Our Rating
8.9
Overall

Ngala Safari Lodge

South Africa, Greater Kruger, Timbavati

from R 7380 pp/night sharing

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Our Rating
8.9
Overall

Ngala Safari Lodge

South Africa, Greater Kruger, Timbavati

from R 7380 pp/night sharing

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Our Verdict

A classic colonial-style South African safari camp with 21 elegant suites located in one of the very best game viewing areas in the country!

Our Ratings

8.9
Overall
8.5
Luxury & style
8.0
Setting
8.0
Game Viewing
8.5
Romance

Our Ratings

8.9
Overall
8.5
Luxury & style
8.0
Setting
8.0
Game Viewing
8.5
Romance

What's Hot

  • Ngala Safari Lodge certainly delivers as a classic safari getaway, where your days will thrill with superb wildlife encounters and the nights will delight with a sense of colonial romance and warm hospitality!
  • Ngala gets consistent rave reviews for its warm hospitality and delicious food – just what you would expect from top lodge operator &Beyond!
  • Superb rangers and eagle-eyed Shangaan trackers who will astonish you with their unmatched bush craft
  • Loads of little corners and deck areas where you can relax in a comfy sofa with a good book or a refreshing drink whilst soaking up the classic bush ambiance
  • Ngala does the whole colonial romance in the bush thing superbly well, with loads of paraffin lamps and candles to create an unforgettable atmosphere!

What's Not

  • Not the most scenic location so there’s no real views from the rooms especially – it’s more a classic bushveld setting
  • We like the unusual green slate in the bathrooms but others may find it makes them a little dark
  • A little on the big side at 21 rooms – but to be honest Ngala doesn’t ever feel crowded and they still manage to conjure up a great ambience
Ngala Safari Lodge

Ngala Safari LodgeNgala Safari Lodge certainly delivers as a classic safari getaway, where your days will thrill with superb wildlife encounters and the nights will delight with a sense of colonial romance and warm hospitality!

Lodge Profile

A classic colonial-style South African safari camp with 21 elegant suites located in one of the very best game viewing areas in the country!

Quick Overview

Location
Timbavati
Drive Time
7 hours from Johannesburg
Malaria
Yes - low risk area
Setting
Overlooking a waterhole
Rooms
20 Cottages and 1 family suite
Aircon
Yes
Pool
Yes - and private pool at family suite
Spa
In-room massage
Camp Fenced
No
Tracker
Yes - ranger and tracker
Off Road
Yes
Child Policy
All ages

Ngala is a stunning 15 000 hectare sector of the Timbavati located on the unfenced boundary of the world renowned Kruger National Park. This vast, untouched wilderness is home to just two luxuriously romantic lodges which enjoy exclusive traversing rights over the area – the wonderfully romantic Ngala Tented Camp which lies on the banks of the seasonal Timbavati river; and then there’s the subject of this profile, the colonially flavoured Ngala Safari Lodge which is located further north in the reserve and is located overlooking a waterhole.

Ngala means “lion” in Shangaan and, like the rest of the Timbavati, the area certainly lives up to its name, supporting several prides of these powerful cats. In fact the area is highly regarded as one of the best game viewing areas in the country for its high concentration of wildlife generally, including the Big Five as well the highly endangered African wild dog. There are two distinct seasons at Ngala, and game viewing is equally rewarding during both the rainy summer months, (with spectacular late afternoon thunder showers) and the cold winter months where grass is low and animals concentrate at the permanent water sources.

Whilst Ngala is quite a big lodge at 21 suites altogether (which is a little larger than we here at Bushscapes usually prefer), this is a superbly run operation which consistently delivers superb experiences for guests. The feel at Ngala is very much that of a traditional colonial safari camp, with its 20 elegant thatched cottages and 1 family suite all tucked under a dense canopy of mopane and tamboti trees. The cottages are scattered amongst the very spacious lodge grounds between the reception and the main dining area in such a way that it all feels very uncrowded and private. Whilst the views from the rooms’ decks don’t have a scenic focal point like camps overlooking a riverbed or waterhole and instead basically look out onto the trees, it’s a charming feel with shy bush buck picking their way gingerly through the bushes and tree squirrels scurrying about!

Soft linen on curtained beds combined with the unmistakable smell of thatch bring the classic safari atmosphere into your private cottage which are decorated in elegant floral fabrics that add to the colonial feel (we understand that the lodge is going to be refurbished in 2014 and it will be interesting to see how much the lodge’s successful recipe is changed) One of the most unusual things that we found about the rooms is that the bathrooms use a unique green slate extensively which we found extremely attractive, though some people may find the effect a bit dark. At night, countless lanterns and candles peep out between the trees, giving a warm and cosy feeling to the lodge. There’s also a two-bedroom family suite which boasts its own private swimming pool – it’s ideal for those travelling with children and you are even allocated your own 4x4 vehicle and ranger!

The main area of the lodge at Ngala is beautifully laid out with various lounge and deck areas to relax on. The sparkling pool is a great place to chill in afternoons with an ice cold beer and work on your tan – not to mention cool off in the heat of the day with a refreshing dip. Secret nooks and crannies with comfy sofas are ideal for quiet hours of daydreaming or to catch a spot of shut eye in the leafy shade or to simply watch the wildlife from the deck - with a drink in one hand and a pair of binoculars in the other! Ngala mixes up the dining locations beautifully, so you may enjoy breakfast or lunch served in the shade of an enormous weeping boerebean tree or in the walled courtyard, whilst the boma creates a dramatic setting for fire-lit dinners under the night sky with the staff singing and dancing to the sounds of the drums! And we hardly need to point out that the food at Ngala is up to &Beyond’s usual delicious standards!

As mentioned previously the game viewing in this part of the Timbavati is exceptional – it’s a more open landscape than the more bushy Sabi Sands which also aids your sightings. You’ll set off on fantastic morning and evening game drives, seated in open 4x4 vehicles with your knowledgeable ranger and tracker - many of the trackers belong to the surrounding Shangaan communities and their legendary bush skills add immeasurably to the whole experience, whilst they also share unique cultural insights with guests. The seasonal Timbavati River flows through the reserve generally only after the summer rains – however it forms a picturesque scene even when dry, with broad stretches of white sand and evergreen forest along its banks. Often you will find ellies digging water holes in the dry river bed or hiding out in the reeds – while bushbuck are attracted to the sweet grass which grow on the riverbed's edge.

For those avid walkers, there're tailor-made bush walks which give you a chance to connect with the bush in a completely different way - where you can take time to observe smaller wonders, perhaps taste the fruit of the marula tree or examine the meringue-like nests of the foam-nest frog. Ngala Safari Lodge certainly delivers as a classic safari getaway, where your days will thrill with superb wildlife encounters and the nights will delight with a sense of colonial romance and warm hospitality!

Pricing

pp/night sharing

More Information

Booking Notes

  • Minimum 2 nights stay
  • Rates applicable for chalets only
  • Prices exclude the Timbavati Conservation levy of R180 per person as well as the Timbavati Road levy of R140 per vehicle, payable on entry into the Reserve

Child Policy

  • Aged 0-5 years free of charge if sharing with 2 full-paying adults
  • Aged 6-16 years will receive a 50% discount if sharing with 2 adults
  • Aged 6 -16 years in own room - 1st child: adult rate 2nd & 3rd child: 50% of adult rate
  • Please note that the lodge can only accommodate one child in the room with the adults