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“Very professional” 5 of 5 stars
Review of River Bend Lodge

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River Bend Lodge
5.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Zuurberg Road, Addo | PO Box 249, Addo Elephant National Park 6105, South Africa   |  
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Upstate NY
Top Contributor
124 reviews 124 reviews
62 hotel reviews
Reviews in 74 cities Reviews in 74 cities
84 helpful votes 84 helpful votes
“Very professional”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 9, 2013

We just came back from visiting South Africa and spend a couple of nights at River Bend. This place is small with just 8 rooms so at most there would only be 16 people. As the last reviewer said, it has a boutique feel to it and everyone is personable and service oriented. We had four rides were able to see lions, black rhino, elephants, giraffes, kudu. We did not go to the public side of Addo Elephant park as River Bend side has most of the animals you want to see. Another important info is that their Landrovers seat just 6 people so no middle seats! Seeing these elephants up close and personal was an incredible experience. The food was excellent as well, all high end restaurant style. My wife also got a massage and she enjoyed the experience.If you are going to Addo for game viewing, this is the place to be. It was fantastic!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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205 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    183
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (43)
Date | Rating
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English first
Gloucester, United Kingdom
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2013

We arrived at lunch time with a friendly greeting by the staff, shown our rooms which were lovely. The six of us enjoyed lunch on the varandah which consisted of a salad. Later we met for tea and cake then were taken on our game drive. As this Lodge is in a concessionary area of Addo Park we were driven for what seemed like hours in this area seeing nothing but warthogs, birds and bush. Our guide told us the elephants had "gone missing" and were somewhere in this concessionary area. It seemed as though our guide was happy to pass the time stopping at every boring wretched warthog, or an eagle or similar. It was irritating to have read there were the Big Five in the Park but we were not being taken there to see them. So at the end of the drive we returned disappointed having seen nothing. We met later for a drink at the bar and then dinner. Wine prices were high. We felt we were taken advantage of because we had to accept what they offered. We went through to the dinigroom and waited for our 3 course meal. I ordered started scallops and main course lamb. There was one scallop on the plate and nothing else but swathes of arty decoration!! The lamb arrived - served on a bed of veges 2 inches by 2 inches and a quarter of an inch high, again with arty decor . Our friends who ordered the kingklip found the portion to be a size of dessertspoon, the portion was so meagre. The dessert arrived. This was rediculous. We left the table starving. Back to the bar to fill up on drinks.
We were up early for the game drive. This time our guide took us over the dusty gravel road to the main park. He should have been properly informed where to find the elephants and other wild animals giraffe and lions, as the guides are all on radio contact. He took us from one warthog to the next, more wretched birds, ostrich and bush. After an age we came upon a few elephant standing at the water hole. There were some zebra nearby waiting their turn for water. Then our drive was over and headed back to the Lodge.

We left after breakfast and drove ourselves around the main park, where we found masses of elephants either at water holes or quietly eating in amongst the spekboom. We ourselves even found the buffalo. We were disappointed at not being shown the wildlife as this was the specific reason for going to Addo. The accommodation itself was excellent but we had not gone all that way to stay in a luxury hotel.

Room Tip: Ensure you will be taken to see the big game and express your wishes to your guide.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Bern
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2013

The lodge is the perfect place to spend a couple of nights in the Addo Elephant Park. We felt like beeing part of the movie "Out of Africa". Although a bit expensive it was worth while staying there. Mike made it possible to see Lions, a black Rhino, Elephants, Buffalos, Meerkats and a lot of other animals. He is the perfect guide.
Sitting in the pool and getting spoiled by the marvelous service of Moses was a highlite. The team is highliy motivated - looking into your eyes they already know what you like before you said it. The comfort offered by the lodge is outrageous.
Away from "mass tourism" this jewel in South Africa offers you a splendid service and a perfect experience of hospitality.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oakville, Canada
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2013

We were left with the sense that River bend "knows who they are". They are not a big factory, they are a boutique...but without the stuffiness that boutiques sometimes have and with a genuine sense of caring about the guest's having the best ppossible experience!!

You enter River Bend as a guest, but you leave as a friend.

This experience begins with the first contact when you recieve a reply that has a wonderful tone to it. And this tone continues throughout the full experience.

The standards are consistent throughout all dimensions of the operation--initial response, reception, rooms, meals and, of course, the "game experience"!! While we had the pleasure and privilege of having Darlington as our guide, I am certain tha the rest of the guiding team would be of a similar timber and competence. The guides worked nicely and seamlessly as a unit to ensure that all guests had the same level of experience.

