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“Superb game reserve”

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Kariega Game Reserve - River Lodge
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Kenton-on-Sea
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 23 November 2013

Just an amazing experience from start to finish. From the moment we parked our car and were welcomed by the person on the gate to saying goodbye to our ranger 3 days later the whole time was just magical. The whole set up at River lodge is very well thought out. The main lodge building has a deck on the river which is a wonderful setting. Our room was the Rhino room which I can highly recommend as we could sit outside it having a drink watching giraffes, warthogs and impalas walking through the reserve. However, the thing that really made it for us was Gerhard our Ranger. He is an amazing source of knowledge about the animals, insects and flora on the reserve. His care and thoughtfulness to ensure we got the best possible experience was second to none and he clearly absolutely loves his job! The food was very good and you could not want for anything feeling very well looked after at all times. You really felt like you were on you own private safari most of the time you were with the animals and watching as a herd of elephants slowly walked past the Landcruiser within touching distance is one thing I will never forget!

Room Tip: Go for one of the first floor rooms - I think they were Hippo and Rhino as they had great views int...
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  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Iain S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 3 November 2013

We stayed for 3 nights at the River Lodge, Hippo Suite. Our ranger, Gerhard, collected us from the main gate and we saw giraffes before even reaching the River Lodge. Gerhard took us out on all our games drives and a boat trip down the river. We enjoyed the fact that meals were with the ranger and rest of the group we'd been out on the game drives with - a great chance to ask the ranger questions and chat with other group members about what we'd seen. The game drives were truly amazing, Gerhard knew where to look for all the animals and was prepared to keep on looking until we'd seen just about everything other than a leopard. He was able to give lots of information about animals, birds, plants and always found a scenic spot for drinks break. We had a fabulous time, would definitely recommend going for River Lodge as apparently the best rangers and best vehicles are allocated to the people from the best accommodation

Room Tip: River Lodge is fantastic
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  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank SycamoreCC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 October 2013

We ended a holiday in South Africa, driving the Garden Route, with a 4 night stay at the Kariega River Lodge. When you arrive here your really do feel you are at last in the real ‘Africa’.

The landscapes are varied and beautiful and it never feels overcrowded. The sunsets are stunning and animals around are outstanding. Obviously it’s not the flat landscapes of the African Savannah but a hilly landscape of rivers and plateaus.

The 12 suites are all different; some are individual buildings with only one being beside the river. The rest are set back a bit and behind the main house. We stayed in the Hippo Suite which was upstairs in one of the double storey houses which comprised 4 suites. Originally we were put on the lower level but asked to move as there was a restricted view from the lower suites and they seemed a bit dark. I’d advise requesting this as it was amazing to watch the animals in the area below your balcony including giraffe, ostrich, monkeys and the cutest “Pumbaa” warthogs. Rooms are comfortable with large bed and room for an extra person bed as a “special request”. It took us a while to get the hang of the heating / air con unit but once we did it was manageable. Shower and bath are functional though perhaps not the most luxurious. The water is slightly saline and from the river albeit treated. The rooms and the main lodge building with their vaulted ceilings and thatched roofs are full of charm and add to the African experience of Kariega. Food was of reasonable quality with a 3 choice menu at dinner which you order on return from your evening game drive. Breakfast is cooked and lunch is buffet style. All food and drinks are included and the staff are on hand to help out most of the time. There was a small but well stocked shop.

We were there in July (South African winter) and it could be very cold especially in the mornings. Wake up call is very early so set up so you just drag on your clothes. You do need gloves, hat, windproof, warm coat, scarf to put over your face and sunglasses (even in the dark they protect your eyes from the biting cold). The shop does a roaring trade selling hats and gloves! During the day it can be quite warm though and like a UK summer. The balcony overlooking the river is lovely to sit on and relax after a drive. There are advantage of this time of year though in that it is the dry season and “safari-ing” in the rain doesn’t appeal and the roads/tracks must be really scary in the wet and of course the animals are all easier to find.

The jewel in the crown though is Kariega itself and the passion of its staff, rangers and conservation strategies. You feel privileged to get a glimpse of the animals that are in essence wild though clearly managed from a distance. They are left to fend for themselves with the exception of the endangered animals like rhino and in particular the special one, Thandi, who is flying the flag and promoting rhino conservation wordwide. Dave, our personal Ranger was amazing with his immense knowledge and friendly and caring attitude. He made us feel that we were the only people in the park and went out his way to show us every animal he could as well as plants and explain some of the ecology. His ‘bush pub’ was also rather memorable!

Don’t go to Kariega expecting a relaxing holiday. It is hard work! From the 6 am wake-up call you never stop and falling into bed at 9.30 pm and falling asleep immediately is normal! You bounce around all day in the vehicle or the boat but the rewards and memories are immeasurable. If your go to the Eastern Cape then go here – you won’t be disappointed.

Room Tip: Best views from first floor room balconies
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  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled with family
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4  Thank pophammy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 October 2013

We had a wonderful 3 days at River Lodge. A perfect place for your first safari and we enjoyed every minute. Everyone was so friendly and Gerhard our ranger was excellent; we saw all the animals except the leopard and it was fabulous to see them in the wild. The trip down the river to Kenton on Sea was an added bonus. It was a very special way to spend our wedding anniversary - we have some wonderful memories.

Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
1  Thank elainem28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 October 2013

I cannot say enough about our time here. The staff, the rangers, the accommodations and the food were fantastic from start to finish. The game drives were all I had hoped for and our ranger Wayne was great - he had to be to put up with our crazy group. Game sitings, wine and snacks in the bush, the comfort of the Land Cruisers- all made for the best possible experience. I fulfilled a dream!

Room Tip: we had a room close to the lodge - if you were farther away then you had a golf cart to get back and...
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  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank Travellingfoursome
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 October 2013

Our introduction to Kariega was at the gate with Patricyia - she set the standard for the rest of our 3 night stay - cheerful, helpful, always smiling and always there with the answers to all our questions and queries.
Our lodge was at the furthest point from the reception dining and lounge areas but we were able to use the numerous golf buggies which added to the excitement of the adventure and some interesting driving!
We were introduced to our ranger Wayne and set out with six other residents on our first ever safari after lunch.

I can't express in words just how special these trips were! Even the 5am wake up call in the pitch blackness of the lodge added to the adventure. Elephants, rhinos, lionnesses with cubs on every outing. As there is generally 2 or 3 day turnover of residents we met lots of different people who turned into special friends and we were able to socialised with everyone at breakfast and dinner with Wayne after each trip. His knowledge was exceptional and we really felt that although we were in an open vehicle amongst unpredictable wild animals, we never felt in any danger and had full trust in him.

We can't praise the staff at the River Lodge enough so we look forward to seeing you all again.

Many thanks again for a superb holiday -
Sarah & Pat Hewitt

Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
2  Thank zebedee4504
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 October 2013

Our guide was Zolani, who was a very experienced, knowledgable, affable guy. I cannot rave about the place more, staff could not do more for you, the drink and food was free flowing, and very good. The fear about all inclusive is extra charges, we had none of that, whatever you wanted to drink, was freely given. Take the canoes out, boat trip to Kenton on sea, were all part of the package.
We did 3 days at Ukhozi and 4 at River and would recommend that as both offered something different.

Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
Thank Rdajackson
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
Amenities:
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: £491 - £677 (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
Kariega Game Reserve - River Lodge South Africa/Kenton-On-Sea

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