Review by: Lauren & Ian Ratner

Countries Visited:
South Africa
Holiday Type:
Family Holiday
5 22/01/2017

Overall Impressions

Interesting itinerary with each leg including something different and unique. Was not prepared for expectations to tip everyone (and their brother) and how much is appropriate.

Countries Visited

South Africa 5

Beautiful scenery, excellent food, felt safe, lots to do, good service.

Accommodation Visited

Village & Life Waterfront Village 5

Very spacious, convenient location, excellent security. Internet didn't work. Nespresso machine with no pods. It was very helpful that there was a laundry washing machine and dryer in the apartment.

Hippo Hollow Country Estate 5

Saw the hippos! Really close to Elephant Whispers sanctuary and we were able to "meet" and ride elephants. Unique accommodations that never felt crowded. Good menu at restaurant but slow service. Pool nice and not crowded. Most people leave for game drives during the day so very relaxing if you stay on property. Short walk to restaurants and shops outside the resort but they close early. Almost no bugs because of ultrasonic devices and good wifi.

Mohlabetsi Safari Lodge 5

Our family of 5 truly enjoyed our Family Lodge for our 4 night stay at Mohlabetsi and we really appreciated the air conditioned comfort on the hot days. The staff were all friendly and the food was very good, especially the salads and omelettes. There is some magical spice that they put in the omelettes that makes them taste fantastic. We had one of the most experienced guides, Hamilton, and saw all of the big 5 plus many other animals (listed below). We saw many of them right from the camp. On a clear night, recommend doing a bit of star gazing. You can see many more stars than normal if you are from an urban area. Check out the well stocked gift shop as well. One of my daughters commented that the pool could have been cleaner (bugs), and the other daughter, who is vegan, had limited menu options. Animals seen on game drives or from the camp: Giraffe Zebra Black rhino White rhino Cheetah Leopard Lion Elephant Buffalo Impala Hyena Crocodile Hippo Gnu/wildebeest Owl Rabbit Squirrel Tortoise Water Buck Steenbok Kudu Monkey Baboon Mongoose Wild dog Boar

OR Tambo City Lodge 4

Location at airport is good but difficult to find in the maze of poor signage at Tambo. Rooms nice but disappointed that we needed 3 rooms for 5 people since only 2 adults meaning 1 kid was by themselves. Situation was mitigated by having to adjoining rooms. Most hotels have an extra bed that can be set up. The hotel restaurant has a very weak menu with few selections and hardly any starters/nibbles.

Rocktail Beach Camp 5

Food: Excellent quality and selection. Enjoyed the light breakfast, excellent omelettes. On out last day, the chef and staff arranged for a box breakfast/lunch for us to take on our 5 hour journey to the airport as we had a very early departure. It was amazing, and he let us pick whatever we wanted and included some extra goodies as well. They offered to pack box luches for picnics at the beach and I regret that we never took advantage of it. The same chef catered the dive/ocean adventure trips and let's just say that nobody ever left hungry. My family also liked the omelettes. We liked the variety of having a menu at lunch and buffet at dinner and that even with the buffet, the starters and dessert were ordered off the menu which is nice so that we didn't need to keep getting up and down. The only area for improvement is the english language skills of the bar and wait staff. Obviously English is not their first language, so it was hard to communicate any special requests to them. We loved the bar snacks at the bar in the evening--especially the chilli bites. Activities:Board games need replenishing. They are getting old and worn out and pieces missing. Lots of people were using them so would be worthwhile. Recommend adding a book or two on local fish that you see when snorkeling. Was fantastic that it is connected to the dive center and that staff from the dive center come to your dinner table to book ocean adventure or diving excursions for the next day--very convenient. Please note that while the Ocean Adventure is exhilerating and we did see and swim with dolphins, it is not for the faint of heart. It is difficult to get into the inflatable boat from the beach and from the water. Snorkeling was much more relaxing and we saw many, many beautiful fish. We saw 9 scorpions when on the nightime scorpion walk, surfed down huge sand dunes, saw a giant loggerhead turtle making her nest for egg laying, and tasted several native fruits on a nature walk on the trails. My daughters and I went on a 3 hour walk on the trails which are really great, but the trail markings need to be repaired/replaced and some of the trails cleared. We also went on a trip to lake Sibaya in search of hippos and crocs. Unfortunately the hippos remained elusive, but we did see one croc and some nice birds. It is a nice activity but by this point we were pretty much "game drived out" at this point so might skip it next time since it is a long drive. MB was our guide for most of the activities and he was excellent. Have your travel agent book your turtle drive before you arrive because spots fill up quickly. Accomodations: We stayed in a 2 bedroom cabin with a bathroom, canvas walls and windows that unzip. Rocktail provided a nice celection of coffee and tea in the cabin and made sure that we had plenty of products to keep the bugs at bay. The free laundry was a nice touch and it came back extremely fast. Beds were extremly comfortable but because the cabins are somewhat exposed to the elements, have no air conditioning, and it rained, we found them to be quite damp at times. Our cabin was #2, and was very convenient to the lodge but with no view. The closer cabins have no ocean views, so if you want a scenic view, you need to be in cabins 4-13 which are farther up the hill and can be a long walk to dinner and activities. We liked the shower, as it was very clean and unique (indoor-outdoor with drain through the bottom of the floor). Social: Nice bar area where it is easy to relax, play games, or mingle with other guests. Pool is a bit dirty, especially after a rain storm, but not too bad. Nice that they serve drinks from the bar there. Logistics: Rocktail Camp is pretty far from the main road and 5 hours from the Durban airport. Our flight was early which meant we needed to leave Rocktail by 745 AM to make the flight. That was if everything went according to plan. Our departure time should have been at least an hour earlier to catch our departing flight in Durban without undue stress.

Staff Review 5


Fabulous. The itinerary was perfect for our needs. The communication was prompt and thorough. A trip like this involves complicated logistics, and Donna executed nearly flawlessly. The only slight challenges were the connection time from Rocktail to Durban and the need for 3 rooms in Johannesburg. (we found out upon arrival but Donna called us in our room and corrected immediately, even thought she was on holiday herself)

Mahlatini have been nominated for the Best Safari, Wildlife & Nature Holiday Company in the British Travel Awards. Vote for us now and you are automatically entered into the prize draw to win holidays, flights and cruises.

Why choose Mahlatini

  • 100% Financial Protection
  • Specialist Knowledge
  • Personal Service
  • 100% Tailor-made
98% of clients rate our trips & service 5 Star Excellent 5 Star excellent
Contact a Specialist »