Kichaka Luxury Game Lodge
What We Love
- All meals are included in the rate
- Big Five game viewing with a high likelihood of spotting lion, cheetah and elephant
- Arguably the best-kept secret among game reserves in the malaria-free Eastern Cape region of South Africa
- Professional, friendly staff who know the area and its history and are passionate about the property
- Excellent fine dining, featuring authentic local dishes like venison and an impressive selection of South African wines
- Free WiFi throughout the lodge and in all the suite
What To Know
- There is a minimum two-night stay
- Perfect for couples; you could even have an intimate bush wedding here followed by an idyllic honeymoon
- Ideal for independent travelers looking for hidden gems, rather than the big brand names
- Children eight and under are welcome with advance notice
- It’s about an hour’s drive from the nearest airport, in Port Elizabeth; the last stretch of driving is along a two-mile dirt road
- Located in a malaria-free region easily accessible from the Western Cape and Garden Route regions of South Africa
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
Located in Grahamstown, Kichaka Luxury Game Lodge is in a national park and within the vicinity of Lalibela Game Reserve and African Pride Pumba Private Game Reserve.
Make yourself at home in one of the 10 air-conditioned rooms featuring private plunge pools. Rooms have private patios. Complimentary wireless Internet access keeps you connected, while MP3 docking stations help you enjoy your music in the comfort of your room. Private bathrooms with separate bathtubs and showers feature deep soaking bathtubs and complimentary toiletries.
Pamper yourself with onsite massages or enjoy recreation amenities such as an outdoor pool. Additional features include complimentary wireless Internet access, concierge services, and wedding services.
This lodge is all inclusive. Rates include meals and beverages at onsite dining establishments. Charges may be applied for dining at some restaurants, special dinners and dishes, some beverages, and other amenities.
Enjoy a meal at a restaurant, or stay in and take advantage of the lodge’s 24-hour room service. Quench your thirst with your favorite drink at a bar/lounge.
Featured amenities include luggage storage, laundry facilities, and a library. A roundtrip airport shuttle is provided for a surcharge (available 24 hours), and free self parking is available onsite.
How to Get There
We originally stayed about 6 years ago. It was September, not an ideal month weather wise and the game drives were mixed in success because the animals, quite sensibly, take shelter from very cold winds and teeming rain.
Went in February this time. Altogether different on the game drives as the weather was warmer and less windy, although very wet on the last morning. Saw lots of elephants, rhinos, wildebeest, lions and giraffes then on the last morning, buffalo.
The reason for giving 4 stars this time is that the lodge, still very comfortable, was slightly tired. It wouldn’t spoil the trip by any means, but our patio door to the deck was very stiff so we needed help to open and close it. The staff were really very friendly and helpful, the guide Charles was brilliant, but there were noticeably fewer of them. It didn’t spoil the trip by any means, it was still wonderful, but it has slipped just a little since last time.
The welcome is good and you are taken to the lodge by your game drive guide which is a nice touch. At first impression all is very nice, but once familiarity sets in the cracks show. Often literally. The main pool decking has areas that are rotten and decking boards that lift. The individual room lodge veranda decking has protruding screw heads that are dangerous, more so around the plunge pool. The tiling in the toilet is amateur at best and falling off in the sink area. The bedside wall lamp fell apart exposing live terminals and one tap (of the admittedly double sink unit) was not secured to the wall. The portable make up mirror had a huge chip out of it and the sliding doors didn't meet when closed leaving a gap big enough for the local snakes we had seen to crawl through (they didn't't).
The promo material leads you to think idyllic individual lodges arranged around a waterhole with views across for the wildlife. Three of the lodges have a view and ours had a lot of brush in front obscuring the view.
On the plus side the beds are very large and comfortable, the lodges are spacious with a large shower (inside and out) and bath. However who put glass bottles in a shower these days?
There are steps in the room. Some handrails are solid, others not so much.
It's just tired and lacking attention to detail. No doubt the response will be we are closing for a month in June to carry out repairs and updates. Guys its going to take more than a month. Maybe being bought out will improve things.
The main lodge is very comfortable with open fires and comfortable relaxing seats.
The food and drinks are included and there is a good selection. Breakfast is good, you then get lunch and afternoon tea and a dinner. You will not go hungry.
The staff are universally helpful and happy.
The game drives are good with a large selection of game and Charles is a great guide.. There are Rhino, Elephant (who will come to the waterhole), Giraffe, Lion, Cape Buffalo, Hippo (including a resident in the water hole). Plus of course the usual Zebra, Ostrich, Antelope etc. If you see a leopard go buy a lottery ticket immediately. They are very very shy. It's unlikely you would see them all on a one night stay due to the size of the reserve and the driving required.
If this was a first safari you'd likely be impressed. But if you've been to other "luxury" sites you'll feel a little disappointed, particularly with the numbers in the vehicle. It can be as high as 10 plus driver, again not particularly luxurious. 6 is the most you'd expect. Here its luck of the draw.. It could be wonderful but falls short.
Interestingly the last award was in 2016 and down from a certificate of excellence.
What an amazing experience. The rooms were lovely as was the lodge. Our ranger Charles was fabulous and very knowledgeable and we saw so much. Food was good but not amazing - the breakfasts were the best. Would definitely recommend for adults and teenagers.
Having looked forward so much to our visit, we were left extremely disappointed at the whole experience. There are far too few animals to see and therefore spent lots of time looking at the same thing. they claim to have the 'Big Five' (Lion, Elephant, Buffalo, Leopard, and Rhinoceros). On a relatively small reserve, we only saw four Lions (which is all they have) and a herd of elephants. They claim to have one Leopard and one Rhino, but I have my own personal doubts that they exist.
The staff were pleasant enough, but you had to ask for everything and it felt like they were trying to restrict the consumption of certain things and even tea or coffee you had to keep asking for and no top ups were offered.
Even though they offered massage and beauty treatments, when we wanted to book we were given three different reasons why these services were not available.
All in all a very disappointing experience and for the money they charge, we feel ripped off and we would urge people think twice before booking this game lodge.
My (grown-up) family stayed at Kichaka to celebrate a special occasion and we could not have chosen a better place. The drives were great, with us seeing almost all animals we wanted to, the ranger was knowledgeable and clearly had a deep passion for his work that shone through (even at 5am!). The staff were attentive and welcoming - nothing was too much trouble. I understand the lodge is due for a minor refurb in the near future, as part of its partnership with the owner of the neighbouring camps, which will only serve to enhance this fantastic site. Thoroughly enjoyed our stay and would recommend for adults.