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Roodewal Bush Lodge

Discuss the different camps and roads of the Kruger National Park
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Unread postby aussieinafrica » Thu Feb 16, 2006 9:14 am

i've been to the Kruger many times... and last august had the joy of taking 7 of my mates to the park, we stayed at roodewal and what an experience it was.

We had elephants in the camp (Which when standing a few meters away from u without a fence is mind blowing).

pride of lions with cubs , which we saw everyday for 5 days just down the road.

And leopard cubs being attacked by hyenas, only to be rescued by mum. That only happens on national geographic!!

the best part about the camp is the fact that no one is around in the morning and evening, (when the best game viewing is) so most of your sightings are personal, a rare thing in Kruger these days.

the staff there are great and very very helpfull... (they will even charge your camera batteries... no electricity to spare for that in the huts).thanx again Morris!!!
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Unread postby aussieinafrica » Thu Feb 16, 2006 9:53 am

no problem, I'm there again in may.... cant wait.

i also recomend the night drive from the camp, it's like having a private came guard, and takes full advantage for the camps relative isolation. We saw heaps !!!
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Unread postby Bothali » Tue Feb 20, 2007 4:37 pm

We spent 3 nights at Roodewal in September 2006. It was awesome and we decided to stay in the camp on one of our days there just to experience it fully. We fell asleep on the benches on the deck under an enormous tree and the sound of emerald spotted doves, the stir of the wind in the leaves above and the vervets watching us quietly from the branches have sustained me until now.

The river bed was dry, but we saw a herd of elephant crossing and also watched elephant bulls grazing on the bank below under a full moon as we listened to nightjars calling in the darkness.

I will be back there, this time for a whole week, on 13 March - 3 weeks away. A trip to this camp is an unforgettable experience.

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Unread postby gesundheit » Sat Sep 01, 2007 9:26 am

aussieinafrica wrote:i also recomend the night drive from the camp, it's like having a private came guard, and takes full advantage for the camps relative isolation. We saw heaps !!!

I know this was posted in Feb, but I just discovered this thread 2 days before I can dive in and book some accomo for our trip next August, and I suspect this camp books out fast! Looks fantastic, but the SANParks website says:

"No activities available from Roodewal Bush Lodge

• Guided Game Walks or Game Drives can be pre-arranged with Satara camp subject to availability."

I assume this means you have to go to Satara to join a game drive?

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Unread postby louisvdw » Thu Oct 18, 2007 5:06 pm

There were some special moments, like an elephant bull in muthst?? that walked past right underneath the lookout platform - you would not believe the stench and the smell stayed there for about half an hour.

In the late afternoons a very big troop of baboons goes past the camp in the river bed, it is very interesting to see how they organised themselves with the recce in front, then some big males etc.

The first evening we could hear a leopard killing a small baboon in the cliffs on the opposite side of the river bed, and all the commotion going with it, i think he missed the kill the second evening because the commotion was less.

in the evenings you can make a big fire in the middle of the braai area and sit around it - i enjoyed that.

I would advise the bush lodge for people who are the easy going type of people, but San Parks should manage and maintain the place better, I think if you go and stay there without booking while the camp is "open" nobody would even know that - certainly Morris does not seem to have a clue of who is coming or going.

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Unread postby Catherine » Fri Oct 19, 2007 9:53 am

Bush Baptist wrote:LMHO :dance:

Hi Catherine & louisvdw

Neither of you said a good word about the place except that it was 'very good value for money' and 'I would visit the camp again'.

It sounds like the bum end of Kruger to be polite. What on earth would anyone want to pay anything for it or stay there one night on your recommendations. You must be keeping a secret ot two here.

Or are you doing what I do with Tamboti and Kgalagadi :twisted:

Bush Baptist, what you get is to stay in a very beautiful and extremely peaceful camp in one of the best areas of the Park. If you share with a large group of your friends and loved ones you can do this at very little cost, albeit with the snags I and louisvdw have described. This is the 'good value' part. It was just the two of us staying there. We went for the peace and quiet.

