Ukhozi Lodge is one of the smarter lodges in South Africa's Kariega Reserve.
Kariega Ukhozi Lodge: Our full report
Ukhozi Lodge in Kariega Reserve in South Africa is a welcoming mid-range accommodation with a contemporary African feel. It forms an extension to Kariega’s Main Lodge, just a five-minute drive down the road from there. However, its African-themed sitting areas, restaurant and boma, as well as the chalets feel significantly higher-end and more up-to-date than Main Lodge.
Ukhozi Lodge’s main lounge/dining area is open-plan and on one side open to a densely vegetated little courtyard. The lounge part of it holds colourful couches, armchairs and a rustic brick fireplace. Behind this, there’s Ukhozi’s dining area, which spreads out around the courtyard. Another sitting area gathers around a TV here. Next to that, there’s a little bookshelf offering entertainment for the time between activities. The outside deck at Ukhozi Lodge comes with a couple of armchairs and a telescope.
The oval swimming pool at Ukhozi Lodge is surrounded by some rocks forming a little man-made waterfall at one end. Nestled in the vegetation, this is the ideal spot for undisturbed relaxation, whether on the brightly coloured sun-loungers or under the shading roof.
Kariega’s Ukhozi Lodge has 10 spacious, wood-pannelled suites, all of which are air-conditioned and with brown sisal carpet. They are decorated in oranges and browns, with African-themed details like wood-carved masks and a colourful woven rug on the floor. You enter each suite via a vestibule with a wardrobe, a tea and coffee station and a minibar/fridge. Behind a maroon wooden wall is the sleeping area with a lovely king-size double bed, which can be converted into a twin – in fact, it already consists of two single beds put together. In this room, you can also find handy bedside tables and some welcoming wicker furniture with cushions and a coffee table. There’s a safe and a telephone in the room.
Each suite at Kariega’s Ukhozi Lodge features an en-suite bathroom mainly in beige, equipped with a glass shower, a massive washstand with one hand basin, a wood-surrounded corner bath, a separate toilet and a hairdryer. The floor is tiled, with some brown sisal matting.
Outside, there’s a very small private deck with its own plunge pool, overlooking the densely vegetated hills. Please note that the plunge pool here has no edges on its sides.
On our most recent visit in May 2013 we found the suites here very comfortable and extremely spacious, although the furniture felt a bit dated and not as high-quality as at River Lodge, one of Ukhozi’s sister properties on the reserve.
Activities offered by Kariega’s Ukhozi Lodge include two game drives per day, walking safaris and boat cruises and canoeing on the Kariega River. Other possible activities are mountain-biking and guided walks. There is little big game in this section of the reserve, so walking is safer here than in the western part of Kariega.
In January 2017, we became aware that the guides leading walking safaris at Kariega are not equipped with firearms except when looking for white rhino. In general, we have concerns about walking safaris being conducted in areas where there are high densities of big, dangerous game. Hence we recommend that our travellers don’t go on walking safaris here unless a guide who is both suitably qualified and suitably armed accompanies them.
Our viewThe rooms and main area of Ukhozi Lodge are all very comfortable; this is the smarter of two lodges in the eastern section of Kariega. That said, it shares a fairly busy track with Main Camp, and access from Ukhozi Lodge to the main part of the reserve also requires vehicles to cross a public road. So come here for a quick fix of big game, but don’t expect anything like a wilderness experience.
Ideal length of stay: We would recommend a stay of about two nights.
Directions: It’s about an hour and a half’s drive from Port Elizabeth Airport to Kariega Reserve. Take the N2 northeast until the tarred turnoff approximately 10km before Grahamstown. Turn right here, and continue for about 14km on the R343 until you reach the entrance to Kariega Main Lodge. Ukhozi Lodge lies just a few metres behind Main Lodge, on the same road.
Accessible by: Self-drive
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Drinks included: Drinks from the private minibars are included at Kariega’s Ukhozi Lodge.
Attitude towards children: Children over ten years are welcome at Ukhozi Lodge in Kariega Reserve.
Property’s age restrictions: Minimum age 11 years
Notes: Although there isn’t much big game around Ukhozi Lodge, and generally in this section of Kariega Reserve, parents should keep their children supervised as a few buffalo are resident.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Communications: Kariega’s Ukhozi Lodge has internet access.
TV & radio: There is a TV in the central lounge area at Ukhozi Lodge in Kariega Reserve.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: No
Dangerous animals: High Risk