Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve, Muldersdrift

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Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve, Muldersdrift

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Review of "Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve, Muldersdrift"

published 20/07/2016 | candzjay
Member since : 24/09/2010
Reviews : 51
Members who trust : 64
About me :
Thanks all for the read and rates! If I've missed you with rating, please let me know. Some of my reviews also appear on amazon ;) C xx
Excellent
Pro easy to get to, good prices on food and entry, beautiful location
Cons range of food, escalating prices on the weekend
exceptional
Prices
Is it worth visiting?
Transport links
Family Friendly

"Make way… for King Pumbaa!!"

Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve, Muldersdrift

Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve, Muldersdrift

Make way… for King Pumbaa!!


About

The Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve is situated in the Cradle of Humankind - a World Heritage site - in South Africa. It’s home to 4 of the Big 5 (African Lion, African Elephant, Cape Buffalo, African Leopard and rhinoceros), only missing the African Elephant. The Reserve is ideal for not only day trips, but also for longer holidays in the wilderness. The Reserve is very safe, with the predators being in their own fenced off area.

History

I did a little digging into the history of the Reserve, I’m not a huge fan of churning out Historical facts, so you’re welcome to learn more here:

http://rhinolion.co.za/history/

There’s some really great info here - it’s worth a quick read.

My experience


Why did we visit?

I’m originally from South Africa, but have lived in the United Kingdom since I was 19 - so 10 years now! Part of living here means that every few years, I travel back to South Africa to see my family who still live there (my mom, dad and 2 younger sisters).

This specific trip was different and very special, as I had my British fiance’ with me for the very first time. I really wanted to show Andy some of the amazing parts of South Africa, so a trip to the Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve was a MUST! We also wanted a few days alone - having spent over 2 weeks with my family already. I’d visited the Reserve a few times in the past, many years ago, so it would be a newish experience for me too.

Driving there

The Reserve is a 40 minute drive from Northcliff, where my parents live. My dad had very generously given us his car to use for our last week in South Africa, and the route to the Reserve was pretty straightforward, so we were up for the challenge. Seeing as I hadn’t driven in 10 years - I was pretty nervous!

Accommodation


The Reserve currently has two different types of accommodation on offer - either the chalets, or log cabins. There are currently 3 chalets, and 5 log cabins, both are private, fully-equipped, and self-catering. Our log cabin was serviced by a cleaner daily, and we were given a complimentary bag of firewood to use each evening.

On arrival at the bookings office, we made the payment for our accommodation, and were given a copy of our booking form with a red stamp saying “PAID”. We were told to keep this in the car so we could gain access to the predator camp, as well as being able to enter and exit the Reserve if we so wished. We were given the option to pay the R600 deposit either in cash or by card - if we paid cash, we would get the cash back when checking out, if we paid by card, that would take up to 2 weeks to be returned. We paid cash in the name of convenience.

An older gentleman asked us to follow him by car to the accommodation. About a 5 minute drive later, we arrived at the log cabins. Ours was right at the top of the hill - the incline in the parking was so steep that even after applying the handbrake, the car tried rolling backwards! The cabins are all raised up off the ground, with a small set of stairs leading to the main decking.

The log cabin consisted of a large open plan kitchen, leading into a lounge/dining area. There were 2 bedrooms, consisting of 1 master bedroom (huge bed!) with an en-suite bathroom with a toilet, sink and bath. The second room had 2 single beds, and there was an additional bathroom with a toilet, sink and shower. The lounge area had a lovely big couch - that converts into an additional double bed - along with a table and TV complete with DSTV satellite TV. Out on the veranda, there are 4 lovely wooden seats and a small table, along with a 6 seater jacuzzi, and a braai (BBQ to the non-South Africans!).

Some photos can be seen here:
http://rhinolion.co.za/log-cabins/

I believe the main difference between the log cabins and the chalets (besides the price) are that the log cabins have a jacuzzi, while the chalets have a shared swimming pool. The chalets also have a jungle gym. We loved the peacefulness in the log cabins, and the jacuzzi was a huge deal for us - we made sure to enjoy it for an hour each evening!

On our first evening, we were visited by a small family of warthogs! They came up really close to the log cabin, using their snouts to dig in the grass for food. We managed to get some great photos before the biggest warthog turned the outside bin upside down - obviously looking for food. I spent the remainder of our time there, singing “Make way, for King Pumbaa!” while driving in the car.

We enjoyed a braai on the first evening, using the free bag of firewood provided, followed by a lovely soak in the jacuzzi (chlorinated to stay clean). The view was amazing, with a star filled sky and a big yellow moon. Intermittently through the evening, you could hear the lions calling to one another in the predator camp - amazing experience!

