Thanda Tented Camp
Our review, or trip report, of Thanda Tented Camp is different to the long-winded reports we usually write and we’re going to try something new.
Thanks to all our readers who suggested destinations for us to visit, in the end we decided on Thanda Private Game Reserve in KZN and all things considered, we had a magic week.
Below you can see the highs and lows of our visit. As soon as the new AfriShots Reviews site is ready, we’ll link to our detailed review showing you all the criteria we assessed the lodge on.
Thanda Tented Camp – Highlights
- Very warm welcome by our guide and the lodge manager
- Comfortable drive and easy access to the reserve
- Beautiful lodge, modern yet rustic
- For the most part, the staff was friendly and accommodating and added to the relaxed vibe of the lodge
- Every evening was accompanied by an enormous bonfire in the communal area.
- The view from most places at the lodge was beautiful to say the least.
- They were very accommodating with our extra requests: chairs (see below), guided walk and elephant interaction
- The game activities were excellent. The field guides are all very knowledgable and approachable. The game drives were the highlight of our visit.
Thanda Tented Camp – Needs Work
- Aside from our arrival at the lodge, there was never again a greeting with towels to wipe our faces
- If we wanted to sit at the tent, we had to sit on the bed as there were no chairs. They did bring us deck chairs once we’d asked for them.
- Given the price per person per night, the food was appalling. Dietary requirements were not taken in to account. The quality of the food varied from day to day and they catered strictly per head. Should they run out of bacon, as they did on one particular day, that was it. If you hadn’t had any, you’d have to fill yourself up on something else. The high tea, on a few occasions, was a weak attempt at recycling any leftovers from breakfast.
- Staff were hard to come by. At night you may not walk around unsupervised due to the potential for wildlife encounters, however, trying to find a porter to escort you to your tent, or a waiter to order a drink, was an exercise in patience.
- Staff has no control over individuals who made things difficult, or uncomfortable, for the rest of the guest population. The situation was left to sort itself out.
- Our room wasn’t prepared before our arrival. We arrived early, by arrangement, and were told we’d have to wait in the lounge until 14:00. When we got to camp we were checked straight in and taken to our tent. No bath mats, no face cloths.
- We had mixed signals when we arrived regarding electricity at the camp. On the first day it turned out that there was electricity, and with it, lights, that operated on a solar system. Unfortunately, and only for the first night, that meant that when the sun went down, there were no lights. Other than a few candles we had no other light source at the tent. This was rectified later by a porter who provided us with a torch and the rest of the trip we did actually have lights every night.
- It is/was advertised that hot water bottles are provided on the game drives, yet we never once saw any sign of this. Not on our vehicle, nor the other vehicles. The quantity of snacks on the drive did not increase with the number of guests on the drive, again bringing us to the frame of mind of being rationed food.
- Our last day we felt very rushed, almost as if they wanted us out as soon as possible so the next guests could arrive. This includes the end of the game drive, breakfast and packing up to head off to the elephant interaction.
- We stayed in tent #7, which is the closest to the kitchen and the communal area. Every morning, afternoon and evening we were disturbed by loud laughter and raucus behaviour as the staff prepared the meals and snacks. Dont get me wrong, I know full well the noise levels involved in a kitchen, however, it is not for the guests to hear, and again I’ll mention, not for the price Thanda is asking.
Thanda Tented Camp – Our Conclusion
We had a wonderful stay at Thanda Tented Camp. Our expectations were based on other lodges we’ve visited in the same category, however, who charged a fair amount less per person per night and it’s with that in mind that we left feeling cheated.
Our visit was nothing like when we visited Black Rhino Game Lodge in Pilanesberg, there are just things that Thanda should consider working on in order to compete with lodges out there such as Thakadu River Lodge and Nambiti Plains.