Abelana River Lodge

Abelana River Lodge

R71, 35 Km From Gravelotte, Phalaborwa 0895 South Africa
Traveller (208)
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Room & Suite (5)
Wedding Reception at Abelana River Lodge Photo credit: Kikitography http://kikitography.com/
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5.0
#1 of 7 hotels in Phalaborwa
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Location
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Cleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Service
4.9 of 5 bubbles
Value
Tripadvisor gives a Travellers’ Choice award to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travellers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor.
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HOTEL CLASS
Star ratings are intended to indicate the general level of features, amenities, and services to expect. This property is classified according to Giata.
5.0 of 5 stars
HOTEL STYLE
Romantic
Business
Languages Spoken
Afrikaans
Property amenities
Free parking
Pool
Bar / lounge
Restaurant
Complimentary tea
Airport transportation
Laundry service
Room features
Air conditioning
Safe
Bottled water
Bath / shower
Room types
Non-smoking rooms

Location

R71, 35 Km From Gravelotte, Phalaborwa 0895 South Africa
Getting there
Phalaborwa Airport
Hoedspruit Airport
49.7 km
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65Reviews2Q+A14Room tips
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Detailed Reviews
Nicci Lenferna de la Motte wrote a review Oct 2020
Johannesburg, South Africa33 contributions5 helpful votes
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Tucked away under the trees, on the banks of the Selati River is the newly built Abelana River Lodge. The warm greeting received on arrival set the tone for the following few days of relaxation in this luxuriously stylish lodge. The main area has been designed with intelligent thought, capturing the beauty of the area in creating a variety of private lounging, sitting and dining areas all nestled along the river bank.

For me, food plays an important role in my daily enjoyment. Abelana River Lodge came up like a shining star. Every nibble was beautifully presented and insanely delicious. There is clearly some excellent talent in that kitchen.

The fabulous decor extends into the spacious guest rooms which boast an array of modern amenities and luxurious comforts. Ceiling fans, airconditioning, indoor and outdoor showers (showering under the stars is a highlight), mini bar and tea/coffee making facilities.

Waking up in the morning and tumbling out of bed onto the spacious private deck to watch the sunrise, listen to birds, sipping coffee is a real treat for me. I love being on safari and I love going on game drives but I also enjoy a slower, quieter start to my morning from time to time. There is no better place than Abelana River Lodge for just that.

Abelana Game Reserve is spectacularly scenic. From large riverine trees and rocky outcrops to meandering rivers. It is a feast for the eyes. While the reserve is home to the big five it is more about enjoying nature and appreciating the diverse fauna & flora. Activities include game drives, game walks, bird watching and star gazing. Photographic opportunities abound.

We struggled to drag ourselves away from the cool waters of the swimming pool but when we did we were rewarded with some fabulous sightings and very special sundowner spots.

We stayed for two nights and all wished we had stayed longer.
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Date of stay: October 2020
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Steve L wrote a review Jun 2021
Salt Lake City, Utah3 contributions9 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
This was our first trip to the African continent. It was a bucket list trip for my wife's 92 year old father. We chose South Africa so we could be close enough to quality healthcare if it was needed and we are so glad we did.

From the moment you pull into the circular drive, greeted by the beautiful and attentive staff to the moment you drive away with their gracious smiles and waves, your every need is taken care of.

The elegant and appropriately decorated lodge, with it's local, natural materials of wood, stone along with the soft and inviting lighting, creates a feeling of being grounded, present and welcome. The outdoor space is equally inviting and creates a relaxing space shaded by a giant Sycamore Fig tree yet you feel safely engulfed in the African bush.

The food is diverse without being odd and presentation is equal to the marvelous flavors. We were fed well and never went hungry.

Each spacious, well appointed bungalow continues the tasteful decor from the lodge making us feel cozy and comfortable. With a large sitting area next to a fireplace and a large ensuite with an optional outdoor shower facing the river you could spend a lot of time in your room if you weren't in the beautiful African bush.

Each morning started with an early game drive. When it was cold, we had a fleece covered hot water bottle and a blanket to stay warm as we spotted Impala, Zebra, Kudu, Elephants, Giraffes and all kinds of birds and bugs. With a morning stop for a warm drink and a gorgeous view, we enjoyed being taught by an exceptional guide that not only helped us understand the animals but also the plants, tracks and history of the area before we returned for breakfast and relaxing during the day.

