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Reviewed August 10, 2012

Truly awesome! We were dumbstruck by the River Lodge.

We arrived from 7 nights in Cape Town and met with open arms by Natasha and our ranger Gerhart. Only to be told that were the only guests booked in for that night. We were whisked off in our own golf cart to our lodge ( no. 9), which made our jaws drop. The lodge was amazing and they really have though of everything, even bug repellant is provided. Kettle, tea & coffee, bottled water, biscuits, fully stocked mini bar, fluffy robes, toiletries, brolly, even a SA adapter. The 3 lodges at the end of the lane also have their own little pool and jetty for fishing, however, we were much too busy to take advantage of them, much to our delight.

We went straight back to the wonderful clubhouse for lunch (3 courses, no less) with soup and the most wonderful bread you will ever encounter, for starters. There are usually a choice of 3 mains and a few desserts for lunch. All courses were amazing. We grabbed our camera and binoculars and set of with Gerhart for our own private game drive. We were really lucky on our first afternoon to encounter the full pride of lions (all 11 of them), giraffes, buffallo, zebra, rhino, hippo, warthogs, the ever present Impala and lots more. After a quick stop for sundowners and snacks, we returned tired, cold ( although lovely warm blankets were provided) and hungry and met by warm towels and a Sprinkbok cocktail (mint & choc yum). Just time for a quick shower before dinner was served in the lounge in front of a roaring fire. As were were on our own the staff had set us up in the lounge with the fire, candles, flower scattered table, the works. The staff went out of their way to provide wonderful service and still be discreet. Your glass will never be dry and the food is amazing (Gil you are the master!). Gil even appeared with coffee and a cheeseboard as we relaxed on the comfy sofa in front of the fire after dinner. Over our 3 day stay, we can honestly say that not one item of food that we consumed was not absolutely fabulous!. After dinner, we sloped off to the loft to watch the football and again our wine glasses were regularly topped up. Very carefully we drove our golf cart back along the rivers edge to our lodge. That night would bring the most amazing thunderstorm that we have ever encoutered on our travels, but we were snuggly tucked up in our comfy bed.

The next morning after breakfast we set off on our second lone game drive, before returning for lunch. We were joined by a lovely American couple for the afternoon drive. We set off in seach of elephants and after a long drive, had what I think was the highlight of our safari. The whole herd of elephants walking straight past us as we sat in our Cruiser, a mere 6 feet or so away at times. Even a cute little baby elephant (in fact we saw quite a few babies, including a very shy rhino). After a long trek back to the lodge, again we were met by hot towels and a welcome drink. Dinner with our new friends and our Ranger was accompanied by lots of wine, laughter and much talk of what we would see tomorrow.

Gerhart had a special day planned for us. We set off for a river cruise (speedboat) down to Kenton on Sea, where we were able to go for a walk along the beach. Back at the lodge, we picked up our specially prepared picnic and set off for our morning game drive. Again we saw lots of the animals and Gerhart took us to the most amazing picnic spot for our yummy picnic lunch. Back to the lodge where we had a quick drink, picked up our new companions ( a honeymoon couple) and set off for the afternoon of animal spotting. We really were amazed by how close some of the animals are, a lioness brushed past the cruiser, within 2 feet of me, wow. After a quick sundowner we were back for a traditional braii (barbeque) with lots of african dishes, all of which were amazing. After dinner we were entertained by the staff, dancing and singing and we all sat around the huge fire, chatting long into the night.

We were very sad to leave the next day, but had managed to squeeze in 5 game drives, each one amazing. Even as Natasha drove us back to the main gate to meet our driver, a few giraffes poked their heads above the trees to say goodbye.

This really was a "once in a lifetime" experience, that we would love to repeat. The staff, without exception, were amazing. Always ready for a chat, and the lodges biggest asset. A special mention for our Ranger Gerhart who was great fun, always kept us safe and boy did he know his stuff. Also Natasha and Gil, you guys are hospitality at its best. We were really sad to leave.

In short, superb game viewing, world class food, big hearted hospitality, this has got to be the first choice for game viewing in the Cape.

