Gondwana Wildlife Reserve

Cape Town Safaris, West Coast

Just a four-hour drive away, Gondwana is one of the few Big Five game reserves close to Cape Town. Now roughly the size of 11,000 football pitches, this huge, malaria-free paradise is also handily positioned near the start of the Garden Route, meaning guests can continue on to great golf, beaches and hiking, or combine those with a safari. Most importantly, it has excellent service and top-notch guides.

Gondwana has four distinct accommodation options:

Perfect for couples, Kwena Lodge’s 14 standalone cottages have been stylishly modelled on traditional Khoi-San tribal huts; every open-plan unit features an en-suite bathroom and tub, a fireplace, a private deck and a special skylight for bedtime stargazing. The waterhole views are superb, and best of all from Kwena’s shared infinity pool. Inside the main lodge is an open-plan lounge and dining room – with meals also served in an outdoor boma – while a separate building holds the reserve’s Africology spa.

Available on an exclusive-use basis, luxurious Fynbos Villas and Bush Villas are designed for families or groups of friends. Each open-plan retreat offers an enormous lounge, bathtubs, fireplaces, a barbecue and an expansive outdoor deck. While the three-bedroom Fynbos are all close to Kwena Lodge, the three and four-bedroom Bush Villas are secluded six miles away; residents must drive to Kwena Lodge for activities, and to the much-nearer Lehele Lodge – a wedding venue – for meals or infinity pool-use.

Fanciest of all is Ulubisi House, a villa accommodating up to six people (or four adults and four children) on a full-board basis. Super-stylish, it comes with a private field guide, chef, butler and laundry service, plus a pool and hot tub. Activities are all included, and total privacy is guaranteed.

To really delve into bush life, book a three, five or 12-night conversation experience at the Tented Eco Camp. Participants take part in monitoring programmes, with findings fed back to Gondwana’s conservation department to aid future decision-making. The itinerary will also include plenty of game drives, bush walks and down time, and is based in comfy en-suite tents on raised, covered decks. There are also hammocks and a small pool. Family versions are available on request.

Gondwana is private reserve, meaning that humans needn’t keep to strictly designated roads. That increases the chances of spotting its reintroduced Big Five members – lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo – plus a supporting cast headed by giraffe, hippo, cheetah and zebra. You’ll do very well to spot all of these, but a good amount of wildlife sightings is likely. The fynbos vegetation is also captivating, especially in spring. Near the reserve in Pinnacle Point golf course, at which Gondwana guests enjoy preferential rates.

Safari routine
Morning game drives depart at dawn, with guests driven in jeeps by expert guides for about three hours. Expansive breakfasts are devoured afterwards, as is lunch – two a-la-carte courses of pan-African fare – and afternoon tea. In between, you can snooze, swim or hit the spa. Sundowners conclude an evening game drive seeking out nocturnal predators, before three-course dinners and a cheeseboard (or sometimes an outdoor braai barbecue), supported by local wines. Birding or walking safaris may be taken instead of game drives; and those on a half-board basis are only entitled to one free activity per day.

Child Policy
Children of all ages are welcome, except at Kwena Lodge where only those 12+ can stay. Youngsters aged 6-12 can take part in really fun Junior Ranger Experiences, which feature educational drives, plant identification and messy animal tracking. Babysitting is possible on request, and children's menus are permanently available.

The Best of South Africa Travel map displays the locations of the destinations and accommodation that we have selected and visited; for each item, hovering over or clicking the marker will display a short summary and photo of that place or hotel, and hotel pricing. Follow the links in the info box to the full page listing which has much more information.

Note that the online map offers both a satellite view (click satellite in the top right) and, for some locations, a street level view (Drag the person in the top left onto the map). These let you explore the country; and when you wish to explore in person, or if you have any questions about the places you see, give our staff a call, or request a quote. Our staff regularly visit the places and accommodation that we feature.

When you book a holiday with us we will provide full driving instructions for reaching your accommodation, where necessary; these can be used by yourself, or you could enjoy the luxury of a driver. Alternatively we will arrange private (car rather than coach) transfers for you; helicopter transfers are also possible for some destinations.

Activities at or near Gondwana Wildlife Reserve

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