After our first night, we decided we needed to try and book an extra night- 2 nights weren’t going to be enough! The office was super accommodating and even changed a new booking to one of the other unoccupied log cabins so we could remain where we were, instead of moving to one of the other log cabins. No-one was inconvenienced and the customer service left a great impression.

It’s worth mentioning - on our third night there was some intense weather, a sudden and very strong wind, followed by rain. The wind was quite frightening and managed to blow a full glass of water off the table on the decking. We had been having a braai, and the fire took quite a battering… we were so concerned that the live embers would be blown out and onto the decking that we made sure to stay close to the fire extinguisher. Be careful when it’s due to rain - that wind will take you by surprise!


Yummy for my tummy - what is there to eat?!

There are actually a few different places within the Reserve where you could eat. Below is some info on each of the ones we managed to visit. Two that we didn’t see were the Play Park Restaurant and the Thatch Cafe’.

http://rhinolion.co.za/play-park-restaurant/
http://rhinolion.co.za/thatch-cafe/

The Boma Restaurant

The restaurant is right next to the bookings office, at the day visitor centre. The restaurant is open from 09:00 to 16:00 from Tuesday to Sunday - the Reserve is only open on some Monday’s. We came here each morning for a full English breakfast, which was divine! They also make a killer cappuccino. We both loved that the sugar didn’t come in a bowl or in cubes - but on a stick covered in sugar crystals - it’s the little touches.

There’s a covered thatched area, and then a decked area over a pygmy hippo enclosure - we tried both, and to be honest I wouldn't sit on the decking as the hippos don’t smell so good ;)

There’s a little kiosk/gift shop inside the restaurant, selling crisps, chocolate and memoirs like magnets and t-shirts. The prices are pretty reasonable - even more so if you’re converting from British Pounds to South African Rands.

On our second day at the Reserve, we were running low on supplies of food - we had originally booked for 2 nights and had brought the appropriate amount of food. Andy very cheekily asked the waiter to see if the chef would sell us some meat for our braai that evening- and he came back with 2 beautiful fillet steaks! He charged us a very reasonable R120 per steak - approximately £6 a steak, which was a total steal. I loved how flexible and accommodating they were, as the booking office makes it clear that they don’t specifically sell any meat within the Reserve. The steak was delicious!

Info and photos of the Boma Restaurant can be found here:
http://rhinolion.co.za/boma-restaurant/


Neck & Deck Cafe’

This is located next to the entrance/exit of the Reserve, and gives patrons the chance to feed a giraffe! We paid a small fee of R30 for a bucket of giraffe feed - brown pellet things… what we didn’t take into account was how many times this poor giraffe had probably already been fed that day. After much coaxing and no luck, we decided to get a drink and a snack before heading back into the Reserve.

I must be honest here - the service at the Neck & Deck Cafe’ is seriously lacking. We both ordered a caffe late’, and I asked for a waffle. On the menu they offer a waffle with strawberries and icecream, and they offer a waffle with chocolate bar-one sauce (like a Mars bar) - I asked if it was possible to get a waffle with strawberries and bar-one sauce, to be told no… No logic there - and the waiter had to go to the kitchen to have the chef tell her it was not possible. Andy had also asked for the pudding of the day, to have a different waiter come and tell us it’s “no good”... whatever that means. The caffe late’ was ok, the waffle I got looked good, but was below average, and was served with ice-cream even though I specifically asked for cream.

On the way out, we managed to finally coax the giraffe over for a few minutes. After Andy had fed the giraffe for about 30 seconds, he wanted to pass the bucket to me so I could have a turn… and another family came running over to try and snatch the bucket from my hand so they could have a turn instead! Godsmacked. Andy stood his ground and told them it was our bucket and I had been waiting for a turn. We continued taking turns for another few minutes, before the giraffe ran away after Andy tried to kiss it!

We didn’t try any of the other food, and we didn’t use the toilets, so I’m unable to comment on these.

More info can be found at :
http://rhinolion.co.za/neck-deck-cafe/


The Wondercave Restaurant

Calling this little place a restaurant is a SERIOUS overstatement! It’s a tiny place, similar to a corner shop, with a really limited menu. We only stopped to grab some water from here on the way to the Wondercave. There are some wooden picnic tables where you could sit and relax while waiting for your guided tour through the cave.


http://rhinolion.co.za/wonder-cave-restaurant/


Game Drive

While staying at the Reserve, we decided to take advantage of a Ranger-led game drive. I’ve been on MANY game drives over the years, but for Andy, this was a new and exciting adventure. We paid around R680 each for our 2.5 hour game drive, so pretty pricey in comparison to other places, but still a worthwhile idea with the exchange rate being so strong.

