EASTERN CAPE GAME RESERVES
The Eastern Cape is one of South Africa's lesser known safari destinations. Situated 1-2 hours outside the city of Port Elizabeth, you will find a collection of private game reserves offering the full safari experience, with the added advantage of being malaria-free. The location makes the Eastern Cape reserves the ideal starting or ending point for those intrepid self-drive travellers looking to explore the Garden Route.
The landscape of the Eastern Cape reserves is as breathtaking, with rolling and undulating hills, home to the Spekboom bushes. Standing on top of a hill, you can spot an animal from miles away. You will find that most lodges in the Eastern Cape are built to take advantage of the landscape by being perched on the side of a hill, offering magnificent views across the wilderness. Often you can spot animals from the comfort of your own private viewing deck.
All reserves are Big 5 reserves, the Big 5 being lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo and elephant. You will also find a large variety of other big and small animals, such as giraffes, zebras, wildebeest, jackals, impalas, warthogs and a lot more.
Safaris in the Eastern Cape game reserves includes 3 meals per day, as well as 2 guided, shared safari activities per day. We recommend at least 3 nights in one reserve to give yourself a chance to feel immersed in the wilderness and also to see as many animals as possible. Our favourite Eastern Cape reserves are Kariega, Amakhala, Pumba and Shamwari. Please have a look at the brief description of each reserve to help you decide which one will be most suitable for your safari.
Kariega Game Reserve
One of the very few game reserve in South Africa where you can do safari river cruises in addition to traditional game drives and game walks. Kariega has perhaps the most spectacular landscape of all the Eastern Cape reserves, with all of the lodges being perched on top of prominent hills, or alongside the banks of the Kariega River, from which the reserve takes its name. Kariega Main Lodge is our top-rated safari destination for families in the Eastern Cape.
Amakhala Game Reserve
A game reserve steeped in history. The land that makes up Amakhala Game Reserve was farmland belonging to the 1820 Settlers of South Africa. In 1999, the descendants of these settlers decided to take down their fences and combine their farms for the greater cause of conservation. A reserve with a lot of lodge choice, there is suitable option for everyone.
Pumba Game Reserve
This reserve is most well known for being the home to one of only two self-sustaining white lion populations in South Africa. White lions are incredibly rare, so you will need a bit of luck to spot one, but you give yourself the best possible chance by visiting Pumba. Pumba also prides itself with their leopard rehabilitation programme, which has successfully reintroduced leopards to the reserve. There are only 2 lodges in Pumba, to keep the crowds and their impact on the environment to a minimum and the experience as exclusive as possible. Pumba Water Lodge boasts views across the Kariega Dam, whilst Pumba Bush Lodge is an intimate lodge, offering seclusion and privacy.
Shamwari Game Reserve
The first name that comes to mind when you think of luxury safaris in the Eastern Cape is Shamwari. It is one of the oldest private game reserves in South Africa and the experience that has been gained over a long time reflects in the overall quality of guiding and service. The attention to detail is difficult to beat, which ensures that you will remember Shamwari as a special place.
EASTERN CAPE SAFARI ITINERARIES
Have a look at the below itinerary suggestions based on our favourite lodges, sorted by standard, or contact us directly for a bespoke itinerary. The Eastern Cape Reserves work great very well as a safari add-on to a Garden Route tour.