Kariega Game Reserve

Eastern Cape, South Africa

The hotel

Family owned and managed, it would be accurate to say that the gradual growth and development of the now expansive 10,000 hectare malaria-free 'Big Five' reserve is one of the most accomplished conservation projects in the Eastern Cape to date. Kariega’s landscape spans across five different eco-systems, offering an exceptional game viewing and birding experience. Having two major rivers incorporated into the reserve (the Kariega and Bushmans rivers) adds enormous beauty and value.

Amenities

  • Bar
  • Safari
  • Spa
  • Swimming Pool
  • Kids Club
  • Fitness Centre/Gym
  • Laundry Service
  • Internet Access
  • Close to Beach
  • Bicycle Rental
  • Restaurant

Where is it

On 10,000 hectares of natural bushveld in the Eastern Cape. Transfer time from Port Elizabeth Airport: 1 hour 30 minutes.

Hotel information

There are 5 different lodges: Main Lodge – has been expertly integrated with the surrounding bush offering stunning views of the reserve. The 24 log chalets enjoy complete privacy with large private viewing decks (some with private pools) and stunning views of the Kariega River valley. All chalets with air-conditioning, en-suite bedrooms, fire place and satellite TV, tea/coffee-making facilities and hairdryer. Sleeping maximum 3 adults or 2 adults and 1 child.

All Inclusive of: all meals and selected beverages (bottled water, soft drinks, local beers, wines brandy, whiskey, gin etc). Two game-drives per day, river cruises, guided bush walks, canoeing and fishing. 

All Inclusive basis for the Main Lodge is exclusive to Virgin Holidays guests.


Newly rebuilt Ukhozi Lodge – truly captures the romance and intimacy of Africa and offers 10 luxury suites crafted from log, each with a private plunge pool and deck offering panoramic views of the valley. Sleeping maximum 3 adults or 2 adults and 1 child (over 10 years old).

The River Lodge – is uniquely situated on the banks of the Bushmans River and comprises 10 luxury thatched suites. Special activities include daily boat trips to the Kenton beaches and river fishing. Sleeping maximum 3 adults or 2 adults and 1 child (over 10 years old).

Settlers Drift — is a 5-star luxury tented lodge offering nine luxurious tented suites, each 110 sq m.

  • Honeymooners: Couples recieve a bottle of sparkling wine in their room on arrival. Couples staying 3 nights or more also receive a spa treatment to the value of ZAR500.00 per person. 

  • Free night offer: stay 4 nights, pay for 3 nights when travelling between 1 May–30 Jun '20. 

    Any applicable offers have been calculated into the prices shown. 

  • 2020 Honeymooners: Couples recieve a bottle of sparkling wine in their room on arrival. Couples staying 3 nights or more also receive a spa treatment to the value of ZAR500.00 per person. 

At each lodge – indoor and outdoor (boma) dining, lounges and bar, swimming pool, spacious decks, curio shop and spa treatments. Wine cellar (Settlers Drift and Ukhozi Lodge only). Activities include morning and evening game-drives, guided bush walks, river cruises, canoeing and fishing*. Activity programme for kids. Wellness Centre* at the Main Lodge and Ukhozi Lodge. Sala's at Settlers Drift and River Lodge. Complimentary WiFi is available at all lodges. Private laundry facilities.

* Denotes local charge.

Please note: all children are welcome at the Main Lodge. Children under 10 years are not permitted at River Lodge and Ukhozi Lodge.

Rating summary

  • Location Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Sleep Quality Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Rooms Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Service Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Value Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Cleanliness Image of the Tripadvisor rating

Traveller rating

  • Excellent (146)
  • Very good (28)
  • Average (3)
  • Poor (1)
  • Terrible (0)
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Ukhozi Lodge staff make the difference between a good experience and a GREAT experience

