Winter safari: Why hibernate when there is Bucklands Private Game Reserve

BY TAMLYN MCMULLAN - MAY 20, 2015

Winter is upon us, but instead of going into hibernation, you should really be heading out to the bush. Unknown to most people, the cold season provides a better chance of encountering wildlife as the bush thins out and the animals tend to congregate around waterholes and rivers for protection from predators.

After I had heard about Bucklands, I needed little convincing to visit the reserve, which is situated outside of Grahamstown. Bucklands has two accommodation options - Bucklands Lodge and Luxury Tented Camp which cater for both local and international markets while maintaining a 4-Star service level.

Our choice of accommodation was their Luxury Tented Camp, an easy choice as my boyfriend and I are avid nature enthusiasts. With great excitement, we found the Luxury Tented Camp in the heart of the reserve.

Adding to an authentic isolated bush feel, we found the camp is entirely powered by solar energy and is designed to capture the natural splendour of the surrounding countryside and valley.

Four double luxury tents are available. They are spacious and offer classic safari-type finishes, with well-appointed en-suite bathrooms and private verandas. Intimate guest areas include an elegant central dining tent and deck, a swimming pool, traditional boma for those beautiful star-lit evenings around a fire, further enhancing your experience.

Our hosts also ensured that we enjoyed first-class South African cuisine. We started the Saturday with a delectable country-style breakfast, which we later followed up with a hearty brunch after our early morning exploration.

All guests are offered a choice of either a game drive or a walking safari in the morning and the afternoon. Bucklands Private Game Reserve caters for the whole family. Other activities on offer include fishing in the Great Fish River, night drives and star gazing, quad bike trails, birding while private picnics to Port Alfred can be arranged.

On our game drive we encountered a variety of wildlife and ended with romantic sundowners overlooking the Great Fish River. A late afternoon high tea readied us for what was a sumptuous three-course dinner, a perfect end to our stay.

Their friendly staff gave us a truly memorable experience from our arrival to departure.

What to bring: bird and mammal books, binoculars, photographic equipment, warm clothing, and good walking shoes.

For more information about Bucklands Private Game Reserve, call 072 736 3681 or visit www.bucklandsreserve.co.za. Also find them on Facebook.