Reviews of Fish River Lodge
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
What a view.
I have to confess that having driven nearly 100km along a gravel road, then negotiated the 19km driveway to this lodge I was rather nervous that this would have been worth the effort. I need not have worried as the first thing that greets you on arrival is the quite incredible view from the main building out over Fish River Canyon.
The main building is where meals are served and you meet for the various optional activities. The rooms themselves are individual chalets perched on the edge of the cliff, each with an equally amazing view. They are described as minimalist but are totally acceptable for most travellers. the beds were comfortable and there was even an outside shower. A door on the toilet would have been a welcome feature as it does intrude on one's privacy ever so slightly.
Meals were generally pretty good although the steak on the first night was a little chewy when compared to the fantastic meat we had tasted in SA. On the whole though the food and wine choice was perfectly acceptable. What set this place apart though, aside from the view, was the warmth and friendliness of the staff. The hotel manager spends a while at each table each evening and discusses feedback and life in general; this is a really nice touch. The remainder of the staff performed a group sing song which although it sounds cheesy, was absolutely brilliant and wonderful entertainment.
We didn't carry out any of the activities other than a self guided walk, as we were quite tired and did not fancy a 7 hour driving tour after the long journey to get to the lodge. To get the best out of this lodge you really need to stay at least two nights. A party of pensioner adventurers arrived on a coach one tea time and only stayed the one night. Luckily we had two and could quite happily have stayed more.
Great stay at Fish River Canyon
We stayed at the lodge on the first and last nights, with three nights camping in the upper parts of the canyon.
First the lodge - getting there up the 20km track was interesting in parts; we wondered whether the two wheel drive would be OK, but it was actually fine. The location of the lodge is superb, on the edge of the canyon, and the rooms are very nice. There was one minor issue with the rooms - it was very windy when we were there, and the noise of that wind over and round the lodges rooms was such that residents were offered ear plugs! It is clearly a consequence of the architecture, but it didn't in any way spoil our enjoyment.
The staff were friendly and helpful without exception, and they had a surprise for us on our first evening - a birthday/anniversary cake presented by all the staff, accompanied by singing and dancing. Brilliant, and the staff all clearly enjoyed presenting it.
The four day hike up the upper reaches of the Fish River Canyon was excellent. The walking was easy, i.e. not particularly strenuous and OK for anyone with moderate fitness. Our Guide, Desi was great fun, knowledgeable and good company. Likewise the camp crew. With Desi we learnt a lot about animal tracks, droppings, animals, plants and the geology of the area. It was just the two of us and Desi on the walk, the camps being prepared and moved by the camp crew and their pick-up truck. Camp? We were in a tent, which had camp beds, sheets, duvets and a side table. Nearby was a bush shower, and the camp crew had plenty of hot water ready f or us when we arrived at in the late afternoon. And we had a chemical toilet too. Dinner was at a table with cloth, napkins and lamplight, and comprised a full three course meal almost to the standard of the main lodge restaurant! And all with the Milky Way in all its brilliance overhead. Breakfast was also of a similar standard. On a practical note, it was heading towards mid-winter and the nights were cold, so we certainly used our thermal underwear as pyjamas. But the days were glorious, almost too hot at times. Walking, we didn't expect to get near any animals, but we did see a good range of antelope and zebra, and Desi spotted a horned Adder, which was a treat to see.
The whole walk was great, but it was in the upper reaches of the canyon, and not to be confused with the five day walk down into the deeper part of the canyon to Ai Ais. Our original intention was to do the latter, and it was only when we actually got to the lodge that we realised we were to be going up river and not down - perhaps we had not paid attention to Sabina, because we had been wondering how the camp and catering would work when we knew access is more or less non existent on the walk to Ai Ais. Although we were a little disappointed that we did not go down-river into the deeper canyon, we really enjoyed the walk we did. The important thing is to make clear to customers that this walk is not the one down the canyon, but that it has other attributes: bags are carried; meals are provided, the scenery is different and (probably) more varied; there may be a wider range of wildlife. (This is not a complaint, by the way - we would recommend the walk to anyone - it just needs to be clear what walk it is).
Fish River Lodge review
Room noisy in the wind and no mosquito nets so bitten at night.Read more about the whole safari
Perched on the edge
There can be few places in the world which are so remote yet which have such a stunning view - Fish River Lodge is perched literally on the edge of the spectacular canyon of the same name. The rooms consist of individual chalets which are spacious and well appointed but which lack the charm of some of the tented and thatched camps.
The food and the service was good. We enjoyed a sundowner at one of the best viewing points and this was truly excellent and well organised by a very capable guide John.
Apart from the Fish River canyon the Lodge is approached along a winding track through spectacular remote scenery with occasional glimpses of wild animals.
Fish River Lodge review
This lodge is in the most amazing location on the rim of the canyon and we loved it! We enjoyed the sunrise and sunset walks around the rim of the canyon.
Tea, coffee and cake are complimentary mid afternoon.
A long drive but to and outstanding lodge
Not sure the long drive to the canyon would be justified for everyone, and in a way the lodge itself is a better feature than the canyon, especially if you've been to places like the Grand Canyon or Verdon Gorge etc.Read more about the whole safari
Fish River Lodge review
Very pleasant and helpful staff in a location that was spectacularRead more about the whole safari
Fish River Lodge review
It is difficult to get to as the road is 103 km of bad dirt, the service is problematic.
I think if I was going to Fish River with what I know now, I would go to the other side of the canyon and drive in to the National Park
worth the drive to see the view
A stunning location, a very knowledgable and entertaining guide who managed to still be fresh and enthusiastic on the canyon drive even though he had been doing it every day for 3 months.
The only negative comment is the bed - it really creaked so you would wake yourself up every time you moved.
The food was good but could do with a few tweaks. Not good to put yoghurts in lunch packs that are not going to be eaten until midday in temperatures 0f 30 to 40 degrees. Just means they are all thrown away.
Wonderful lodge in stark surroundings
It was worth the long drive. Perched on the ridge of the canyon with breathtaking views, the lodge matches the environment perfectly. We were so pleased to be staying two nights as we were rather tired by this stage. It was wonderful to have a view of the canyon from our own chalet. The staff were very helpful - a rather unique place.Read more about the whole safari