Fish River Lodge

Reviews of Fish River Lodge

Excellent(91%) From 44 travellers
Excellent
30
Good
10
Average
3
Poor
1
Terrible
0
Below are independent comments from 44 of our travellers who have visited Fish River Lodge, and have kindly agreed to share their thoughts.

They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Mr M. from Wakefield
Arrived on: 18-May-2018 Stayed for: 2 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Good
Good
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Good
Good

Amazing location

Fabulous location on the rim of the Canyon and well worth the long and challenging drive.

The day trip down in to the Canyon with Engelbrecht was one of the outstanding highlights of the trip.

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TansySue
Arrived on: 18-May-2018 Stayed for: 2 nights
Overall:
Good
Good
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent

Awesome views

Situated right on the edge of the canyon, the chalets and main building had the most incredible views of the canyon stretching out in front of us. Our chalet had a small terrace with chairs which enabled us to watch the light changing. In fact we did witness a tremendous thunderstorm which produced the most magnificent skies. Heavy rain overnight quickly soaked away into the sandy soil and didn't pose a problem when walking into breakfast next morning.

Facing the canyon did mean the wind came straight in at our chalet door which was not that close fitting (and was difficult to lock) - fortunately the heavy curtains did help. We had been given ear plugs to wear as the noise was certainly noticeable but we didn't feel the need to use them and did manage to get to sleep well in the very comfortable beds.

Our chalet had tea and coffee making facilities but no kettle, a thermos jug needed to be filled with hot water from the kitchen if one wanted refreshments. It would have been better to have a kettle so we could have enjoyed early morning cuppas.

The bathroom area was very large with an enormous mirror and great lighting, a safe and a small hanging space for clothes. Twin wash basins and separate WC but strangely no door on the WC. There was an outdoor shower but in May it was not warm enough to want to try it. The indoor shower worked well but one had to remember the hot water was solar heated and would cool off overnight. There was no running water between 11pm and 5am as the pumps were switched off for some reason. This could have been a big issue if one had needed to use the WC overnight with an upset stomach! We noticed on entering the bathroom the unpleasant smell of sewage - this seemed to disappear overnight - maybe because we had used the sinks and shower and flushed the system through or maybe because we had a lot of rain overnight.

In the evenings there was an open fire in the lounge/bar area and also in the restaurant - but we needed to wear jumpers to dinner as it was cold in the evenings. It was also cold in our chalet; there was no heating that we could see so this would not be an ideal place to stay in the middle of their winter. In our opinion the door and window fittings need to be replaced in both the chalet and main building. They looked like metal crittall windows and had not worn well - in fact a door handle broke off in Mr L's hand

It was not warm enough to use the pool which was beautifully located with views to the canyon.

We thoroughly enjoyed the drive into the Canyon which had been included in our holiday itinerary. The best off road driving we have ever experienced.

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Peter and Helenka
Arrived on: 30-Oct-2017 Stayed for: 2 nights
Overall:
Average
Average
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Average
Average
Service:
Average
Average
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Average
Average

Fish River Lodge review

Probably we had been spoilt at all the other excellent places but overall this was a little disappointing

It was the only place where ther was no water or facilities for making a drink in the rooms. The staff in the bar and restaurant were friendly but the management on arrival and on leaving were not as friendly as in other places. The rooms are odd design and functional rather than comfortable

The trip to the canyon was a great experience and the guide was entertaining and informative as well as being a very good driver

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Expert Africa comments

When we shared these comments with the lodge, the lodge’s managers were very concerned that these travellers had had a disappointing stay, and assure us that they have taken on board their comments.

They wanted us to let our travellers know that they appreciate their helpful suggestion about having drinking water available in all of the rooms. We understand that they plan to implement this plan as soon as possible.

However, they explained that unfortunately their power supply does not allow for kettles in the rooms. The management did say that hot water flasks are available in the restaurant area on request, to take back to the rooms – so guests can make use of the small tea / coffee station in their rooms.

D and P from Lavenham, Suffolk
Arrived on: 30-Sep-2017 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Average
Average
Facilities:
Good
Good

Dramatic

Just a wonderful place!

Amazing scenery. Great trip into the canyon. What we weren’t told though, was that walks into the canyon had stopped the previous week - it was too hot, Amazing swim in what remains of Fish River.

No sun beds, limited activities.

Good birdwatching (and Dessie watching) from deck - they provided a small pool.

Only criticism - no sunbeds!

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Mr Y & Dr C - Essex
Arrived on: 19-Sep-2017 Stayed for: 2 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Excellent lodge in great location

Wonderfully perched on the edge of the canyon with great views across the canyon lower levels. You get a great perspective of how the canyon winds through the countryside.

There are fantastic views from each room and from the main lodge building housing the bar and restaurant. Food was very good although the choice was limited. Service was excellent.

We were taken right down to the canyon floor by 4x4 - a great experience, see separate review. Sundowner trip trip was fun.

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Mr R. from Napier 4110
Arrived on: 30-Aug-2017 Stayed for: 2 nights
Overall:
Average
Average
Location:
Good
Good
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Average
Average
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Good
Good
Facilities:
Average
Average

Fish River Lodge review

Long drive to the canyon , didnt really live up to our expectations when we got there. Did have a nice walk along the rim.

