What I will remember best as time passes will be the extraordinary game viewing with extended wild dog and lion sightings. That after all is the main reason I love game viewing.

We understand that Dulini is no longer part of the &Beyond portfolio.

Overall Impression One minute we were heading out on a game drive and the next the adrenaline was pumping as we raced to a sighting. We heard there were wild dogs in the area and that if we were lucky we might be able to see them. Our energetic guide had a reputation for being able to stay close to a wild dog pack so we had high hopes we might see the elusive animals. A wild dog viewing is a rare reward on a game viewing trip. Everyone in our game viewing vehicle was excited at the prospect of seeing them.

By the time we arrived at the place in the bush where local rangers had seen the wild dogs, believed by some experts to be highly efficient hunters with a success rate of 80 percent, they had caught a large antelope and consumed almost the entire carcass. They were so full (it was a small pack) they walked away without finishing their meal. Although we missed the feeding arriving when we did allowed us to spend time with the pack following the meal when they were relaxing by the side of the road with their bellies full. We spent a good while parked on the edge of the gravel bush road with three other vehicles, enjoying quality time with the pack; observing the dogs including the two alphas as well as interaction between the dogs, and listening to the distinctive sounds they made.

On another game drive we encountered a lion family with cubs. We followed them for a few minutes until the bush became so thick we thought we had lost them. Our intrepid ranger and tracker team persevered, parking the open vehicle on the edge of a dry river bed the lions had chosen for an afternoon nap. The adults settled in almost instantly but the cubs lasted longer awake, climbing on top of their father and playing while we watched enthralled.

At Dulini, named for an aardvark burrow believed to have existed on the property at its inception, we stayed in a spacious and well air conditioned stand alone room on the bank of the Mabraak River, a non perennial river. Our Suite had a spacious bathroom with a bush view, a separate living area, an outdoor terrace and our own plunge pool facing the river bed.

During our stay we enjoyed tasty meals, went for a swim in our private pool and the full size swimming pool and visited the lodge’s small gift shop. We watched a surprise staff singing and dancing performance following an evening game drive. I took advantage of one of the massages on offer and checked our messages from home on the complimentary WiFi in the main area of the lodge.

I appreciated the lodge facilities, pretty riverside setting and luxury oriented amenities. What I will remember best as time passes will be the extraordinary game viewing with extended wild dog and lion sightings. That after all is the main reason I love game viewing.

Children Although children aged 6 to 12 were welcome at the lodge, the family friendly property welcomed children 12 and older on game drives at the ranger’s discretion. Children between the ages of six and eleven required the lodge manager’s permission to go on game drives. There was a babysitting service for children younger than six. Children 16 and older were able to participate in bush walks. There were services for children including baking, fishing, and workbooks to learn about ecology. It was possible for children to remain at the camp under staff supervision.

Class Of Accommodation Luxury safari tented camp

Connectivity There was complimentary WiFi internet access via satellite in the main area. It was very slow and we only managed to download and reply to a handful of messages. Just before leaving we found out there was a faster data cable connection in the gift shop that could be made available to guests.

Handicapped Access The hotel had welcomed handicapped guests in the past.

Length Of Stay Two

Location In the Dulini Reserve in the western part of the Sabi Sand Reserve and adjacent to Kruger National Park.

Lodge Manager Leisha Parsons

Managed &Beyond (formerly CCA)

Owned Stephen Saad

Pets Allowed No

Size There were six spacious rooms at the lodge which employed 36 staff and was situated in a 856-hectare reserve. The property had traversing rights to 10,000 hectares.

Year Opened-Renovated The lodge was established in the late 1990s, In 2003, it was purchased by the current owner who conducted the most recent renovation that year. At that time, pools were added to the suites and the common areas were rebuilt with luxury in mind. When &Beyond took over management in 2006 the property underwent a soft refurbishing.

