Although Gondwana Game Reserve is only 45 minutes from George domestic airport (and a four hour drive from Cape Town), the isolated beauty of this 26,000-acre game lodge makes you feel hundreds of miles from civilisation.
With awe inspiring views of the Langeberg and Outeniqua Mountains wherever you look, along with sweeping valleys and spectacular sunsets, Gondwana would make for an ideal remote getaway in itself.
The fact that this private game reserve is also home to Africa’s Big 5 almost just feels like a bonus.
Despite the isolation, this is a 5-star experience throughout. The main accommodation is at Kwena Lodge, a collection of 14 luxurious round buildings perched at the top of a beautiful valley.
Each has a seriously conformable king size bed in the centre of the room, sky lights for star gazing, clay pot fireplaces and deep baths to keep you warm upon returning from an evening game drive.
During the day there’s also a pool and spa facilities to help you relax and unwind between drives at Gondwana. Family or group accommodation is available in 12 spacious and luxurious bush villas (3 and 4 bedrooms), which are privately situated around the reserve.
The main attraction here is, of course, the game drives that happen twice a day, one at sunrise departing around 5:30am and one at sunset departing at 4:30pm.
These are considered the best times to see the wildlife which includes elephants, hippos, lions, rhinoceros, cheetahs, zebras, more than ten species of antelope and much more.
We were lucky enough to see all of these (apart from the cheetahs), including a two-month-old baby elephant, on our first drive.
There are, of course, no guarantees on what you will see but our ranger was extremely knowledgeable and dedicated to showing us everything he could possibly find.
Daily meals are served just above the lodge accommodation, with an eclectic global mix of dishes served buffet-style for breakfast and dinner, with a set menu for lunch.
As ever, all meals are enjoyed with incredible views of the landscape and on one day, we were even joined by some giraffe that came to drink from the reservoir below as we ate.
With the perfect combination of isolation and luxury, relaxation and adventure, Gondwana Game Reserve is an ideal place to spend a couple of nights as part of any South Africa itinerary.
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