Great safari destinations and eco lodges in close proximity to Port Elizabeth and Nelson Mandela Bay
For those looking for safari destinations conveniently located near to Port Elizabeth and Nelson Mandela Bay, these parks, reserves and lodges offer everything from Big 5 safaris to coastal reserves:
Addo Elephant National Park is located in the malaria-free Eastern Cape about an hour’s drive from Port Elizabeth. There are few places in the world which can offer one Addo’s variety of vegetation, geology and wildlife. Addo is marketed as a ‘Big 7’ park as it includes the Big 5 as well as the Great White Shark and the Southern Right Whale in its coastal zone. Elephants are the flagship specie, with viewing of these grey giants arguably the best on the African continent. Private lodges on concessions and self-catering camps provide plentiful accommodation options.
A blend of valley bushveld, savannah grassland, fynbos, riverine areas and acacia woodland in Shamwari Game Reserve cater for high densities of game. The Bushman’s river meanders through the reserve, adding a great refuge for bird species such as kingfishers, darters, finfoots and the iconic African Fish Eagle. The southern sector of the reserve is dominated by large open areas. The north is mountainous with rolling rocky hills and thickly vegetated valleys. Even the elusive leopard is sighted fairly regularly. Luxury lodges are located in small ‘rural’ zones on the reserve to lessen the impact on the environment.
Kariega Game Reserve supports large numbers of very relaxed general game, excellent bird life, thickly vegetated hills and valleys dominated by cactus-like Euphorbia trees. There is a considerable amount of activities on offer that guests can take part in, from canoeing in the river to mountain biking and hiking independently in a smaller section of the. The main game viewing section of Kariega plays host to the Big 5.
Sibuya Game Reserve covers over 3000 hectares of absolutely stunning river frontage, flood plains, hills and lusciously green valleys. The reserve hosts substantial numbers of general game typical of the African bush as well as a healthy white rhino population and a small herd of elephants. Sibuya is also home to a cheetah breeding project and guests can view these cats from an elevated position overlooking the cheetah area. The reserve is a birding hotspot and those who are interested in spending time with creatures outside of the Big 5 will fall in love with Sibuya.
Samara Game Reserve hosts a wide array of habitat types. Game drives are conducted where rhino, buffalo and cheetah roam whilst nature walks and hiking are also offered. The lodges are situated in lower lying areas of typical Nama Karoo dominated by its usual succulent plant species, dry river beds and beautiful shepherd trees. Herds of black wildebeest, blesbok and eland roam the plains. Samara is home to healthy populations of Plains and Cape Mountain Zebra which both naturally occur here. A highlight of any trip to Samara is the late night safari where guests search for unusual nocturnal creatures such as aardvark, spring hare and black footed cat.
Idwala Game Lodge is a small family run lodge accommodating up to 8 guests at a time. It is set magnificently amongst boulders on a rocky ridge overlooking a beautifully green and forested valley. A lovely tree top walkway takes you from the main lodge to four spacious and private rooms named after various members of the Big Five. The atmosphere is relaxed and the service is excellent. After dinner guests are offered the opportunity of doing a ‘Cosmic Safari’ and having a closer look at the African night skies and its constituents through a high-tech telescope on the main lodge deck.
The Oceana Beach and Wildlife Reserve is situated on an 800 hectare piece of land that incorporates 7 km of untouched coastline and dune forest. From a lookout point guests have the opportunity to watch rhinos feeding in one direction whilst whales and dolphins frolic in the Indian Ocean in the other. The lusciously tropical terrain is hilly incorporating green open areas, thicket clusters and lookout points. The beach is untouched and guests can jump on to a golf cart and get dropped off on the beach where they can wander and explore the undisturbed, pristine coastline at their own leisurely pace. There is likely to be no other souls on the beach for miles around.