Lobby And Common Areas An aardvark sculpture and a sign with a list of lodge guidelines welcomed us to the lodge. The lodge main area, decorated in a Colonial Africa style, was built around a river bed with a main area in the middle. There were four suites to the left of the central area, and two suites to the right of it. Tall jackleberry, knobthorn and leadwood trees provided shade over a large lawn area, swimming pool and inviting outer deck. We enjoyed lunch in the lawn on our first afternoon and on the wood deck facing the dry Mabraak River bed the second day. In the morning we sat in a covered area with a large fireplace where we had breakfast. Next to it there was a sofa and two armchairs around a desk facing the lawn, the pool area and the bush.

To the left side there was a gift shop neighboring a small wine cellar. The public restrooms were on the other side of the gift shop. Further along the same side of the building there were several comfy armchairs with foot stools in a covered terrace and one wood table with two chairs. Behind the chairs, inside, there was a small library and sitting area with two sections each with a sofa and two armchairs centered around a coffee table. It looked like a cozy area to sit in the winter. In the center of the back stone wall there was a fireplace.

Past this section to the left was the boma, an enclosed outdoor area where meals were sometimes served at night. To one side of the deck there was a hanging bridge where guests could see both sides of the river bed area. Although the bridge shook a lot, especially if other people were crossing at the same time, it was worth traversing if only to see the property from the opposite river bank. To the right of the covered area where we had breakfast there was a tall termite mound with a water feature which we passed on the way to our suites.

Although there were signs of weathering like chipped paint, stained sink in the bathroom, stained cloth stool next to the bathtub, and a worn hanging bridge everything was in working order and clean.

Bathroom A curtain rod with thin white curtains divided the bedroom from the bathroom. To the left there were twin oval sinks below matching rectangular framed mirrors. Hanging on the wall to the right of the entrance there were matching linen bathrobes and next to them a small wood table, under a rectangular wood framed mirror, held shower caps in boxes, candles, and toiletries. The table was conveniently adjacent to a bush facing claw foot bathtub in the middle of the bathroom. A glass wall enhanced the sense of space and provided a lovely outdoor view from most areas of the bathroom. To the left of the bathtub there was a doorless shower next to a dry wood trunk. The same glass wall in front of the bathtub continued into the adjacent shower providing an indoor shower bush experience.

Room We stayed in Suite 5, the first room to the right of the main swimming pool. The stand alone building under the shade of a tree faced the dry river bed. The first feature we noticed was its divided horizontal wood door at the entrance. The interior space was divided into three distinct areas, a living area in front of the entrance, a sleeping area to the left and a bathroom past the sleeping area. An exterior deck extended outward toward the river and was divided into a sitting area, a pool area and an outdoor shower cove.

From the bed our north facing room had a lovely view of its own infinity plunge pool, deck and bush. There were hardly any insects inside the 95 square meter large room (including the terrace) which was fumigated once per month. The management strives to balance natural measures, a local manager explained, saying that many guests were comfortable encountering predators on drives but intolerant of insects within their rooms.

Suite 6 was about 40 feet away and visible from our deck. A reed screen provided privacy on the deck. Inside there was a cozy sitting area facing the outdoor deck, the river bed and the bush beyond. It was furnished with a plush comfy love seat, a rectangular wood coffee table with a platter (with decanted sherry in a glass bottle and two small glasses), a side wood table, a shiny khaki armchair and a wicker cushioned armchair. There were two bicolor pool towels atop a wicker table set against the side stone wall. To the right of the wicker table, in the corner and against the same wall, there was a mini bar. The top held varied beverages like red wine, J & B whiskey while the bottom housed a mini refrigerator filled with cold beverages including sodas and beer. A set of matching lamps hung from the ceiling and walls. The right wall was stone with an air conditioner (there was another air conditioner above the bed) and two small framed prints. A rectangular red and black carpet in the sitting area covered khaki colored polished concrete floors. The roof of the entire building was of thatch, making the ceiling extra tall. Thick beige curtains covered three glass and wood areas with outdoor views (there were similar curtains in the bedroom).

