When you think of a wildlife safari in the South African bush, the Western Cape Garden Route doesn’t automatically spring to mind, but tucked away about 20 kilometers from Mossel Bay you will find a 11 000 hectare private game reserve that has been thoughtfully built-in this unique and beautiful location. Gondwana Game Reserve is home to numerous endangered fauna and flora and it was an utter pleasure to have been invited with a bunch of fab digital media women on a press trip recently. #loadsofgiggles @GirlsTrip
I was expecting to find the landscape odd for wildlife as I’m accustomed to the northern South African bushveld, but I would visit again for the fynbos alone, it’s rather spectacular.
Gondwana derives its name from Gondwanaland, which in palaeography, is the name given to the more southerly of two supercontinents which were part of the Pangaea supercontinent that existed from approximately 510 to 180 million years ago.
The animal population is impressive and we saw so many species on our three game drives. On the first night out we were lucky to spot three out of the big five, including a spectacular lion couple. Guided by Brendan Mandy the highly experienced head ranger, we were spoiled with dozens of stories and anecdotes about everything from how certain animals mate, to uses for elephant dung and succulents.
On both the morning and evening drives he took us to a beautiful spot for either coffee or sundowner drinks.
Bundled up in weather gear or covered in blankets we headed out in the open-topped Landrovers to experience all corners of this spectacular property. Down into valleys and gorges with a few slightly hair-raising moments for the wimpish me, we bounded along to spots that are not accessible by normal vehicle to find beautiful African animals doing their thing. It was an exhilarating and memorable trip that included me tracking a cheetah for a short while on foot and eating a termite from an ant heap (more delicious than you would imagine).
The lodge is lovely and we stayed in the Kwena huts which are designed around Khoi San architecture and are arranged so they are very private. Lovely and luxurious.
Afternoon tea is taken in the bar area before you head out on your evening game drive. Terribly civilised.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the Kwena Restaurant with inside, outside and boma areas depending on the weather. The food is rustic African in inspiration and we were treated to a private dinner in the Lehele Restaurant across the valley which is a beautiful space with huge bar and open roaring fires.