Jul 10, 2019 WanderlustLeo Johannesburg, South Africa

I spent 5 wonderful days at Ukhozi with my husband's extended family for a birthday gathering. It was lovely - from the surroundings, to the rooms, to the public areas, to the game sightings. What truly made a difference was the staff. Every single employee who I interacted with was helpful, polite and personable. From our game ranger (Allen) -… Read more
I spent 5 wonderful days at Ukhozi with my husband's extended family for a birthday gathering. It was lovely - from the surroundings, to the rooms, to the public areas, to the game sightings. What truly made a difference was the staff. Every single employee who I interacted with was helpful, polite and personable. From our game ranger (Allen) - to Brendan and Thandi and the chef called Sticks :-) and every other employee whose names I have unfortunately forgotten. It seems that they truly enjoy their jobs. Allen had me laughing the whole time during the drives (when we weren't watching animals). My only suggestions are possibly: 1) canopies on the game vehicles 2) hold back on using so much bottled water and 3) turn down the water heaters for the rooms as it would be entirely possible to burn yourself in the bath or shower if you're not careful when adjusting the water temp (not that having ample hot water isn't nice, but.....). I truly enjoyed every minute of my stay there and would love to come back (hopefully in the summer so that I can swim in the gorgeous pools). Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Ukhozi Lodge - Amazing Honeymoon Safari

Jul 10, 2019 Sophie S London, United Kingdom

We came at the beginning of June (11th for 5 nights) for our honeymoon. We originally booked at the Main Lodge but due to refurbishment we were moved to Ukhozi lodge. What can I say... WOW. We had the most amazing experience. We arrived at around 15:00 after a long day of travelling (almost 24 hours) and were greeted with a welcome drink. Our… Read more
We came at the beginning of June (11th for 5 nights) for our honeymoon. We originally booked at the Main Lodge but due to refurbishment we were moved to Ukhozi lodge. What can I say... WOW. We had the most amazing experience. We arrived at around 15:00 after a long day of travelling (almost 24 hours) and were greeted with a welcome drink. Our suitcases were taken off to our room and we were asked to sign our forms for check in, before a light lunch and then out for our first game drive. It all felt a bit of a whirlwind but I wouldn't change it for the world. Our game driver (Ben) asked us if there was anything in particular we'd like to see. I said giraffe. Ben didn't disappoint me. Our room was amazing. The bed was huge. Unfortunately the plunge pool and the infinity pool are not heated, which is a shame as we would have liked to swim. In the bedroom there is a heating/AC unit. The minibar is well stocked. There's fluffy robes too. We did have an issue with our hot water but it was fixed so quickly. We had no problems with bugs in the rooms. There was also a safe provided. The food and drink at Kariega is out of this world. First thing in the morning there would be hot muffins and coffee. Upon return from your game drive there is a cooked breakfast. For lunch a buffet, and then for dinner either a 3 course a-la-carte menu or a South African BBQ around the fire. A very wide selection of drinks are available. Every night you will stop on a hilltop to have a sundowner drink. The sunsets are absolutely out of this world. The game drives are approximately 3-3.5 hours. We were leaving at 07:00 in the morning, and then again at 15:00 in the afternoon. We saw a wide range of animals - lion, buffalo, giraffe, elephants, impala, hippo, the list goes on. There are only 5 lions on the reserve so they can be a bit elusive at times but we were lucky enough to see them all over our time here. The only downside I had is that this reserve IS NOT home to the big 5. There is no leopard. Don't come here hoping to see one. Thank you so much to all the staff, particularly our driver Ben, who was very knowledgeable. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Amazing Honeymoon Safari

Jul 10, 2019 Sophie S London, United Kingdom

We came at the beginning of June (11th for 5 nights) for our honeymoon. We originally booked at the Main Lodge but due to refurbishment we were moved to Ukhozi lodge. What can I say... WOW. We had the most amazing experience. We arrived at around 15:00 after a long day of travelling (almost 24 hours) and were greeted with a welcome drink. … Read more
We came at the beginning of June (11th for 5 nights) for our honeymoon. We originally booked at the Main Lodge but due to refurbishment we were moved to Ukhozi lodge. What can I say... WOW. We had the most amazing experience. We arrived at around 15:00 after a long day of travelling (almost 24 hours) and were greeted with a welcome drink. Our suitcases were taken off to our room and we were asked to sign our forms for check in, before a light lunch and then out for our first game drive. It all felt a bit of a whirlwind but I wouldn't change it for the world. Our game driver (Ben) asked us if there was anything in particular we'd like to see. I said giraffe. Ben didn't disappoint me. Our room was amazing. The bed was huge. Unfortunately the plunge pool and the infinity pool are not heated, which is a shame as we would have liked to swim. In the bedroom there is a heating/AC unit. The minibar is well stocked. There's fluffy robes too. We did have an issue with our hot water but it was fixed so quickly. We had no problems with bugs in the rooms. There was also a safe provided. The food and drink at Kariega is out of this world. First thing in the morning there would be hot muffins and coffee. Upon return from your game drive there is a cooked breakfast. For lunch a buffet, and then for dinner either a 3 course a-la-carte menu or a South African BBQ around the fire. A very wide selection of drinks are available. Every night you will stop on a hilltop to have a sundowner drink. The sunsets are absolutely out of this world. The game drives are approximately 3-3.5 hours. We were leaving at 07:00 in the morning, and then again at 15:00 in the afternoon. We saw a wide range of animals - lion, buffalo, giraffe, elephants, impala, hippo, the list goes on. There are only 5 lions on the reserve so they can be a bit elusive at times but we were lucky enough to see them all over our time here. The only downside I had is that this reserve IS NOT home to the big 5. There is no leopard. Don't come here hoping to see one. Thank you so much to all the staff, particularly our driver Ben, who was very knowledgeable. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Amazing Safari Honeymoon Experience

