South Africa’s Eastern Cape province holds plenty of safari gems for you to discover. The dense Eastern Cape bushland is malaria-free and home to a plethora of fascinating animals, including the Big 5. This makes for a remarkable safari adventure that won’t be easily forgotten. We have selected five of our favourite Eastern Cape game reserves and safari lodges that offer unbelievable luxury coupled with excellent wildlife viewing.
Sibuya Private Game Reserve
Sibuya Private Game Reserve is set along the banks of the Kariega River, a little way from the seaside village of Kenton-on-Sea. There are no roads leading to the reserve; instead guests are ferried across the Kariega River in a small boat. Sibuya’s position along the river makes it a spectacular bird-watching reserve, with over 400 bird species calling the area their home. Sibuya is comprised of three lodges, namely Forest Camp, River Camp and Bush Lodge. Forest Camp is set right on the banks of the Kariega River, with accommodation in eight suites. River Camp is perfect for families and offers comfortable accommodation hidden away in the dense forest. Bush Lodge is set further away and is the only non-tented accommodation in the reserve. Safari activities that guests can look forward to include game drives, birding, river cruises and fishing.
Kuzuko Lodge, Addo Elephant National Park
Kuzuko Lodge is located on a hill overlooking a private section of Addo Elephant National Park. The 5-Star lodge is one of the most popular safari getaways in the Eastern Cape, welcoming all types of travellers, from couples to families and adventurers. All travellers will experience unrivalled views of the bushland, with the ever-blue African sky serving as a backdrop. Kuzuko offers 24 chalets that are well-appointed as well as en-suite. Three chalets are wheelchair-friendly and all are also suitable for families. The Addo Elephant National Park is a Big 5 game reserve and guests can expect to see lion, rhino, buffalo, leopard and of course, plenty of elephants.
Camp Figtree, Addo Elephant National Park
The Addo Elephant National Park is the pride of the Eastern Cape. Addo is the third largest National Park in South Africa with over 600 elephants, 400 buffaloes, endangered black rhinos, as well as the rest of the Big 5. That is why we have included two Addo accommodations in our list! Camp Figtree is based on the border of the national park and is 100% eco-friendly, allowing their guests to practice responsible tourism. The camp is situated on a hill overlooking endless valley vistas. Known as a mountain safari lodge, Camp Figtree’s breathtaking view is one of the best in the Eastern Cape. The suites are luxurious, yet simple and charming with neutral colours and colonial decor. Guests have a choice of Superior Suites, Superior Boardwalk, Luxury Suites, Poolside Superior Suites, and for a true safari experience, Luxury Tents.
Lalibela Private Game Reserve
Lalibela Game Reserve can be found close to the bustling city of Port Elizabeth and Addo Elephant National Park. The proximity of Lalibela from Addo results in the reserve spanning five unique ecosystems, ensuring some of the best wildlife views the Eastern Cape has to offer. Lalibela, like many other reserves in the Eastern Cape, is home to the Big 5, and these magnificent animals are frequently spotted. The expansive reserve offers a choice of four lodges – Lentaba Safari Lodge, Mills Manor, Mark’s Camp and Tree Tops Safari Lodge. All lodges are incredibly comfortable and welcoming, and for a unique experience Tree Tops Safari Lodge is your best bet. The lodge is the only tented accommodation, and is perched on wooden platforms, grazing the tree tops. The tents are beautifully decorated, with a private veranda and gorgeous scenery, offering the utmost comfort in the bush.
Founders Lodge is one of the most unique accommodations in the Eastern Cape. Unlike the other lodges on this list, Founders Lodge is not set on a game reserve, but is adjacent to one of the best reserves in South Africa – Shamwari. The lodge is 5-Star and offers six suites that are spacious and modern. Founders Lodge is a 1940’s manor house and was the home of Adrian Gardiner, one of the first people to encourage nature and tourism conservation in the Eastern Cape. The lodge has a manor house charm with manicured lawns overlooking the bushland, and suites situated near the courtyard, swimming pool and lounge area. Guests will enjoy exclusivity at its finest at Founders Lodge.
Colin Dilland is Owner and Managing Director of East Cape Tours and Safaris. East Cape Tours is a South African based travel company offering bespoke tailor-made trips across Southern Africa.
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