The late afternoon brought another game drive with more information, more incredible discoveries and more hot drinks with a beautiful view as the sun set. Spotlights came out after dark so we could see what the nocturnal animals were up to - Owls, Bush Babies, Lions and Leopards - before heading back for dinner in front of a beautiful fire or out on the back deck for a BBQ.

We couldn't have been more pleased with our total experience at the lodge where we feel like we made new friends with the management, our guide and staff.
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Date of stay: June 2021
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
Room Tip: All rooms are separate bungalows that face the river.
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
MichelleMyburgh wrote a review Jul 2021
6 contributions3 helpful votes
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Last month, we invited 40 of our closest family and friends for a weekend of celebrations at Abelana which is located near Phalabora, South Africa (about a 5 hour drive from Johannesburg).

As you enter the main venue area you are welcomed with breathtaking views of the Selati River dotted with the most beautiful fig trees and an overflow pool. The lodge has 20 rooms all with exquisite views of the river; their own mini bar and outdoor showers - perfect luxury accommodation for a special occasion or a couple's retreat.

Although this was the first wedding which Abelana has hosted the planning leading up to the day was seamless. The Assistant Lodge Manager helped us source a local florist, DJ and more. The venue is decorated with modern furniture, has a lovely big bar and beautiful big wooden deck - no need to outsource other furniture for a special occasion.

Upon arrival at the lodge we treated our guests to a welcome game drive including a surprise sundowner stop in a beautiful dry riverbed. We were even lucky enough to spot a male lion on our way back to the lodge. Once we returned to the venue we enjoyed a boma evening under the fig trees along the river at the main lodge area.

We hosted our wedding ceremony under large leadwood trees in the open bushveld with the sounds of African Fish Eagles in the distance. The team at Abelana went out of their way to make our guests feel like absolute royalty. From arranging the most incredible surprise sundowner stop in a dry riverbed, conducting memorable game drives, to ensuring the kids attending the wedding were always entertained and attended to - nothing was too much to ask. The chef at Abelana is extremely talented and our guests are still raving about how delicious the food was.

