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“Wonderful experience”

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Kariega Game Reserve - River Lodge
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Kenton-on-Sea
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 27 October 2015

Just returned from 4 night stay at River Lodge and our first visit to South Africa. Chose Kareiga based on travel agent recommendation (smaller than Kruger so more likely to see something) and were not disappointed. River Lodge is fairly small max about 20 people so intimate and friendly, setting next to the river is lovely with decking to sit out on and lovely log fires in the lounge at night. Had Rhino suite , nothing like waking up to look out over the bush and see Giraffe on your doorstep. Rooms were large, comfortable and clean with all amenities. Bathroom was huge and plenty of hot water, some aspects of the plumbing were a little old fashioned but you are in the bush! Food was lovely, plenty of choice, great brunch after an early morning drive. You eat with your guide and others on your vehicle each day and staff were attentive and helpful. Some nice touches like chocolates on your pillow at turndown and a hot towel and aperitif when you get back in the dark from your last drive. Also liked the drinks stop on the evening drive, standing in the bush watching the sun go down.
We were lucky to only have only 4 people in our vehicle for the first three days and 7 on the last day as it got busier for the weekend. Overall what made it for us was our guide Chris, nothing was too much trouble and he had such a wonderful passion and enthusiasm for his job. He had a wealth of knowledge and answered all our questions. Whether it was flowers, plants, Birds (he had numerous bird calls) Reptiles (his favourite) or the big five, Chris managed to find and show us so many things. Whether stopping to pick up a baby Praying Mantis or to avoid squashing hundreds a baby frogs, or getting really up close and personal with a Rhino or lions we had a wonderful time.
If you get the chance take the River cruise, well worth it.

Stayed: October 2015
1  Thank Caroline L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 11 October 2015

My friend and I stayed for 6 nights at River Lodge (following 6 nights at Ukhosi Lodge). Most people stay here for about 3 nights as a finale to their South African holiday. We were interested to see if we would continue to be surprised and excited and we were not disappointed!
The Lodge is in a very special position, the river setting is beautiful. The sunrises and mist on the river early morning is breathtaking. There was a profusion of birdlife along the river which made relaxing on the decking both tranquil and eventful! I even had a go at fishing off the decking. You can also canoe which is great fun.
We were very lucky in that we stayed in Elephant Suite. It is part of a cluster of 3 suites sharing a large outdoor (thatched roofed) sitting room and its own pool and private jetty.....but we had it to ourselves! Elephant suite is 6 mins walk from main lodge (fantastic for a group of friends or large family) and golf buggies are provided in case you don't want to walk. Nyala and warthog have made their homes by the pathway so you never knew who you would meet! The room was very spacious and well appointed. The bathroom was beautifully designed, we loved the two handpainted washbowls, very pretty.
My friend needed a special diet and the management team and cooks made a huge effort to see that she had variety and nutritious meals. I thought the food and wines were superb. The management staff here worked very hard and were clearly an efficient and caring group of people.
The best bit is of course the safari experience. Our rather fantastic ranger was Victor. Victor is extremely knowledgeable and passionate. He made the whole 6 days a great adventure. We learnt so much about the animals and birdlife around us. His driving skills outshone Jeremy Clarkson! Victor worked tremendously hard to make our 6 days totally different. We went on a walking safari where he taught us about tracking and the development of the Reserve; and we went on the river, very exhilarating! Every couple of days new people would join or leave our cruiser group and Victor was so patient and keen to answer their questions making the safari experience special for them. We learnt so much, had many laughs and felt very cared for (thank you Victor!).

