Had my doubts about www.elandelalodge.co.za since I remember some bad stories about the owners way back and I also knew the area where they are situated and know that it is a fenced in small reserve. And if you go on game drives you have to travel into different fenced in areas and through gates and crossing public roads to get to the next fenced in game area. But because it was a long weekend and difficult to find a lodge I though I’ll give it a try. In the first place I’ve tried to phone and left messages but my call wasn’t returned, then I also sent emails and filled out the online enquiry and had no response. Eventually the next morning after 9am I got hold of the lodge and the owner’s wife answered but she was in a rush and not very friendly and told me I should phone back later as she cannot tell if it is available.
I then said to her I could see on their live availability on the website that there were different room types available but I first wanted to discuss it before I book. She gave me a rate and I said to her but I saw the special on the website and I assumed that it would be applicable as there was no date restriction mentioned. And because it is short notice can’t she assist me with the special rate.
She then fired away and shouting at me that who am I to tell her what to do with her lodge and what rates she should charge and she cannot offer me that special rate advertised and she will decide what she will charge and how do I think should they make money if she have to charge me the special rate.
All the time she was shouting and saying rude things. I said to her I don’t think it is fare the way she is going on and that any other lodge would honour specials advertised on their website. Then she shouted at me again and again said she’s not going to allow me to tell her what to charge. I said to her then in that case I’ll not be able to make a booking with them as I assumed that the rate would be ok since it is clearly advertised on the website as applicable to the period I was interested in. She shouted and said yes she will decide and if I don’t want to accept the rate she want to charge then I should go somewhere else and that we are already clashing so why should she take my booking. I was so shocked that I couldn’t get any words coming out of my mouth. I just said to her, well I cannot believe what is happening at the moment and how can she shout like that as it is not professional at all. She shouted again and I cannot even remember everything she said as it was as if I was standing outside my body and gasping for air. She didn’t give me a chance to even talk and then she dropped the pone in my ear.
After this incident I thought I should just check on TripAdvisor to see how others experienced Elandela lodge. There were many good reviews but the bad reviews was from people who had similar experiences to my experience. Some of them even had worse experience as they were already at the lodge and she was shouting and calling them names and fighting with the lodge staff in front of the guests at the lodge. I also even read about people who didn’t stay the full period they were booked and they were refused a refund and they left without having breakfast as she wouldn’t allow them to have breakfast before they left.
It is people like her that shouldn’t be in the tourism industry as she doesn’t have any communication skills. Yvonne from Elandela lodge is one of those people who doesn’t believe in “the customer is always right” she believes that she is never wrong and would go into arguments making the complainant look like the culprit.
They are misleading a lot of travellers who visit South Africa for the first time because they are not a big 5 reserve but they advertise themselves as a big 5 experience and only because they do one trip during a 2 or 3 night stay into the kruger park with a closed vehicle. People from abroad visiting SA for the first time doesn’t know any better and think they arrived in heaven. If they could only know what they are missing out on staying at Elandela instead of experiencing any of the brilliant real big 5 reserves.
My message therefore is that people should think more than twice if they want to book a stay at Elandela lodge.