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Kariega Game Reserve - All Lodges
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Reviewed November 9, 2009

This was our first safari so I don't know how good Kruger is but this was amazing! Really close to a number of Lions, Hippos, Giraffes, Elephants and loads of other animals too. Phil our guide really knew his stuff and was good fun. We cycled up the main gate to look for one of the giraffes but later found him outside our lodge! Our lodge was huge but a bit cold for the plunge pool. Food was excellent and enjoyed having dinner and drinks at the end of a drive with everyone else.

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank Milky1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 5, 2009

When we first arrived at Kariega we were a little concerned as everyone else was out on their afternoon game drive and we did not have a great welcome, but it improved when the drives got back. The hospitality and food was brilliant, you couldn’t fault it. The chef even made special meals if someone was a bit fussy. The rooms were spacious and clean, although fairly rustic which made the safari experience. The animals were so close to the lodges, it was amazing to wake up to see giraffes outside your window (no lions on this bit though!). I would definitely recommend lots of warm clothes for the game drives because it was very cold and windy when we went.

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Quidney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 21, 2009

We stayed in the Kariega Main Lodge on our honeymoon in September. When we first got into our room I was a little bit disappointed that we didn't have a real fire something which people we had met had raved about, however it turns out we probably wouldn't have used it much anyway, and the air-con was much more instant heat!
The chalet was loevly and clean and spacious and if you were lucky you could watch the monkeys playing on your balcony most days. Our chalet was directly opposite the restaurant which was great as otherwise could have been a bit of a walk in the dark.
The food at Kariega was amazing and there was so much of it, lovely salads and then on our last night there was a traditional Brai BBQ, delicious.
But the most fantastic thing about the place was definitely the safaris themselves. This was our first safari but has definitely given us the taste for more.
Our ranger Wynand was great very knowledgeable and when all the other rangers backed off from an animal he got in closer!!!
We saw everything bar the buffalo and the leopard (although I don't think many people are lucky enough to see the leopard)
Watching the lions was truly amazing and an unforgettable moment.
Would def recommend Kariega particularly for people who have not done a safari before.

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank northwhale
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 11, 2009

As a party of four adults we stayed at River Lodge for three nights. This was our second time on Safari and chose Kariega as the cost of the previous reserve we had stayed at had gone up in price so much. What a great decision - we had an experience way beyond out expections, it was just fanastic. Our Ranger Mike was a star, he was unbelieveably knowledgeable as well as having wicked sense of humour. Mike also took us on a boat trip to Kenton-on-Sea on one of the afternoons between drives. The lodges are large with baths and walk-in showers. Lloyd the Manager of River Lodge was an excellent host and the staff efficient and friendly. Food was generally good and we were presently surprised to find that, despite booking full board, all drinks were included (including the room's mini bar!). Would not hesitate in recommending River Lodge.

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank CarolMills
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 9, 2009

My sister, wIlmarie, and I stayed at Kariega, River Lodge on the 14th and 15th of September and I would just like to give you some feedback from our stay.

On arrival at the security gate we were met by Patricia, who told us that we could leave our car at the parking lot, she and the animals will look after it till we leave again. I must say her "reception area" were just a small idea of what were coming, her friendly manner also spoke of the excellent service we were going to get from the staff for the next 3 days. she asked us to have some refreshments with her while we waited for David, our guide for our stay.

Once Dawid arrived, our luggage loaded, we were off. It was exceeding our expectations by far. On the way to the lodge (the entrace gate is high up and the lodge a few minutes drive down a steep road right at the bottom next to the river. When we arrived at the lodge Lizle was there with a warm smile to welcome us and make us feel even more at home. While we were talking to her and showing us around the lodge and meeting Tulani and the others, Dawid quickly took luggage to our luxury suite and came back to collect us with the little golf cart, which he had to show me how to drive . He then showed us around our luxury suite, which I was totally speechless about. We stayed in the Elephant Suite, with the most spectacular view imaginable. The suite had a "livingroom area (with a bar counter""it shared with another 2 rooms, its own private swimmingpool and its own jetty with a bench overlooking the river.

