Tintswalo Safari Lodge: The Magic of Manyeleti

Wondering if Tintswalo Safari Lodge is the perfect choice for your African safari? We can help you out with some first-hand feedback. Having recently spent two nights at this luxurious lodge, Sandra Devoti (Giltedge’s General Manager) shares her thoughts and safari highlights.

Location: Manyeleti Game Reserve

Tintswalo Safari Lodge is beautifully positioned in the Manyeleti, a private Kruger reserve just north of the Sabi Sands. Like its better-known neighbour, the Manyeleti has phenomenal game viewing with regular sightings of all of Africa’s Big 5.

Tintswalo Safari Lodge

Tintswalo has the feel of a traditional safari lodge with stone walls, high thatched ceilings and colonial-style décor. The comfortable lounge with its armchairs and Persian rugs opens onto a large wooden deck overlooking a seasonal river. There’s a lovely spa, and since Sandra’s last visit the library has been converted into a high-tech gym (complete with a crystal chandelier!).

Explorer Suites: Colonial Luxury

Wooden walkways lead off to the six Explorer Suites, spaced well apart amongst the trees on the riverbank. Although these suites have the same layout, they are individually decorated and each is named after a 19th-century explorer.

The lodge has just done a major soft refurb, and the suites are looking beautiful. They are huge! There’s a sitting area with an indoor fireplace and glass doors that stack open onto a private deck and plunge pool. And the spacious bathroom has both a ball-and-claw bathtub, as well as a lovely shower with glass doors which create the feeling of showering outside.

Other good-to-know details: there’s both air conditioning and fans; a well-stocked mini bar (with drinks included!); and the Explorer Suites don’t take children under the age of 12.

Baines Suite & Tintswalso Manor House

Set slightly away from the lodge is Baines Presidential Suite. This apartment-sized suite has two en-suite bedrooms, a lounge and dining area. A personal butler, chef on call, and a private game viewing vehicle all add to the very exclusive feel. Baines Suite is a fantastic safari home for families (allows children of all ages) or friends travelling together.

Another great option is the newly opened Grant Suite which also has two en-suite bedrooms, a lounge, private deck and plunge pool. Grant Suite is more modern with beautiful artwork, and allows children nine years and older.

Tintswalo Manor House has five bedrooms (four en-suite), a swimming pool area and an enclosed garden that’s great for kids to run around in. The rooms themselves are in need of a refurb, which is on the cards together with a structural change in the layout of the lodge.

An exciting development is that Tintswalo Safari Lodge plans on building three treehouses (plus one for the owner). We’ll certainly be keeping an eye on those plans.

Game Drives: Big Cats & Wild Dogs

Manyeleti Game Reserve has one of the lowest vehicle densities in the Greater Kruger area. What’s more, the number of vehicles at a sighting is strictly controlled (there were never more than two during Sandra’s game drives).

As for the game viewing, it was amazing! A couple of highlights included a pride of around 10 lionesses feeding on a buffalo, and Sandra’s first sighting of a pack of wild dog. She travelled in early December, at the tail end of a severe drought in the Kruger. It was extremely dry, and the drought had caused a huge drop in the number of buffalo and hippo.

Food & Service: Under African Skies

The staff-to-guest ratio at TIntswalo Safari Lodge is very high. Sandra found the service to be excellent: very friendly and personal.

Breakfasts are very nice with pastries, fruit, yoghurt, and a cooked breakfast made to order. After the morning game drive, a light lunch is served al fresco out on the deck. Sandra said the dinners were good, but not exceptional. On the second night they dined in the lodge boma, under the stars.

A real highlight was the sunset drinks. Tintswalo has a fantastic setup. During her evening game drive, they stopped in the middle of the bush. There were tables laden with tasty snacks, and she had a drink or two while the staff sang and danced.

Logistics: Getting There & Away

Sandra flew into Nelspruit airport, which is a 2.5-hour road transfer from the lodge. This means that she got to Tintswalo rather late, at around 4 pm, and after a quick late lunch set off on a short game drive.

An easier option would be to fly to the nearest local airport, Hoedspruit, which is just a 45-minute drive from the lodge. Or Tintswalo Safari Lodge also has its own landing strip.

Sandra highly recommends a stay at Tintswalo Safari Lodge. To find out more about this or other Kruger lodges, simply get in touch with a Giltedge safari expert.