Kariega Game Reserve

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stamp3Why photographers love Kariega Game Reserve

  • An abundance of very relaxed game including the Big Five
  • Malaria free game viewing
  • Wonderful dark green mountains are great backdrops
  • Kariega and Bushman’s River flow through the reserve
  • Very interesting plants including euphorbias
  • Easily accessed from Port Elizabeth
  • Great guides, management and relaxed staff

How we rate Kariega Game Reserve

Wildlife starstarstarstar
Wilderness starstarstar
Lodge starstarstartostarstarstarstar
Dining starstarstartostarstarstarstar
Vehicles starstarstarstar
Guides starstarstarstar

Kariega Game Reserve at a glance

There are five camps. Main Lodge (21 chalets, and the only to welcome children) and Ukhozi (10 suites) are closest to the best game viewing areas. The Homestead (sleeps 12) is a rustic villa, which has its own chef and guide and is located some distance away from the best game viewing. River Lodge (10 suites) and Settlers Drift (9 suites) are five-star lodges offering wonderful river views.

The reserve

Kariega was once farmland but has been transformed to conservation. The steep, thicket-covered rolling hills and perennial rivers offer an exceptional place to experience the Eastern Cape Thicket, one of the most biodiverse biomes in South Africa. The reserve is 10 000 hectares, most of which is dense thicket, but game is easy to find as many animals like to be in previously farmed, open areas.

The seasons

Game viewing will be good all year round. This area is unusual as it experiences a summer and winter rainfall climate which accounts for the rich biodiversity.

Costs and logistics

  • Costs range from R2,900 to R5,000 per person per night sharing, and children are charged 50%.
  • The reserve is an hour’s drive from Port Elizabeth and close to the coastal town of Kenton.

Photographers need to know

This is a managed, fenced reserve, and while lions do hunt freely, they are kept in a large enclosed area that is accessed through a gate. While first time visitors will be glad to find animals easily, it does not have the same atmosphere as being in a larger, unfenced reserve. There is likely to be some boating traffic on the rivers during school holidays. Some of the guides are young, but there are also very experienced photo guides in residence.