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“A Mixed Bag”

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andBeyond Ngala Tented Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Level 4 Contributor
43 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 87 helpful votes
“A Mixed Bag”
Reviewed 16 November 2011

I'll start by saying that there are some things about Ngala that are terrific: The camp is well-run and efficient, headed by the effervescent Presence. The chef, Oscar, is truly talented and produced some amazing food, worthy of any fine restaurant. The tents are spacious and the lodge staff in the restaurant and on the grounds are terrific. Note: Despite fan and a small aircon unit, the tents will be hot when it is very hot outside.

There are some things for me that missed. The decision that the tents face inward, onto a lawn area, seemed like a strange choice to me. It was even stranger that someone decided that there should even be a lawn which requires a lot of care and watering in the sweltering heat. Strangely unnatural choice in such a natural place. This placement and the fencing necessitated by the lawn cuts down on much of the incidental viewing of wildlife that can happen from one's room. When in the bush, I want to see the wildness every moment I can, so this changed the ambience of the place for me.

Unfortunately, we had rather lackluster game drives while at Ngala. No fault of the Ngala staff, as that is the luck of the draw sometimes. However, the drives were very low-energy and my suspicions that the tracker was a bit disengaged was confirmed when he waved the torch during the night drives while looking in the opposite direction! Ah well... On the plus side, the reserve is not overcrowded with cars so drives are serene.

Overall, Ngala is a pleasant and well-run lodge.

  • Stayed October 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
13 Thank CB172
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (81)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Sydney
Level 5 Contributor
26 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 October 2011

My adult and daughter and I stayed here for 2 nights in July. The tents are spacious, with a very comfortable bed. They are on an elevated wooden floor and have a small verandah. Although there is an internal large bath, the shower is outdoors. We were in a tent at the end and had quite a few monkeys climbing over the tent.

The tents face a central area where there are a couple of resident warthogs munching on the grass, hilarious.

The food is absolutely brilliant, huge and tasty meals.

The animal spotting was fantastic, we even saw a wilddog pack feeding their puppies. There were loads of elephants and even some really tiny babies madly flapping their trunks at us. Going off road was great fun and we travelled very short distances to see animals.

There is a maxium of 6 people in the car and very few other cars.

I would definitely recommend Ngala Tented

  • Stayed July 2011, travelled solo
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Sydneygirl45
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
washington dc
Level 5 Contributor
23 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 May 2011

I realize now that a lot depends on who is on duty during your stay at the camps. It appears that the staff has a rotation system and you are not sure who will be there when you get there. I mention this because it could make a big difference in your stay. We went to Dulini at Sabi Sand and Ngala Tented. I booked Ngala last because I thought I'd prefer it over Dulini - WRONG.
The Safari - spotting animals - was our priority so the ranger/guide and tracker play an important role. I was not really happy with our ranger. Our ranger (seemed the entire ranger team) was very young (during our stay). At times I felt that he was on Safari more than we were. Several occasion were he situated the truck so that his position was better then the guest. On one occasion I had to ask if he could move the truck because our row could not see the Cat at all but of course he had a great sight line. I can say this because the Dulini ranger always made sure that he situated our truck in the best way....getting us SOOOOO close to the animals and even asking if we could see everything?
Granted there was rain before we arrived at Ngala and when the ground is wet they do not go off the main paths - okay no problem - but when they got the ok when it got drier our ranger would have us in the worst spot while other trucks were closer and at an angle instead of front on (where he was sitting with his camera taking photos).

One other thing that is small but did seem to take away from the experience was hearing and seeing cars driving along the highway while we were on the Safari. I just didnt like that... We saw evertyhing there except Lion, Hyena, baboon, Rhino.

The tents were great! Everything you see online. The lodge is nice and its very quiet. The staff is very professional (again - during our stay depends who's on shift). Had a message with Thuile - she was great!

The food was OUTSTANDING. At Dulini they had private fully stocked bar with snacks in each room, at Ngala everything was in in the lodge so if you wanted a drink you needed to hoof over to the lodge. Unlike Dulini there are no phones in your room - whistles instead - so if you needed anything you'd need to blow that whistle or head over to the logdge, Since you are not allowed to walk alone at night you'd have to 'whistle' for someone to come over if you wanted a drink or something extra...it pretty much made me just say - -nevermind - - .