Jun 28, 2019 rebeccastec Brampton, Canada

From our arrival to our departure, Kariega Game Reserve (Uhkozi Lodge) totally exceeded our expectations. The staff is amazing and friendly, and always readily available. The food was delicious and the rooms were extremely clean. We wish the weather was warmer so we could've utilized the gorgeous pool with an incredible view, and the plunge pool… Read more
From our arrival to our departure, Kariega Game Reserve (Uhkozi Lodge) totally exceeded our expectations. The staff is amazing and friendly, and always readily available. The food was delicious and the rooms were extremely clean. We wish the weather was warmer so we could've utilized the gorgeous pool with an incredible view, and the plunge pool outside our room! For our game drive we saw 4 out of the Big 5. Zolani was our Ranger and he was very knowledgable and we learned a lot of about the animals, plants and birds from him. He was super friendly, and we are so happy that Zolani was our ranger for our 2 day stay. We wish we stayed at least 3 days because the staff and our experience was too amazing, we didn't want to leave!! We drove the garden route, and this was our last stop - it was very easy to find and a short 1hr 40 m drive from Port Elizabeth. Thank you Kariega Game Reserve for being the highlight of our SA honeymoon! Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Experience the big five in a luxurious and sustainable reserve

Jun 19, 2019 deni o

This is a private game reserve with the mission of repopulating the Eastern Cape of all the animal and plant life which have been lost over the centuries. In a world where we read on a daily basis about the dozens of species that are endangered or now extinct, Kariega brings a small glimmer of hope. The safari drives, with Zolani our guide, were… Read more
This is a private game reserve with the mission of repopulating the Eastern Cape of all the animal and plant life which have been lost over the centuries. In a world where we read on a daily basis about the dozens of species that are endangered or now extinct, Kariega brings a small glimmer of hope. The safari drives, with Zolani our guide, were tailored made and took us to see different animals each day. In a controlled environment, each drive was clearly designed to make sure we saw different animals and any animal we indicated an interest in seeing. We noted that we had only caught glimpses of Hypos in Kruger. Zolani then drove around looking for them in the usual places and finally stopped by a river and invited us to continue by foot. We them saw them, a group of about 8 moving down the river, it was quite spectacular. We strongly recommend the Ukhozi lodge which provides ultimate luxury, and fits well in this setting. There are some twelve cabins, each with a private dipping pool and verandah overlooking two valleys and the hills beyond. From our verandah, with our binoculars we could see rhinoceros, warthog, koudous, zebras, ostriches, giraffes and more just roaming on the grassland eating, drinking or playing with each other. The main house has just been rebuilt and is designed with extreme elegance and grace. It provides an infinity pool, several fireplaces, bars and lounge areas, in addition to the dining area. Except for premium wine, it is an open bar and visitors are served all they may want. The food was representative of Africa’s reputation for high level cuisine. For us it was the perfect complement to Kruger where we enjoyed its adventures and wild nature. But for travelers looking for malaria free game reserves and who want to be sure they get up close viewing of the big five, this is a spectacular place to go. I also believe that their mission of restoring the lost fauna and flora of the Eastern Cape and community work is a good fit for travelers interested in experiencing sustainable tourism. Read less