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“Wonderful small bush lodge”

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Toro Yaka Bush Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

We were booked at this lodge by our Safari operator so didn't know much about it before arrival. Really lucked out because it was a most wonderful place to stay. The lodge was small with beautifully groomed grounds, outdoor pool, only six rooms in two buildings, four of which occupied when we were there. Warm, welcoming and friendly hosts and staff. The atmosphere was homey, intimate and relaxed, a perfect hideaway.

We were in the Leopard room, rustic with modern facilities, large and spacious, tile floors, windows/glass doors on three sides, outside shower, private deck. Good aircon and ceiling fan. The bed firm and comfortable, with a big mosquito net draping to the floor enclosing the night stands, convenient to get in and out of. Coffee/tea making facilities in the room and fresh jar of milk (!) in the small fridge replenished daily. There is also a safe which they encourage you to use.

Food was outstanding, fresh and creative, fit for foodies. Dining in open air on the covered terrace or around the pool, surrounded by trees and some of the most colorful birds. Most times tables were set up for two, breakfast communal style with other guests. Game drives conducted twice a day, at 5:30 am and 4 pm, in open roofless 9 seater jeeps that could go off road for closer game viewing. During the drives there was a coffee/tea stop in the morning and sundown cocktail stop in the evening in scenic spots by the river or on a hill. This was a fabulous start to our three week trip to Southern Africa.

Stayed: October 2017, travelled as a couple
Thank paxa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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3 - 7 of 363 reviews

Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Steve & Nicole Baillie are wonderful hosts the lodge is perfect and Steve is very knowledgeable about all aspects of the bush. Mike is also a really great guide as is young Brendan the tracker they are all super hosts.

Stayed: October 2017
Thank toroyaka
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 October 2017

We stayed at Toro Yaka for my 30th birthday celebration, and beforehand I had spent a long time researching and looking at places online and feeling a little overwhelmed as to what to choose for the best experience at a good price.

I’m so, so glad we stayed here, it was perfect from start to finish.

Toro Yaka is so peaceful and beautiful with individual rooms and the gorgeous pool overlooking a watering hole. We were in the Elephant room, and it was lovely, well decorated and understated. We immediately felt relaxed and at home. The attention to detail was great, and we loved the chocolate and bed time stories left on our pillow. This room has a private balcony overlooking the watering hole so its a good one to stay in.

The service was excellent – the staff friendly and funny, which was nice to have a bit of a joke with them so it didn’t just feel like they were waiting on us the whole time, but they definitely made sure we were looked after and had everything we wanted. They had great attentiveness, noticing when your drink was nearly done, and making sure your room looked spot on at all times.

We were the only guests for the first day, so we had private drives to ourselves, and lunch and dinner was set up for 2 which was very romantic. The food is incredible – healthy, fresh and delicious. Lunch was a salad, with bread, cheeses and fruit laid out. Dinner was a 3 course meal, so you don’t leave hungry! I looked forward to each meal time, as the food served was different each time but all delicious.

The drives were great and we spent a lot of time with the animals – Michael took us out on all 4 of our drives and he was a great guide, really knowledgeable. After saying I really wanted to see rhino, Michael found us White Rhino within half an hour on our very first drive! THANK YOU Michael that was one of the highlights of my trip to SA.

I found that we seemed to spend a lot longer which each of the animal encounters we had than the other private game drives, who would drive up and off after taking a few pictures. The game reserves all work together so you know you are seeing everything that the nearby places are too, which I didn’t realise before hand – this means whilst the others might be driving around looking for animals we were still getting to enjoy watching the animals we had just found, before heading to the next spot. I enjoyed sundowner stops, served alongside snacks always in a scenic location.

I would loved to have stayed a few more days just to spend a bit more time relaxing, chilling out and enjoying the luxury of the room.

Thank you Nicole, Michael and Brendon, as well as all the staff.

Room Tip: The Elephant room has views over the watering hole and a private balcony
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  • Stayed: October 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank Nataliecosette
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 October 2017

My husband and I have nothing but glowing comments to write about the Toro Yaka Bush Lodge. The staff is first rate. Nicole's meals are all absolutely delicious, and I am a pescetarian, which presented no problem.. The coffee, wines, and mixed drinks were excellent. Mike, our guide, educated and astounded us on every drive. Merrick, an awesome spotter, was always ready to help with any request.