The staff performed song and dance for us that was very very nice and our rangers sat with us during 'happy hour' you know the pre-dinner time and even had dinner with us one night which was really nice.

Like I said, I preferred Dulini but Ngala tented was wonderful and worth it. I am glad I went.

  • Stayed April 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Phoenix
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
travel agent, San Francisco, CA
Level 6 Contributor
147 reviews
107 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 224 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 April 2011

this intimate camp is wonderful. only 6 tents so maximum 12 guests...6 to a vehicle which is great if you like taking pictures. The staff is so wonderful and will make special arrangements for dietary needs.. They genuinely care about your stay.
The tents are very large and i loved my outdoor shower. I did get woken up one morning by baboons, but it is their neighboorhood, not mine..
pool is nice when it is hot outside. lunch is 5 or more small salads plus a meat or fish dish. breakfast is hot with a cold/fruit buffet. dinner is usually a choice of 2 entree's or they can make you something.
Oscar is a wonderful cook, Presence is a great manager and Gareth and Richard gave us wonderful drives. Richard tracks amazingly well.. always suprised us.
definately come stay at this camp

Room Tip: room 1 or 6 are more private..on ends of the area
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  • Stayed April 2011, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank christy2064
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level 5 Contributor
54 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 91 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 March 2011

Just returned from spending 2 nights at Ngala with 3 friends and we can´t stop raving about it! If you´re considering Ngala Tented, do yourself a favor & book.

Quick rundown of what we loved and what we thought could be improved:

PROS:
*Incredible atmosphere. The camp itself really makes you feel like you´re in Africa. The tents were extremely well-designed & meticulously decorated. And there were animals roaming into camp throughout the day -- a kudu even came up and sipped from the pool while my friend was swimming!

*Located right in the middle of things. Our driver mentioned that from the Ngala Lodge (the big one, not the tented camp), it´s a 45min drive to the best game viewing. [Similar situation at the other camp we visited, Exeter Dulini in Sabi Sands] From Ngala Tented though, we were already right there -- we never had to drive far to start seeing animals. And we never went more than 20min or so without a sighting.

*Great game drives! From what I understand, our group was incredibly lucky -- we saw 4 of the Big 5 in the first drive and had knocked all 5 (and more) out within 24hours. While some of that might be beginners luck, a lot of credit goes to our great ranger Ian and tracker Adam.

Ian & Adam really tracked the animals, getting out of the 4x4 to follow tracks and having us listen for different types of animal calls, which made the game drive feel much more authentic than our experience at Sabi Sands where rangers rely more heavily on radio intel to locate (& queue for) animal sightings. At Ngala Tented, we never had to queue because we were doing the tracking & chasing ourselves. Most drives we never even saw another vehicle!

At Ngala, we also did considerably more off-roading than at Dulini, which was great fun for our group & really added some excitement to the drive. (I didn´t realize how important the ability to off-road was before booking, but am glad I listened to TA and chose a place where it was encouraged!)



CONS:
*The tents are really designed to be a place to sleep & shower, so there´s very limited lounging space in the tent itself. This wasn´t a big deal for our group since we were happy to spend our afternoons hanging out in the common areas (ex: pool), but it could be a drawback for couples looking for a bit more privacy.

*The tents were clustered pretty closely together and have thin walls (its a tent after all), so we could hear when our neighbors were talking. Do yourself a favor and request Tent #6 for maximum peace & quiet.

All four of us would enthusiastically recommend Ngala Tented -- we had an incredible time!

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank rtr2008
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about andBeyond Ngala Tented Camp

Property: andBeyond Ngala Tented Camp
Address: Mpumalanga, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Region: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Ngala Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 Speciality Lodging in Ngala Private Game Reserve
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Boasting sophistication and comfort, as well as the romance of canvas, the six luxurious safari tents of andBeyond Ngala Tented Camp overlook the banks of the seasonal Timbavati River. Chic and contemporary, the camp combines the simple sophistication of polished wooden decks, textured fabrics and clean lines with a true safari experience that embodies the heart and soul of the bush. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Ngala Tented Safari Camp Hotel Ngala Private Game Reserve
AndBeyond Ngala Tented Camp Ngala Private Game Reserve, Kruger National Park, South Africa

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