To be honest, basically we got pi**ed off about the lack of electricity. As I said above, the electricity did not come on until about 6pm. In the morning after our first night the electricity was still on but was off again when we got back from our early morning drive. However, the following night it went off at some time between 2 and 3am. Also, we did not have any hot water for the first 24 hours of our stay - something I also forgot to mention above. I really do think the accommodation pages of the website should advise people of the electricity situation, especially for those with children.

We did not experience the mice problems that louisvdw did but there were boxes of poison in the bathroom to attract rodents. Louisvdw is right about the lack of management, before we arrived the attendants (Pilata and his wife) seemed to have no idea of the size of our party or the number of nights we were staying.

I did not know that the solar power system had been damaged. Louisvdw's post is the first I've seen that mentions this. Why has it not been mended? Only if the power situation is sorted out would we consider staying there again.

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Unread postby Freda » Fri Oct 19, 2007 5:29 pm

We stayed there in February with other forumites :)
The generator was not working as the fuel hadn’t been delivered, it finally arrived about 7pm after we had been in touch with Satara. We were told it takes 25lts per day and they would send that amount, we had booked for 3 nights so why hadn’t 75lts been arranged beforehand instead of sending 25lts per day? (Is it diesel or petrol? Because we will take a jerry can :roll: )
The grass was so high on the way to the generator that Morris was scared to go down there, they cut it while we were there :D
Why has it taken so long to replace the solar panels?
There is a fridge in each of the four cottages but only one of the four was working :cry:
The fridge and freezer in the kitchen area were also not working properly and the manager was keeping his food cold in the freezer part of the fridge, a newer freezer was delivered after we complained but was still more like a fridge than a freezer.
We visited the Duty Manager at Satara and were shown in a requisition book where new fridges and freezers had been ordered a few months before, that means they have been in a bad condition for over a year :shock:
He also told us they were replacing the curtains and hoping to put in a splashpool, why not ensure the essentials are working first :?
We completed the Guest Feedback Form after our visit and have never heard a word from SANParks :cry:
We have booked Roodewal for a week at Christmas, there will be 15 family members, at a cost of over R33000, please SANParks we want this to be a very special Christmas don’t let us down! We need those appliances to be working if we have to feed 15 people for a week.
We love this camp and we don’t mind them keeping the gate closed for safety, we just get out and open it ourselves if the manager is busy :D
Must remember to take the pruners for that tree, we also commented on it when we were there :wink:

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Unread postby Bothali » Tue Oct 23, 2007 4:06 pm

We spent three nights at Roodewal in September 2006 and a week in March this year.

In September we invited family and had a wonderful time, especially in the evenings into the night when we braaied / cooked (some very fancy recipes at that) and played games while listening to the calls of fierynecked nightjars and scops owl. The moon was still almost full and we often watched large elephant bulls grazing in the grass below the platform. By day we also saw breeding herds crossing the dry river bed towards the far left.

Our game drives were very productive indeed (we saw the big five more than once) and it was a joy to have the road to ourselves during the first and last hour or so of the day.

It was wonderful spending time in the camp sometimes without going out for long drives. There are many bird species to be seen in the camp. We fell asleep on the benches on the platform while listening to the call of blue spotted doves. It was incredible!

Nobody complained of anything and we had everything we needed.

In March it was incredibly hot. I would not advise anybody to spend time in this camp during hot summer months unless the heat doesn't bother them (like us). We had no trouble with anything, except that one couple in our party didn't have hot water, which didn't matter on account of the heat.

We again saw the big five on more than one occasion driving along the Timbavati and all our drives were very productive. We also spent a lot of time in the camp. The monkeys are always around and we had an encounter with a black mamba, which (once killed - not by us) attracted quite a few birds of prey. It was also interesting to see the behavior of the many tree squirrels - at first we didn't know it was them making such a racket while the snake was around and alive.

We arranged for night drives during both visits and in March, especially, we had a wonderful drive and enjoyed the best leopard sighting we have ever had.

In March we did not spend a lot of time outside as we had in September as our party was smaller (four people only) and the heat was quite tiring. It was very dry and we went to bed quite early. However, I missed our September nights outside. As we lay in our beds we could hear the baboons possibly being attacked or something across the dry river bed.

