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“A great place” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Kariega River Lodge

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Kariega River Lodge
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Kenton-on-Sea
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
24 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“A great place”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 2, 2013 via mobile

Our guide was Zolani, who was a very experienced, knowledgable, affable guy. I cannot rave about the place more, staff could not do more for you, the drink and food was free flowing, and very good. The fear about all inclusive is extra charges, we had none of that, whatever you wanted to drink, was freely given. Take the canoes out, boat trip to Kenton on sea, were all part of the package.
We did 3 days at Ukhozi and 4 at River and would recommend that as both offered something different.

Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Rdajackson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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215 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    171
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    10
    7
    0
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (42)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Norwegian first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Kilkee, Ireland
Level Contributor
13 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 1, 2013

We had two great nights at Kariega River Lodge. The service was provided mainly by our ranger/guide, who looks after you for your entire stay. He even has meals with you, which allows for a friendly, even family like experience. The rooms are individual chalets adjacent to the lodge, and you gather at the lodge for meals and there are lovely seating areas in the lodge and access to computer if needed. The food was average after some of the other places we had eaten in South Africa, but this did not take from the overall amazing once in a lifetime experience. Although I hope it won't be the only time i get to stay at The River Lodge. Our guide Dave was amazing and we had fantastic game drives.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Maryrose c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
England
Level Contributor
101 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 29, 2013

We stayed as a family of 4 for 3 nights of a 3week SA holiday. We have visited this wonderful country every summer ( their winter) for the last 7 years and this was one of our best game lodge experiences. We had superb elephant and hippo experiences with our guide Wayne being knowledgeable and accommodating ,interacting brilliantly with our 9 and 12 year old boys ,as well as us!
The evening meals were top quality with a good choice of food, and all lodge staff were helpful and friendly. The extra twist to facilities was the opportunity to go on a river trip/ safari during which we had a lovely walk with Giraffes having moored up down river. We also used the boat to go to the stunning beach at Kenton and took canoes out on the river.
Another interesting aspect is the school at homefields which the lodge helps support. Our visit there was truly sobering.

Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
Helpful?
2 Thank EnglandIan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
East London, South Africa
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 14, 2013

River Lodge is such a unique and amazing place. We were spoilt and looked after from the moment we arrived. The staff and in particular managers, Brendan and Nosakhe, were very attentive and nothing was too much trouble. The food is 1st class and plentiful and I commend the lodge for being so accommodating and cautious to my husband's food allergy. Thank you.

The accommodation is lovely, very comfy beds and we totally loved the bath! The heater was more than appreciated after the evening game drive.

Our ranger Zulani was an excellent guide with a wealth of wildlife knowledge acquired over many years. He has a great sense of humour. The game viewing was unique, especially the lion and elephant experiences that we shared.

Thanks for an awesome weekend, we truly relaxed and felt like we were on honeymoon all over again. Well done to the River Lodge and Kariega Team!

Room Tip: Pack warm clothes for the game drives, scarves and beanies are essential!
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Lindy K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richmond Hill, Canada
Level Contributor
10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 12, 2013

We were a group of six with 2 children aged 11 and 15. We were given the Elephant, Giraffe and Buffalo suites which were at the very end and had a private sitting area with a pool. The rooms were beautiful and looked brand new with a rustic African theme. Our fridge was fully stocked at all times, and if we were too lazy to make coffee, we can take the golf cart for a 5 minute ride to the common area for a cappuccino. "Common Area", where most meals were served was beautiful with a giant fireplace, African themed comfy furniture, and treehouse theme to the upper levels where there is a small library, and computer. Although the variety food was limited, it was more than enough - you're in Africa, not the gluttony life style of North Americans. The Boma dinner under the stars by the huge bonfire was wonderful.
Our ranger, Zolani, took us on our magnificient game drives. We stayed for three nights, and did 5 game drives (optional 6th), but we were too tired to get up for the last morning. Zolani was amazing with the Landcruiser, and maneuvered the vehicle so that we able to see and and take pictures at the optimum angles. Our highlight was when he parked us in the path of a herd of 20+ elephants. They were so close that we couldn't even aim to take pictures! Another hilarious highlight was when he spotted an ostrich doing its mating dance, and then it ran 100ft with its wings flapping to do its thing with a female. It must be mating season since we caught the a lion trying to mount a female that was not interested - had to keep it clean for the kids. The all-terrain drives were an attraction in itself. When we were on top of a hill in the evening, my son actually screamed "where's the road?!"
On our last evening, with just us and another family of 4 in the candlelit dining room, the staff sang Happy Birthday to my husband and son, and brought out a delicious birthday cake. I had arranged it by email with Shelly, the assistant manager at Kariega. Shelly also made arrangements with Zolani to take my family for a visit to Farmersfield Primary School. It is one of the three schools Kariega sponsors in the community. It was an eye opener for my children and a very educational experience for us. We spent time there interacting with the children, questions and answers (names, ages, future aspirations). The little ones sang for us, and we did a little reading. We left the headmistress, Daphne, with a donation for supplies and porridge. They have a selection of old books in the "library" and in need of computers and essentials. Although Kariega does not solicit, they take donations, however small, so please leave a little something if you visit. All in all, it was a wonderful experience for our very first safari. Thanks Kariega for the personal touch!

