My wife and I stayed here on our honeymoon in December 2016 (the site won’t let me go back that far - it’s taken me a year to get round to writing this but time to think just makes us appreciate the place even more).
You are met at a jetty by your guide with a selection of drinks and then transferred by boat down the river to the lodge itself. As an introduction to the place nothing could have been better, going down the river a giraffe walked over to say hello.
The game drives are top drawer. The whole team work really well to advise where the animals are but crucially also make sure they are never crowded and can be admired in their natural behavior. There is an enormous amount of respect for all of the animals, which further enhances the experience.
When we visited each truck held only 6 people meaning your view was always unobstructed and you were very comfortable. Water, blankets and binoculars were all provided as well as drinks and nibbles on each game drive. We were out 3-4 hours at a time which flew by.
We were incredibly lucky to see the big 5 on our first day and over the trip highlights were seeing 3 female lions hunting as a team from a few meters away (they didn’t make a kill sadly but still a sight I’ll take to my grave) and a heard of elephant passing meters from our truck on 2 different occasions.
As others have mentioned this is a fenced game reserve, however in our experience, being there 3 days, this didn’t present an issue at all, almost to the contrary it allowed us to see a variety of animals every time we went out without hours of searching.
Our guide – Vicky – was exceptional. Show her an animal and as well as the interesting things about it and it’s species she can likely tell you which way it would vote. I’ve never met anyone with more passion, knowledge and genuine excitement for their job. The way the scheduling worked we were fortunate enough to have Vicky as ranger to ourselves for 2 days and it was easily the best part of our whole honeymoon.
The food was of the highest quality. Additionally the chef came to meet us on arrival and asked if we had any allergies or requirements which were catered for at each meal for he remainder of our stay without anything more ever needing to be asked.
As well as the fantastic game drives (the main reason you go) the lodge itself is also a brilliant place to stay. The décor and ambience are first rate, you really feel a part of the countryside. The infinity pool overlooks a large plain area meaning you can watch animals in the distance while sipping any one of a number of drinks.
The tented lodge in which we stayed was enormous and very well equipped, highlight for me being the shower which could convert to outdoor by sliding the glass doors away. You have a fantastic view of the reserve as almost all walls facing that way are entirely glass.
One piece of advice – no matter how tired, how exhausted, how ill you may be make sure you do all of your game drives. You will always see something different.
I cannot recommend this place and it’s fantastic team enough.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Settlers Drift is a 5-star luxury tented lodge located in the Big 5 malaria-free Kariega Game Reserve. The lodge consists of 9 spacious tented suites, each with stunning views and secluded viewing decks. The experience includes all meals, drinks, twice daily safari drives, river trips and guided walks. The modern and luxurious lodge has spacious decks, a pool, boma, shop, library and spa. ... more less
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