February 21, 2013 | By Donna Evans
I have just returned from an amazing trip to South Africa to the malaria-free area of the Eastern Cape. The River Lodge in Kariega is a wonderful representation of the local hospitality and fine cuisine. Upon arrival we were greeted with cool towels and a cool drink to refresh us after the drive from Port Elizabeth. We followed six men on Harley Davidsons into the camp. It turns out they were from Switzerland and rented the bikes in Johannesburg for their annual getaway. They were friendly gentlemen who had a great time during their brief stay at the camp and took some great shots of a cobra we didn’t see.
The camp is built as a fourplex with two large rooms and balconies on the top floor and two with terraces on the lower level. We had a room on the second level which afforded some incredible views of wildlife on the other side of the river. We had giraffes, ostrich, warthogs, zebras, impalas and more to enjoy when we woke up in the morning and throughout the day.
The breakfast menu had numerous options and there were always freshly baked warm croissants, just out of the oven. The open air floor plan allowed for the vervet monkeys to come in and steal the muffins. It seems they love that treat, but they don’t seem to come around the rest of the time, except to look cute and observe the humans.
Our guide, Dave, did a great job of explaining nature and different habits of the animals and birds. We had wonderful game drives observing elephants at play, the black wildebeest, the black-backed jackal, rhinos and all the big 5, except the leopard. Most of the animals had young ones, so that made the safari even more enjoyable. The stunning landscape blending with the river made this camp a peaceful and relaxing vacation. The staff offered service to rival the finest 5 star accommodations.
If you are looking for a camp that is malaria-free, don’t miss the River Lodge at Kariega and be sure to take the boat ride.