5.0
Excellent 135 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

Amenities

  •  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.
Adventure Mountains Nature Outdoors Wildlife grass sky mountain herd elephant field mammal wilderness grassland natural environment fauna ecosystem dry plain steppe grazing prairie savanna cattle like mammal elephants and mammoths Safari group grassy tall wild

Overview

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

Reviews

Great time, great people and great animals
Culture631095

Myself and my buddy took the Umkaya lodge for 4 days. We were made welcome the moment we set foot in the place. We were offered advice when we needed it and left to do our own thing otherwise. There is a lot of experience to be had between the game and the fishing and we tried the lot. Great laughs and good people.

Three night stay
SueHux

We absolutely loved this place (me, hubby and kids of 18&16) and would quite happily have stayed for longer. The setting was beautiful, the accommodation was stunning, food great, service even better and activities fantastic - made more so by our guide Adriaan. We had 3 6.30am starts that the kids didn't even complain about!! We saw so much (unfortunately not the leopard!) and learnt so much from Adriaan, who was a mountain of information. We loved the safari drives and even more so the boat trips to see the hippos, crocs and white rhinos up close, but the highlight has to be the boat trip to find the elephants - which we did - all 43 of them!!! This was magical - thanks also go to Suzette for this trip. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this wonderful place, and intend to revisit.

Anniversary Weekend
Jetleigh

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.