Ever feel like disappearing into the wilderness for a few days? No work, no meetings, no phone calls, no commuting and no one interrupting your peace and quiet? Well this experience is an absolute (re)treat. Head into the stunning wildernesses of South Africa’s malaria-free Eastern Cape, where you can re-connect with nature in some of the world’s most dramatic and remote surroundings.
the big five
No journey to South Africa would be complete without a trip to see the big five; leopard, rhino, elephant, buffalo and of course the fearsome lion. Known as frontier country, the Kwandwe Private Game reserve is an intoxicating blend of beautiful bushveld, abundant wildlife and fascinating history. You’ll be gently easing into your wilderness experience with a stay in one of the funkiest boutique lodges we’ve seen, the Kwandwe Ecca Lodge, which fuses chic modern style with a traditional farmhouse feel. Between game walks you can enjoy some amazing locally-sourced food and take in the views from your private veranda. This is the perfect way to slow everything down before heading further into the wilderness.
Located on the edge of the Karoo, the Samara Private Game Reserve is one of the largest and most spectacular private game reserves in South Africa, boasting a massive 70,000 acres of expansive plains and dramatic mountains. As soon as you arrive at the reserve you’ll jump into a 4×4 and begin the ascent into the mountains to get to your next destination, the awesomely remote Samara Mountain Retreat. This restored 250 year-old Victorian settler farm sits in the mountains and is over 30 minutes drive from the nearest lodge. You’ll literally be miles from civilisation, surrounded only by wildlife and indescribably dramatic scenery. Head out on foot for a gourmet picnic at one of the many viewpoints in the mountains and you’ll be overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the surroundings, with vast plains below stretching out to mountains in the distance. This is the perfect opportunity to find out what it was like to be one of the original settlers of these lands all those years ago.
Take a trip down the mountains and check out the breath-taking terrain of the Karoo up close. The Karoo Lodge overlooks the romantic plains of Camdeboo, a vast expanse of arid grassland that is typical of the Karoo landscape. Huge conservation efforts are returning this area to its former glory. In particular there are strong concentrations of the majestic cheetah and you’ll have a good chance of seeing this elusive beast on the plains. The Samara Private Game Reserve also boasts record sightings of the quirky aardvark, a notoriously difficult creature to find. And if you have time between game drives make sure you check out the cave paintings nearby to get an insight into the history of this magical place.
Available Year Round
Disclaimer: Pins in map may not be accurate if Google Maps cannot find the exact address. In this case an approximation is made.
Karoo, South Africa, Kwandwe Private Game reserv, Port Elizabeth