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“Another magnificent stay at Riverbend Lodge!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of River Bend Lodge

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River Bend Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Mol
Level Contributor
16 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Another magnificent stay at Riverbend Lodge!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 10, 2013

It was the 4th time my husband Rudi and I stayed some nights at Riverbend Lodge in Addo Elephant Park. It is always amazing to see the efforts all members of the staff take to make you feel better than at home :-). Upon arrival, after a warm welcome by Stefanie and Tariro, Field Guide Darlington immediately drove me to the main shop at the gate of Addo Elephant Park because my suitcase went missing on the airport and had not turned up after 4 days, so I could buy some safari-clothing over there and felt much better afterwards. Darlington's game drives are always good, no matter what you see during the drive. It's not only the big five, but birds, insects, plants, trees,.... He knows it all! We always end up very close to the elephants, animals I love so much and make me feel sad when I read about the culling and poaching of those magnificent pachyderms. But of course we saw lion, black rhino, buffalo, lots of zebra, kudu, warthogs, impala, red hartebeest, eland, black-backed jackal, yellow mongoose, ostrich, cranes, ...
Being vegetarians we also like the chef's cuisine and the waiters Moses, Lyanda, Princess and Princess look upon you during the nice meals (breakfast, lunch, high tea and dinner).
The rooms are splendid, spacious and cosy. A plunge in the swimming pool cools you down after a wonderful morning game drive.
We enjoyed a massage by Ina-Lize and loved the gentle way Sarah was always around making sure everything was ok. Chatting with Stefanie is always nice, because she also has a lot of knowledge about wildlife and nature. It was certainly not the last time we stayed there.

Room Tip: All rooms are equally comfortable, the honeymoon suite has a small private pool and larger private t...
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  • Stayed January 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?
Thank Chemoeketess
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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415 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (62)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Mol, Belgium
Level Contributor
44 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 4, 2013

Why do I keep going back to Addo Elephant Park and to River Bend Lodge in particular? Surely, the elephants are part of the reason. If you have ever been close to those gentle giants, the way you may approach them in Addo, you will forever love them and crave for meeting them again, like old friends. Perhaps it's the black rhino, elusive and playing hard to catch. We had a nice encounter with a healthy boy during this fourth visit to River Bend Lodge and that sighting alone was worth coming back. And there are all the other animals, like Jessica, the gorgeous lioness whom we saw missing a kill by an inch ...
But honestly, the reason we keep coming back here (more than elsewhere) is because of the beautiful setting in the most enchanting lodge around. And most of all it is the people we come back to. Super-guide Darlington, who knows every animal and who had a "predator feeling" leading us to that particular waterhole where Jessica went for a red hartebeest, and Stephanie, Tariro, Luyanda, Princess & Princess, ... all of whom go as far as it takes to turn a couple of days in Addo into a guaranteed GREAT experience, again and again and ...

Room Tip: We had the honeymoon suite (room 1) and while all the rooms are great, this one , with the private p...
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  • Stayed January 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?
Thank Rudi S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Town
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 30, 2013

River Bend is a superb game lodge, well-located for game viewing and competently run by an expert staff. We have watched it expand over the years, improving its services and adding to its charismatic megafauna along the way. On this visit, we saw lion, black rhino, Cape Buffalo and genet cat at very close range. Added to these were the usual run of elephant, eland, wart hog, red hartebeast, zebra and mongoose -- all at peace in an easy-going malaria-free environment with absolutely no other vehicles in sight. We had the place to ourselves, although there were other guests staying at the lodge at the time. It is always a pleasure to come back to River Bend and we expect to be doing so fairly so -- for our seventh visit!

Room Tip: We liked Room 6 for its quiet and friendly view.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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?
Thank skkelly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hamburg, Germany
Level Contributor
133 reviews
54 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 14, 2012

My husband and I could sadly only stay one night in this gorgeous haven. The rooms are extremely private, large and beautifully decorated. The gardens are glorious and the food excellent. The staff was super friendly and as the place is quite small compared to other lodges we stayed at, it has an intimate feel, as if you are the private guests of a family. Good amount of game, but somewhat limited in variety so to see all the Big 5 (or giraffes or hippos), you will have to include other lodges in your itinerary. Only negative is the set of huge power towers crossing the property from the time when it was all farming land.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 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?
Thank Skib99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Town
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 14, 2012

We stayed at Riverbend for 2 nights in December. All our expectations were exceeded from the moment we arrived. All the staff really went out of their way to ensure our stay was a pleasant experience. We travelled with our kids aged 2, 5 and 9 and they thoroughly enjoyed themselves. The food was good and we were well fed throughout our stay. Our guide, Mike, was exceptional and really went the extra mile to ensure we had a memorable trip. We managed to see 4 of the big five. My only regret is that I did not stay longer.