We were told to expect a few other people on the game drive, but when the time came to leave, we were the only 2 booked in- so we enjoyed a private game drive for the same price as a group drive. The vehicle was quite large, suitable for 10-12 people, and open to the elements.

Our Ranger was really knowledgeable and friendly, and stopped regularly to give us information about the various flora and fauna in the Reserve.

One animal we were really looking forward to seeing was the African lion - we had driven around their enclosure 3 times to no avail, and yet, we could hear them calling every evening and in the early hours of the morning. Within 10 minutes, the ranger had found them! We were a bit nervous about being in an open vehicle within the predator camp, but he explained that during the day, the lions couldn’t distinguish the difference between us individually, and the large vehicle we were in. Provided we stayed in the vehicle, and kept our arms inside, we were totally safe.

We managed to get into the White lIon enclosure - we hadn’t been able to previously, as the pride had been camping out at the gate on our 3 previous attempts. Within the enclosure, we managed to get really close to the pride, with a female slowly walking behind the vehicle. Being so close to such powerful predators was thrilling!

The enclosure housing the Wild Dogs is adjacent to the White Lion enclosure, and we had the honour of seeing the Wild Dogs teasing the Lions - who promptly responded by stalking their way to the adjoining fence to chase them off. There was a battle of wills going on, with the Wild Dogs finally backing down in defeat, and the lions marking their territory along the fence by spraying urine.

On the way back to the day centre, we came across a rhino family - mommy, daddy and baby. At one stage the male was a little disturbed by our presence, so the ranger turned the car off and we all kept very quiet until he calmed down. Being so close to rhinos was amazing, and being in a larger vehicle did feel safer than in my dad’s car.

The game drive was well worth the money as it turned out to be a private drive, but if it was a group drive, I would have said it was too pricey.

Animal Creche

Within the Visitor Centre, there’s a section dedicated specifically to the animal creche, as well as an area for snakes. There are lots of different baby animals that you can see, and some that you can even interact with - the cheetah Annabelle, young brown lions, white tigers, as well as a baby leopard and a baby jaguar.

You pay R40 (£2) per person to enter the enclosure for 5 minutes, accompanied by a guide to keep an eye on things. This is a great opportunity to be able to touch the animals, as well as get some amazing photos to add to your photo albums at home.

Within our first 5 minutes in the animal creche, a random Marabou Stork managed to sneak up behind me and peck my hand! Watch out for the storks - they do bite!

We visited the brown lions, and were able to pat them, as well as play with them using a plastic bottle on a rope. These little furballs are so much stronger than they look! The youngest cub was 2 months old, and about the size of a small dog, with the older ones being almost double the size. I managed to get some awesome photos before being growled at by the youngest, who wasn’t too sure about my mobile phone.

Our next visit was with Annabelle the cheetah. She’s 2 years old, and almost fully grown. The enclosure was reasonable big, with a den and a large climbing frame. We had a lovely guide with us, who seemed to have a really good connection with Annabelle - as soon as she stroked her head, the cheetah started purring her heart out! We took turns stroking her and taking photos, before a second guide entered the pen and encouraged Annabelle to chase him - she gave us an amazing demonstration of a fraction of her speed before leaping onto the climbing frame.

After our visit with Annabelle, a group of Americans went in with her and were taking really silly risks - one man decided to get a selfie with her, so sat on the floor with his back to her- she grabbed his head with both her paws, and proceeded to lick his hair! She was very gentle, but her claws did break his skin. Considering her size, strength and natural instincts, this was lunacy!

Aside from Annabelle, the largest cubs we could interact with were the white tigers. There had been some American men visiting before us, and unfortunately they had over-excited the tigers, who had become VERY boisterous. The men had allowed them to jump on their backs and bite their necks - not something you should ever allow a predator to do. Within 2 minutes in the pen, we chose to leave- it just didn’t feel safe, and the tigers kept lunging at me. I wouldn’t take a small child into this pen at all.

In a separate enclosure, there was a black jaguar cub, along with a black leopard cub, and a normal leopard cub. All 3 were adorable, and so small! We were allowed to enter the enclosure and spend some time with them, but had to leave pretty quickly as the black jaguar was really cheeky - he loves to lick and bite anything he can get his teeth on.

All in all, the animal creche is a great idea, but I believe that animals need to be given due respect and should be handled with caution - there would have been terrible injuries during our brief time there. Silly risks shouldn’t be taken for a great selfie- and the guides shouldn’t allow it.

Wonder Cave

A 5 minute drive from the log cabins, you have the opportunity to have a guided tour of the Wonder Cave - a natural cave, estimated to be between 5 and 10 million years old. The cave is full of stalactites and stalagmites - formations growing from the ceiling to the floor, and from the floor to the ceiling.

