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“Three days of excitement.”

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Kichaka Luxury Game Lodge
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Grahamstown
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed November 5, 2013

The lodge is very easy to find with their directions. On arrival at the gate house we checked in, a simple and sooth process and were collected by our Ranger for the next three days, Jason. He put us and our luggage aboard one of the lodge’s fleet of powerful Safari Land Cruisers and drove us to the main Lodge. This is fantastically designed around a large watering hole. The main Lodge consists of a dining room, dining deck area, a bar, lounge, TV lounge and an infinity swimming pool, complete with a viewing deck over the watering hole. On arrival at the main Lodge we were quickly armed with the cocktail of the day, and given the tour. To coincide with our arrival a family of elephants were taking a drink at the Lodge too. Tip: never be far from your camera here, as that was there only visit during our stay.
Off the main Lodge are 10 individual lodges/rooms all connected by their own walkway, each exactly the same. We were show to and around our room, breath-taking! I never get out my camera and photograph a hotel room, this was the exception. Complete with a dip pool on your very private deck, mini bar filled to your liking and the biggest walk-in shower I have ever seen, not to mention the bath. That afternoon, following a beautiful lunch, high tea was at 3.30pm then out on our first safari drive.
Our ranger Jason immediately put us at ease with his in depth do's and don'ts safety briefing, and then it was off. There is too much going on to review a safari drive, but Jason's knowledge and his enthusiasm for the environment were contagious. At one point he stopped the vehicle, nipped a tick from a blade of grass into the palm of his hand a showed us how they react to the carbon dioxide emissions of their prey to hunt. I never knew that! 10 minutes later we are alongside an elephant, so diverse, a total education. It did get a bit blowy and chilly on the drive; the lodge supplies all guests will a fleece lined poncho - life savers! On each drive there is a drinks break, tea/coffee on the morning drive and a very civilized 'Sun downer' cocktail at sunset on the afternoon drive.
Upon or return to our rooms, the bathrobes were laid out and two glasses of port on a silver tray awaited out arrived, these are the small things that give the place that extra feeling of luxury. Dinner that evening was lovely taken at leisure. The standard of cuisine is high, as expected, but I heard a few murmurs in relation to portion size, if you wished more, you only have to ask. The lodge has an award winning wine cellar, their house blends are to die for and their extensive bar will mix you whatever your wish or simply serve you a chilled beer. With only 10 rooms there is never a danger of crowds and there is plenty of room to spread out.
Obviously the highlights were the game drives, and Jason was above and beyond with his knowledge, safe approach and customer care. The big surprise was that at the end of the trip we discovered he was only 20 years old. A gem!
All in all, everything is taken care of, and all included in the one price. We cannot recommend this Lodge highly enough. Thanks to all of their great staff. Be sure to pack a fleece and a wind breaker, it can get cold in the back of those vehicles.

Room Tip: All ten cabins are the same, we were told.
  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank philthered
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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205 - 211 of 354 reviews

Reviewed October 19, 2013

We had an amazing three day stay here. The whole experience was intimate, professional and delivered with great attention to detail. Ben our ranger was fantastic, enthusiastic and made every drive special in some way, his love and passion for the job shone through. All of the staff were superb from the welcome to the dining and the housekeeping. There were a few very special touches but I will not spoil the surprise. On the second day we were the only guests and we had a very special day. Breakfast overlooking the waterhole and dinner with candles and open fires. Even a birthday cake presented by all the staff. We watched the resident Hippos daily from our private terrace overlooking the water hole. We adored Kichaka.

Room Tip: Don't think you can go wrong in any suite as they are all private and have their own terrace and...
  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Dr K J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 26, 2013 via mobile

Stay here for 3 nights recently and am a big fan of it. The room are nicely done up w a big deck n dip pool w a nice view of the water hole. Service was excellent at this small n cosy lodge. Love the evening drinks by the fire place n not forgeting the game drives which always finish off w a sundowner or morning coffee. Spa was nice in a tent by the pool.