  • Stayed December 2012, 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?
Thank Suoror
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Farnham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 9, 2012

My wife and I stayed at River Bend Lodge for three nights at the end of November 2012. Overall we had a wonderful time. Our room was huge, well furnished, and with a very comfortable bed and en-suite bathroom. In fact all areas of the Lodge are modern and very luxurious, set in carefully tended gardens teeming with birds and flowers. The Lodge has sole access to 14,000 hectares of the Addo Elephant Park, and is stocked with all the game you could hope to see, and you are unlikely to see any other vehicle during a game drive. Although the animals have been imported, they live in the wild, and never give the impression of being in a zoo or an artificial environment. We loved the game drives, and saw most of the animals we had expected to see, including lion, elephant, zebra, giraffe, buffalo, warthog, jackal, hartebeeste, kudu, eland, bushbuck, mongoose, genet and many more. There are also many birds of prey: owls, buzzards and kites. And of course the landscape is stunning. We did not see rhinoceros, although others did. You will not see leopards. The success of the game drives depends to a large extent on the guide, and we were fortunate in having an absolute expert. Ask for him by name: Darlington. However, this is an extremely expensive game lodge, and for the price we paid everything should have been perfect. But in some areas things were not up to scratch. The staff were all very helpful and willing, but we got the impression that they lacked training and experience for their jobs. The food was little better than mediocre. The room was not as clean as we would have liked. There was a general air of declining standards, which we put down to the lack of guests. Only one other room was occupied while we were there. Don't let this deter you; we enjoyed ourselves hugely, although we cannot compare this game lodge with any other, since it is the only one we have ever visited.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank PCHB_UK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reno, Nevada
Level Contributor
28 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 18, 2012

We spent 3 nights at the River Bend Lodge in Addo and had a most wonderful time. Everything about the lodge is 1st class. We had a lovely, spacious room with spectacular views. The food was excellent and served with great style. The staff was attentive and friendly. The game drives were awesome with our terrific guide, Mike. We had a coffee break during the morning drive, wine & snacks during the afternoon/evening drive, and hot chocolate handed to us as we stepped out of our vehicle after the evening drive. Trust me, At River Bend, you will be spoiled!

River Bend is located within Addo Elephant National Park and the scenery is stunning. We saw elephants, lions, antelopes, monkeys, Cape Buffalo, giraffes, wart hogs, zebras and so much more. We had truly amazing, up close experiences with the elephants! Mike, our guide, was very knowledgeable and used his tracking skills to the max in order to ensure we saw all the animals at the park. The drives were so much fun and each afternoon drive extended into night drives because we spent time simply sitting and watching the animals in their beautiful environment. I tell you, watching two young elephants playing in the water is something you just don't tire of doing - we were mesmerized and didn't want to leave!

My husband and I really appreciated the fact that we could take the time to sit quietly, each with our own sense of awe and wonder, and simply "be" with the animals. Being so close to wild, free animals, watching them do their thing in their natural home as it was meant to be, all while enjoying a glass of wine? Well, it just doesn't get much better than that!

The accommodations at the lodge are top-notch. Free wi-fi is available at the lodge. The outdoor shower was a fun amenity and showering in the great outdoors watching a herd of antelopes in the distance is a memory I will enjoy for a long time.

We did the "walk with Giraffes" that is offered by the lodge. You don't actually walk "with" them. Once they are spotted, you do get out of your vehicle and walk towards them and then if they move, which they do when they spot you, you follow them. We had an earlier experience at our first photo safari at Zulu Nyala in KwaZulu Natal where we had a more intense and close encounter with giraffes, so this wasn't as "thrilling" but it was still fun to watch these beautiful animals - and to watch them watch us!!

If your trip includes a drive along the Garden Route, which it probably will, and you want to spend some time in luxury and give yourself a treat, while at the same time experiencing some wonderful game drives, I highly recommend spending 2 to 3 nights at the River Bend Lodge at Addo - you won't regret it!

Room Tip: I think all rooms are equally good - you can't go wrong.
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  • Stayed October 2012, 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 angelika711
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about River Bend Lodge

Property: River Bend Lodge
Address: Zuurberg Road, | PO Box 249, Addo Elephant National Park 6105, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > Eastern Cape > Greater Addo > Addo Elephant National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 12 Specialty Lodging in Addo Elephant National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — River Bend Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated on a 14,000ha private concession within the Addo Elephant National Park, RiverBend is a mere 45 minute drive from Port Elizabeth. Home to an abundance of wildlife including elephant, lion, hyena, buffalo, black rhino and a variety of antelope and over 300 bird species, RiverBend is an ideal malaria-free safari addition to a Garden Route holiday. Children of all ages welcome. Pampering treatments are available in the Vitality Studio. Personalized game drives are led by enthusiastic and experienced guides, who will ensure you have a truly memorable safari experience. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
River Bend Hotel Addo Elephant National Park

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