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“Truly outstanding luxury safari experience”

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Kariega Game Reserve - Settlers Drift
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 11 December 2017

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.

Room Tip: They're all good. The further away from the main building you may be able to see a few more sta...
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  • Stayed: January 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Andrew T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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4 - 8 of 112 reviews

Reviewed 7 November 2017 via mobile

Absolutely perfect!!! Very clean, nice interior. Stunning views. Very friendly staff. Great food & drinks!

The Safari was an exceptional and breath-taking experience (thank you Chris!).
We recommend to stay for at least 3 nights as there is so much to explore!

Stayed: November 2017, travelled as a couple
Thank TiffanyandOlivier
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 October 2017 via mobile

If you are keen to experience safari in luxury, this is definitely the place for you. From beginning to end the service was excellent from the onsite staff. The accommodation was outstanding, plenty of room and a stunning view across the plains to watch the animals. The food offered a great range of South African specialities and was delicious. Our ranger for the trip was Louis, who was excellent, clearly enjoys his job and being with the animals. He offered fantastic insight for both animal, insects and flowers! He even catered for the party sundowner alcohol needs :)) Thank you Louis! This place is worth every penny of the costs, we thoroughly recommend to all those looking for a luxury safari experience.

Stayed: October 2017, travelled as a couple
Thank Kirstie S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 September 2017

Settlers Drift surpassed everything we hoped our safari experience would be. The accommodations, the staff, and, of course, the reserve and wildlife within combined to create an incredible experience. Every aspect of our stay felt meticulously planned and wonderfully executed.

The rooms are private cabins and are large and beautiful, overlooking the reserve with plenty of wildlife like giraffes and antelope in plain sight. The main Settlers Drift lodge had plenty of seating both indoors and out with views of the reserve throughout and a big fireplace in the middle for cooler mornings and nights.

We had the opportunity to go out on drives twice a day with a break in between to enjoy breakfast, lunch and spa/pool amenities. Each time we returned from a drive we were welcomed back by the staff with warm towels and drinks. breakfast, lunch and dinner were prepared by an on-site chef, all timed perfectly around our outdoor experiences.

We were so fortunate to have Victoria (Vicky) as our guide throughout our three night stay. I can't imagine having a more passionate and engaging person to lead us through the reserve, whether in a car, on a boat, or on foot. She did a great job of of making herself flexible enough to experience everything we wanted to experience while also keeping tabs on where the action was at to ensure that we got to see all of the unique and beautiful things happening throughout the reserve.

All in all, I can't recommend Settlers Drift enough, particularly as a destination for couples.

  • Stayed: September 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank rberroteran
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 August 2017 via mobile

My husband and I spent 4 nights at Settler's Drift and it was by far the best days of our 2 weeks spent in South Africa. I can't say enough how accommodating and genuinely nice the staff is here. They remind me of a big, helpful, and welcoming family that you came to visit. I have to say our game ranger, Louis, went out of his way to make sure we saw as many of the animals as possible. We saw lions cuddling next to each other, lionesses game planning for a hunting trip, lions eating a zebra, baby rhinos drinking and whining for milk from his mom, a beautiful herd of elephants, so many giraffes (we even went on a bush walk and got fairly close to the giraffes. We went on a fun boat ride and watched the amazing night sky filled with bright stars. Every step of the way Louis was educating us on what we were seeing and why which makes you appreciate everything even more. Thank you so much Louis! Your passion and love for Kariega and the animals is infectious. You are the best!

The food at Settler's Drift is top notch. The breakfast everyday was so delicious and I enjoyed high tea. Dinner had a great variety of choices. Their hot cocoa is the best I've ever tasted! I already miss it.

The private tent is truly exceptional and luxurious. It's a huge room, more than 1000 sqft with glorious views of the safari. The shower turns into an outdoor shower! They didn't miss a thing. I would definitely come back to Kariega, after seeing my pictures and videos all my family and friends are dieing to stay here too.

Thank you so much for a wonderful stay, the only thing I wish is that I didn't have to leave. ☺️ Till next time

Stayed: August 2017, travelled as a couple
1  Thank Francesca M
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 - Settlers Drift

Address: R72, Near Kenton-on-Sea, Kenton-on-Sea 6169, South Africa
Region: South Africa > Eastern Cape > Greater Addo > Kenton-on-Sea
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 8 Speciality Lodging in Kenton-on-Sea
Price Range: R 13 301 - R 20 837 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Kariega Game Reserve - Settlers Drift 5*
Number of rooms: 9
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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