So many people come to Cape Town without realizing that just 4 hours drive from the city is a game reserve. Adding another exciting element to a Cape Town visit, I’ve started recommending this game reserve to some of my clients who only want to stay around the city but wanting to have a true African experience.
The game reserve is called Gondwana. Situated in the heart of the Garden Route, Gondwana Game Reserve offers an exclusive and spectacular natural setting with numerous nature activities on offer in the reserve, as well as nearby Garden Route activities. Gondwana has 27,000 acres of land, meaning lots of land for the animals to roam around in and make themselves home.
Being a private reserve, Gondwana places conservation high on its list of priorities meaning the animals are well taken care, populations are monitored, and the entire game reserve ecosystem is carefully preserved. The famous African Big 5 are all here and the meticulously choreographed game drives by the supremely talented game rangers give clients ample opportunities to spot all the animals in all their natural glory.
A stay at Gondwana is all inclusive, meaning 3 meals a day and 2 safaris a day. Only drinks (including alcohol) are extra. Like any game reserve around the world, the whole experience is geared around the safari drives. Early morning game drives start at 6.30am to catch either the animals waking up or in the case of lions, seeing them finishing off their night kills, are followed by breakfast either back at the lodge or in the bush. Then a leisurely afternoon leads to a late lunch leading into the afternoon/evening game drive that culminates in sunset drinks. Throughout all of this you are up close and very personal with cheetahs, lions, elephants, hippos, rhinos, giraffes, zebras, buffaloes etc
The main Luxury Game Lodge is where all the facilities are located including a large swimming pool, a chic open-plan lounge and bar, a spa that offers rejuvenating Africology treatments, a reception area with a curio shop and the main restaurant where all the delicious food is served. This is also the staging point for the 2 daily drives, your personal Game Ranger escorting you to your customized Safari jeeps for the start of the adventure. The special characteristic of Gondwana is their specific focus on families and hence on children. Even though the game drives are more than enough entertainment for kids of all ages, Gondwana personalizes the experience by having a special Junior Rangers Program – on the second morning, after the morning game drive, our kids headed out in their own Safari Jeep with a lovely and charming Game Ranger who led them through experiences that involved animal tracking and making bow and arrows amongst other activities. They were even given their own personalized welcome bags full of all kinds of goodies.
Spread across the Gondwana landscape and again keeping to its conservation ethos are the accommodations available to customers. Gondwana’s villas have been praised as the best Family Safari Accommodation in South Africa.
Kwena Lodge Villas
These villas come with ample indoor space and an easy-going open-plan design that leads you outdoors to take in your natural surroundings.
The spacious villas feature either 2,3, or 4-bedroom configurations, all with en-suite bathrooms, to accommodate your particular group. Choose a Fynbos Villa adjacent to Kwena Lodge or a Bush Villa deeper in the bush with a higher probability of animals roaming close by. That’s why especially at nighttime, you need to be escorted by the experienced game rangers.
Kwena Lodge Suites
A modern and luxurious twist on the traditional Khoi-San circular dwelling – augmented with all the amenities of a modern Luxury Hotel. Each open plan Kwena Room is designed to connect visitors to their beautiful surroundings with 180-degree views and skylights for star gazing. At night, visitors are warmed by the indoor fireplace and relax in a deep bath upon returning from an evening Big 5 Game Drive. These suites are situated around the main Game Lodge and more suitable for couples.
The true value of Gondwana is that it caters to any type of traveller. Families are very well taken care of, as are couples and single travelers. But it also gives ample opportunities to adventure seekers. Due to the amount of land under its patronage, Gondwana has a special closed off area where you can hike and mountain bike. During our visit we saw people coming in with their mountain bikes hooked to the back of their cars while my ultra running husband was shown trails that ran through wild bush. Imagine mountain biking and running close to where giraffes are grazing.
In my travels, I sometimes come across properties that tick a lot of boxes and cover a lot of angles for any type of traveller. Gondwana easily fits into that category especially if you don't want to get on another flight to a different part of Africa, for families coming to Cape Town and wanting a safari experience- check. Couples on their honeymoon looking to combine relaxation with excitement – check. People wanting an authentic safari experience-check. True nature seekers looking for highly talented game rangers that can truly educate on the multitude of fauna and flora around – check. The list goes on…
For special, discounted rates at Gondwana Game Reserve, please contact Unique Family Travels.