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  • Writer's pictureThe Kensington Diary

Discovering the Wild Beauty of the Garden Route: A Luxurious Adventure at Gondwana Safari Reserve

Updated: Apr 17, 2023

The Garden Route is a stunning stretch of South Africa's coastline that runs from Mossel Bay to Storms River. This region is known for its picturesque landscapes, diverse ecosystems, and abundant wildlife. It is no wonder that the Garden Route is a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from all over the world who come to explore its forests, mountains, and beaches. The region is also home to a world-class safari reserve,the renowned Gondwana Safari Reserve. A stay at Gondwana offers visitors the opportunity to experience the best of the Garden Route's natural beauty, as well as an unforgettable wildlife adventure.



A place of extraordinary beauty, the Garden Route is where the sea meets the mountains, and the forests teem with life. But what truly sets this region apart is its incredible natural beauty. With its pristine beaches, towering mountains, and lush forests, the Garden Route is a place where visitors can connect with nature in a profound and meaningful way.


And there is no better way to experience the natural wonders of the Garden Route than with a stay at the Gondwana Safari Reserve. This incredible reserve offered us a chance to explore the region's wildlife up close and personal, as well as experience the best in African hospitality.

As one of the largest private game reserves in the Western Cape, Gondwana is a haven for wildlife enthusiast like us. The reserve is home to the Big Five - lions, leopards, elephants, buffalo, and rhinos - as well as an array of other animals, including zebras, giraffes, and hippos. And with over 11,000 hectares of pristine wilderness to explore, we had the wildlife experience of a lifetime.





A Warm Welcome


Upon arrival, guests are greeted with warm hospitality and a refreshing welcome drink. The lodge's rustic elegance is immediately apparent, with tastefully appointed furnishings and natural materials that blend seamlessly into the surrounding environment. Whether lounging by the pool or relaxing in one of the beautifully appointed suites, guests will feel instantly transported into a world of tranquility and relaxation.




Home Away from Home


We were so pleased with the accommodation at Gondwana that blends seamlessly into the surrounding environment. Our 3 bedroomed thatched roof villa was designed to provide guests with the ultimate in comfort and relaxation. With a large private deck that had a view that went over rolling hills and valleys, spacious en-suite bathrooms for each bedroom, a fireplace, huge living area and kitchen, the villa was so comfortable that we didnt want to leave. We loved that Gondwana also supplied board games and even electric blankets to keep us warm during slightly chillier evenings.





We did not have a plunge pool at the villa, but the main lodge had a stunning infinity pool with the most beautiful views. There is also on-site spa at the main lodge which offers a range of therapies and massages to restore and rejuvenate the body and mind.


Magical Guided Safaris


But the real magic of Gondwana Safari Reserve lay in its guided safaris. Accompanied by one of the most knowledgeable and experienced rangers we have ever met, Kelvin took us on the most thrilling and unforgettable game drives that showcased the breathtaking beauty of the reserve's diverse ecosystems. As the sun begins to set over the savannah, the air was alive with the sounds of the wild, and guests are treated to a front-row seat to one of nature's greatest spectacles. We had a running joke that he delivered everything that we asked for having experienced viewing not just the big 5 (aside from leopards) but their very young babies too, including a 2-week old rhino. It was just spectacular!





A Family-Friendly Stay


With a variety of activities specially designed for children, we created memories together that will last a lifetime. From interactive wildlife presentations to arts and crafts workshops, there was something for everyone at this remarkable destination.


For the ultimate family adventure, we recommend the reserve's Junior Ranger program. Our son had the opportunity to learn about the reserve's wildlife and ecosystems, track animals, and even participate in mock ranger patrols. This immersive experience stuck with him so much. He made a mould from a lion's footprint that he personally tracked and found and he is so proud to show this to everyone who visits us. It is sure to inspire a lifelong passion for conservation and the natural world.



A Beautiful Gastronomy Experience


When it comes to dining, Gondwana Safari Reserve does not disappoint. The lodge's expert chefs created gourmet meals using only the freshest local ingredients, providing a culinary experience that is both refined and authentically South African. We also loved the more laid-back afternoon teas before the afternoon game drives that allowed different visitors and families to mingle and get to know one another.



Western Cape's Glorious Fynbos


But a stay at Gondwana is about more than just seeing amazing wildlife. Set within the most glorious fynbos biome, which is one of the most diverse and distinctive ecosystems in the world, the reserve is characterized by a unique topography that encompasses rugged mountain ranges, rolling hills, and sweeping grasslands plus valleys. The landscape was truly breathtaking, with panoramic views that stretch for miles in every direction. It certainly is one of the most beautiful reserves we have seen to date! With over 1,000 species of fynbos plants that are found nowhere else in the world, a type of vegetation that is endemic to the Western Cape and is known for its hardiness, resilience, and beauty, the reserve was truly captivating. We were so thrilled to explore this incredible ecosystem on guided nature walks or hikes, learning about the different plant species and their unique adaptations to the harsh environment. The fynbos is a critical component of the region's biodiversity, providing habitat and food for a wide range of animal species.



A Commitment to Conservation and Sustainability


But what truly set Gondwana Safari Reserve apart is its commitment to conservation and sustainability. The reserve is home to several conservation programs aimed at preserving the region's natural beauty and wildlife for future generations. From anti-poaching initiatives to community development projects, Gondwana is dedicated to making a positive impact on the environment and the local community.



At Gondwana Safari Reserve, families can disconnect from the stresses of modern life and reconnect with each other and the natural world. With its breathtaking landscapes, world-class amenities, and unforgettable wildlife experiences, we had the most memorable time. This reserve is truly a destination to visit when you are in the Western Cape.


Much Love

Shanti

The Kensington Diary

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