In the middle and back of the room there were double sliding screens and sliding glass doors leading on to the partly covered deck area. Near the entrance of the room, the deck had two wood armchairs with cushions facing each other across a square wood table with a view to the dry riverbed. To the right, where the deck ended, a reed screen obscured the view of our neighbor’s room. To the left the deck, wider and roofless, was home to a 1.5 meter deep round bush facing infinity edge plunge pool and two cushioned lounge chairs. At the far end, down a handful of steps, there was an enclosed outdoor shower.

A small space to the left of the sitting area was home to a wood upright closet with hanging space. Across from it set against the wall there was a rack where we set our luggage. The second half of the suite housed a sleeping area with twin beds set against a wood headboard and matching night tables. There was a duvet and two full size synthetic pillows as well as several throw pillows on the bed. The night table on the right side had a telephone and a lamp. At the foot of the bed there was a bench and to the right there was wood dresser. There was a reed colored rug and a runner with colors that matched the carpet in the sitting area. Screen doors and glass and wood sliding doors like those from the sitting area led onto the pool area on the deck.

Meal Lunch the day we arrived, served at between 1:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. in the shady areas of the lawn, was a cold buffet of corn salad, rocket and pear salad, ostrich kebabs, artichoke hearts, pickled red peppers, pickled grapes, and feta cheese followed by a delicious creamy passion fruit dessert cup. At 4 p.m. we met in the main area for a glass of iced coffee or iced tea and milk tarts before heading out on the afternoon game drive a few minutes later. We returned about three hours later. The security guard escorted us to our suites where we had a 15 minute break before drinks and a plated dinner in the boma . Once we sat down at our individual tables the cook came out and shared the set menu. There were two options for starters and mains and dessert. We chose the carrot and cumin soup (the other option was springbok carpaccio) and the lamb tajeen.

In the morning we received a wake up call at 5 a.m. After a hot beverage and greeting other guests and our ranger tracker team we went out on our morning drive. When we returned from the drive, we had breakfast in the shade of the dining area. Breakfast consisted of a platter of cold items (cheddar cheese, salami, fresh fruit, muffins), a muesli and yogurt glass and a hot beverage. It was also possible to order eggs with sides (sautéed mushroom, sausage, tomato, and bacon).

For afternoon tea the second day there was orange cake. Lunch that day was a buffet on the pool side deck overlooking the dry river bed: barbeque ribs, green salad, beet salad, carrot salad, zucchini and feta cheese salad and bananas with chocolate sauce for dessert.

Amenities There was an electronic safe, two umbrellas, mosquito repellent, insect spray, a hair dryer, a minibar, shower caps, Africa Touch toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, soap, soap suds for in room laundry, and body lotion). There was also sherry and on arrival there were two bite size morsels of fudge. There were bird and animal informational booklets and check lists.

There was a cloth laundry bag in the closet with a laundry list to be completed. According to the information booklet, the laundry was hand washed and dried naturally then returned the following day at the same time.

Facilities There was an indoor sitting area, boma (African style outdoor dining enclosure), covered dining area, wine cellar, gift shop, full size swimming pool and river facing deck.

Gift Shop Near the entrance to the lodge, sandwiched between the restrooms and the wine cellar there was a small gift shop. There were &Beyond branded clothes like caps, t-shirts, and shirts, books, jewelry and other souvenirs.

Massages An onsite masseuse was available to provide aromatherapy, back and neck and Swedish massages. Tuli, a relief masseuse from Johannesburg, gave me a 60 minute massage on the deck. The massage services were provided by Massage Corporation Africa (MCA ), owned by Jessica Linley who trained her staff.

Pool The main pool was a free form swimming pool painted black ranging in depth between 1.1 meters and 1.7 meters. There were two lounge chairs and one umbrella next to it. I appreciate the soft and clean smelling pool towels and glass of water one of the staff members brought, at my request, when I went for a swim.

