The best safaris in the world: Take advantage of these Eastern Cape game reserves this winter


The Eastern Cape is world-renowned for its game reserves, not least because it is one of the few places on the planet where you can see the Big Five in their natural habitat without having to worry about malaria.

Home Food and Travel magazine spoke to the owners and marketers of a few of the local private game reserves to find out what they have to offer.


Terry Stewart, owner at Bucklands Private Game Reserve just north of Grahamstown, says; “We are family owned and operated, focussing on the local market and thus can offer an international, quality experience at a price affordable to South Africans. Because we are small – able to accommodate a maximum of 16 guests, we can generally tailor our activities around guest requirements. We also offer slackpacking.”

He adds that groups of up to eight guests who book for two or more nights sharing, will receive a 50% discount on their normal rate of R1800pppns including all meals, high tea and two game drives each day. Contact: [email protected] or 072 736 3681.



Sibuya Game Reserve is located just outside of Kenton-on-Sea and spans the magnificent Kariega Estuary on its course to meet the warm Indian Ocean.

Nick and Carol Fox, the Owners, says; “Sibuya is South Africa’s only game reserve accessed solely by boat. The sub-tropical vegetation ensures a high density of wildlife and one of the best game-viewing experiences in the country, with nearly 400 bird species and 45 species of game including the Big Five. For a three-night stay or longer, we include a river cruise trip from the camp to one of the beautiful beaches in Kenton-on-Sea with a packed picnic lunch.” Contact: [email protected] or 046 648 1040.



Koffylaagte Game Lodge, near Jansenville, has won several awards including those for value for money, best cultural experience and best wildlife encounters. Owner, Cem Kumral says; “It is a magical and tranquil oasis located a mere 130km’s from Port Elizabeth. The five Lilizela Tourism awards that the game lodge received, one in 2013 and the other 4 in 2014, are proof of what sets us apart from other Eastern Cape Game Lodges - or even Game Lodges in general.”  Contact:  [email protected] or 073 457 3733.



Robyn Elford, Mantis Marketing Communications Executive for Oceana Beach & Wildlife Reserve says; “A luxurious haven in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, Oceana Beach and Wildlife Reserve is the only combined ocean and game reserve in Southern Africa. The resort forms part of Mantis Collection’s ultimate Garden Route journey. A short drive from the quaint seaside town of Port Alfred and with a seven kilometre stretch of private, soft, sandy beach on one side and 850 hectares of unspoilt bush on the other, this really is the best of both worlds.” Contact: [email protected] or 083 616 0605.

Murray Finlay, Marketing Manager at Kariega Game Reserve, also situated near Kenton-on-Sea, says; “Set in 10 000 hectares of African wilderness, incorporating the picturesque Kariega and Bushman’s Rivers, Kariega is just 80 minutes from Port Elizabeth. Morning and evening game drives give you the opportunity of game viewing from open vehicles and Kariega is also unique in its offering of a diverse range of activities including guided bush walks, river cruises, canoeing, fishing and a spa and gym. We have a choice of five lodges: Settlers Drift, River Lodge, Ukhozi Lodge, Main Lodge and The Homestead.” Contact: [email protected] or 041 581 2606.



Catharina De Lange, Assistant General Manager at Kuzuko Lodge, has been running the lodge together with her partner, Gerhard, since 2009. She says; “Kuzuko was founded as a community upliftment project in an area where poverty is a reality. Our guests do not only come on holiday when they visit us, they actually make a real difference in the local community’s lives.

“Kuzuko Lodge is one of the very few 5-Star Big 5 lodges welcoming children of all ages to the lodge and on game drives as well. We offer a build-your-own package option to our SA market allowing them to decide for themselves when and how many activities they would like to take part in. They can decide whether they would like to fine dine or enjoy an authentic Karoo Kudu Burger instead.

“Children under 12 sharing adult accommodation stay for free, only paying for meals, activities and extras. We start this package with a base rate of R750pp Bed & Breakfast. We also have day visitor’s packages including game drives, wellness treatments or even pamper parties.” Contact: [email protected] or 079 521 7490.