If you are looking for a modern, intimate wedding venue in the African bush look no further than the new Abelana River Lodge!
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Date of stay: June 2021
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
DrTerasaka wrote a review Jan 2023
Chandler, Arizona22 contributions4 helpful votes
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
I can't say enough what an incredibly personal and friendly experience this reserve provided my wife and I. Our guide Duncan met us at the gate and brought us to the Lodge, where Natalie and her staff was waiting to meet us with a refreshing drink. We were given a tour of the Lodge, provided the opportunity for drinks and refreshments, and shown our private cabana. Every suite has a riverside deck. We have our own air conditioning unit, netted 4 poster bed, indoor bathroom, shower, toilet, and outdoor shower. Natalie gave us an incredible personal experience, and we felt the passion for their Reserve and the desire of the Mashishimale people to give each guest a personal experience. Duncan, our driver and guide, along with Mr. T (our tracker) showed us all the reservation had to offer, from amazing views, up close and personal animal encounters, and discussions of local flora, fauna, and how their ecosystem functioned. Every meal was fantastic. Every employee worked hard at giving the guests an unparalleled experience. We cannot say this enough. If you're going to South Africa, this must be your safari experience. They will work hard at giving you exactly the encounters you are looking for. Thank you to Natalie, Duncan, and the rest of the Mashishimale community for everything!
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Date of stay: January 2023
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Room Tip: Every room has a fantastic view. Proximity to the main lodge is the only question you have to ask.
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from Bryan West, Sales at Abelana River Lodge
Responded 28 Mar 2023
Many thanks for your fabulous review - we will certainly make sure all the staff get your feedback incl "Mr T"... its feedback like yours that really inspire our staff, this is what motivates them. Hope to see you back soon and that you had a safe journey back home. Kind regards, Bryan
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rolfaz wrote a review Mar 2023
new york11 contributions10 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
My husband and I went to Abelana to celebrate our 10th anniversary, hoping for something really special, and we couldn't have wished for a better experience. Every person we met there was wonderful, everything we ate was delicious, and every game drive was an amazing adventure. The lodge and the rooms are gorgeous and still very new, I especially loved our outdoor shower. Every room is a freestanding cabin which gives you maximum privacy, and there are only 20 rooms, so it feels pretty intimate. The pool is very cool, it overlooks the river where an occasional hippo might swim by. But really the best thing about this place are the people. Our guide Duncan was amazing, he was super-knowledgeable and seemed almost as excited by animal sightings as we were. He went above and beyond to make sure we were taken care of, even outside of the drives, he would always come to our dinner table and ask if we needed anything. Special shoutout to "Mr. T", as well, who was sitting in the front of the vehicle on the lookout during our drives. And then there's David, the bartender, who mixed fabulous cocktails. And many, many more people who we felt really sad to say goodbye to at the end. Abelana is a real gem.
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Date of stay: November 2022
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from Bryan West, Sales at Abelana River Lodge
Responded 28 Mar 2023
Many thanks review always greatly appreciated - we are so happy to hear you enjoyed anniversary and more importantly our staff took great care of you. Duncan is certainly good at what he does, and we will make sure all our staff get your feedback. Looking forward to hosting you soon hopefully for your next celebration. Kind regards, Bryan
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Abigail wrote a review Dec 2021
9 contributions
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
What an incredibly special place. Have to write a long review because there are just too many things that are worth being mentioned at Abelana. Personalised service from beginning to end, from the courtesy and professionalism of Brian the booking agent at headquarters to bring treated like absolute royalty at the lodge itself. Personalised touches like being greeted with cool towels after returning from the bush and stopping in the middle of the bush for a sundowner where the team have made sure your favourite brand of beer or gin is being poured. We celebrated our 10 year anniversary and Natalie and her team went above and beyond to make sure it was a special occasion with flowers and champagne in our room and our patio lit with lanterns. The food - delicious! Every meal was perfectly curated and the surroundings simply speak for themselves with rooms situated right on the river. Daniella was a fantastic and experienced ranger, her knowledge of the bush was incredible and our drives with her were always interesting as her passion was contagious. 5 stars from us ✨
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Date of stay: December 2021Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from Bryan West, Sales at Abelana River Lodge
Responded 27 Jan 2022
Many thanks for this very special review - we will certainly share your review with all of the staff that work so hard to make Abelana River Lodge the special place it is. it's a reviews like this that makes each one of us exceptional proud of the experience we have created for you and your partner. Hope to see you back soon, all the best... Kind regards,
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Andrew M wrote a review May 2022
Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
I was lucky enough to spend a weekend at Abelana for a corporate function. Having been in the bush on various occasions Abelana has carved out a niche in what could be considered a saturated luxury safari market. As it is wholly owned, the full 15000ha reserve is at the disposal of its guests.

The lodge itself is limited to 20 chalets, so it always felt exclusive, with the chalets more than big enough if you felt like escaping your fellow visitors at the main lodge, to retreat and read or relax with full river frontage on the Selati river.

The Decor felt modern, yet in keeping with the bush vernacular, but not in your face as can often be the case.

The staff, from the rangers, trackers and reception, all the way to the chef, waitresses and barman were exceptional. Friendly, engaging and always willing to help.

I was lucky enough to also go on a guided big 5 walk. While I was rather nervous of stumbling across a lion or a hippo, the trackers and guides were very knowledgeable and I felt safe at all times.

