Reviews of River Bend Lodge
Wildlife sightings and reviews
5 independent comments and wildlife information from our travellers who have visited River Bend Lodge and kindly agreed to share their thoughts. They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa
"River Bend Lodge review"
"Great stay at River Bend Lodge"
The accommodation was very spacious, including the biggest bed either of us has ever slept in! Furnishings are slightly colonial-style and comfortable, although the bathroom in particular was starting to look a bit tired. The rooms are in small lodges set within a pretty and well-tended garden, with the main lodge a very short walk away. The dining area is both indoor and outdoor, with the outdoor tables giving onto a small grassed area and then directly onto the game park, from which it is protected by a relatively inconspicuous electric fence. This means that - as happened on all three of our mornings at the Lodge - you can have the privilege of eating your breakfast with a herd of fifty elephants also breakfasting on the surrounding vegetation within no more than a hundred feet of you: an amazing experience! We were apparently outstandingly fortunate for this to happen every day that we were there - it does happen fairly often, but is far from guaranteed.
Food was very good, with an extensive breakfast, plentiful light lunch options and well-cooked dinners, accompanied by a good wine selection included in the per diem rate, and plenty of more expensive bottles too. Service was very good, especially from the charming and ever-smiling Moses, who looked after us charmingly.
From a guiding perspective, we were looked after throughout our stay by the effervescent Simpiwe, who was a relatively new addition to the staff. He admitted that he needed to do some additional study on all the birds that we saw, some of which he was unable to identify, but as far as the larger fauna were concerned, he guided us expertly and with great humour. River Bend was relatively empty during our stay, so the guides were very happy to flex some of the game drive timings, organising a night drive instead of an evening safari for us, which was an excellent additional dimension to our stay. In terms of wildlife variety, there was less variation than we have seen in Botswana in the past, but the elephants are of course the highlight. We also saw plenty of other large fauna, some distinctly rare, and much of which was at exceptionally close quarters given the nature of River Bend's terrain and vegetation.
The Lodge was well-run, although Adrian the manager (similar to our experience with the manager at The Last Word Franschhoek) tried a bit too hard at times. His language was a bit too hyperbolic - although that's maybe just our English sensibilities! Clare also took advantage of one of the pregnancy massages that River Bend offers as an extra, and raved about how good it was.
Overall, a very good stay indeed, within a very easy drive of Port Elizabeth, and I imagine that River Bend Lodge would be great for families with its friendliness, accessibility and lack of malaria. Thank you!" See all these reviews: 11n in South Africa
"A very enjoyable safari"
Steve, our ranger, was absolutely fantastic. He was brilliant with the children and he pitched his tours at exactly the right level. We thoroughly enjoyed the game drives.
The lodge was quaint but chaotic . It was never really clear who was in charge in the dining room or in general so we got the impression that the place was disorganised e.g. food orders were often misinterpreted and on one occasion we waited for a children's pudding that the staff kept telling us was on its way but in fact never turned up so we just gave up waiting and no mention of it was made again by the staff!" See all these reviews: 17n in South Africa
A fun game drive with plenty of "off track" and very close encounters with the elephants.
Strongly recommended" See all these reviews: 17n in South Africa; 3n in Zambia
"Perfect climax of our trip"
The whole familiy loved it, we would love to come back." See all these reviews: 11n in South Africa
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