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“Once in a lifetime experience”

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Gorah Elephant Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Aberystwyth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Once in a lifetime experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 June 2013

We stayed for 3 nights in May 2013 as part of our honeymoon. This was the more expensive of the safari options in SA, but I'm so glad we went the extra mile to stay here. It is a truly captivating experience, and has left us with memories that will last a lifetime.

To say you are in the middle of no-where is an understatement. 20km from the road, you are truly miles away from the stress and troubles of everyday life. With only 11 luxury tents and the small group of staff who tend to your every need at the lodge, it is an extremely friendly, relaxed and intimate atmosphere.

The camp is literally in the middle of the Addo national park, about 22,000 hectares, and the vast planes stretch out in front of your luxury tent, animals casually wondering by without a care in the world. I was surprised to find that the camp is not fenced, and there are no armed guards, but we never felt unsafe, and it only added to the experience of being at one with nature.

The tents are very large, and luxuriously appointed. They have a wooden deck surround and door, with reed thatch roofing, they really aren't regular tents, they are huge, and very secure. Please go and look for some photos to get a realistic picture of the quality of the accommodation.

There are more elephants and buffalo in Addo than you can shake a stick at, and we were also fortunate enough to see lion and rhino on our game drives as well as a host of other wildlife. The watering hole 50 metres from the lodge also attracts a lot of animals, which stroll on by during the day and evening as you are enjoying your meal. The food is amazing, and abundant, you will not go hungry.

If you are planning a safari, you need this place in your life. As opposed to more commercial game lodges or wildlife parks, this place is truly wild and wonderful. The big animals are non aggressive as they are truly in a natural environment, and it was a joy to be a part of it for a short time.

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank AJ402
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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312 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (55)
Date | Rating
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English first
Cape Town Central, South Africa
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 May 2013

The first evening game drive, you come back into the camp and against the darkness and sounds of buffalo grunting and grazing, you see these beautiful candle lit luxury tents. You are then invited into the lodge where you can warm yourself by a fire in a beautiful library with wine or cocktails. Beyond anything I expected and this was just one fabulous experience.

Can't say enough good things about Kirstin and Eloise who went above and beyond to ensure that we could have anything that we could want - from cookies in the room to boiled water for my neti pot. I could neti in a tented camp in the middle of Addo!

And the service isn't limited to great food, drinks, and game drives. My husband was feeling ill during our visit and was hoping for some ginger tea to settle his stomach. The camp didn't have any pre-made ginger tea but (her name started with a Th....so embarrassed that I don't remember)...she grated fresh ginger and made ginger tea from scratch for him. Amazing.

I could go on and on. Yes, Gorah is a bit of a splurge but if you have a chance...just do it.

Room Tip: We had tent 1-- and on both nights- buffalo grazed outside of our tent. In the morning ostrich were...
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  • Stayed May 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank CamMonahan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
266 reviews
133 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 210 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 May 2013 via mobile

We stayed for two nights and this was our "splurge" on a six week trip of SA which thankfully completely lived up to expectations. The setting of the camp is absolutely stunning and from the second you check in at the gate and embark on the 30min bumpy drive through the reserve, you know you are trying somewhere special. We found housekeeping to be exceptional with our room immaculately serviced at regular intervals throughout the day. Food is plentiful and of a good standard, although very rich at times and some of the flavour combinations were a bit hit and miss (blue cheese, cherry and chicken anyone?). The wine whilst not included was of a good standard and reasonably priced. The staff are very friendly and helpful - especially our guide Francois who was very knowledgeable. During our stay we managed to see herds of elephants, buffalo, warthog, kudu and red hartebeest as well as lions. I'd love to go back at some point in future - it's a very special place indeed.

Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
2 Thank Travel_Lion_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
40 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 May 2013 via mobile

We stayed at Gorah for two nights and loved it. Seeing elephants and warthogs on the journey made the difficult drive there more fun! We were warmly welcomed to the lodge and the service from that point onwards was personal and friendly. The games drives were great, Francois our guide made them both fun and informative and we saw some fabulous animals. The food is plentiful (maybe a little too much so!) and it is served in a lovely candlelit environment overlooking the waterhole which is host to a lot of wildlife all day. The tents are luxurious, your nights sleep may be interrupted by elephants or buffalo grazing right next to you but that is half the adventure! It's the small touches that make this place special, when we got in the car for our journey home it was filled with fresh water and cookies and had been washed too! Indicative of what you can expect at this great venue.

  • Stayed April 2013
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Helpful?
2 Thank Katie M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 May 2013

wonderfull welcome, very flexible with meals: we arrived after lunchtime but that was no problem at all, they made us a very nice lunch. And they granted all our personal wishes, really fantastic. The beds were made twice a day, during the daytime witch beautifull blankets and pillows, in the evening ready to go to sleep. They put on the heaters for you and I even had a warm water bottle in my bed! My daughter and her boyfriend had little candles and rose petals on the floor, how romantic is that!
The game drives were wonderfull too, we had a very nice guide who was interested in the big five as well as all the little creatures like the dung beetles and the birds and the mice. Cyrina, thank you, you really added to the wonderfull experience we had.

