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“Amazing bush retreat, incredible service”
Review of Notten's Bush Camp

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Notten's Bush Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 23 October 2011

We were "treated" to one night in Notten's by CA of Amber Africa. It's an amazing place that is so rustic and out of this world service. It's full board with breakfast, high tea and dinner all provided for. The service is impeccable, extremely polite and prompt. Game viewing saw us catch a pride of lions twice, rhinos, buffaloes, wilderbees etc. The guest room is huge and has everything but no electricity which was unique! There were kerosene lamps and candles all over the estate/rooms and this made it very cosy. I'll definitely return and would recommend everyone to try this place at least once!

  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank markfmw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 24 September 2011

This is a rather lengthy and detailed review.

Overall: I spent 4 nights/5 days here in mid September 2011 and I give this place an A rating. As to the most important question, “would I recommend this camp” to others? The answer is a definite YES.

Camp: A+ Nottens is about a 2 hour drive from Nelspruit airport, when you come to the Sabi Sand gate that leads you to Notten’s Camp it is about a 15 minute drive to camp. You are greeted by a staff member and taken to your cabin. There are only 8 cabins here small personal and intimate. The grounds are nicely maintained, lots of flowering trees, cacti and other plant-life. Everything is pristine. The camp is run by the Nottens family (3rd generation) Dave and his cousin Dale who helps run the camp. I love the family run camps best of all and I believe they have a greater dedication to wildlife and environment, its not always about money, they are there because they love this place and truly appreciate it. The camp has a small spa and a lovely pool (although they do not advertise the spa it is there is if you would like a massage etc…).

Room: A+. WOW. When they brought me to my first cabin it was a surprise. Simply put, dignified elegance. Beautiful hardwoods fill the room: lovely slate floors, a large sleigh bed with a beautiful view, a large armoire, and an area for the sofa a table and an antique cabinet. Very roomy. A private viewing deck with 2 chairs overlooking the water hole. The bathroom was huge. Double sinks with a large working space, an indoor rain shower head shower, a large soaking tub with a window that had a view and an outdoor shower with a beautiful view (see my pics). The décor fits in well with the environment and is aesthetically pleasing to the eyes and other senses. What made this place even more special to me is that there is no electricity in the room. In trying to maintain a more authentic safari feel they keep oil lanterns and LOTS of candles in the room (perfect for romance!). It was lovely in the evening coming back to the room all lit in candles and lanterns. (No “hairdryers” this is a place to leave all that behind). There is some electric running to the cabins to provide power to the ceiling fan which helps maintain an ambient room temperature (but really it wasn’t even needed, even in the intense heat of the day, the room always felt nice and cool). I had to move into a guide’s cabin for one night (I knew this going in and was completely ok with this) but then they moved me into a fabulous “family” cabin… WOW I thought my first room was incredible, this was even better. You have 2 bedrooms (1 is much larger the second smaller but very lovely as well), both bedrooms have views of the waterhole and grounds. There is a leather sofa in the master bedroom with a large dresser and up one step a large armoire. The master bedroom is just massive in size, and as for the bathroom in the family cabin, WOW, there is a full indoor and an outdoor bathroom and they are both beautiful and roomy (see my pics). Bathtub/shower in and outside. Lots of candles again and a much larger private veranda complete with loveseat, chairs and a table as well as 2 chaise lounges for sunning on the veranda in front of the outdoor bathroom. Really it is very elegantly done up.

Food: A+ Meals were fabulous, the kitchen staff did an excellent job. Dinners by candlelight (romantic) sometimes served in the boma down below and sometimes in the dining area upstairs but always with an elegant touch. We had a visit by some passing ellies one night as we enjoyed our dessert in the boma. My only complaint as to food would be, they feed you way too much food… I gained 4 lbs in a month on safari. But it was 4 and 5 star dining all the way!

Staff/Guides/Trackers: A+. I have to make a side-note here, tracking the animals here in Sabi Sand area is very, very difficult, as the tracks are often destroyed by other vehicles and the ground is so hard that it is often hard to see the tracks. So I have to give it to the guides and trackers here, they somehow manage to find the tracks and usually found the animals we were tracking. Most other places I have been on safari (Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia) tracking the animals is relatively easy as the sandy soil and absence of other vehicles makes it easy (even an amateur like myself can track the animals) but here it is difficult, still the guides found us all kinds of wildlife. So as far as the trackers and guides go, they are tops in my book. As for the rest of the staff, the girls who worked in the main gathering areas and in the bar/dining areas and in the office, are all wonderful. Always smiling, always pleasant and always trying to put food or drink in our mouths. Everyone was helpful and did everything they could to make the stay as pleasant as possible.