Game Viewing Rob Braum was our ranger and Issac Mkhansi was our tracker. Rob explained when we met that he was usually based at Ngala, a sister property in a reserve north of Dulini, and was only at Dulini to help out while the regular ranger was away. During our visit there were six of us in the vehicle, the maximum number of people allowed per vehicle at Dulini; we shared our safari vehicle with four other guests including a boy. During game drives, a maximum of two vehicles were allowed per sighting (except for wild dogs when a third vehicle was permitted). If one or more vehicles were waiting to see something the vehicles at the sighting would head out and allow one of the waiting vehicles to take their space. Drives were very bumpy at this property.

There were booklets in our suite such as Game Plan (28 pages) and Winging It Introduction to Birding (33 pages) with information about the area of the Sabi Sand Reserve we were in, the flora, fauna and check lists that made it easy to keep track of the animals and birds we saw (or heard) during our twice daily game viewing drives.

Game we saw during our visit: Chacma baboons, leopard (female, cub), lion (two males, females and cubs), wild dogs, elephants, buffalo, hippopotamus, impala, kudu, nyala, rhinoceros, warthog, wildebeest, marsh terrapin, boomslang (tree snake), golden orb spider,

Birds we saw or heard during our visit: saddle billed stork, hadeda ibis, African fish eagle, Wahlberg’s eagle, brown snake eagle, gymnogene (African harrier-hawk), dark chanting goshawk, helmeted guineafowl, red-crested korhaan, three-banded plover, Senegal lapwing, woodland kinfisher, little bee-eater, eurasian roller, lilac-breasted roller, red-billed hornbill, rufous-naped lark, magpie shrike, red-backed shrike, white helmetshrike,

Our vehicle, a Toyota Land Cruiser, had a metal cage atop the back that allowed the staff to attach a top if guests were hot or it was raining. We came to dislike the cage because it got in the way of game viewing and photography; we never had a top on it.

Wildwatch.com listed wildlife sightings at &beyond camps.

Conservation And Responsible Tourism The property supported a local community project to recycle food to feed animals. Glass, plastic and cardboard were recycled. Other green efforts included installing solar heaters in the staff area, water recycled in stages, and resource consumption measurement. The Africa foundation worked with local organizations, supporting local villages via labor, tools and materials. There were also conservation lessons for the children about saving the local environment.

Other Since the tap water was not always safe to drink (the water supply was a borehole) there was a bottle of house brand water in the bathroom which we used to brush our teeth. The company supported the Africa Foundation which was dedicated to neighboring community projects. There was a no smoking policy in place in the lodge and in the vehicles. Guests were asked to use their cell phones only in their suites. The bird in the logo of &Beyond was a juvenile bateleur eagle.

Monkeys were highly aggressive and we had to be vigilant during breakfast to keep them from stealing food off our table. A couple of monkeys were so aggressive a staff person had to stand on alert with a sling shot and sticks to keep them out of the dining area. One monkey stole my bread roll and another guest’s roll during lunch on the deck the second day.

It was raining on our return from the drive on the second night and the boma dinner had to be relocated indoors. The staff responded quickly to the inclement weather by moving the dinner set up out of the rain. They offered us hot soup and rolls and to our surprise a musical performance by eight of the staff ladies dressed in colorful red outfits. To guests’ delight they sang in their native language and danced to the beat of a drum. It was a lovely performance.

Cleanliness Very good

Date Of Review March 2011

Reviewers Article by Elena del Valle

Photographs by Gary Cox

Service As soon as we arrived Jessica, the relief lodge manager, greeted us warmly and escorted us to the main area of the lodge where she offered us welcome drinks and had us sign the mandatory indemnity forms.There was twice daily turn down service. Many of the staff introduced themselves when we arrived. Gift was the acting manager while the lodge manager was on leave. Our “butler” was Octavia. During our visit we met Brendan Streak, who managed the three &Beyond lodges in the western Sabi Sand Reserve (Dulini, Exeter River, and Leadwood).

Would You Stay There Again? Yes

Contact Information

  • Address:
    • Sabi Sand Game Reserve
    • Private Bag X27
    • Benmore, 2010
    • South Africa
  • Phone:
    • +27 11 809 4441
  • Website:
    • Unknown
  • Email:
    • Unknown