- Located beside Great Fish River
- Big Game and Bush walks
- Rhino Conservation safari
- Luxurious accommodation with views
Perched along 30km of privately owned river frontage beside the Great Fish River in Kwandwe Private Game Reserve is the Great Fish River Lodge. It is surrounded by 54,000 acres of private, malaria-free wilderness, home to the endangered 'Kwandwe' or blue crane, South Africa's national bird and an array of game unique to the area.
The vastness of this wild area of the African continent is clear when staying at Great Fish River Lodge. Set along the lush banks of the river after which it is named, the camp consists of nine suites. Each features en-suite bathrooms, indoor and outdoor showers, personal bars, covered verandas, and private plunge pools. Guest areas are spacious, with generous wraparound viewing decks leading from the dining room, bar and sitting areas. The décor is African-inspired, simple, and elegant, with earth-toned fabrics, indigenous timber and natural linens. Stone walls, thatch roofs and long wooden walkways bring natural materials into the interiors, blurring the distinction between inside and outside and taking advantage of the expansive river views. The rugged landscape is reflected in the materials and frontier style of the lodge, while overstuffed sofas and warm rugs conjure up the comforts of home...with other-wordly views.
Pan-African cuisine can be served on guests' private deck, enjoyed under a canopy of stars in the fire lit boma, or in the dining room. The wine cellar holds a selection of premier South African wines and the well-stocked Safari Shop offers clothing, books, gifts and African crafts.
Run together with its sister lodges, the safari experience includes daily morning and afternoon/evening game drives, for sightings of the big five, along with other unusual species such as the porcupine, aardwolf or aardvark. The award winning guiding team also offer bush walks, where you can get 'up close and personal' experiences with wildlife. The Big Game Walking Safari offers the thrill of tracking rhinos, elephants and buffalo on foot with an armed ranger and trackers. Other activities (with advance booking) include fishing and volunteering activities at the Mgcamabele Community Centre. For additional cost, there are options to go on a 'Save the Rhino' drive, a Rhino Conservation safari or a photographic safari, including photography workshops. To relax from the excitement of game tracking, in-room massage treatments are available.
The Great Fish River Lodge is targeted more towards couples and older families, with children 12 years of age and above allowed at adult rates. Children are given a welcome pack and a children's menu is available. Childminding services can be arranged if necessary, and many specially-designed children's activities are on offer, although only children above the age of 12 are allowed on all game drives and walks. Families can participate in Kwandwe’s voluntourism activities, including gardening, crafts and knitting activities.
The safari trip was excellent! The stay, the food and the people were all very nice. We were happy to have Ryan and Stanley as our game drive guides they brought us up close to the animals and Ryan gave very good information throughout.
Would definitely recommend to friends who are interested in safaris :)
Also, thanks much for your help, particularly keeping the room for my Brother and his wife they’ve enjoyed the safari very much too!
Woan Chyi L reviewing Cape Town & Kruger Safari on 16 October 2019
We had a fantastic time and all the arrangements worked perfectly.
We were very impressed with the quality and service levels of all 4 locations visited and it was truly a holiday of a lifetime.
Thank you to you and to Lisa for giving us this experience.
Particular highlights for us – really the whole experience, but of particular impact:
Breathtaking scenery at Cathedral Peak Hotel
Rhino Ridge game drives incredible, thanks to guide (we had their head guide, Hala, who’s knowledge, enthusiasm, kindness, interaction, ability to spot wildlife was out of this world)
Luxury of Rhino Ridge (shower, food, views, service)
Immersion in nature, torch lit meal on last night and beach trip at Kosi Forest Lodge
Level of service, quality of food throughout
Catherine F reviewing South Africa Safari, Beach and Wetlands on 04 September 2019
We had a fantastic time. Thank you and it went smoothly in the main except for British Airways!
The trip had the right degree of luxury and relaxation (for me) and adventure (all of us).
A few points:
Driving directions to Umlunghi Lodge were slightly wrong. The driving directions should read at the 4th roundabout take the first exit and turn right over the railway. We loved it there. Anton, Bianca and her son and Harriet were very informative and entertaining. The snake talk and handling, night walks and seeing scorpions and the walk in the bush and "bumping" into a giraffe were really special. The kayak trip to Makuzi pan that the lodge organised was good and Tomaz was very informative and kept a respectful distance from the hippos.3 nights was plenty.
Rhino River Lodge game reserve was incredibly luxurious and we felt very looked after. The lion siting in camp the day we arrived sent an extra frisson of excitement down our spines. It was easy to forget there were predators that could attack us with all that luxury. The staff and guides (Karl) were knowledgeable and invested in their set up. We saw rhinos with baby, cheetahs with young, porcupine, Genet, wildebeast, Impala, Lion with young, buffalo, a puff adder, ostrich, zebra and giraffes. 4 nights was also plenty.
They all served great food but I felt Ghost Mountain Inn topped the lot. The variety was amazing. We arrived at 10.30 but could not get into our room until 2 ish. The service was not so personal I guess because it is larger (far more than 50 rooms). We had been a bit spoilt at Rhino River! My daughter and I had some treatments at the Spa and loved it. We also went on a large boat trip on Jonzi and had a closer encounter with a large bull hippo and also a hike up Ghost Mountain with Patrick who was very informative and passionate about his people and his country. Isaac the other guide there took us on the boat trip and pointed out the sugar cane harvest on the way. he was very informative also.
Lastly, Lalaria Lodge was fabulous and we all piled into the surf of the Indian Ocean. There was hardly anyone on the beach. It was "too cold" according to the landlady. The view from her terrace was of the ocean and whales breaching in the distance. I could have sat there all day. She very kindly provided us with a Scrabble board of her own for us to play. We took a Microlight ride from Ballito over the coastline in the hope of seeing whales and dolphins but no luck. If we had stayed longer we might have gone on a boat trip from Durban. We had a meal at a restaurant called Mozambique which was great fun with vast portions, plenty of carbs and fresh seafood!
The value of the Rand to the Pound was excellent and therefore we felt that we got excellent value which also played a large part!
Katrina P reviewing South Africa Bush & Beach Safari For Families on 02 September 2019