  • Stayed: September 2013
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Thank JeffreyOng
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 19, 2013

We did the Garden Route backwards compared to most people so started off with our safari and what a great way to begin our holiday in South Africa. The accommodation was wonderful (just as the photos), the food sumptuous and the staff friendly, cheerful and helpful. I was surprised on the first game drive that we did not have a gun until Jacks, our game driver, explained that a gun would probably be more dangerous than the animals they know well. It wasn't until our third drive that we saw some of the big animals and from then the drives just got better. The sundowners rounded off the evening out perfectly and then to arrive back at the lodge and be greeted by a warm flannel to wipe away the dust was perfect. You do need warm clothes for first thing and last thing but the fleece lined ponchos help, as does the morning hot water bottle but don't forget the sun block and sun hat. My only comment being a fussy filter decaf coffee drinker was that I had to suffer instant decaf but hey that was a small price to pay for the enjoyment of everything else.

Room Tip: We didn't check out rooms before, they are all the same, but spoke to a couple who had read Trip...
  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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Thank LadyR2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 20, 2013

I would like to start by extending a thank you to each and every staff member for their concern and assistance to my mother who had fallen ill by the time we’d arrived. The staff made themselves available 24/7 should a medical emergency arise and needed to be transported to a hospital in P.E.

But far more than simply providing this service, their care and concern went far beyond anything that could ever be expected. I can’t even single out a particular member for praise, the entire team was phenomenal.


I would like to preface my review by saying I’ve stayed in many luxury lodges, many with higher price tags, so feel I have a good frame of reference. I have also stayed at a similar lodge in the area, which I don’t have many nice things to say about.

In terms of my stay, I arrived at the beautiful lodge, tucked far away from civilization ensuring amazing stars at night and complete peace and quiet. I was given a slick and professional orientation, including a lovely hot chocolate as it was winter, the competence and high level of training of the staff was immediately noticeable.

The lodge itself is magnificent. Being winter we were unable to enjoy the stunning pool area, or our own private pool, but this was made up for by our chalet having underfloor heating, including the bathroom (complete with heated towel rails). The entire chalet was always at a nice warm temperature despite the weather. And the communal areas had several fireplaces, all with lovely fires going.

In terms of the room, it was simply stunning. The spacious bathroom, easily accommodating 2 people was so well designed and so breathtakingly beautiful I would quite like to replicate it exactly in my house!! The rest of the room including a spacious living area was of the same standard.
The mini bar was stocked with a few essentials, but I was advised that they would happily stock it with my particular preferences. Tea, coffee, biscuits, sherry and anything else you could want was also already available in the room. There is also wifi available in the room itself. While the accommodation was simply as good as it can get, what elevates this lodge to the highest possible standard is the staff.

Every single meal (plus high tea) were as beautifully presented as it weas delicious. It was an absolute culinary experience. I imagine given the skill of the chef that any special request would be turned into a masterpiece as well.

The staff managed to achieve the perfect balance of being warm, welcoming and friendly and always up for a chat, but should you need to focus on your laptop (an unfortunate inevitability for many) they discreetly give you your space, yet you only need to raise you head should you want another drink. On a package where all beverages are included they certainly don’t shy away from keeping you well lubricated! (Many lodges with similar packages do not).

Breakfast was served in the room due to my mother feeling unwell. But it wasn’t just served, it was laid out and the room became a very comfortable mini restaurant. Again I can’t stress how accommodating the staff are, keeping the standard of luxury and service regardless of your requirements.

Jaces, our game ranger was skilled in his art and we had some fantastic sightings. He also was both a highly professional and fun person to be on a game drive with. His knowledge was incredibly extensive.

There is so much attention to detail in terms of customer service that a relatively brief review can’t do it justice. Every arrival at the lodge, be it after a day out or a game drive is met with a staff member ready with a hot towel, and another with a hot drink being winter.

My mom prefers honey in her tea, ask for this once and throughout the duration every tea is accompanied by honey every single time. A clean ashtray is always available outside as I’m a smoker. It’s the little things, but they have every attention to detail and every little touch covered.

