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“'Home away from home'”

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Dungbeetle River Lodge
Ranked #2 of 9 Colchester B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 7, 2011

3 nights at Dungbeetle and I left feeling like one of the family! The hosts Derek & Etta could not have made me feel more welcome or pander any better to my needs. Wonderfully peaceful location, great hospitality and very accessible to Addo for safari and a wide selection of other activities. Derek took me out on safari in Addo and really went out of his way to try and ensure I saw as much as possible and he was very knowledgeable on the animals. I recommend the Schotia night safari experience as well - good up close sightings!

Room Tip: All rooms are beautifully decorated, but next time I'll ask for one with a river view which has...
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  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled solo
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2  Thank Gail A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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160 - 166 of 326 reviews

Reviewed September 10, 2011

We spent one night at dungbeetle during a car trip, and it was great. The owners were extremely helpful, organized our elephant tour, suggested a route inside addo park (both of them are official tourist guides of the park). When we were leaving, Etta even recommended great atractions at the garden route, as we were goingo to knysna. It was a pity we stayed so little time, because there are other very interstig activities nearby, such as great sand dunes, that we didn't visit.
The room was very confortable, spacious and well decorated. The breakfast was delicious, just next to the river.

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Lucila B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 6, 2011

We stayed at the DungBeetle River Lodge for 3 nights with owners and hosts Etta and Derek who are both very knowledgable, fully qualified wildlife guides. We took their 3 night package deal which was a half board option with evening meals usually provided off the premises and it also included:
1. a full day game drive in the Addo National Park with either Etta or Derek
2. an afternoon/evening game drive (including evening meal) at a private game park
3. a choice of elephant interaction, dune walk or riverboat cruise.

As it happened we arrived on the same day as two other couples, one British and the other German. The British couple were personal friends of the hosts and so unusually that day the evening meal was provided on the premises. The party just gelled from that point on and we had a great time with our new friends over the next 3 days.

The review -
The location of the lodge is just a kilometre or so off the main N2 and is one in a row of properties that back on to the Sundays River. The view from the back terrace across the river to the dunes is really something and is a stunning backdrop for the first class breakfast that includes homemade bread, jam and marmalade (there must have been at least 10 flavours to try).

The windows in our room, the elephant suite, were quite small and high up making the room a little dingy but it was a good size, clean and well furnished.

The hosts Etta and Derek were both very welcoming and very adept at making you feel at home in their home. They are also quite rightly proud of the standard of accommodation that they provide and were very insistent when dealing with a local tradesman to get a problem with our hot water sorted out on the day that it occurred.

Both Etta and Derek conducted our game drive in the Addo National Park with Etta doing the driving and most of the talking. This was a really interesting day under difficult circumstances due to heavy rain the previous night creating new, fresher waterholes all over the park so that the animals were not visiting the old, stale ones. Despite this and due to our experienced guides we still saw buffalo, hartibeest, kudu, lions, meerkats, jackals and of course elephants.

Our elephant interaction option choice was provided by Kwantu Elephant Santuary and we went with our new friends Rebecca and Philipp. There were 4 elephants each with a trainer and our morning with them consisted of a short talk from the head trainer followed by an introduction to the elephants themselves. Then they did a run through their display routine before we were allowed to climb aboard, one (up close) behind each of the trainers. With only a blanket over their backs they are not the most comfortable of animals to ride but definitely an experience not to be missed. After a 20 minute stroll around the grounds and an inelegant dismount it was then time to feed them. What an honour! What a morning! What a memory!

After a short drive with lunch on the way we arrived at the private game park. Here the drivers are provided by the park and you are driven around the park in open jeeps, about 10 people per vehicle. The drivers are in touch by radio with each other so that everyone knows where the action is. During our drive we saw 4 lions stalking warthogs, hippos out of the water and giraffes play fighting, one bashing it's neck against the other. Dinner was OK, we were there to see the wildlife after all. After the meal we found 2 fully grown male lions prowling around in the dark. It's quite a sobering thought to know that these animals can see 6 times better than you in the dark - and when they turn the search lights off it really is DARK.

Thanks to Jean, Bob, Rebecca, Philipp and of course Etta and Derek for a great 3 days.

  • Stayed: October 2010, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank dandjo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 30, 2011

During my stay in Cape Town from 23 July till 22 August I knew one thing for sure, I wanted to have a Safari experience. Since this is not possible in the Western Cape I booked a bustransfer to Port Elizabeth so I could head for Addo on the 6th of August. Derk picked me up at the station, over the accomodation I can be really straight, it was great, clean room, good service,good food and beautiful surroundings. Addo Elephant Park is very beautiful and Derk and Etta are very good guides, a good eye for gamespotting and they provide interesting information about the park and the animals. In the evening of the 9th of August I got a transfer back to PE to the busstation together with Derk,Etta and Tommy (the dog). All I can say to them is thank you very much for the great time I had at Dung Beetle Riverlodge!!!
Maarten-Jan Stam
the Netherlands

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled solo
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Thank MaartenStam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 3, 2011

My wife Lisa and I stayed at Dungbeetle on the Sundays river for three beautiful days.
Derek and Etta were fabulous hosts, the accommodation and breakfasts were amazing.
We canoed up the river, took a trek in the sand dunes, went to a private game reserve, went to the elephant sancutary, had a fabulous meridian body massage with Ruth and had a fantastic time in general. We loved it, would recommend to anyone and will be back as soon as we are able. Thank you for the memories and watch out for Toby, this doggy navigator brings you back across the dunes back to your canoe and is a fine companion on your travels.

Room Tip: The honeymoon suites were beautiful but we stayed in the Elephant suite which was just as nice.
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  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank subliminal_79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 18, 2011

I had a fabulous time enjoying Dungbeetle's 3 day package. Accomodation was lovely - the setting on the river with the sand dunes is very beautiful. Breakfasts were homemade and delicious. Etta and Derek were so friendly, accomodating and interesting to talk to. I had a great time paddling on the river and walking in the dunes - very quiet and spectacular landscape. I was lucky enough to have a guided trip in Addo all to myself with Derek - seeing elephant, lion, buffalo, zebra, antelope, warthog in their natural environment was very impressive. I also enjoyed the trip to the private game reserve and an up close encounter with the elephants too.

I would highly recommend a trip to Dungbeetle, its a beautiful part of the world, and Derek and Etta are sure to look after you well!

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled solo
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Thank anita255100
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 15, 2011

We were staying in Port Elizabeth and spent 2 nights at the Dungbeetle. It was really nice because it is a safe area next to the Addo Elephant Camp which is fantastic and right on the Sunday's River Mouth, beautiful. There are lots of activities around the hotel, it's very peaceful and beautiful, and the staff make you feel at home. I was travelling with my husban and family and we all enjoyed it. Then we went down to Tsitsikama and did part of the Garden Route. Absolutelly fantastic.

  • Stayed: October 2010, traveled with family
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Thank sambolina2002
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Dungbeetle River Lodge

Address: 76 Aqua Vista Crescent | Cannonville, Colchester 6175, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Eastern Cape > Greater Addo > Colchester
Amenities:
Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Room Service Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 9 B&Bs / Inns in Colchester
Price Range: $86 - $248 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Dungbeetle River Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Four Star Safari Style accommodations at Dungbeetle River Lodge near the entry point to the world famous Addo National Elephant Park and some of the finest game reserves in the Eastern Cape. ... more   less 
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