We were quite happy with our surroundings and the camp. It is kept very clean and tidy and we had no complaints.

It don't believe that this is a camp where one would / should take small children. It feels very remote and I felt uneasy walking around the perimeter on my own. I would really worry about small children. There is no electricity as solar heating is used, which we have always known and we have no problem with that. There is no airconditioning - only fans. The evenings were cool enough with all the window open and the fans on.

I would visit this camp again and again in spite of the heat in March.

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Unread postby davegrohl » Wed Dec 05, 2007 1:04 pm

Hi, this is only my second post.

I stayed at Roodewaal last month for 3 nights - just me and my wife.

It was worth every cent paying to have the camp to yourself! it was rather hot (peaked at around 35 degrees) during the day and aircon or fans that worked would have been a pleasure, but it was an incredible experience over all. From a game viewing aspect, it was tops. those that have stayed there would know about the pan about 1 km outside the camp. returning from a drive (at around 18h29 - only people on the road that time of day) we passed the pan to notice that the usual impala and giraffe where nowhere to be seen. It all made sense when we saw 9 lionesses lying out in the open next to the pan, 20 meters from the road. we stayed will it got dark (a pleasure to have such a great sighting on your own!), got back to the camp 25 minutes late and explained why. the guy at the camp (philip i think?) didnt seem to mind, and was excited to hear about the lions.


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Unread postby francoisd » Tue Jul 15, 2008 10:14 am

leelee wrote:...They are changing existing accommodation into single huts and in future the accommodation can be booked individually like in a bushveld camp. ...

Now this is interesting news. Can we maybe get an official confirmation of this please. I assume from the time line mentioned that it might still take some time before this is completed though.

Will definitely consider staying there if the above is indeed the case. Booking a whole camp for me, SO and daughter is a bit of an overkill, but we enjoy the bush camps and family units
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Unread postby G@mespotter » Tue Jul 15, 2008 11:08 am

If true, this is super duper news francoisd, because I find a drive from Orpen Tambotie to Olifants/Letaba a little far. Roodewaal as a 3 day pitstop doesnt sound bad, and I love the scenery of the s39 :D

Waiting for reply..........
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Unread postby zakiya » Tue Jul 15, 2008 1:33 pm

Hi guys,

I've just called in to check on the upgrades taking place...

They are basically building individual kitchen units to the four sleeping units.

leelee was correct in saying that this will allow SANParks to let out the 4 units individually, should that be required.

The previous arrangement of the whole camp being booked is still going to stand based on availability of all the units.

Keep dreaming guys - you never know when it will come true!!!

I hope this response is satisfactory? Anything else you wanna know, I'll check....

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Unread postby Bushmad » Tue Jul 15, 2008 8:15 pm

Thanks for the info!

I have mixed feelings about this.....on the one hand, I think its great that more people will be able to experience staying there....but on the other, wont this make block booking virtually impossible and obviously the cost of doing so would go up.....

On the whole, it is more sensible and as long as the capacity of the camp does not increase, I think it's great that it is receiving much needed refurbishing.

Basically it would be something between a Bush Lodge and a Bushveld Camp. I hope no reception etc.... a luxury version of Balule!!! And, it actually might make getting a booking slightly on the whole, a good move. Just as long as it still remains possible to book the whole camp on the same basis as it has been if you want to....
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Re: Roodewal Bush Lodge

Unread postby Freda » Mon Oct 13, 2008 9:32 am

Kingfisha wrote:Some people mention 4 units, I was under the impression there were 5 units?

We sayed there last Christmas, there were 4 units, 3 units have 3 single beds on the ground floor and 2 matresses in the open loft area, making a total of 5 per unit.
The fourth unit has two bedrooms, sleeping a total of four people.
Hope this helps :D

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Re: Roodewal Bush Lodge

Unread postby Kingfisha » Tue Oct 14, 2008 3:33 pm

Hi Freda
Thanks, that helped. It seems they are going to keep the 4 units. But each one will have 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms with a kitchen area. So you will be able to sleep 4 per unit X 4 = 16 people in total if you want to book the whole camp. They will have a communal area (maybe at the deck so all can enjoy it). You will also be able to book only one unit.

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