Activities: A+. I have been on walking safaris in the past but what is nice here at Nottens is they offer a late-morning mid-day walking tour (be sure to take plenty of water in the heat). This is mostly to learn about the many little things we take for granted when looking for those Big 5, but there is so much more to this place than finding the Big 5 and the little things help us get a better perspective on what life is really like in this incredible place. The game drives are great of course and are every morning and afternoon/evening. The wildlife is prolific here for sure, chances are you will see leopard (lots of them), lion, rhino (lots), zebra, kudu, ellies (though not a tremendous number of ellies), and so many more animals. After your morning drive they serve a lovely brunch and then you have some time to lounge around the pool or relax on your private veranda or take a bush walk. If you stay long enough you will get to enjoy your sundowner one evening by a large bonfire in the bush, complete with a small brai, and you will have the privilege to hear Joseph’s imitation of the “sounds of the bush”, he nailed them!

Pool: A. The infinity edge pool was great for doing laps and cooling off in the heat of the day, be sure to bring your suit. It is really something to lie in the pool while the “local” warthogs or bushbuck graze on the grounds right in front of you. The pool area is immaculately maintained and there are lounge chairs and towels readily available and the girls come out and serve you more snacks and drinks while you sunbathe or swim.

My Final Note: My review of Notten’s is based on the fact that this is a South Africa property/camp and I reviewed it as such. Unlike the many bush camps of Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and the Caprivi of Namibia, where I have stayed in the past this area is much more congested with numerous vehicles at times from the many camps nearby in other Sabi Sand “lodges”. Although nothing like the congestion one finds in Tanzania’s Serengeti or Ngoro Crater or in Kenya’s Masai Mara areas. The fact is Kruger and the smaller private conservations within it are not isolated from the world, they are a mere 4+ hour drive for many south Africans and easy to get to for those visiting South Africa. I need to mention this because as a “classic” safari addict, I personally love the complete isolation from the modern world you can only find in certain areas of the world, that unfortunately you cannot find within South Africa. The abundance of wildlife makes up for this fact, you simply have to share it with others and the “modern world”. This would be a great first safari experience for many Americans and Canadians and those from the UK.

Tip: For a real feel of the bush, leave your sliding glass doors open at night just close the screens and listen to the incredible sounds of the bush. I had a leopard, then shortly after, a hyena just below my balcony at about 5 am one morning. It was wonderful to hear and then see (even in the dark of the morning).

Room Tip: Ask for a cabin that overlooks the waterhole
See more room tips
  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled solo
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7  Thank Cindy-Milford
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 September 2011

My sister Carol and I had our first trip to Nottens in Sept 2011 - it came highly recommended by a friend and we certainly were not disappointed. We have travelled from the UK to Africa many times staying in many top quality safari lodges and Nottens now wins hands down. The people are amazing and we take our hat off to Dale and Chase in particular, nothing was to much trouble and they made sure we enjoyed ourself by always offering that little bit extra. All the guests at the time of our stay were wonderful. The rooms are spacious, clean and tasteful. The facilities are great and the food is excellent, we loved the way everyone was put together on one table for dinner - perfect for recounting stories of the day. If you are looking for a romantic setting you will find it here - all candlelight and oil lamps. Each room had a power point to enable you to recharge batteries. Having told Chase our Ranger of our search for Leopard over a 14 year period and 61 game-drives with no success - he said he'd do his best and on our very first game drive we saw a Leopard WOW! better still the next morning he found us another. We cannot recommend Nottens highly enough.

  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled with friends
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1  Thank EastGrinsteadEllie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 September 2011

Our book club had saved up for a special annual trip. We ended up at Nottens and I have to say they pulled out all the stops for a bunch of 9 laughing ladies!!!! We saw the BEST game I have ever seen in all my trips to the Bush. The Ranger (Chase) was knowledgable and EXTREMELY patient with us. Hyena, Leopards mating, Baby ellies....a leopard taking on a hyena...jackal, Gennit...abundant birds...and several bottles of bubbles!!!! I highly recommend this amazing spot to take your family or to go as a group!!! The staff are all so helpful and the lodge is subtle and unobtrusive. Rooms are all beautifully appointed and food is lovingly prepared and presented! Thanks Team Notten....from The Reference Chicks!!!!! Ps- Also had a massage that was to die for!!!!!!!

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with friends
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Thank The-arnold
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 August 2011

Room 5 is my favourite. Beautiful view over the plain and water hole.

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with friends
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Thank CapeTownDebbie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Notten's Bush Camp

Address: 622 Hazyview, Kruger National Park 1242, South Africa
Region: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 42 Speciality Lodging in Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Price Range: ₹ 7,234 - ₹ 92,301 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Notten's Bush Camp 4*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Notten’s Bush Camp is a jewel within the heart of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve in Mpumalanga, which means “the land of the rising sun” in the locally spoken language, Shangaan. Notten’s is an exclusive and private safari lodge personally run by the Notten family. This beautiful, intimate safari lodge is situated within one of South Africa’s finest natural sanctuaries the Sabi Sand Reserve and Greater Kruger National Park. It is a destination that will truly touch your heart and soul.Each private suite is elegantly styled, spacious and cooled by ceiling fans. A magical atmosphere is created with the purposeful absence of electric lighting; the ambient candlelight and lanterns capturing an enchanting spirit of romance. With splendid panoramic views, this private game lodge is the perfect place for peace and relaxation while watching animals meander past. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Notten`s Bush Camp Hotel Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Notten's Bush Camp Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa

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