Later that afternoon we were offered some refreshments and met the other guests that were joining us for the drive (the arrivals for the day are allocated to one guide (max of 10 pax) and he is the groups guide for the whole stay). . We had two English couples on their honeymoons with us, which were great fun, they did ask a lot of questions and Dawid just had the way to deal with them in a professional but also fun manner. He has a wide knowledge of nature and he kept us entertained with stories of each animal we came across. On our return to the lodge (around 8 at night) , the staff were waiting for us with hot chocolate/sherry and a warm towel as no one wanted to believe Dawid and Lloyd (one of the lodge managers) when they said it would be freezing on the vehicle. We sat down in the lounge in front of the fire place, there is nothing like a burning fire to make everyone feel at ease. We had some pre-dinner drinks and ended up getting to know each other better, with Lloyd making sure everyone is enjoying themselves. Once we received the menu, we all asked Dawid what to try, he suggested the Ostrich steak, (the next night I choice the Eland steak and WOW, it was amazing!) and believe me, it was fantastically prepared. After dinner, we all sat around the fire and chatted away.

The next morning we had an early wake-up call and met the others back at the lodge for muffins and coffee before our early morning game drive. It was an amazing morning with a lot of time spent with Mohawk (the male lion) as we were the first guest of the day to spot him, quickly Dawid informed the other guides of his position and I need to congratulate the reserve on the guides and their eagerness to show guests everything. Having been on a few game drives with guides and having seen firsthand how same guides do everything to keep a sighting all to themselves with their guests I just need to give Kariega a big thumbs-up. The communication between the guides are excellent, but you never feel that the next group is in a hurry for you to leave for example with our sighting of the hippo’s Dawid informed Doc that we have the sighting of the hippo’s but it is an one vehicle sighting – he can come but just need to give us enough time to enjoy the hippo’s first.
We took the boat trip back to the lodge and it was amazing to see a new side of game viewing – we tried our best to spot the lion cubs who the other group saw climbing Dassie Ridge along the river’s edge. Back at the lodge it was time for breakfast, and around 11 Dawid took us to do site inspections at the other lodges as well (Wilmarie is a travel agent and arranged it beforehand so she could inform her clients of all accomodation types.
Every one of the lodges has something special to offer the guest and the décor are superb in every unit. Kariega truly cater for all different tourists, the honeymooners (River Lodge, Ukhozi Lodge), friends (River Lodge, Kariega Main Lodge, Homestead), couples (River Lodge, Ukhozi Lodge) and families (Kariega Main Lodge, Homestead) or conferences (River Lodge, Homestead, Kariega Main Lodge).

Late afternoon we left the lodge again in the boat to collect our game drive vehicle for the evening drive. We started the last few hours on our drive off by tracking the lionesses and eventually found them asleep, no more than 50 meters from Homestead – where we were about 6 hours ago while viewing the lodges. We stopped to view the sunset and everyone was very quiet and enjoyed the experience. After dinner, back at the lodge we sat for hours talking with the other couples and enjoyed the time together. The whole experience is something everyone involved will remember as one of the highlights of their lives, and it is mostly due to the following:
- Friendly service of the staff and follow guests
- The amazing location of the lodges
- The atmosphere created by the staff to ensure everyone has the best time and are constantly treated like royalty
- The wildlife experience and the excellent training of the game guides
- Our fellow guests on safari - the fact that you get to know your fellow guests as well as your guide are a great idea
- You arrive as couples (some even on honeymoon) but after the first game drive you are so relaxed and feel like family
All in all I truly loved every single minute of the whole 3 days and it was extremely difficult to leave all that behind.
I can assure you that if at all possible I will be back many times!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Stayed: September 2009
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3  Thank johanitaSouthAfrica
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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