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Camp Shonga
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Reviews (66)
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All reviewsprivate reserveamazing guideking bedoutdoor showergame drivesthree nightsthe main lodgethatched roofeach morningwildlife viewingonce in a lifetimeamazing experienceour honeymoonsouth africasafari experiencenormantex
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Reviewed 12 October 2015

Fantastic place for truly live the Kruger experience! Rooms, staff (Norman, you're the guy) breakfast with zebras and lunch with elephants.
The ranger (Texan) who drove us troughout the 4 game drives we had was simply the best. No words to describe what he made us feel during these two days together.

Strongly reccomended

  • Stayed: October 2015, travelled as a couple
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Thank osteriaporto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 July 2014

We stayed at Camp Shonga in June 2014 and had the most traumatic experience on our return from an evening game drive. See our comments below:

Firstly, I believe that the Shishangeni Lodge has a good safety record. We were booked into Camp Shonga for 4 nights, we slept there for 2 and the incident happened on the 3rd night which is when we had insisted that we be moved to safety. In the time we spent at Camp Shonga, we (my husband and I) were the only guests for the entire time. When we first arrived at Camp Shonga and drove through the entrance gate, (the gate was open). This alerted me and I immediately asked the ranger why the gate was open and what stopped the animals from entering. She hesitated, then eventually answered by saying that the animals never really enter the camp. I felt the answer was inadequate but left it at that.

Back at our Camp Shonga the previous night when we had the nasty experience, it all happened when we spotted the leopard inside our camp at the entrance to our reception/dining area after we arrived back from our game drive around 7pm. It was completely dark, all we had was the headlights of the vehicle and a spot light that we were holding in the vehicle. Obviously when the leopard spotted us and the noise we made he had to make an escape, but we followed him with our spot light. He slipped through the perimeter fence of the camp and disappeared. Camp Shonga is located in a remote dense area with large trees near a dry river bed. After our ordeal that evening, we insisted that we see the manager and be moved to a safer place. After much deliberation, we were relocated to Shishangeni which felt much safer and for the record there was sufficient lighting. We returned the next morning to Shonga to collect our belongings. To satisfy myself, I told the camp manager Norman that I wanted to test the electric fencing. We did, and it was not functional.

Camp Shonga rarely has any lighting, at the entrance to the reception area there are about 2 lamps which give off as much lighting as a candle. In the restaurant, the lights must be on a dimmer which I can understand to create the ambience. Around 11pm at night the generator is switched off and there is no lighting at all, not even in the tent. If you wanted to use the bathroom during the night, you would probably fall over your feet as you cannot see a thing in front of you.
It is untrue that the ranger and manager sleep at Camp Shonga, our team left every evening as soon as our dinner was served and eaten. There was a room for them to reside but I understand that their facilities were inadequate. (No running water etc), hence they left every evening and slept at Shishangeni.

I also noted and asked the ranger why they had no protection on their vehicles when they were taking guests on the game drives, (ie they had no rifles). The answer was that they were not supplied with any. This was of great concern to me. This was my fourth visit to the Kruger National Park and the very first time that a ranger had absolutely no protection.
It is also true that they had had elephant damage – but the damage was never repaired.
I understand that since the hotel group sold these lodges off to an empowerment group Popcru, the maintenance is not being carried out. I too understand that when the senior management and their friends of the empowerment group visit the camps, they are treated like royalty.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank newage1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 May 2014

Camp Shonga is one of two camps of Shishangeni Lodge located in a 15,000 ha private concession within Kruger National Park (one of the largest if not the largest private concession I believe). That it is a private concession is a very important consideration. A very limited number of guests get to enjoy fantastic wildlife viewing all to themselves. This advantage of this cannot be overstated as a brief foray into the public area showed how chaotic this can be. For the three night stay we did 6 drives with the eagle-eyed, highly knowledgeable and very friendly ranger guide, Victor. The staff of the camp were friendly, nice and attentive. The meals were very good given the fact we are talking about a camp. Of course, camp is a loose term here as Camp Shonga has substantial pole house guest accommodation with thatch roofs above a raised platform. The "walls" are substantial tent fabric "windows" of bug proof netting. They huts are large and contain large comfortable furniture and comfortable beds. They are all connected to the main house by raised wooden walkways. They could do with a bit of maintenance here and there in terms of ensuring all zips close and the full functioning of the hot water system. That said, I went purely and simply for the wildlife viewing and in this I was not disappointed. It was a superb experience based on the wildlife itself, our ranger-guide and the staff. Highly recommended.

Room Tip: Hut 1 is closest to the main "house" where meals are eaten. Hut 5 is the furthest away. If you don't want to walk too far then go for huts 1 or 2.
  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled solo
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1  Thank RKLSuva
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 April 2014

We stayed at Camp Shonga, Shishangeni Lodge in September 2013. I really have mixed reviews about this one. Some of the staff were absolutely excellent! Some of the staff were not so... our guide the first night arrived drunk and drove at break-neck speed. Upon our return he was taken aside by another guest and told not to arrive the next morning if he was drunk again. The next day he was missing in action... The new guide was excellent. The food is great, the staff who served us, excellent. The trainee camp manager was knowledgably and very keen to please everybody. The tents could really do with a refurbish. Very few of the tent zips still works, with the result that lots of bugs come to visit at night... (yes I know it is the bush, but still...) The toilet is in the room (with only a screen divider) which might not be everyone's cup of tea. The deck outside is great for relaxing, but take enough mosquito repellent. The pool unfortunately is not really usable as it is infested with bees. They seem to have made a home for themselves under the pool deck. If it wasn't for the fantastic people we met on this trip, This would have been a really average trip. It was extremely hot while we were there and they ran out of ice. As the camp runs on batteries (sun powered), they are unable to have big enough fridges it seems. I once went into the kitchen and it is boiling in there! Felt really sorry for the staff who cooked in there. The power goes off sometime during the night, and a generator is suppose to kick in... didn't really happen. Not a huge problem. Overall a "pleasant" stay, but maybe my expectations should have been lower. Some of the other guests stayed at the sister camp "Camp Shawu" also and they said it is worse... Sorry, but after staying at various other camps in the park over the years, this rates very low on that scale. Spend your money elsewhere. You can find much better at the same price!

Room Tip: Only 5 tents. 1 is the closest to the lodge. 1 might get a bit of noise from the main lodge. 5 is a bit of a walk.
  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled with friends
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3  Thank 1972BushBaby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 November 2013

Camp Shonga is the place to go for animal sightings while eating your meals or relaxing in your rooms. Located right on a lake that is a water source for animals in both the wet and dry seasons, you are sure to enjoy the location. The lake is filled with hippos which are fun to watch, but if you are a light sleeper they may keep you awake. The rooms are tastefully decorated, private and have both indoor and outdoor showers for the ultimate safari experience. The food is good, not great but they feed you plenty and you'll never be hungry.

Room Tip: Ask for a room closest to the lake's edge if you want prime animal viewing from the deck of your room.
  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled with friends
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2  Thank Travelbuggie1983
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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