Room Tip: The River Lodge and houses up to 20 guests in individual bungalows and 30 minutes away from the main...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank DragonLady_at
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Daventry, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
16 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 4, 2013

I absolutely loved Kariega I cannot emphasize enough how amazing the whole experience was. This was our first visit to a game reserve and we were completely astounded by what we saw. The animals are so relaxed around the vehicles it is almost like you're not there. Our ranger explained the animals see the vehicles and the people in the vehicles as one entiity and are completely at ease around them because they are used to seeing them. The rangers also make sure that only a couple of vehicles are at a sighting together at any one time and often only one vehicle at a time.

We met a number of people there who have been to other game reserves over the years and time and time again were told that Kariega was the best they has experienced. It seems some reserves have countless vehicles at sightings and have not made effort they have at Kariega to make sure the animals are at ease around the vehicles.

Of the larger animals we had numerous sightings of a whole pride of lions with cubs, white rhino, elephant, buffalo, giraffe, Zebra, Wilderbeast, many different types of antelope and were lucky enough to see a hippo out of water! The birdlife at Kariega alone is worth the trip, I especially enjoyed seeing the kingfishers fishing.

Kariega also do a lot for Rhino conservation. It's hard to believe these beautiful creatures will become extinct soon if the poaching continues to decimate the population. Kariega sadly had 3 White Rhino poached last year despite their efforts to prevent such attacks. Tragically two bulls died and Thandi against all odds became one of the first Rhino to survive a poachers attack. It was both heartbreaking and moving to see Thandi because you could see her wound and the suffering she must have endured but also see her looking healthy and happily spending time with a beautiful baby Rhino and her mother.

Our ranger Dave Fraser was very knowledgeable and passionate about the wildlife. It was an absolute pleasure to spend time with Dave and we learnt so much from him about the plants and animals.

Anyway, back to the River Lodge! The rooms are fantastic at and the service second to none. The food was delicious and the menu varied. If you are looking to book, look no further than Kariega River Lodge!

Room Tip: There are rooms next door to the main River Lodge and there are rooms further down the river where g...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank KGoepel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Norwich, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 15, 2013

We came here on our honeymoon and were blown away by this place. The venue, right by the river and the service recieved was absolutely spot on. Our room was stunning and every day the staff would provide a turn down service and tidy our room.

We arrived at 7pm and were met by the front gate by one of the staff who was to drive us to the lodge. Within seconds we had seen our first animal which only added to the excitement of what we would experience over the next few days. It took only 10 mins to get to the lodge where we were met by the duty manager who invited us to dinner with the other guests and ranger.

Some people would call the choice of dishes limiting but I would say it is quality over quantity! There is a choice 3 starters, 3 mains and 3 deserts and all were fantastic. My wife is a fussy eater and found something to eat and I'm sure if you asked, the chef would cook something specific. I am not so fussy and enjoyed Ostrich, Kudu and Kingslip ( i think) and all were fantatsically cooked. There is also a fantastic choice of wines available, all of which were included in the package.

Breakfast and lunch were also very tasty and we certainly looked forward to when it was time to eat!

The game drives for us started at 6.45am and we met at 6.30am for coffee and muffins to start the day. Be warned that when we went in June (which is the low season) it can be very cold early in the day and late at night. We bought hats and gloves and were fortunate to packed other clothes that were sufficient in keeping us warm. If you do get cold, there is blankets available in the jeep to keep you toasty. Back to the game drives......these very much lived up to be the highlight of our whole trip away. Our ranger was so knowledgable and we were so close to animals we could touch them (please don't!). The evening game drive started at 3.30pm and both game drives took around 2 and half hours. We would suggest a minimum two night stay so you get to see all the animals, as the game reserve is vast and your not guarenteed to see all the animals in every drive. We were there for four night and did 6 game drives in total and got to see 4 of the big 5 (with exception of Leopard, which is very difficult to track and even the rangers haven't seen it for several months). I won't spoil the experience of the game drives but you do get close to the animals and get to see some amazing sights and sounds.

When we returned in the evening we were welcomed by the staff with hot towels and shot of something nice to drink :-) You eat with your ranger and other people from the game drive, so you get to meet and chat with other people, which we thought was a nice touch.......

In between game drives, take the chance to relax on the balcony over looking the water with good book, or you can watch Tv in the snug upstairs :-) We also took advantage of kayaking down the river which we were allowed to do by ourselves....

A big THANK YOU to everyone at Riverlodge and a special thanks to Zolani our ranger. No need to tip after every meal and game drive but do tip at the end of your stay if you think it was worth it, we certainly did. We were so impressed that we hope to return one day to enjoy this special place.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Chris5cott
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bronwen d, Manager at Kariega River Lodge, responded to this review, July 16, 2013
We are delighted to hear that you enjoyed your honeymoon and stay with us! We've passed on your thanks to Zolani and the team at River Lodge. Looking forward to welcoming you back again!
Kind regards, Bronwen & the Kariega team
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kariega River Lodge

Property: Kariega River Lodge
Address: R 343 | Kenton, Kenton-on-Sea 6191, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Eastern Cape > Greater Addo > Kenton-on-Sea
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Kenton-on-Sea
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Kariega River Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Nestled on the banks of the Bushman's River, this Lodge is unique in that it connects a Big-5 Kariega Game Reserve to the sea. Our optional daily boat cruises ferry guests through the quaint sea side village of Kenton-on-Sea. Inside the Lodge guests can find a quiet spot in one of the lounges, page through a book in the library, enjoy the pool or take in the view from the magnificent deck which overhangs the river. Twice daily safari drives, guided walks, river fishing, canoeing and river trips are included. Accommodation, all meals and local beverages are also included. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
River Hotel Kenton-On-Sea
River Hotel Kariega Game Reserve

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