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“Wonderful experience amongst wonderful people and animals”
Review of River Bend Lodge

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River Bend Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 2, 2011

For the second time in two years we spent two nights at River Bend Lodge. It was a warm welcome when we arrived. Darlington once again proved to be an extremely experienced fuild-guide showing as many animals as possible. He even took us on a nightly game drive to see the nocturnal animals. A wonderful experience! All the staff members are very friendly and do their utmost to give one a pleasant stay. We liked the food and the wines, enjoyed relaxing by the pool or in the cosy bar. We brought along two friends and the were also touched by the beauty of the environment and the friendliness of the staff. The rooms are comfortable and clean and you always find a personal touch before going to bed. Yes, we really felt at home as we did during our first visit.

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank Chemoeketess
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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365 - 371 of 468 reviews

Reviewed January 27, 2011

The only thing five star at River Bend are the rates! 5 years ago my husband and I had a wonderful stay at River Bend and were excited to share the experience with our young son. Unfortunately we were sorely disappointed! The Lodge is being run by young amateurs who are really just “going through the motions” and have no training (or interest) in giving guests a great experience. Although I must say our field guide Darlington was most enthusiastic and passionate about the bush and went out of his way to please his guests. It’s a pity that his passion has not rubbed off on the rest of his colleagues back at the Lodge! One can see that not much money has been invested in the lodge over the past 5 years – the table linen was frayed and torn, the bed linen is grey and tired and the towels desperately need to be replaced. In fact our room felt like it needed a “good clean” – carpets were dirty and they were alive and dead bugs that had collected in the lining of the cream curtains (totally gross!!)The food was edible at best (cheapest cuts of meat and ingredients used), and the service was painfully slow.
River Bend advertise on their website that they offer complimentary childcare (with trained child-minders) during the day, this however is not the case! After I complained they then got one of their housekeeping staff to act as “nanny”. A disappointing start to the New Year!

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled with family
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6  Thank Nats68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 5, 2010

We can't get over the marvelous two days spent here. From arrival to departure we were pampered by the staff, with four fantastic safaris conducted by a superb ranger. Food was excellent, accommodation spacious and comfortable, and the setting simply amazing.

It was actually a very emotional experience to leave :-(

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank Mark_and_Nicky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 2, 2010

We spent 02 nights at River Bend Lodge. From the moment you arrive until it’s time leave, the place, the people, the game viewing is fantastic. Stef, Chris and the River Bend Team made sure that everything was just perfect.

The friendly Lodge Manager, Stef, welcomed us with some really nice cold lemonade. She took us through the beautiful lush gardens and a quick introductory tour to show us where the dining, bar, library, swimming area is… when we got to our spacious en-suite bedroom with a private outdoor shower and secluded veranda, I immediately felt at home, I was so in love with this place. Our bed was extraordinary… it was big enough for a whole family! I wanted to stay forever! One suggestion is that River Bend can get new TV’s in their rooms, ours didn’t have any signal. However this did not bother us at all as we were on honeymoon after all. ;0) My finicky eye also spotted that the paint on the door was starting to peel off so I would also recommend some paint jobs here and there. Other than this, this place was perfect!!

The food at River Bend Lodge is to die for. Breakfast and lunch is served from 08h00 until 15h00. Make sure you have enough space for everything. I have to admit, we almost could not handle eating all meals because we were stuffed, but we did anyway! Dinner was mouth-watering, we had chorizo and camembert stuffed pork belly with fried brown rice and sherry soaked apricots. If you’re not a vegetarian, this is definitely something to try out when you are there.

Off to bed we went as Chris our field guide and host warned us that he will wake us at 06h30 in the morning with some coffee in bed to get ready for our game drive.

The game drives are sensational, Chris, was excellent and his passion for the animals & plants is evident. Chris was willing to stop and talk about the smaller species of wildlife and plants that a lot of guides skip over because most people just want to see the Big Five only. He is a human encyclopedia of fauna & flora. To add, he was extremely friendly & personable which is not necessary but certainly nice to have, my husband really appreciated this. River Bend can beyond doubt be extremely proud of Chris as he was the best ranger we had on our honeymoon trip. If you ever get the opportunity to visit River Bend please do yourself a favor and ask for Chris to be your field guide.
Here is one piece of excitement we have experienced... there were 100’s of elephants passing us, Chris then told us about the twin ellies (which in elephant world is very rare) and the naughty bigger sister. As we sat there he said; “just sit still and watch”. The small twin ellies and the mother walked passed us but the bigger sister came straight towards the vehicle (my heart was jumping out of my chest) and she STOPPED, she shoved the truck with her trunk, rocking us like a boat… then our eyes met and she walked away. WOW this was an experience of a lifetime. Every game drive Chris took us on was different but so special in every way. Wish I could put all his tales on paper and write a story book.

