5 Big-5 game reserves to visit in the Eastern Cape

Posted on 2 August 2023 By Jordyn Johnson

You might associate the Eastern Cape with rugged coastlines, endless rolling hills, and greenery, but game reserves should be added to that list.

These game reserves are all malaria-free and a little less popular, so you don’t have to contend with safari vehicle-loads of tourists. They also all have the Big 5, so you still have the chance to spot a lion in the bushes.

Also read: Things to do in Hogsback

1. Shamwari Private Game Reserve

Picture: Shamwari Private Game Reserve

Shamwari Private Game Reserve ‘was born of a need to conserve the land and its abundant wildlife, birdlife, and ecological diversity.’ It became the Eastern Cape’s first Big 5 game reserve after reintroducing large herbivores, and big cats to the area between 1992 and 2000. Guests can choose seven luxury lodges while staying in this wild and beautiful area of the Eastern Cape.

2. Amakhala Game Reserve

In 1999, six lodge owners started a joint conservation venture.  The reserve has ten properties, and the game reserve is promoted as a premier game reserve in the Eastern Cape. Amakhala Game Reserve allows wildlife to be reintroduced to the area to contribute to conserving our natural heritage.

3. Addo Elephant Park

game reserves eastern cape

Picture: Addo Elephant Park

It’s impossible to list game reserves to visit in the Eastern Cape without mentioning the very popular Addo Elephant Park. Spend time with Africa’s gentle giants in the country’s third-largest national park. You can camp, or stay in bungalows, huts, cottages, or luxury lodges. There are accommodation options for all safari-loving types.

4. Kariega Game Reserve

game reserves eastern cape

Picture: Getaway Gallery

This family-owned and run private game reserve sits along the Garden Route. It holds a unique beauty with two rivers, the Kariega River and Bushmans River, flowing through the 11,500-hectare Big-5 wilderness, creating the opportunity for a wide range of safari activities and great sundowner spots! Choose between one of the five safari lodges Kariega Game Reserve offers, all intimately connected to the bush. This reserve prides itself on a holistic conservation and community mandate that it fulfills in partnership with the Kariega Foundation. A safari at Kariega is a safari with purpose.

5. Sibuya Game Reserve

Start your Sibuya Experience with a 45-minute boat transfer up the Kariega Estuary to either the Forest Camp, River Camp, or Bush Lodge. This award-winning game reserve has a more navigable river than any other South African game reserve, allowing for exciting and unique game cruises.

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ALSO READ: 20 things to do in and around Gqeberha

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