Really only needed to have stayed 1 night.

Having to get hot water for tea and coffee from the restaurant was incnvenient.

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Ms A & Mr M - Nigeria Lagos
Arrived on: 28-Aug-2017 Stayed for: 2 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Good
Good
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Good
Good

Spectacular Location

After a very long often bumpy and lonely drive (since we saw almost no other vehicles since turning off the main road) you reach Fish River Lodge and are greeted with a view that is unparalleled in its uniqueness. Excellent because of the location, design and overall experience. Slightly uncomfortable by a lack of warmth in the room and an incident at the bottom of the canyon on the half day tour as mentioned below.

This is a beautiful lodge created in a design that is fitting with the landscape. Stunning pool and very welcoming communal area and dining room. The two fires were very welcome given the temperature. Wi-fi was supposedly available for guests in the communal areas but did not work at all during our stay.

Personally we thought all of the food was of a very good quality and selection given their location. I would imagine that ordering and storing takes some creativity. The all day tea and coffee station was appreciated and cakes and fruit in the afternoon. All staff that we interacted with were very pleasant and personable, although in discussion some expressed that it was not an easy place to work at due to the lengthy months before rotating their time off.

Rooms were in keeping with the design and torches were provided for use when necessary. Our torch did not work and nor did the replacement so they may want to consider upgrading those. Flasks for hot water for refreshments in the rooms were provided and replenished in the dining room. When waiting for the shower water to warm buckets are provided to catch the water which is then used by housekeeping.

It was extremely cold and windy during our stay and we felt this in the room. We had warm weather clothing with us but still very much felt the cold not helped by the wind. The information provided in the room stated that both heaters and hot water bottles were available, however when I requested a heater I was advised that they did not have any, however they did provide us with hot water bottles for the bed.

We opted to take the half day drive down to the canyon which included a packed lunch at the bottom. The drive was interesting and rough as expected.
I do think that they could have made more of the lunch spot and packed lunch provided. When we finally reached that area we were simply handed a paper bag of snacks plus a drink of our choice and directed down to where they felt it would be nice to sit. Unfortunately this was not especially clear as the guide had gone ahead but did not really wait to make sure that we were all (four of us) happily and comfortably following and this is where my husband unfortunately slipped and hurt his ankle. This could probably have been avoided if the guide had taken the lunch leaving us both hands to assist with the rocky terrain. Carrying a small pack, plus having both hands occupied was not ideal.

My husband was in quite a lot of pain and on our return to the vehicle the guide removed all the ice from the cool box and put it around his foot and tied with a towel. I do feel that their first aid box should be better equipped with stronger bandages and checked before each trip as the guide seemed surprised that it was not better stocked. Prior to departure from the lodge you are asked to sign a waiver for injury/damage which is fine, but they may want to re-think the way the lunch stop is arranged in order to avoid similar happening to somebody else, and honestly it would have been nice if somebody (or even the guide) had later come to check that all was fine as it should have been noted by the guide. I went to the reception later to see if they had a better bandage but they did not.

This did hamper a few things over the next few days, but thankfully no significant activities were affected during the remainder of our trip. Whilst my husband was resting I did take a short walk along the rim which was nice and easily marked.

Sundowner was good and in a very nice spot but again rather challenging due to the wind.
All in all it was a mixed experience but we are glad that we had the opportunity to experience such a unique lodge and environment.




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Expert Africa comments

We have followed up with the lodge managers, and as a result there have been discussions with the guide to make changes for the future.

Mrs N. from Purley
Arrived on: 13-Jul-2017 Stayed for: 2 nights
Overall:
Good
Good
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Average
Average
Facilities:
Good
Good

Stunning views

A great place to visit if time permits, nice views. Activities were rather expensive

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Mrs H. from Leyburn
Arrived on: 8-Jul-2017 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Good
Good
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Average
Average
Service:
Good
Good
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Good
Good
Facilities:
Average
Average

Fish River Lodge review

Superb location, friendly staff, very good guide (Cornelius). Spoilt by the lack of heating.

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Miss A. from Okehampton
Arrived on: 22-Feb-2017 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Good
Good
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Fish River Lodge- on the edge

Fantastic position - what a view from one's room! And what amazing rooms.... Just being there is really what it's all about. Walks are limited - albeit with superb views at the end of each.( More information about the still evident old farm site would make Walk 1 more interesting...)

Food delicious- with the best breakfast we had anywhere... Wonderful cocktails. Charming staff.

The sky at night is incredibly clear... star- gazing definitely another area of potential interest. And we would have loved to have had a film/ video of the geology etc of the canyon- something interesting to do after dinner. ( Apart from Hoanib, none of the other camps offered any such thing- a pity)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Whilst staying here these travellers took part in the day drive in to the canyon and commented:

The rugged drive to the canyon is fairly hair raising and fun- the driver/guide impressively intrepid! BUT once at the canyon, with the river in full flood, it was very limited... it was simply a look at the water, a snack out of a paper bag, then the same very rocky route back. We were back by 1.30.

I think they could have made much more of the whole thing- with a bit of an effort at a more special lunch- perhaps set up at the hiking camp base where there was some shade.... overall I think they get a C for effort!

Rather disappointing.

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