Long Hope Villa. River Bend. Addo National Park. South Africa
Why we love it:
An authentic settler experience in an original Cape Farmhouse dating back to early 1900’s, River Bend is located on the slopes of the Zuurberg Mountains within a private concession inside the Greater Addo Elephant National Park. So you get all the elephants without the crowds ! We loved Long Hope Villas unpretentious style and wonderful staff.
What to expect:
The farmhouse has been kept to it’s original character, but stylishly restored. It sleeps 6 people with 3 en suite bedrooms (the giant beds with delicious percale linen are so inviting!). There are large double showers and freestanding ball and claw baths with wild outlooks. The open plan living, dining, kitchen area opens to a patio and pool area that makes for great communal living. Riverbend is in a Big Five area, but the villa is fenced, making it safe for kids to enjoy the grounds. Fine dinners are served at a farmhouse kitchen table (candle lit and set with white linen and fine cutlery) or outside on the patio.
What to do:
There are game drives in the morning and afternoon through the 14 000 hectare River Bend Concession. The area has lions, elephants, buffalo, leopard and black rhino as well as kudu, hartebeest, ostrich, springbok, warthogs and 300 bird species. Game tends to concentrate in the open areas (previously farmland) and so is easy to see. There are guided nature walks where interesting animals such as giraffe may be encountered on foot. Don't miss a drive to the top of the Zuurberg mountains for sundowners. Aside from the wildlife, the flora is a tangle of fascintating endemic species including the dramatic Tree Euphorbias.
KIDS: Long Hope Villa is perfect for kids. Being malaria free, it offers young kids great wildlife viewing. The villa is relaxed and the mini ranger program will ensure you kids learn while having fun, and end up with a badge and a certificate. The pool will keep kids happy on hot days.
When to go:
The game viewing is good year round, with the spring months (August to October) being outstanding to visit on account of the wonderful flowers. It can be extremely hot in mid summer (December to March) and winter mornings and evenings (June to July) are very cold.
How to get there:
River Bend is an hour’s drive from Port Elizabeth International Airport. Transfers can be arranged or it’s an easy self-drive. The villa will combine very well with coastal villas on the Garden Route such as Pezula.