Wanna try some Springbok?
Even if you don't do the game drive, it would be worth driving out to Botlierskop Game Reserve to go to the Lodge for lunch. The building is beautiful and seems to be an organic part of the landscape. This is no tasteless Howard Johnson's in the Bush. The food is excellent, though I'd pass on the springbok, which was so tough we thought it really WAS shoe leather. Certainly in the atmosphere department, this was one of the most impressive restaurants we've ever been in. Forget the springbok!
Botlierskop Game Reserve
Private game Reserve, just off the N2 as you approach Little Brak river.
This is in the heart of the garden route.
There are guided game drives, more than 26 different animal species.
Elephant back rides, bush walks, horseback safari,
Helicopter flights. They also have over night accomm.
Botlierskop Game Reserve
There's not a lot of big game left in the Western Cape -- for that, you need to go to Kwa-Zulu Natal or the northeast of the country -- but there is the odd private game reserve. If you've got limited time or are not planning to leave the Cape, Botlierskop will at least give you a bit of a taste of what you might be able to see in greater numbers or variety elsewhere.
Botlierskop was originally a large farm, but it was turned into a game reserve a few years ago. Within the roughly 2000 hectares of the property, they have lion, zebra, rhino, nyala, giraffe, wildebeest (a.k.a. gnu), and numerous species of birds and smaller animals.
The R383 per person ticket gets you a three-hour game drive in an ex-South African army troop transport that will go absolutely anywhere. The ride alone was worth the ticket price! Our driver, a girl of about 23 or so, took this thing over amazingly steep trails out in the hills beyond the superb lodge, where we also had lunch. Meeting the animals, watching giraffes saunter along the road, seeing a baby rhino nursing, all had us on the edges of our seats. Even though it was faintly artificial, it was still far, far better than what you see in even the very best zoos. I can't recommend this half-day outing enough!
Botlierskop Private Nature Reserve
Gnus -- a.k.a. wildebeest -- have always seemed faintly comic to me. They remind me of a sort of a cross between a buffalo (bison) and a rather skinny milk cow. The reserve has a hundred head or so of these guys.
"A (safe) wild ride!"
The game drive takes place in this odd looking critter... Designed and built by the South African military back during the days of the sanctions against the previous apartheid government, it was considered one of the world's best troop transports. The vehicle is amazing! It'll go places many 4x4s can't manage. Transporting up to 20 or so passengers, it took us up 40 degree slopes and over rough country tracks with seemingly no effort at all. I asked what sort of angle it would have to get to before it tipped over. The guys said they didn't know; they'd never been able to get it that far! Apparently the center of gravity is VERY low, indeed! You may bounce around in it a bit, but you don't need to worry about its turning over!
"Mama Rhino and Baby"
I'm not sure I had ever seen a baby rhino before. I'm not sure I'd consider him cuddly, either, but he sure is cute! One thing is definite: I'd certainly never seen one suckle before.
Botlierskop has nearly two-thirds of the world's entire population of the severely endangered black impala. These creatures are sublimely graceful when they run.
The baby giraffe here was only about 10 days old when we saw him -- at a distance, unfortunately. According to our driver/guide, they are 6 feet tall when they're born. If they were any shorter, they'd starve to death because they wouldn't be able to reach their mothers' udders.
Game lodges -- need help
Has anyone visited any of these game lodges in western cape -- Aquila Private Game Reserve - Botlierskop Private Game Reserve or Garden Route Game Lodge
Re: Game lodges -- need help
My parents have been to the Garden Route one, but didn't come away too impressed...
Re: Re: Game lodges -- need help
Thanks i've cancelled my booking there and made one at Aquilla.