It must also be mentioned, that with the lodge on the main road to Phalaborwa, access from Johannesburg was a pleasure with nearly a double lane highway all the way from Johannesburg via Polokwane, Tzaneen and the picturesque Magoebaskloof. 5 hours door to door.
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Date of stay: May 2022
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
Trip type: Travelled on business
Room Tip: All the rooms are on the Selati river, offering exceptional views
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Leanne J wrote a review Mar 2023
London, United Kingdom30 contributions32 helpful votes
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
What a place! I wish I could give this place more than 5 stars! My husband and I booked our stay at Abelana to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary and we couldn’t have been happier with our choice. From the moment we arrived we just loved everything about Abelana, the beautiful main lodge, the amazing rooms, but mostly the wonderful people. Everyone was so welcoming and went out of their way to make our stay as wonderful as possible. Special mention to Natalie, who was the chief organiser, Faith who served us all our meals, the chef who made the most unbelievable food, David at the bar who ensured we were never thirsty and our incredible guide Dylan who gave us many beautiful sightings and kept every game drive interesting with his immense knowledge of the bush. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Abelana and really hope we can visit again, one day soon
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Date of stay: March 2023Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Room Tip: All rooms are wonderful and face the river
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from Bryan West, Sales at Abelana River Lodge
Responded 21 Aug 2023
Dear Lee - thank you, thank you ...more than 5 stars we just love that and hope to see you back soon...
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Ross wrote a review Jan 2021
2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
My partner and I went to Abelana over New Year’s Eve for a 3 night stay and were completely blown away by the lodge and all staff. Our guide (Vic) was extremely knowledgeable and made the stay that much more special. Few things can beat sitting out by the pool and enjoying the view of the Selati river. Food was amazing too! Looking forward to returning tho this special place!
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Date of stay: January 2021Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
PhilE wrote a review Nov 2023
Fleet, United Kingdom28 contributions4 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
We had a great stay at the Abelana River lodge for 3 nights as part of a holiday tour.
When we arrived we were being shown the main area looking over the river and saw a Fish Eagle swoop down and fly of with a fish, amazing.
The staff were all happy and helpful. The food was excellent. Typical day was up for 5am pre breakfast before the 5:30 sunrise safari. On safari stop for coffee and snack, normally back after 9am for breakfast, lots of choice, cooked, fruit, cereals. 1pm Lunch. At 3pm a high tea before 3:30pm sunset safari. As the sun sets a drink and snack. Back in the dark for dinner. We had Werne as our safari guide, who was very knowledgable, enjoyed passing on information about the whole cycle (dung beetles are amazing), also he was very patient helping us get photos.
We saw lot over the river: elephants, hippos having a snooze (top of their heads) babboons, monkeys and birds. Thanks
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Date of stay: October 2023Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Phalaborwa, South Africa2 contributions
Many thanks, all of our meals are à la carte including hi tea before the afternoon game drive, Hope this helps Thanks Bryan
LisaHommer asked a question Mar 2023
Naples, Italy56 contributions53 helpful votes
Le camere hanno il phon in dotazione?
Answer from DrTerasaka
Chandler, Arizona22 contributions4 helpful votes
Oui. Yes, there is one in the closet.
Jenny d wrote a tip Apr 2024
2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"If you wish to have a quiet game drive make sure to note that at the beginning of your trip. "
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Nicky K wrote a tip Dec 2023
Athens, Greece1 contribution1 helpful vote
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Game drives could be little more exciting Maybe not too many animals around to see especially on 2 drives per day "
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Eddy H wrote a tip Oct 2023
2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Be prepared for early starts - well worth the effort."
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tsholofelod2016 wrote a tip Sept 2023
Pretoria, South Africa26 contributions3 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Nothing to avoid and a tip is just to go there to enjoy and relax"
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Sonia K wrote a tip Apr 2023
21 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"We also did a day trip to Kruger National Park but we saw more at the reserve than we did at Kruger so didn’t feel it was necessary. "
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Not the right property for you?
There are more places to choose from in the Phalaborwa area.
PRICE RANGE
R 10,471 - R 16,750 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
LOCATION
South AfricaLimpopo ProvincePhalaborwa
NUMBER OF ROOMS
20
Prices are provided by our partners, and reflect average nightly room rates, including taxes and fees that are fixed, known to our partners, and due at time of booking. Please see our partners for more details.
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ABELANA RIVER LODGE - Hotel Reviews & Price Comparison (Phalaborwa, South Africa)

Frequently Asked Questions about Abelana River Lodge
What are some of the property amenities at Abelana River Lodge?
Some of the more popular amenities offered include a pool, an on-site restaurant, and a lounge.
What food & drink options are available at Abelana River Lodge?
Guests can enjoy an on-site restaurant, a lounge, and complimentary tea during their stay.
Is parking available at Abelana River Lodge?
Yes, free parking is available to guests.
Are there opportunities to exercise at Abelana River Lodge?
Yes, guests have access to a pool during their stay.
Does Abelana River Lodge have airport transportation?
Yes, Abelana River Lodge offers airport transportation for guests. We recommend calling ahead to confirm details.
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