to our needs and made our stay a memorable experience. Our ranger, Willie, and our tracker, Connie, were extremely efficient, friendly, and knowledgeable and made the game viewing superb. We saw all of the big 5 and many other species including wild dogs! I was initially concerned about photography from the land rover but my concerns were unfounded. I got over 1,000 great shots for my website. We highly recommend Elephant Plains Lodge and definitely plan to return in the near future.

Room Tip: All room options appear to be very good. We stayed in room 4 which was excellent and overlooked the...
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  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank John N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
EP2, Owner at Elephant Plains Game Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 25 May 2012

Hi John, thank you for your very kind feedback on Tripadvisor. We are glad that you enjoyed your stay with us. Please feel free to share some of your photos on our website. You can e-mail them to photo@elephantplains.co.za Remember to add your comments to each photo. We would like to welcome you back to Elephant Plains in the near future. Regards,Marlet Swart

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Reviewed 24 May 2012

A fantastic game lodge with all of the required amenities. The accommodation is suitable and the hospitality is excellent. The food and entertainment provided during the group dining session must also be noted for its excellence!

The staff here are very experienced and knowledgeable, and you feel as though you're in very safe and capable hands (even during any hairy moments)!

The lodge must also be complimented on price... for what you pay, it is quite simply a bargain.

The one and only reason I haven't given Elephant Plains lodge 5 stars is simply because (my) accommodation was not 5*****. Don't get me wrong, it is perfect for what you need. However, as nothing else was available, I paid to stay in the basic tent/hut. Next time, I will definitely go out of my way to ensure I get a "luxury suite" with a bath and larger bed.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with friends
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2  Thank mugearsuk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
EP2, Owner at Elephant Plains Game Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 25 May 2012

Thank you for your feedback and compliments on a lot of aspects at the lodge. It seems that you were not happy with the room you stayed in, though. You mention that you stayed in the basic tent/hut and that it did not have a big bed or a bath. We do not have any tents/huts at Elephant Plains. Our cheapest accommodation option is the Rondavels which sell at R900 les per person per night, if compared to the Luxury Suites. The main difference between the two is that the Suites also have a living room and fireplace as well as viewing deck over the open area and an outside shower. But all our rooms have coffee/tea facilities, mini bars, airconditioning, double basins, baths and showers, as well as Kingsize beds. So I am not sure if you are talking about the correct property when referring to the tent/hut with a small bed and no bath. If you would like to further comment, you are welcome to contact me directly at marlet@elephantplains.co.za Thanks and have a great day! Marlet Swart

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Additional Information about Elephant Plains Game Lodge

Address: Kruger National Park 1380, South Africa
Region: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #16 of 42 Speciality Lodging in Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Price Range: ₹ 30,474 - ₹ 51,890 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Elephant Plains Game Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Elephant Plains Game Lodge is situated in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, which forms part of the Greater Kruger National Park. This owner-run lodge caters for the discerning traveller, with a variety of accommodation options including 5 Rondavels, 6 Luxury Suites and a Honeymoon Suite. Activities include two daily game drives and a bush walk. The lodge also offers a spa, gym, conference facility / TV room, games room, small library and two swimming pools. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Elephant Plains Game Hotel Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Elephant Plains Game Nelspruit
Elephant Plains Game Lodge Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa

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