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“Exeter River Lodge / Dulini - both excellent and different”
Review of Dulini Lodge

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Dulini Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 6 December 2012

We have splitted our holiday between River Lodge and Duline after having seen this thread. We have came across a lot of people who were also in doubt.

There are a lot of similarities and also several differences between the two camps.

There are 6 lodges in Dulini, compared to 8 in River Lodge. In both camps there are two vehicles. In Dulini you will therefore pretty much always have a maximum of 6 people in the vehicle (two per row), while this can be a larger number in River Lodge.

Dulini feels like every lodge itself is located right in the bushes. Niala (impala's) are almost always present in the camp. At night also other animals (apart from elephants) will cross the camp. From the lodges at Dulini you can see a river, which was pretty much dried up at the moment we were there. River Lodge feels more like you are on a platform, overlooking the (big) river. Although animals (including lions etcetera) walk through the camp, you get less of the feeling you are in the middle of the bush. The first day we sas >35 elephants from our lodge, later on we saw a hippo and 2 giraffes.

The atmosphere is also different. In Dulini it is more personnal and warmer, although this is relative and the staff in River Lodge was also great. The difference lies in small things: when we arrived at Dulini we were welcomed by loads of staff, which gives this extra something.

The guides and trackers we had in both camps (Steve and Jack/Isaac and William) were very experienced, service minded and knowledgeable. The butlers we had (Reply/Christopher) were also great and very interested in all our stories (which they must have heard a lot of times).

If you are a birdy, we can certainly advise to arrange a private vehicle with William at River Lodge to get the maximum out or your stay and to prevent any annoyance with non birdy's (the great majority of the people - who come to see the big 5).

The lodge in Dulini was twice the size a the lodge in River Lodge. However, both had a bath, a plunge pool, a sitting area etcetera. The Dulini lodge appeared more 19th century colony era, River Lodge oozed the vibe of a modern lodge trying to replicate that atmosphere.

It is really hard to advise on or the other, and really depends on your preferences. It was very nice to have the opportunity to experience both.

Both lodges are not cheap, but bear in mind that you will get two game drives a day, three great meals (a two course breakfast, three course lunch and three course diner/bush diner/festive diner), open (mini)bar, snacks all the time, with top notch guides and rangers (who had lengthy courses from And Beyond and are selected on both their knowledge and soft skills), by a non-profit company that is very thoughtfull and respectfull about their impact on the wildlife, perfect service, very nice places to stay. Furthermore And Beyond invests a lot of money in housing and schools from local people. The rangers/guides have continously contact with the other rangers/guides in the area to ensure you get to see what you want. We saw the big 5 (white not black rhino though) within 24 hours and saw so much activity.

We booked our trip (including return flight) through Wildlife Africa Safaris (Ernest was our contact) who gave us a good deal, was very patient (despite our indecisiveness and enourmous amount of questions) and gave us so much information on these two lodges. We would definitely recommend him.

  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Anmabech
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 7 November 2012

We booked two nights at Dulini and two nights at neighboring Exeter River Lodge for our first photo safari experience. (See a separate review for the River Lodge.) Dulini has a true bush feel, beautiful common areas and six lovely private rooms. We were warmly greeted by manager Gift, our butler Given and we thoroughly enjoyed the daily games drives led by driver/guide William and tracker Isaac. We saw leaopards and the rest of the big five plus much more on every excursion. Because we were celebrating a wedding anniversary the staff surprised us the first night with dinner set for 2 in our room #6 with complimentary champagne on ice, candles everywhere and a steaming bubble bath drawn and waiting for us after the game drive. The boma dinner on the second night was a great experience with all guests being drawn into the dancing and singing. We hope to return!

Room Tip: We were in #6 which was quiet and not a long walk from reception area
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  • Stayed: October 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank KakiTexas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 November 2012 via mobile

“beyond expectation”
Oct 29, 2012 Efsen
I read before our trip from Trip Advisor about the lodge. I was fully satisfied with personalized service, great food and smiling faces. i went there with my 7 yrs old son, and everybody was so helpful to meet our needs. i especially enjoyed the barbecue night with South African dance. Our guide Craig was very good to make our safari great. We saw big 5 twice in 3 days. I would highly recommend the lodge.

  • Stayed: October 2012
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Thank Efsen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 October 2012

We spent two nights here in early October for our honeymoon and it was perfect. We flew JFK-JNB direct, then a short layover and the short flight from JNB-Nelspruit. From there, it was about 2 hour drive to arrive at the lodge. From the moment we got there, we were treated like royalty. Reply is the man. The staff will go above and beyond to make your stay amazing. The lodge has only a small number of rooms, and each suite is set apart to ensure privacy. We were in suite 1, which I recommend since its on the end. The suites themselves are extremely luxurious and the pictures on the website don't even begin to do it justice. The bar is always fully stocked with whatever you like. Game drives were at 530 AM and 430 PM. The vehicle situation is good b/c they have two trucks, which ensures that at most there will be 6 people in the truck. Barry and Martin were our guides - they were tremendous. The lodge is located in the sabi sand game reserve and there are some other vehicles that you will encounter during your drives, but overall it does not feel over-crowded. During our stay, we saw lions, rhinos, leopards, elephants, wildebeest, etc. The game viewing overall is phenomenal. The drives last for 3 hours approximately and sometimes you stop for coffee/sundowners in the bush which is an amazing experience. There are other surprises that the staff will do for you during your stay, but I won't spoil them here in the review. Overall, the stay was amazing and we highly recommend it to anyone. For honeymooners, it was perfect.

  • Stayed: October 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank CDKLmedia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 October 2012

As seasoned travellers we have been to some good holiday destinations in the past but oh boy Dulini is very very special. Dulini lodge is idyllic with exceptional accomodation which is very spacious and luxurious but the most exceptional part is the amazing staff. From the minute you arrive until the time you leave the ever attentive staff weave their magic of surprises and thoughtful touches which provides a stay well beyond any expectation you may envisage. You can see from the previous reviews that in Dulini you get to know the staff by name and ours was no exception. Thank you Patricia, Gift,Freddy to name but a few. We saw the big 5 in the first 2 days and the safari experience was heightened by Patrick and Tyrone's excellent knowledge of the animals and knoweldge of the family history of many of the big game animals. This is a memorable experience made magical by the very special people in Dulini. I will make sure that when my children are older that they get to visit this extraordinary place.

  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Martin S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Dulini Lodge

Address: | White River, Kruger National Park 1240, South Africa (Formerly &Beyond Dulini)
Phone Number:
Region: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Amenities:
Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 42 Speciality Lodging in Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Price Range: $138 - $2,980 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Dulini Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Under a leafy canopy of ebony trees, six luxurious stone cottages grace the banks of the Mabrak River. As one of only 12 guests, you feel instantly at home in this quiet retreat, where classic interiors enfold guests in quiet style and elegance. Generous private plunge pools and shady decks look out onto the dry riverbed. Large, welcoming sofas and African sculptures fill the gracious guest areas. Dine under the ancient jackalberry tree where skilled chefs serve delicious meals or steal away for an intimate dinner in the well-stocked wine cellar. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
And Beyond Dulini Lodge
&Beyond Dulini Hotel Sabi Sand Game Reserve

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