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“It truly is a hidden gem!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Mbotyi River Lodge

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Mbotyi River Lodge
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3.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Pondoland, Mbotyi, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Durban
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“It truly is a hidden gem!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2013

We have just returned from a truly incredible weekend at Mbotyi. A weekend is far too short a time to spend here as there is just so much to do and see and thank goodness we are back for a whole week in April. After the wonderful weekend we had we cannot wait to get back there and these will definitely be our first of many stays at Mbotyi River Lodge.

We had high hopes for our first trip to Mbotyi and it certainly exceeded all of our expectations. The drive to Mbotyi took us 4.5 hours comfortably. We drove from Assagay via Ixopo to Kokstad and then on to Lusikisiki and the roads were in great condition. It is only the last 19km's that is on a good dirt road and we comfortably did this in our car, no 4x4 needed.

On our arrival we were welcomed by extremely friendly staff, and a bottle of champagne with welcome cards in our room. The champagne was a very unexpected and thoughtful gesture for my fiance's birthday. This really set the tone of our stay as Mbotyi Lodge is filled with personal touches and exceptionally friendly and helpful staff. The staff really can't seem to do enough for their guests, and we were so impressed with the service.

The rooms are spacious, each with their own balcony overlooking the sea or the lagoon and the most comfortable beds. We had a sea facing room and the views were just exquisite. The general layout of the lodge has a great flow with a spacious bar area adjoining the games room and then flowing onto a cosy lounge and the dining area. The bar is extremely well stocked and I don't think you could be left wanting for any drinks, from the delicious cocktails, extensive wine list and many spirits and liqueurs, they really have it all.

The food was fantastic, and I think a real highlight for us. With Mbotyi having only 3 stars it wasn't expected that we would get 5 star food. Dinner was a 4 course affair with a starter, soup, choice of 2 main courses and then dessert. The menu varied each night and each course was truly delicious, but the seafood platter was definitely a highlight. Breakfast each morning had a fresh fruit salad, homemade muesli, cereals, and yoghurts that were fresh and light, especially after the big dinners we had had. But we still tried the cooked breakfasts and the Mbotyi special omelette is a must have. The little extra's like the pre dinner snacks (possibly the best chilli bites ever) and baked treats with afternoon tea were all unexpected but delicious too. Overall the food was fantastic quality and well presented and I must compliment the chef for preparing such wonderful meals in a remote destination where ingredients can't come easily.

There is certainly no shortage of things to do at Mbotyi. The location is definitely quite unique and the setting allows for many different adventures during a stay here. In the short time over the weekend we enjoyed two beach hikes, one of which led us to a beautiful waterfall. There are plenty more hikes in store for our next visit though and we will definitely be doing some of the longer guided hikes. We also took the 4x4 trip to the 3 waterfalls. The scenery was really spectacular, even in the cold and slightly misty weather. Neville the manager and our guide for the drive is so well informed and passionate about the area the trip was so interesting and the highlight was definitely swimming at the bottom of Angels Falls. The lodge also has great canoes for use that we took out up the lagoon for a beautiful paddle and saw so much bird life. We just managed to squeeze in a swim in the clear pool before heading home. There is plenty to do for anyone with kids too and the lodge is really geared up for families and childrens entertainment too.

Thank you to all the staff at Mbotyi River Lodge for a truly memorable stay. We cannot wait to be back for our next stay. I would highly recommend Mbotyi River Lodge to anyone considering a stay here...don't think twice just book and get there, you don't know what you are missing out on!!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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beachcow, Owner at Mbotyi River Lodge, responded to this review, March 2, 2013
Dear Dani N,

What can we say other than thank you so very, very much. We know we do not appeal to everyone and certainly cannot please everybody but how lovely to know that you enjoyed the stay so much that you have booked again for April.