  • Stayed April 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Linda188582
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bonn, Germany
Level Contributor
282 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 102 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 April 2013

Unlike many other accommodations in-and-around South African national parks, Gorah Elephant Camp is relatively unique in the country wherein you are not fenced off from the park animals. That's correct, there is no electric or game fence between you and the multitude of animals that roam the grounds around this concession. And, that is a big plus in our book. At one time, there were 7 different species of large animals lounging around the small watering hole not 100 meters from the lodge: Elephant, buffalo, zebra,ostrich, hartebeest, hyena, and the ever present warthog. And, we're told, that lion visit the camp on a weekly basis which doesn't happen in every national park setting. Can this get any better?

The staff is very friendly and helpful, and there to see that your visit is memorable. The dining room service is good, although the waitstaff did forget to order my wife's breakfast selection, and the meals attempt to be a more upscale version of what's locally available in many area eateries. Over the two days of our visit, there were some meal hits and misses (tough selection of meat and overcooked vegetables) but no outright goals. Meals were presented in a visually appealing manner and the portions were sufficient enough to keep even the most ravenous guest happy. In fact, there was more food than what most normal humans can consume over a 24-hour period: breakfast (cereals, cold meats and smoked fish, breads, and a selection of hot, cooked entrees); lunch following the game drive (soup, a selection of entrees and desserts); a mid-afternoon, pre-game drive high tea (tea, coffee, sweets, cakes, etc.); snacks with a sundowner cocktail at the end of the evening drive; and a full blown, 3-course dinner to end the day!

Our game drives were fulfilling, with our ranger not only on the look out for the "big game" in Addo Park, but also showing and telling us about the "little five" of Africa. In addition, our ranger was well versed in the avian diversity, and we learned much about the indigenous birds in the Eastern Cape region. It's always true that a game drive is a "pay your money, take your chance." And, we found that some areas into which we were driven were a bit sparse on animals. But, our ranger attempted all in his power to insure that our time in the park was productive. This always is a good sign of employee engagement.

We would have rated our experience as excellent except for the fact that the facility, now more than a decade old, is in need of some attention. Not everything in the tents works all the time, and evidence of mold on the canvas walls is obvious. Repairs to the outside of the tents is needed, with velcro closures and canvas straps in disrepair. Some of the couches and chairs in the main lodge could use some Tender Loving Care. With the winter season approaching and tourist bookings falling off, it might be time for the Hunter Group to spend some Rand and freshen up their holding.

And, on a similar note, you should be warned that the gravel road west from the N-10 (at the Gorah Camp sign) to the concession entrance is not the best secondary road in the country. In fact, a safe speed along this stretch is nowhere more than 40 km/hr. Once you enter the Gorah gate, though, the dirt roadway deteriorates rapidly, requiring a cruising speed of not much more than 20 km/hr. Our estimate is that you need to plan at least a 30 minute drive from the Gorah entrance to the Lodge; plan accordingly.

  • Stayed April 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank LopingianTravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Herts
Level Contributor
40 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 April 2013

Travelling up to Gorah in the pouring rain along a potholed gravel road seemed like a never ending journey, and was the warm up for our two night finale to our Garden route trip. Fortunately we were asked to leave our car up near the main gate of the camp as we would never have managed the second half of the trip unless we had a 4x4 due to the rainfall causing bad road conditions.

Like others staying in the last few days of March we were extremely unlucky with the weather, which rained almost non stop throughout our stay. Nothing however would stop us from going out on the game drives, and we went out four times in total. A wonderful experience despite the rain with a real sense of adventure and expectation at every turn. Remember that you are in open topped vehicles so wrap up warm.

The tent was comfortable although the gas heater gave out little heat unless you stood close by. No problem on warm days but we were not blessed with any of these. With the wind and rain we didn't have the most restful nights sleep, although the beds were comfortable. We were up early for the morning game drives each morning although that was our choice.

The camp is run very professionally and we found the food to our liking. The standards are set high and we would recommend anyone to stay for a couple of days.

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Hertsglobetrotter75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Gorah Elephant Camp

Property: Gorah Elephant Camp
Address: Addo Heights Road, Addo Elephant National Park 6105, South Africa
Region: South Africa > Eastern Cape > Greater Addo > Addo Elephant National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 12 Speciality Lodging in Addo Elephant National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:5 star — Gorah Elephant Camp 5*
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The incomparable thrill of quietly observing a passing herd of elephant while being served tea on the veranda of a stately Colonial manor house is the stuff of dreams and legends. This exclusive safari lodge recaptures the romantic mystique of authentic safari of centuries past - the awesome natural world of Africa merged with colonial nostalgia and modern sophistication to deliver an unforgettably unique 5 star adventure. Gorah is a member of Relais & Chateaux. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Gorah Elephant Camp Hotel Addo Elephant National Park

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