The lodge grounds are clean, cozy, and comfortable. We loved our room, which was Elephant; the outdoor shower was fun to use. From our deck, we had a great view of the watering hole that many animals, such giraffes, elephants, impalas, monkeys, and wart hogs visited regularly. The room was made up each morning and prepared with turn down services each night. The resident bush babies and visiting birds entertained us daily.

The bush drives were outstanding. We saw lions, both male and female, elephants, giraffes, zebras, impalas, kudu, wart hogs, hippos, black rhinos, and cape buffalos. I am sure I am forgetting someone. The drives never disappointed us. Mike made sure of that.

One of the best parts of the visit, however, was meeting people from various parts of the world. Nicole, Mike, Merrick, and the lodge staff were welcoming and warm. We befriended two fine gentlemen from Sydney, Australia, as well as a father and daughter from Canada, a couple from Germany, a couple from England, and an American couple who now live in Mexico. (Hi, everyone!) All really were lovely and provided great company at every meal. I find myself missing those folks now.

You will not regret booking a stay at Toro Yaka. However, do not go for one night or even two. You need several nights to enjoy Nicole's food fully and experience all Toro Yaka has to offer. Take advantage of all the game drives--morning and evening. Do not forget to browse at the "gift shop" shelves before leaving. We brought back some souvenirs we will always cherish.

Thank you, Nicole, Mike, Merrick, and staff for an unforgettable experience. Our stay really was all we had hoped it would be.

Room Tip: We enjoyed staying in Elephant.
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  • Stayed: September 2017, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank gocaribbeannow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 October 2017

We recently had 4 nights at Toro Yaka and couldn't have enjoyed our stay more.
From the friendly welcome it just kept getting better.
Nicole and the staff are first rate , everyone including the lodge staff new our names and gave 5 star service.
The lodge facilities were more than adequate and the meals innovative , delicious and well presented.
The game drives were so enjoyable and interesting especially made so by Mike's unending knowledge and enthusiasm for what he was doing , I especially enjoyed our walk which was so informative.
He was especially adept at getting close to animals for a photo op.
Merrick is a great offsider to Mike , he has a friendly personality and is obviously learning a lot from Mike and his personal studies.
Three of the extra touches that made our stay just that little bit more enjoyable were Nicole or a staff member and the dogs being there every time we went on a drive and again on our return , the evening turndown chocolate and ' story scroll ' on our bedside table and the morning tea and sunset drinks on our morning and evening drives.
All in all a very enjoyable stay and I highly recommend Toro Yaka to anyone contemplating a visit to a game reserve.

  • Stayed: September 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank willie173
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Toro Yaka Bush Lodge

Address: Sable Road, Kruger National Park 1380, South Africa
Phone Number:
Region: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Balule Nature Reserve
Free Parking Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Balule Nature Reserve
Price Range: ₹ 14,387 - ₹ 58,516 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Owner/Manager team Steve & Nicole Baillie would like to invite you to visit Toro Yaka Bush Lodge. This special lodge is nestled in the heart of the Balule Nature Reserve, a 38 000 hectare conservancy, which forms part of the Greater Kruger National Park area. ToroYaka means “My Dream” in Northern Sotho, one of South Africa’s local languages, and the creation of Toro Yaka Bush Lodge has fulfilled the dreams of Steve and Nicole, by establishing a haven of peace and tranquility from which to share their passion for nature. The lodge has been designed in a modern elegant style, with a relaxed atmosphere, allowing guests to sit back, relax and feel at home. The six en-suite double rooms ensure tranquility and comfort at all times. Steve has spent more than a decade sharing his knowledge and love for the bush with clients from all over the world at luxury game lodges throughout South Africa. Nicole is a qualified holistic massage therapist and takes care of all the tiny details. Together with the Toro Yaka Staff, they will ensure your stay to be a memorable one. Balule is home to a large variety of plants and animals. From the smallest spider to the largest elephant, from the tiniest flower to a 1000 year old Leadwood tree, owls at night and eagles by day, every aspect of the ecosystem is explored. The Olifants River, which flows year round through the Balule, is home to hippos and crocodiles, and the whole area is one of scenic splendor, with the northern tip of the Drakensberg mountain range being visible from many points. Together with all of this, Toro Yaka Bush Lodge offers you good home cooked food, friendly service, warm South African Hospitality and loads of enthusiasm. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Toro Yaka Bush Lodge South Africa/Kruger National Park

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