Rhino River Lodge is a family owned Big 5 safari lodge right in the heart of Zululand. Located in the stunning Manyoni Private Game Reserve, it’s about a 2.5 hour drive from Durban. We spent 2 Nights At Rhino River Lodge recently and I’m going to share all the details and photos with you in this post!
Our 2 Nights At Rhino River Lodge were late in November, if you go over this time you can expect daily showers and cooler temperatures as it is the rainy season in Kwazulu Natal.
When you arrive you’ll be greeted by friendly staff and whisked off to your room / chalet / cottage / homestead to drop off your things.
We stayed in a Deluxe Room and it was spacious and very comfortable.
You can make your own tea and coffee in your room, and your tin of rusks is re-filled daily. There is also a mini bar with assorted drinks and treats for extra charge.
Check out the accommodation here – Rhino River Lodge Accommodation
We arrived just in time for the “light lunch” which was not so light – my husband was delighted by this. They served us sticky chicken drumsticks, potato salad and coleslaw, and then pancakes with chocolate sauce and fresh fruit for dessert, it was all delicious.
If you have any dietary restrictions it’s best to let them know before you go as they only have one option for lunch and it changes daily.
Take a warm jacket and trousers for the early morning and late afternoon game drives, you’ll need them.
The blankets on your bed are for game drives if the weather is chilly – you won’t want to forget these.
Also remember to pack some summery clothes as you may experience a heat wave – just to keep you on your toes!
At Rhino River Lodge they choose to have a two strand electric fence which keeps out the elephants, but means that all smaller game can roam in and out of camp as they please.
This is why, once it’s dark you must wait for a guide or member of staff to accompany you to and from your accommodation.
I absolutely loved this aspect of the camp – it feels that much more wild.
Much like holidays I spent in Kariba and on the banks of the Zambezi river in Zimbabwe in my younger years.
The little warthogs will just delight you at they trot past your room.
I spent several hours sitting on our deck drinking tea in the late mornings and afternoons just watching birds, buck and warthogs go about their day.
This is how your itinerary at Rhino River Lodge will look –
DAY OF ARRIVAL
- 13h00 – 14h00 Check in
- Enjoy a “light lunch” lol
- Kill a few hours, napping is much advised
- 15h00 – 18h00 Game Drive time!
- 18h00 ish Arrive back at camp (we stayed out later both evenings)
- 19h00 A 3 course dinner is served around the fire so long as it’s not raining
DAY OF DEPARTURE
- 05h30 – 08h30 Early morning game drive
- 09h00 – 10h00 Enjoy a full breakfast (we sat in the garden)
- 10h00 Check out
Read more about your Safari here – Rhino River Lodge Safari Details
The day (or days) in between arrival and departure will consist of two game drives –
One early morning and one late afternoon. The time in-between breakfast and the afternoon safari is yours to do with as you please.
You can relax in the lounge or on the common deck.
Or you can go back to your room and make yourself tea/coffee, sit on your private deck and enjoy the sounds of nature.
This is definitely the time for a good book and maybe a long nap or two.
That’s the details covered!
Now for the really amazing part of this getaway – THE GAME DRIVES!
We saw 3 of the Big 5 and were lucky enough to sit and watch a pride of lion for ages on two occasions.
They appeared not to be hungry as they were just lying about and grooming each other on both days, not in hunting mode.
This pride had 4 young males among them – they were already pretty big.
We also saw plenty of rhino – two of which had calves. The one mama rhino was very protective and barely let us see her babe.
The other mom and dad were far more relaxed and we watched this little family for about 20 minutes before they trotted off into the thick bush.
What a beautiful sight this mama and baby rhino were!
If you know anything about Africa, you’ll know that Rhino are an endangered species that need all the protection they can get from poachers.
Which is why the Rhino here are de-horned – in an attempt to dissuade poachers from senseless killings. Their horns do grow back, and are then removed again – to try to keep these beautiful creatures safe.
At Manyoni Private Game Reserve all the guides work together, keeping in constant contact with eachother about the whereabouts and well-being of their Rhinos – which was amazing to see, but also a heart-breaking reality.
If you’d like to know more about this subject, read this informative article on African Rhinos.
On our last morning we saw a HUGE herd of buffalo. I didn’t manage to get a good photo of them as they were behind lots of tiny trees – but there must have been close to a hundred of them! Adults and babies – so lovely.
They only have one herd of elephant at Manyoni and unfortunately they weren’t nearby while we were there.
Leopard are notoriously elusive and shy animals – we drove into the river bed at the end of both night game drives with our guide trying to spot a leopard for us, but alas we didn’t see one. I’m pretty sure they saw us though!
Apart from the Big 5
We saw SO many giraffe (my absolute favourite), different kinds of buck, zebra, a giant snail – this thing was huge!
We also saw an ENORMOUS slug (ew), and two pairs of dung beetles going about their dung rolling duties.
Our guide explained that dung beetles go about in pairs – one male, one female – and the male pushes the ball of dung while the female sits on the ball and holds on for dear life…
Sometimes she gets rolled over by the ball, but she keeps clinging on!
Returning back to camp at night time was brilliant – your guide will have a massive spotlight that he scans the bush with left to right, left to right as you drive and you’ll get to see little night creatures that you’d never spot during the day.
At the very end of our second night drive we saw a little porcupine – SO darn cute.
Manyoni is known for its vast array of bird life, it’s a birders paradise – and I can see why – our guide was pointing out species of birds I have never seen before.
We loved our 2 Nights At Rhino River Lodge!
The prices are definitely mid to higher-end (depending on your budget) and if we were going with friends we would probably stay somewhere more affordable in one large cottage where we could self-cater.
BUT – For a special couples getaway Rhino River Lodge was ideal.
Questions For You:
Have you been to Manyoni Game Reserve?
Where did you stay?
Thanks for reading!
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