One of the things you should partake in then is the trip to Mfihlelo and Waterfall Bluff, unforgetable!!. Also go on a horseride, these are working community horses. Caine is a superb guide, he takes novices and expert riders, they all come back with stars in their eyes saying it was the best ever.
Many, many thanks we look forward to hacving you again.
Mbotyi staff.
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72 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (22)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2013

When we thought we'd made it (roads on the wild coast are not as good as travel guides made us believe) there is another 20 km to go....which takes another 1,5 hrs.....and then you'll arrive at the end of the world. Beautifull view from our room, which was a nice and okay wooden barrack. The only thing is that when the kitchen is closed the kitchen is closed. And the staf refused to open it. Driving trough the Wild Coast there are not much places to stop for food, so we had not eaten for the 8 hours we drove to get here.....It took me a lot of effort to get something to eat. In the end the manager was involved and a sandwhich prepared. The meals (when the kitchen was open) were good and absolutely filling. We heard however that people pay upto 900 Rand per night (we had an all inn trip in which the price was included), we think that's absolutely overpriced. An absolute must do is a hiking with Lennox. He's just an absolutely knowledgeable guide and good company. The (cultural) walk we did with him will stay in our memories forever!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oberhausen
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2013 via mobile

The lodge has a beautiful layout and a spectacular setting. The thatched room we had was generous in space but too worn, basic and rustic. The bathroom had only a bath tub without a shower. You have to rinse yourself with a bucket. It was a kind of let down because a shower tube in bath tub should be standard for such kind of lodge. The full board is average and basic, don´t expect fancy cuisine. The walk to the beach takes 3min and the beach is beautiful. On weekends secured by life guard, during the week not. The atmosphere in the lodge is quite anonymos, it is clearly a family resort with no personal touch. The staff is friendly but some negative points for us are animials like cats and dogs in the restaurant during all meals, staff sometimes too slow, staff taking lunch from buffet before guests etc only to specify a few things. A bar, a kids place with table tennis and pool billard, as well play ground is provided. TV in the bar but not WIFI available. The pool area is nice and the garden well maintained. The distances and duration of the walks (without guides) presented in the lodge folder can be treated as rough indication only. The 2 walks we tried were without markings and directions on the way and difficult to find. The maps with more detailed information which can be bought at the reception were sold out. The drive to the lodge is possible without a 4x4 but slowly to manage for a standard car. The normal road will end after 8 km and then you have to drive approxm. 20km on larger and smaller gravel.

Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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South Africa
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2013

On a recent meander through the Transkei, my husband and I ended up spending a night at Mbothyi, as the weather didnt allow for us to camp - too much wind! Although the setting is lovely, we felt the R850+ per person, for a tired and very average room was excessive. The rate was inclusive of all meals, but it still didnt justify the price. The new management were very helpful though, and said that once the season was over, there were major changes to be made - and not a moment too soon. We managed to get a room with a 'shower' - this was actually a bath, with one of those old rubbery hose things attached. There is not one room with a full on shower! No TV and no aircon in the room. Also no hairdryer. I would have been happy to pay R550 - R650 for the room in season. I shudder when I see a 'double' bed - I think 2 singles pushed together are better. especially when you're used to a King size bed at home. 2 adults in a double, on a hot sweaty December night (even with a ceiling fan) is not fun. A luxury room was about R1200.00 pppn, and had air con and tv - not worth the extra in my opinion. As with all Transkei beaches, they're beautiful, and the views are worth it. We were in our Land Rover, looking for dirt roads, so that didnt worry us. Staff listened carefully to our comments and said they were all going to be addressed in the new year. I hope so, because this is a little gem!

Room Tip: I would ask for a river or garden view room, and one away from the gate which leads to the beach. D...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
beachcow, Owner at Mbotyi River Lodge, responded to this review, February 8, 2013
Dear visitor

Thank your for spending a night at our lodge, even though you would have preferred to camp.

The weather during the summer season is never good perhaps you should consider visiting us April to August. There are many adventures to explore with perfect weather.

I am so sorry that you ended up in a thatched room, they are rustic but a large number of people find the very homely. During the off peak season the rate is R625 p.p.p.day, you unfortunately visited during peak season. We should also have mentioned to you that it is very safe to sleep with doors wide open.

We have queen sized beds 50% of our rooms, and King sz in the other 50%your bed must have been queen sz as we do not have any double beds at all. We intend to add nice outdoor showers to the thatches this year, probably not all of them at once but as funds allow.
All our rooms have ceiling fans and hairdryers are readily available at reception, as are mosquito plugs. This information should have been in your room info file. if you did not have one, my sincere apologies.

I am glad you did enjoy the stay and I urge you to visit us during the year again, mention your very valuable review and we will upgrade you to a better room.

Mbotyi offers tremendous adventures and unsurpassed natural beauty.