Overall, a great team and a fabulous experience.

Room Tip: All rooms seemed to be of the same high quality. We were left with the sense that River Bend &quo...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 22, 2013

Loved everything about this place! We were greeting very warmly by Tariro and Darlington (our field guide). The lodge doesn't have many rooms, which makes it more perfect. Our room (8) was lovely, very large with the biggest bed I've ever seen! The food is delicious and served by extremely friendly staff. Everyone at Riverbend is friendly and make you feel welcome. The high tea is a great time to meet the managers and the other guests before you go out on the afternoon drive.
We are extremely luckily in that for our first 2 drives it was just us 2 and Darlington. We had such an amazing experience seeing the lions, rhino, zeebra, ostrich, kudo and many more! We had sundowner G&Ts on the first evening - that was something I wont forget. Darlington is so knowledgeable and an excellent guide. We saw giraffe and elephants before we went home which just topped off the whole experience. This is such a wonderful place to stay, 2 nights was not long enough!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mol
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 10, 2013

It was the 4th time my husband Rudi and I stayed some nights at Riverbend Lodge in Addo Elephant Park. It is always amazing to see the efforts all members of the staff take to make you feel better than at home :-). Upon arrival, after a warm welcome by Stefanie and Tariro, Field Guide Darlington immediately drove me to the main shop at the gate of Addo Elephant Park because my suitcase went missing on the airport and had not turned up after 4 days, so I could buy some safari-clothing over there and felt much better afterwards. Darlington's game drives are always good, no matter what you see during the drive. It's not only the big five, but birds, insects, plants, trees,.... He knows it all! We always end up very close to the elephants, animals I love so much and make me feel sad when I read about the culling and poaching of those magnificent pachyderms. But of course we saw lion, black rhino, buffalo, lots of zebra, kudu, warthogs, impala, red hartebeest, eland, black-backed jackal, yellow mongoose, ostrich, cranes, ...
Being vegetarians we also like the chef's cuisine and the waiters Moses, Lyanda, Princess and Princess look upon you during the nice meals (breakfast, lunch, high tea and dinner).
The rooms are splendid, spacious and cosy. A plunge in the swimming pool cools you down after a wonderful morning game drive.
We enjoyed a massage by Ina-Lize and loved the gentle way Sarah was always around making sure everything was ok. Chatting with Stefanie is always nice, because she also has a lot of knowledge about wildlife and nature. It was certainly not the last time we stayed there.

Room Tip: All rooms are equally comfortable, the honeymoon suite has a small private pool and larger private t...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mol, Belgium
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 4, 2013

Why do I keep going back to Addo Elephant Park and to River Bend Lodge in particular? Surely, the elephants are part of the reason. If you have ever been close to those gentle giants, the way you may approach them in Addo, you will forever love them and crave for meeting them again, like old friends. Perhaps it's the black rhino, elusive and playing hard to catch. We had a nice encounter with a healthy boy during this fourth visit to River Bend Lodge and that sighting alone was worth coming back. And there are all the other animals, like Jessica, the gorgeous lioness whom we saw missing a kill by an inch ...
But honestly, the reason we keep coming back here (more than elsewhere) is because of the beautiful setting in the most enchanting lodge around. And most of all it is the people we come back to. Super-guide Darlington, who knows every animal and who had a "predator feeling" leading us to that particular waterhole where Jessica went for a red hartebeest, and Stephanie, Tariro, Luyanda, Princess & Princess, ... all of whom go as far as it takes to turn a couple of days in Addo into a guaranteed GREAT experience, again and again and ...

Room Tip: We had the honeymoon suite (room 1) and while all the rooms are great, this one , with the private p...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about River Bend Lodge

Address: Zuurberg Road, Addo | PO Box 249, Addo Elephant National Park 6105, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > Eastern Cape > Greater Addo > Addo Elephant National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 10 Specialty Lodging in Addo Elephant National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — River Bend Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated on a 14,000ha private concession within the Addo Elephant National Park, RiverBend is a mere 45 minute drive from Port Elizabeth. Home to an abundance of wildlife including elephant, lion, hyena, buffalo, black rhino and a variety of antelope and over 300 bird species, RiverBend is an ideal malaria-free safari addition to a Garden Route holiday. Children of all ages welcome. Pampering treatments are available in the Vitality Studio. Personalized game drives are led by enthusiastic and experienced guides, who will ensure you have a truly memorable safari experience. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
River Bend Hotel Addo Elephant National Park

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