From Sunrise to Cheetah Eyes

From Sunrise to Cheetah Eyes

From Sunrise to Cheetah Eyes

29 July 2021 • Lodge Spotlight

The hearty experience of Karongwe River Lodge


Our visit to Karongwe could not have come at a better time. After 10 days camping in the wild Manyeleti Game Reserve, Jesse and I experienced the beauty of the Karongwe Portfolio’s River Lodge. Needless to say, we came full circle from roughing it at a campsite to the luxury suite with space, a double shower, bath (❤️) and a very comfortable bed.



A Warm Welcome


We arrived at River Lodge, to a warm welcome with a vanilla-infused hot towel (a lovely little touch, by the way). After check-in, we were shown our room, the Presidential Suite – which was nothing short of excellent. Luxury finishes and all the comforts you can think of, but to be completely honest, we didn’t spend that much time in the room… we couldn’t get enough of the Karongwe Private Game Reserve, and every chance we got to be in its bushveld, we took.  



Feeling Fancy #OnSafari


We first met our expert tracker Raimondo and highly experienced guide, Eddy, as we embarked on a sunset drive through the reserve. Unfortunately, the liquor restrictions in place wouldn’t allow me to sip bubbly champagne or my latest drink of choice, a G&T. However, the team organised a fancy glass for me so I could *feel fancy* – thanks guys!




That night we had an incredible dinner, I’m the biggest fan when lamb chops are on the menu, so with full tummies we went to bed early (something we have had to adapt to as night owls). Having our meals on the deck, we were in our element. Every menu option, was difficult to choose, it all sounded and tasted so good. 




Cheetah Eyes


The next early morning, something else came up with the sun from the horizon. Call it courage, after spotting Cheetahs walking on the road, we got out of the vehicle to walk with them. With Raymondo leading the way, my first ever bush walk was encountering Cheetah on foot. I’ll never forget making eye contact with one of them, my heart surely skipped a beat or two. This is something unique that Karongwe offers guests, should you encounter Cheetah at the right time and place. Our business has taken us on some true adventures… looking a Cheetah in the eye is one I’ll remember forever.




Thereafter, we tried our very best to track a Leopard, even coming across various tracks in different locations, but I’m afraid we were unlucky in the Leopard department. Not that I’m complaining, my adrenaline was racing after the Cheetah walk.


Karongwe Portfolio


We then had a tour of the other lodges in the Karongwe Portfolio: Becks Safari Lodge with its modern, beautifully-designed energy Kuname Lodge and Manor House with its romantic, intimate in-the-trees look and feel, Shiduli Private Game Lodge with a family and friends holiday-buzz and Chisomo Safari Lodge with a luxury African bush vibe (Check out their pages if you really want to get keen for a getaway). Each lodge is different and has something special to offer guests. If you’re looking for something specific (a family getaway, a honeymoon destination, a corproate retreat etc. we know which place to send you to and why) – hit us up if you’d like to make a booking. Also just a friendly reminder to check out the amazing specials currently running at River Lodge and Becks.



Our next sunset drive did not disappoint. We came across a fierce male lion. His roar echoed for miles – exhilarating!



When we returned to the lodge, we freshened up in the room and made our way to the boma area, where the fire and vibe was a’blazing. We were sad to think that it was already our final night at River Lodge.


The Last Sunrise 


On our final sunrise game drive, Raimondo tracked a mating Leopard pair. Yet, what we’ve learned about a Leopard is, 


" If a Leopard does not want you to see it, you will not see it." – Raimondo, Tracker at Karongwe


In our final 15 minutes of the drive, we found one, by utter fluke. Classic Leopard. It’s a pity we couldn’t get a good picture, but hopefully we will make up for that with another great leopard picture next time!


Raimondo and Eddy were brilliant. We could tell that the other trackers and guides also work with the same passion and professionalism – making the drives and game viewing an awesome experience for guests. Raimondo’s tracking skills paired with Eddy’s animal knowledge really impressed us. They made us talk about becoming guides someday ourselves (we will have to get over our insectphobia but more on that another time). We’d like to thank them for making our time at Karongwe so special.




Savannah, head of marketing and community empowerment for the Karongwe Portfolio, told us about all the inspiring community work and conservation efforts that the reserve is involved in. This filled up both of our hearts with warmth. Especially for me on a personal level, as I feel quite strongly and deeply about women & girls health and education. We are keeping in touch to hopefully be a part of one of their next projects.


If you’re looking for a hearty and memorable bush treat with incredible game viewing, a lekker guide and tracker that are passionate and go the extra mile for you, delicious meals and a luxurious suite (even if you’re bringing your family along) this is the perfect place for you. Who knows, you might even get to look a Cheetah in the eyes too.



8 Things we Loved about Karongwe Private Game Reserve 

1. What there is to offer – there's truly something for every kind of experience a guest is looking for. 

2. Passion – from the chef, to the waiters, to the operations and of course the trackers and guides. The passion shines.

3. Game Drives / Safaris – we were treated to 4 out of Big 5 and every sighting was great. 

4. Heartfelt energy –  something you can't fake, good vibes are good vibes.

5. The Suites at River Lodge – complete and utter luxury yet far from pretentious. 

6. Dedication – the team goes above and beyond to make a guest's stay memorable. 

7. The Food – feed me well and I'll be happy 😆 😊 

8. The small touches – hot water bottles on our seat for the brisk morning drive.


Check live availibility and book your trip to Karongwe River Lodge here on our website.