Warmest wishes and thanks.
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2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2013

We were lucky and blessed to have been able to spend 6 nights at this wonderful Gem of a place over New Year - we only had one complaint "The Weather" however we still had an amazing time - lots to do and see - great home food - friendly and helpful staff and VERY child friendly! We will be back. Thanks to Wendy, Neville and their team for an amazing stay! The Freese Family in Notties xx

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2012

I booked 3 nights in Mbotyi although the price seemed excessive. I guess the distance is a cost overrun and the lack of competition in the area, where there is no alternative to stay decent. In any case, it was worth going, the site is a dream, spectacular landscape, with lovely walks along the coast visiting nearby villages with traditional huts, the locals are friendly and the area looks safe. The accommodation is good, the rooms are nice, but for the price you pay may modernize a bit. The dining room is very good and the meals that are included are quite tasty and plentiful. Some nights make entertainment with live traditional music. The staff is very friendly and helpful. We hiked a day to walk to a waterfall that falls on the sea, in total about 28 km. We hired a local guide, a very friendly guy that half an hour away noticed us that there were many black mamba snakes, so we had to pay attention to the road and go behind him all the time. This disturbed me a lot and even got to see one. The excursion was great and it was very cheap excursion, about 18 euros. The last day we went to do a road trip that organized the resort to 3 nearby waterfalls through forests and tea plantations, it was beautiful. That afternoon we decided to hire a guide through the reception to make a 2 hour trip to see local villages, however, we did more or less the same as the first evening without a guide, in addition to this disappointment, the guide asked us € 15 instead of € 6 we were told at the reception that cost, these guide mischief of bugged us for their lack of seriousness and decided to give it to not discuss, however we communicate it in reception. I do not recommend anyone to hire guides to visit the nearby villages, the other two tours are highly recommended as well as coming to Mbotyi.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
beachcow, Owner at Mbotyi River Lodge, responded to this review, February 8, 2013
Dear visitor,
Firstly please forgive this late response to your very valuable review. Many thanks for taking to time to write a review.

It sounds as if you made good use of your 3 days, glad you enjoyed your stay.
The black Mamba is most definitely a permanent resident of Pondoland. When I first came to Mbotyi I was very aware of this notoriously aggressive snake. As I got to know the people of Mbotyi, watching them going about their daily lives barefoot and unconcerned, I realised that these snakes do not look for a confrontation with humans.

I have heard of one fatal Mamba bite in the area some 30 years ago.

We were disappointed to hear about the guide increasing the rate like he did. We do recommend that guests ask for guides at reception. Our guides are trained and wonderfully knowledgeable people. The transaction remains between the guest and the guide, however there are previously discussed set rates. The incident has been dealt with and we will continue education of the exploitation tourists.

Thank you for visiting our lovely Mbotyi, should you visit us again one day, contact us for a discounted rate.
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Surrey
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 8, 2012

Arrival the the Mbotyi River Lodge is via a 20km dirt road but don't for a second let this put you off, the lodge, the staff and mainly the view are worth every metre. The road is passable in a car (plenty had made it ahead of us) even now after weeks of rain and normally its an easy drive.
We got a very warm welcome and tour of the lodge before being shown to our room overlooking the amazing river mouth and beach, a view you can lose hours looking at. Dinner was simple, tasty and filling and service was excellent - especially the local staff singing for us (no idea if thats normal). The bar area is great as well and very well stocked.
The room was comfortable and clean if simply furnished but we got a good nights sleep and woke to that wonderful view. Breakfast was again of a good standard, especially the coffee!

Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mbotyi River Lodge

Address: Pondoland, Mbotyi, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Eastern Cape > Mbotyi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Mbotyi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Mbotyi River Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 48
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
At Mbotyi River Lodge, the Wild Coast's leading seaside hotel we offer a range of accommodation options for couples, groups, families or corporate and conference bookings. Guests enjoy a comfortable 3 star hotel experience at this wonderfully remote Wild Coast resort. Our bedrooms all have a private balcony or patio to enjoy the wonderful views whether it is of the sea, the lagoon or valley. All rooms also offer tea and coffee making facilities, a ceiling fan and a safe for your valuables. We have 48 well appointed, en-suite rooms of which 36 are log cabins and 12 in thatched units that blend beautifully into the lush natural environment of Pondoland. 12 Rooms interconnect - perfect for families. We also cater for sporting, adventure and conference groups. ... more   less 

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