Excellent 132 Reviews
Jetsetter Approved
This Hotel meets our standards
This hotel meets our standards, but we haven't stayed yet

What We Love

  • All meals, local beer and house wines included
  • Luxury tents redefine the concept of glamping
  • Sunset boat cruises, fishing and canoeing on Lake Jozini
  • Exceptional bird life with more than 350 recorded species

What To Know

  • Abundant game—giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, hippo, leopard, 350 species of birds—but no lions
  • Strict gate hours of 6 am to 6 pm; make arrangements for late arrival. Gate fee ($2) not included
  • Transfers to and from camp not included
  • Non-local beers, all spirits, select premium wines cost extra
  • Children under 12 years of age aren't allowed


  •  Adults Only
  •  All-Inclusive
  •  Bar
  •  Free WiFi
  •  Handicap Accessible
  •  Parking On Site
  •  Pool
  •  Restaurant
  •  Room Service
Disclaimer: This content was accurate at the time the hotel was reviewed. Please check our partner sites when booking to verify that details are still correct.
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Luxury tented safari lodge channeling Out of Africa romance beside a lake just south of Swaziland

The Lowdown

A former cattle ranch in the Pongola Game Reserve, White Elephant sits in the foothills of the Lebombo Mountains on the shore of Lake Jozini and at the forefront of the area’s conservation efforts. Eight private rooms offer the seclusion and romance of the traditional tented safari experience: private verandahs with lake views, open-air bath tubs, mini-bar and fridge, full board including high tea (premium wine/spirits extra), and two eco activities per day such as game drives, guided walks and boat cruises. Fun fact: Previously known as Mphafa Lodge, the restored property was renamed in honor of a large elephant bull that pushed it over on a misty morning in 1999.

In the Area

Although a lack of lions in the lush 30,000-hectare Pongola Game Reserve — one of South Africa’s oldest — may turn off some tourists, the proximity to Lake Jozini adds a unique dimension to a safari at White Elephant. You’ll have access to year-round water-based activities such as tiger fishing and boat cruises past hippo, crocodiles and aquatic birds. Game drives and excursions, including Elephant and Black Rhino walks with a staff researcher in the bush, emphasize the behind-the-scenes challenges of wildlife management instead of merely ticking off (four of) the “Big Five.”

How to Get There

White Elephant Safari Lodge
Pongola Game Reserve
Pongola, 3170 South Africa


5.0 Excellent 132 Reviews
Anniversary Weekend
Reviewed 1 month ago

We absolutely loved our stay at this beautifully situated lodge. The luxury safari tents are super comfortable and equipped with everything you need and more. The staff and rangers are fantastic. What sets this lodge apart is the unique position on lake Jozini. The boat safaris are beautiful and really remind one of Lake Kariba. Unfortunately we only stayed 1 night , if we had known how beautiful it was we would've definitely extended our stay. We had some beautiful bird sightings along with Hippo, crocs ,rhino, zebra and a variety of antelope. The sound of the hyenas at night while sitting around the bonfire was fantastic.

Next visit we hope to see the elephants on our boat safari and do the black rhino tracking experience.

Lovely interesting game drives
Reviewed 3 months ago

We stayed in a selfcatering unit, the rooms were very nice and the other facilities were very good AS well. We had a very good young lady taking us out for game drives and saw interesting animal and lovely bush and the lovely dam, Jozini. Friendly people and lovely soroundings.

The ultimate safari tent experience
Reviewed 4 months ago

Our luxuri tent came with an outdoor shower , beautiful bathroom very well decorated and confortable bed under the moskito net .
Absolutely beautiful location , the tents are well spaced apart from the others , you have absolute privacy .
The food was delicious , the 2 chef are amazing .
The game drives a bit disappointing but the boat tour on the river very worthwhile with all this rhinos and hippos . Even a crocodile to greet us !

Stunning location, wonderful experience
Reviewed 5 months ago

We recently stayed here for 2 nights on a hectic safari tour of South Africa.
This was of our favourite lodges. It's fairly small, only about 8 tented rooms; all beautifully equipped (claw foot baths, outdoor shower etc), with wonderful views. The location is stunning, right on the river bordering swaziland, truly magical.
The food was all served and presented beautifully- I'm vegetarian and there was no problem catering for me.The evening meals were really good with attention to detail and it was obvious the staff took enormous pride in their work.
onto the main purpose of our stay,the safari. that's a hard one. It's a perfect place to do a jeep, walking or river cruise- we did all three and saw rhino and many other animals. There was just one tiny glitch, admittedly we were travelling slightly out of season, but there appeared to be only one ranger on duty leading to an awkward and tense evening meal when the ranger announced the plans for the following morning; which were a repeat for those of us who were there that morning but new for the people who had only just arrived. Obviously, the ranger has to ensure everyone has the best 'safari experience', but if there is one, it is really impossible for any guest only staying a couple of nights to experience all the activities that the lodge advertises.
That said, despite a tense evening meal when an elderly couple were not exactly thrilled with the news that they would be repeating their activity the following morning together with that days' new arrivals, We had a great experience here and I'm sure in peak time there are more rangers and this situation does not arise.
Don't be put off, it's a stunning location, we loved it and regretted we didn't stay longer.

Out of Africa feeling pur
Reviewed 8 months ago

We spent two nights at this „Out of Africa“Safari Lodge. The White Elephant Lodge is beautifully located. The whole estate is so cozy and full of great pictures etc. The luxury tent was decorated with much love. The food was excellent and the whole team cared for us so so perfectly. Unfortunately it was not possible to do a boat cruise due to windy weather conditions but the bush walk was great and a very interesting experience with a wonderful guide. We highly recommend staying at the White Elephant Safari lodge.
Only one point could be improved: lights for the way to the tent would be helpful.