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank TravelBoo2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 6, 2012

I stayed at River Lodge in March 2012 for 3 nights at the comencement of a 5 1/2 week trip through southern Africa. My travel agent recommended River Lodge highly, and the actual experience surpassed my expectations.
Travelling as a solo female traveller it is always in the back of your mind. Will it be safe? Will I be bored? Who will I talk to? I should never have worried. The arrangement of having the same group with the same ranger for the duration of the trip meant that you were never really flying solo. I was very lucky to encounter a wonderful group during my stay. This was a great lodge to consider if travelling solo. You never really feel "alone"
Gerhard was our fantastic game driver. His passion for the animals and enthusiasm was infectious. Being a private game reserve we were "up close and personal" with many animals during my stay. Despite many more game drives throughout the rest of my trip, we never got quite as close to the lions and rhinos as what we had managed at Kariega.
Certainly I was made to feel very special during my stay by all the staff I encountered, especially Gerhard, Rupert, Gil, Natasha and Bongo. The GM even happened by one day and enquired to make sure that everything was going well. It felt like one big family that I was fortunate enough to be visiting.
The trip down to Kenton-on-Sea by boat was conducted in inclement weather - but the rain held out. After a walk to the ocean shore and along the river edge we were welcomed back to the boat by Gerhard with drinks. He even took such great care of us, that he dusted our feet off so that the sand would not blow in our eyes on the way back .. now that is going above and beyond!
Food and drinks were freely flowing. You certainly never go hungry, and you don't want for anything. After consuming your 3 course meal each evening you retire to the lounges around the fire. One night we stayed a little longer than normal and before we knew it, Gil the Cook arrived with a cheese plate, just in case we were still hungry. This is indicative of your stay here - they pre-empt your wants needs and desires.
The room was huge and very comfortable.
I would have no hesitation in recommending River Lodge to anyone wanting to do a game lodge experience tacked onto the Garden Route. Do yourself a favour and look at River Lodge. There may be ritzier places out there - but the value for money, experience and fact that you will be so well taken care of cannot be beaten.

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled solo
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2  Thank 68HolidayQueen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 5, 2012

We spent the Easter weekend here as a family and very much enjoyed the experience. We saw an enormous amount of game at close quarters and enjoyed the fabulous scenery. The staff were very hospitable and I can recommend this lodge. It was close to PE so our travel time from cape town was short.

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank judzCapeTown
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 17, 2012

Super welcome at these remote riverside lodges. Very lucky to be allocated the Zebra Lodge to celebrate our anniversary and to be really spoilt by the lovely people on site managed by the very considerate Natasha. Early to bed early to rise was the norm - otherwise you might miss the morning game drive leaving at 6.00 am sharp! But we did return to a cooked breakfast. Our ranger, Brendan, was really knowlegeable about everything we saw, and also didn't see, with a great sense of humour and thirst for adventure to ensure his clients got the best out of the experience. Clients are hosted by the same ranger throughout the stay - whether for game drives, dining or visits to the beach.- which means you get to know each other quite well. Staff live on site for 30 days and then have 10 days leave so you should see the same faces over the few days. The 4.00 drive is followed by a 3 course dinner with aperitifs and wine before an early night - if you are sensible! There is also a lunch to fit in somehow. As to the real reason for being there - the animals - they were amazing as other reports indicate. How close do you want to get - we were almost able to touch the bull elephant and the black rhino. The baby elephants practising their charges at the jeep were a real delight - flapping ears, high pitched screams and then a quick run back to the safety of the rest of the herd. It is hard to encapsulate the whole experience in a few words - we left delighted but really emotional at leaving this wonderful place behind. Can't fault the stay but for one thing - Dolly the ostrich is lonely, she needs a mate!

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank JonKi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 17, 2012

Our 6 person family group ages ranged from 78 -18 you would think it quite difficult to keep every one happy - not so at River Lodge. We had so much FUN! River Lodge's thatched roof and relaxed atmosphere was perfect for us. We had Elephant, Giraffe and Buffalo Suites - furthest away from the reception lounge and restaurant and includes a private sitting area and plunge pool. Which was perfect! Golf buggies were provided which were hilarious especially when driving grandma around. Rupert our ranger was brilliant. He said we would be close enough to the animals to see their eyelashes and he was so right! Amazing. Everyone, Natasha, Bunga, other rangers, all the restaurant and cleaning staff couldn't do anymore for us. We had in mind that between game drives life would be quiet so all took lots of books - none of us read anything! We canoed, we fished, we went to the beach by boat, we went on a night safari seeing buffalo by torch light, we ate wonderful food and we slept very well at night! Thank you River Lodge for the most amazing holiday we've ever had!

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank Jane M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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