The cave is accessed by descending a really steep set of stairs, and then an elevator. We made sure to hold on tight on the way down! The stairs were well maintained and felt reasonably safe, considering the angle of descent.

Our guide was really knowledgeable and took us through the cave, occasionally stopping to explain the different features within the cave in more detail. The air felt incredibly thin, and being claustrophobic affected me a bit, even though the inside of the cave is HUGE.

The ascent back out of the cave was intense - 86 steps at a steep upward angle. I’m overweight and very unfit, so we had to stop a few times to catch our breath on the way up. Unless you have mobility issues, or very bad asthma, you should be able to manage.

Self drive around the reserve

Driving us around the Reserve was honestly awesome. It was so nice to have freedom and quiet. We very rarely came across other cars, and if we did, no-one was in a rush to get anywhere. The roads are well sign posted and in great condition - it rained one evening and they were doing small repairs the following morning!

While we enjoyed driving around ourselves, we found that we saw a hell of a lot more while on our game drive - my dad’s car is about the same size as a Range Rover, so we sit higher up - I can’t imagine doing a self drive in a normal car, lower to the ground.

One major plus to being on quiet roads is that I finally got to give Andy an informal driving lesson. It was his first time behind the wheel, and having no other cars around, and a nice straight road to practice on was ideal. I practiced driving this way when I was younger - either in parking lots, game reserves or quiet holiday places.

All in all, I would recommend self drive if you’re not too worried about seeing specific animals… if we hadn’t had a game drive, we would have totally missed the African tawny lions, even after going through their enclosure 3 times! We found them within 10 minutes in the Ranger’s Jeep. You’ll also miss the commentary from a ranger, so again, if you’re not too bothered, so for self drive.

Other reviews

A good amount of reviews are quite easy to find online:
https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Review-g312581-d2277525-Reviews-Lion_and_Rhino_Nature_Reserve-Muldersdrift_Greater_Johannesburg_Gauteng.html

My rating

Location 9/10
First Impressions 9/10
Accommodation: 9/10
Restaurants: 8/10
Overall experience 9/10

I would like to see more on offer in terms of food, and I believe the Reserve would be clever to stock meat to sell to overnight stayers. The staff in general are very friendly and helpful, with the Neck & Deck Cafe’ being the exception - this needs a serious overhaul. We thoroughly enjoyed our time here and would happily recommend the Reserve to anyone in a position to visit.

There’s plenty to do, whether you’re visiting for the day, or an extended period. The Day Visitor Centre has a swimming pool, as well as numerous braai areas, and access to public toilets - so everyone is well-catered to.

Prices

Entrance Fees - Nature Reserve
Adults - R160 per person (£8.48 as of 20/07/2016)
Children - R120 per person (£6.36 as of 20/07/2016)
Pensioners - R130 (£6.89 as of 20/07/2016)

Tour Operators - R130 per person (£6.89 as of 20/07/2016)
Tour Operators Kids - R100 per person (£5.30 as of 20/07/2016)
Schools - R70 (£3.71 as of 20/07/2016)

Cubs - R40 (per enclosure for a 5 minute visit) (£2.12 as of 20/07/2016)

Entrance Fees - Wondercave
Adults - R100 per person (£5.30 as of 20/07/2016)
Children - R80 per person (£4.24 as of 20/07/2016)
Pensioners - R90 per person (£4.77 as of 20/07/2016)

Tour Operators - R90 per person (£4.77 as of 20/07/2016)
Tour Operators Kids - R70 per person (£3.71 as of 20/07/2016)
Schools - R60 (£3.18 as of 20/07/2016)

Combined Entrance Fees
Adults - R240 per person (saving R20)
Children - R150 per person (saving R50
Pensioners - R170 per person (saving R40)

Tour Operators - R170 per person (saving R50)
Tour Operators Kids - R140 per person (saving R30)
Schools - R80 (saving R50)

Accommodation - we paid around £70 per night for normal week days, the weekend increases dramatically to £140 per night.

Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve

Address:
520 Kromdraai Rd
Krugersdorp
Kromdraai
1739
South Africa

Enquiries:
Tel: 011 957 0106/09
Email: info@rhinolion.co.za
GPS: S 25 58.530 E 27 47:566
http://rhinolion.co.za/

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This review was read 1037 times and was rated at
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exceptional

Comments on this review

  • IzzyS published 07/09/2016
    Thoroughly reviewed.
  • ilusvm published 29/08/2016
    E x
  • jules.34 published 03/08/2016
    E!
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Product Information : Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve, Muldersdrift

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Attraction

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Type: Attraction

City: Muldersdrift

Continent: Africa

Country: South Africa

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Listed on Ciao since: 14/06/2016