Gondwana Game Reserve: Luxurious Safari

Gondwana Game Reserve is situated near Mossel Bay in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. It falls within the Cape’s renowned Garden Route – an area of unparalleled beauty. Of course, there is no better way to experience the delight of the region’s landscape that from the comfort of five star luxury. This is exactly what Gondwana promises, and delivers.

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This extensive reserve is an impressive 11 000 hectares in size. Here you can see the all-important Big Five as well as an incredible range of other fauna and flora. Gondwana is an ideal location for an African safari: it offers the height of luxury in a malaria-free region that enjoys a year-round temperate climate.

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I arrived at Gondwana in time for lunch. The menu changes daily, with an emphasis on fresh local ingredients. The three courses that day consisted of gazpacho, fish cakes, and chocolate brownies with ice-cream. It was a delicious and refreshing meal on a swelteringly hot day and, fortunately, we enjoyed our meal from the shady terrace that overlooks the unspoilt African wilderness. Despite the heat, the scenery was a clear signal that we were in the wilderness and it was time to relax and enjoy Nature.

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I then checked into my accommodation: one of fourteen huts in Kwena Lodge. Whatever I was expecting from a ‘hut’ didn’t come close to my deluxe suite measuring approximately 70 square metres. It is certainly an opulent interpretation of a traditional Khoi-San home.

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The generous suite featured a large open-plan bathroom, private dressing area, wood fireplace, and a private patio overlooking a breathtakingly beautiful valley. The decor was a refreshingly stylish interpretation of the usual African theme. A natural palette was complemented by the use of natural materials such as wood and woven fabrics.

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Later in the afternoon I was treated to a delightful afternoon tea before heading out on the afternoon game drive. The game drive lasted for approximately three hours, allowing us to appreciate the reserve at dusk. The expert field guide conducted the game drive in an open vehicle, providing optimal opportunity to view game in the colourful Cape flora. Between viewings of rhino and lions we stopped for sundowners and snacks in a breathtaking setting. Just another little touch of luxury at Gondwana Game Reserve.

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Returning to the lodge we were treated to a gourmet dinner. The cuisine at Gondwana is distinctly Pan African in nature, combining both European and African styles. Dinner that evening was distinctly African in influence. There was an extensive buffet allowing guests to sample a wide range of culinary delights.

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All this was delivered with true warm African hospitality. There was a convivial atmosphere as guests sat around a fire outdoors, enjoying a drink together under the stars. Later that night, lying in the king size bed, a skylight provided me with an uninterrupted view of that same starry African night sky. Bliss.

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Although I am most certainly not a morning person, I woke up early the following morning for the morning game drive. Again, it was a three hour excursion led by a passionate and knowledgeable guide. Throughout our drive and the stop for tea and muffins, she informed us about the local birds, animals, plants, and conservation issues. The focus was on the elephant and giraffe that we sighted that morning.

Then it was back to the lodge for breakfast, where we were again faced with a mouth-watering buffet.

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The service at Gondwana was truly excellent. Everything ran smoothly and efficiently, and the staff were always friendly and helpful. I think it was probably the unbridled passion of our guide, Melanie, which truly stood out and made our stay such an interesting and informative one. It’s this kind of zeal that makes a difference to guests and makes a stay at Gondwana Game Reserve such a memorable one.

Emma Flemming

As well as being a contributing writer for LuxeInACity, Emma is a teacher, freelance writer and has her own blog. She has four university degrees and qualifications in English, Psychology and Education. Over the years Emma has enjoyed travelling to and experiencing luxury in several countries. Apart from travelling and writing, her interests lie in art, yoga and trying out new dining hotspots. Emma lives in South Africa and when she is not writing, can be found scuba-diving in the Indian Ocean.