I would like to add at least one flaw to my review to make it seem more objective. I’ve given it a lot of thought and I simply can’t find one!! So completely flawless and high is the standard of Kichaka I will be recommending to anybody they skip the kruger and surrounding reserves with luxury lodges that never quite live up to their price tag, and rather enjoy this piece of heaven.

To each and every staff member, I thank you for the concern and willingness to assist my mother. I also thank you for making my stay incredible. There is so much more I can add to this review, the standard of the communal lounges for example, but suffice to say that regardless of what your requirements and expectations are, Kichaka will meet and exceed your expectations! I greatly look forward to the opportunity to return!

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank Kyle M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 19, 2013

We spent three nights at Kichaka in late April 2013. From the moment of arrival at the reception center, we were treated as honored guests. And that does not end until you exit the gate after your stay.

Initially you are guided to your suite which feels like a bush hut from the outside, but is spacious and well-appointed within. Expansive back patio overlooking the waterhole with a deck and dipping pool. And all very private—I could not see any other structures except far across the pond the main lodge, partly. Although a luxurious suite, the African bush feeling permeates your personal lodging space. Our first night the king lion we had seen rather far away earlier in the afternoon on our first game drive woke us up around 03:00 with a nearby roar. How is that for sleeping in a downy bed and hearing a roar of nature somewhere out there?

The format is obviously centered around game drives but unhurried in between. And in between means hanging out doing what you wish and/or feasting on the fine cuisine. Before your early drive there are juices, coffee/tea, breads/pastries, etc. It is an efficient gathering for the morning drive. After the drive is a breakfast buffet plus ordered dish from a monkey. Then before the afternoon drive is a high tea session which basically serves as a late lunch. But after the drive, and after as leisurely you want to clean up and arrive back at the lodge, dinner is served. Kichaka served our first meals in an odyssey across the Cape for two weeks that I somehow never conceived would include culinary excellence as a nation. And the finery in dining at Kichaka certainly set the bar. One night great seafood, or you might just choose the perfectly cooked game steak.

The service at Kichaka is as personal as you want. Our butler was Julius. So professional and efficient, you almost did not notice he was serving all you needs—it just happened. And then he becomes your personal waiter at dinner. He did a great job. Thanks Julius.

The game drives. Our guide was Ben. He will find anything you want to see. Or, sort of weirdly, it seems like they found him. (My joke on the drive was “OK, now show me a walrus in the African bush” ha ha). We saw every species we wanted within the first two drives, and then many more ensuing, all accompanied by Ben’s insight. Certainly the guides know where the animals’ habits tend to find them on any given day. But we also had numerous seeming chance encounters as well. But in all drives, Ben was ardent in spotting and locating animals, some narrative and zoological talk, and definitely an entertaining and fulfilling experience.

The office staff as well was friendly and efficient.

Go to Kichaka.

Room Tip: Request to overlook the pond
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Michael P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 16, 2013

I have had the pleasure of staying at Kichaka three times over the past four years and I never tire of being in the most incredible place on earth. I pinched myself every time I step out on to the balcony and overlook the watering hole. The rooms are perfect in every way - comfortable beds, luxurious bathrooms and wonderful views from the private balconies.
The food is out of this world - cooked to perfection using the freshest and finest ingredients.
All of the staff are so pleasant and helpful - nothing is too much trouble for them.
The game drives are amazing - I've been lucky enough to have seen all of the big 5 - which makes the early morning drives worthwhile.
Tip - It can be incredibly cold for the early morning game drives so wear plenty of layers.
Good sun and lip screen are a must.

I can't wait for my return trip later on this year :)

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with friends
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4  Thank SWGl0beTr0tter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kichaka Luxury Game Lodge

Address: Assegaai Bush, Grahamstown 6148, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > Eastern Cape > Grahamstown
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Grahamstown
Price Range: $705 - $984 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Kichaka Luxury Game Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated in a private game reserve in the malaria-free Eastern Cape, Kichaka is the perfect place to enjoy a Big Five safari experience in quiet luxury. Feel instantly at home - the lounge and dining areas are positioned to offer uninterrupted views across unspoiled bush. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kichaka Luxury Game Hotel Grahamstown

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