When we got back at the lodge we were met with a warm face cloth to freshen up. The attention to detail and customer service at this lodge is really evident. They did everything to make our stay as lovely and warm as possible.

After our afternoon game drive Stef and Chris arranged something special for our final evening. We entered our room… candle lights, flowers and a warm bathtub… AND they have set up a private dinner table in OUR very OWN ROOM. Yet another memorable experience.

River Bend is very special and my husband and I loved every minute of our stay. Nothing at River Bend is a rush everything was so relaxed and just perfect. If you are looking for a luxurious lodge type of accommodation, WELL YOU HAVE THE ANSWER!! GO GO GO and meet the twin ellies and the naughty sister!! Definitely a place I will recommend if you want to experience exceptional service.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Astro082
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 14, 2010

We were made very welcome and looked after superbly during our stay. Thanks to Joe our game driver and Steph our hostess. When they overheard that our trip was to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary, they gave us a special sundowner game drive during which we saw the Milky Way for the first time. On returning to our room we found flowers and tea light candles everwhere - very romantic.
The food was superb during our all too short stay. A memorable two days. THANK YOU.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank TonyMoEssex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 11, 2010

We spent the final 2 days of our 3 week holiday driving through South Africa at Riverbend Lodge.The plan was to have a couple of days of relaxation and game driving before our long journey home and we picked the right place to do that.

This was certainly the ideal spot to relax, we felt very spoilt, from the moment we arrived we were so well looked after. Our room was lovely, quite large with a homely feeling, it had a massive comfy bed and upholstered chairs. There was a porch to sit on where watched zebra and ostrich. The grounds were just lovely, the rooms, and lounge and dining areas circle around a very pretty garden and lawn area.

All the meals were just delicious and there was more than enough. Four or more courses at dinner, order whatever you like for breakfast and a nice variety for lunch. The first night we were served dinner in the main lounge room in front of the fire which was lovely. The next night there was more guests so we ate in the main dining room, again with the fire going. Hot chocolate on returning from game drives was a nice touch. Had the choice of breakfast in the main dining room or on the verandah.

All the staff were wonderful. Our ranger Wesley was excellent and he certainly made sure we were looked after. He was very knowledgeable and we were lucky enough to have him all to ourselves and on game drives he went out of his way to try to find what we would like to see. On what was our last night in Africa we stopped and had sundowners and snacks while we watched a beautiful sunset.

That morning we had a thrilling experience at morning tea when we stopped near a herd of elephants and watched them as they roamed around in and out of the thickets. It was a very large herd but due to the thick bush in the area we did not get to see them all at once, but we probably saw more than twenty of the group and quite close by which was amazing.

That was our best sighting but we did see more elephants on other drives, also went into the main park but had no sightings there. Saw lots of zebra, antelopes, jackal and ostrich. The lioness with her cubs remained elusive as did the black rhino. Although we enjoyed the game drives, unfortunately we had been to Kruger Park two weeks prior, and while we did certainly not expect Addo to be the same, the excitement of Kruger made our game drives here seem a bit timid, but that is something we were aware of beforehand so was our own choice.

Our stay River Bend Lodge was a perfect ending to our trip, we left relaxed, happy and maybe a bit heavier after all that delicious food.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank thesandmans
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 25, 2010

The RiverBend Lodge is situated in a beautiful spot in the Northern Addo elephant Park. The builduings suround a nice garden with swimming pool. All the rooms have a terrace looking on the surrounding park and wildlife. Hospitality and Friendliness of all the staff was superb and very hard to match. The guides on the game drives were great, the food was delicious - all together made up for one of nicest stays ever experienced.,

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled with family
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1  Thank lgnc9472
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

Address: Zuurberg Road,, 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: $405 - $492 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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