Room Tip: I would choose a room facing the river, all rooms are fantastic. There wasn't any problem with f...
  • Stayed: September 2015, travelled with friends
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Jean D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 October 2015

We arrived at Kariega River Lodge and found it very different to our previous game reserve at Shamwari. This one is situated along the Bushman River with the main building opening onto decking with seating to watch life on the river. There are also speed boats to take you on a trip down to the beach at Kenton-on-Sea. Be prepared to hold on tight as the ranger moves through the gears to full speed ahead. We were able to get out and walk on the beach. There are also canoes for guests to do their own thing on the river. One night we had a BBQ in a boma at the rear of the lodge with plenty of winds flowing. All drinks are included in the booking.

The Rangers were excellent, the only thing I would say is that the vehicles do not have a canopy so when it rains, you are given a poncho but still get rather wet. Also they do not have seat belts so when wet, the ride is a bit hairy but good fun. We saw plenty of elephants, giraffes, a magnificent adult male lion and rhinos.

I would thoroughly recommend Kariega to anyone wanting a slightly different game reserve.

Room Tip: Wifi in main lounge area.
  • Stayed: September 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank Gwen C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 September 2015

Our stay at River Lodge was the finale to a birthday/anniversary trip around South Africa and turned out to be a highlight. Staff at the lodge are friendly and welcoming and we felt very spoilt. Rooms are huge and the rustic style bathrooms were delightful. Our guide, Victor, took us out twice each day. He was always cheerful and patiently answered even our dumbest questions. The camaraderie which developed among the group made for some interesting conversations over dinner! Victor is passionate about animals and has an extensive knowledge of all the large mammals and birds. He made every drive different, encountering different animals each time and he builds up the drama leading to each sighting very effectively. It was his skill and knowledge that made each drive so enjoyable. He is a great driver and negotiated some tricky tracks very deftly. He got us up close and personal with most of the animals including an impressive male lion with his lionesses and an absolutely huge bull elephant. He perfectly judged the right balance of respect and fear when getting us close to wild animals. For us this made our holiday and was a perfect ending to a visit in which we fell in love with SA.

Room Tip: Rhino room is first floor with a viewing deck. You will see giraffes when you open your curtains!
  • Stayed: September 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank terrymc55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bronwen d, Manager at Kariega Game Reserve - River Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 1 October 2015

Hi Terry,
Thank you so much for your lovely review of you stay with us at River Lodge. We have passed on your thanks and comments to Victor and agree that he is a fabulous guide. We are so glad to read that you fell in love with South Africa and Kariega during your holiday. We love both too! We hope that you will be able to visit us again sometime - and we hope to get a full 5 stars when you do :)
With kind regards from the Kariega team.

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Reviewed 21 September 2015

We've just returned from an amazing holiday at Kariega Game Reserve (River Lodge). The staff went out of their way to make sure we were comfortable and getting the most from our visit. We stayed for a week and despite a very rainy first few days the whole holiday was very enjoyable. Victor was our guide for the week and was extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic. The food was excellent and abundant and the service was attentive and friendly. Overall it's the best safari we've ever been on and we're already saving to come back!

Room Tip: Rhino (Room 2) is near the reception if you don't want to walk far for dinner etc.
  • Stayed: September 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank Catwasp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Kariega Game Reserve - River Lodge

Address: R 343 | Between Alexandria and Kenton-on-Sea, Near rural route R72, Kenton-on-Sea 6191, South Africa
Region: South Africa > Eastern Cape > Greater Addo > Kenton-on-Sea
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Kenton-on-Sea
Price Range: R8 580 - R13 518 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Kariega Game Reserve - River Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Nestled on the banks of the Bushman's River, this Lodge is unique in that it connects a Big-5 Kariega Game Reserve to the sea. Our optional daily boat cruises ferry guests through the quaint sea side village of Kenton-on-Sea. Inside the Lodge guests can find a quiet spot in one of the lounges, page through a book in the library, enjoy the pool or take in the view from the magnificent deck which overhangs the river. Twice daily safari drives, guided walks, river fishing, canoeing and river trips are included. Accommodation, all meals and local beverages are also included. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
River Hotel Kenton-On-Sea
River Hotel Kariega Game Reserve

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