My girlfriend and I visited Nungubane Lodge in December 2019. While we live in London, I am South African and have spent most of my holidays in the bush while growing up (i.e. this was not my first time). Being Norwegian, its was my girlfriend's first time in the bush - however, we were both equally blown away by our experience with Annouchka, Chris and the team.
From the moment we arrived we were warmly greeted by the full team, and made to feel immediately like old friends rather than new guests. The lodge is an intimate one, hidden away in the reserve and is bush luxury and hospitality at its finest. The rooms are large and private, secluded away from the main lodge with your own private terrace over looking the valley.
I have also come across many rangers in my numerous visits to the bush, however Annouchka was among the best!! Her ability to read the game's movements and behavior was second to none, allowing us amazingly close encounters with the elephants, while most importantly, making everyone feel safe and comfortable. Beyond her game ranging capabilities she's a lot of fun and made every drive interesting and enjoyable, regardless of sightings.
When visiting, ask Chris to make you his famous Stoffels Special, especially on a hot day by the pool. Chris was a fantastic host, with more than one story shared around the bar in the evenings/early mornings. If you're feeling up to it, ask about the German Monkey...! And if Chris doesn't remind you that you're not in Disneyland prompt him to do so, its an important part of the safety briefing.
The food was amazing, Ann and her team did a brilliant job! 3 course meals for lunch and dinner and delicious breakfasts. At one point we had to turn down dessert because we just ate too much (the food was almost too good to stop).
All in all our experience was beyond expectation. I had read all the brilliant reviews before going and worried it may have set my expectations too high, luckily they weren't high enough. Thank you so much to Chris, Annouchka and the rest of the team for making us feel so at home. My only regret is that we didn't stay longer.
We will back back for sure!
This was my second visit to Welgevonden, and first stay at Nungubane Lodge. We stayed 5 nights which is about right.
Our guide was Annouchka, who recently joined as the lodge’s guide. Each of the two daily outings were informative, exciting and fun. Annouchka had great knowledge of the wildlife whilst engaging in conversation on the drives as well as back at the lodge.
The food that Miriam and her team prepared was freshly made, and was outstanding. There are two choices for every meal, along with a selections of wines. My only criticism is that the cheaper wines weren’t great but the more expensive ones were good. The bar prices were reasonable by UK standards.
The rooms were clean and well equipped with balcony and views. Air con is provided are mosquito nets around the bed. We weren’t bothered by flies or mossies in March.
Nice pool, which was a decent size with loungers.
The lodge has its own watering hole so is a magnet for the elephants, we saw solitary elephant and herds up to 20 on our doorstep.
We saw the big 5, although the leopard sighting was brief and at a distance. The cheetah sighting was amazing, I have attached a copy of it with this review. Plenty of elephants and rhino.
We had Wi-fi at the lodge, this was chargeable.
Many thanks to the Chey and the team, and we will will be back.
Ps the reserve is an easy 3 hour drive from Johannesburg, plus 30 mins from the road.
A small lodge with only 5 thatched cottages so lots of attention for all 10 guests. Meriam the chef and Lizzie the co-chef were lovely and prepared 3 great meals daily. Their African harmonies on boma night still resonate in my mind. Highly recommended for lodge and game drives. Be aware: Not many exercise options as smallish pool, extra hour from the parks main gate incl a fairly rough 16km gravel road, drinks (even the game drive & meal drinks) are extra charges,
park entrance fees are an extra R165 per person per day, Wi-fi was extra R200 per day.
Great host - sophisticated/great food - lovely service - knowledgeable top ranger - attention to detail - best sightings in a long time - beautiful pool area with view on waterhole. Diverse nature reserve !
We had a fantastic time at Nungubane. The staff are very friendly and welcoming. The food was excellent! And very tasty. We were very fortunate and got to see the Big 5! The highlights being the lion, leopard and elephant sightings! The lodge and chalets are top class and very comfortable. Each chalet has its own deck looking out into the bush. We liked the fire places! The lodge has a swimming pool for summer relaxation. Nungubane is great value for money. Welgevonden is a hidden gem that must be explored!