Kariega Private Game Reserve and Safari Lodges

Malaria-free Big 5 South African Safari

Kariega Game Reserve is a family-owned and operated Big 5 private safari reserve located in South Africa’s Eastern Cape. The reserve is situated along the Garden Route, making it the perfect South African safari destination to compliment a Cape Town visit and a trip along the country’s beautiful coast.

This malaria-free game lodge incorporates 11,500 hectares of pristine African wilderness, as well as two abundant rivers – the Kariega and the Bushmans rivers. The reserve offers five safari lodges to suit all needs. Experience close up game viewing of the Big 5 – lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and leopard – as well as multitudes of other South African wildlife from the comfort of an open game drive vehicle.

Find out more about Kariega – your once in a lifetime choice for a safari in South Africa.

Kariega’s History

As we look back at the past, it is truly shocking to think that we as humans were responsible for the demise and destruction of our wildlife and its environment. The extinction of many species of wildlife was also the result of our ruthless behaviour and the desire for us to own our own piece of paradise with no consideration for the consequences. Fortunately it was not all in vain and through the vision of certain conservationists and businessmen in the Eastern Cape, the tables were turned. Kariega Game Reserve, it has to be said, is one of those pioneers in the development of a unique conservation project.

Born from the vision of one man, Colin Rushmere, the history of Kariega Game Reserve is an inspiring one. As recently as 33 years ago, the existing Kariega Game Reserve was owned by 21 different farmers. With this reality at the forefront of their minds, it would be accurate to say that the gradual growth and development of the now expansive 11,500 hectare reserve is one of the most accomplished conservation projects in the Eastern Cape.

In 1989 the Rushmere family, who had always displayed an innate love and appreciation for nature, purchased the first portion of pristine land bordering the upper reaches of the Kariega river. They began to develop a vision for the future, involving moderate expansion over the next few years. It took a further 30 years to complete the desired land assembly. This vision was largely actualised due to a number of important partnerships.

The first, and most meaningful partnership was struck in 1998, when a local farmer and neighbour, Tony Fuller joined his farm with Colin’s and they managed to buy the farm in between. This grew the reserve to 2,000 hectares and incorporated the beautiful Kariega river within the reserve.

Since then the Fuller family have been an invaluable cog in the growth and management of Kariega Game Reserve.

From an eco-tourism and conservation perspective this was a critical move, as it was the first time Kariega Game Reserve was big enough to re-introduce species such as white rhino and begin hosting international guests

In 1999 Main Lodge was opened, followed by the more intimate and exclusive Ukhozi Lodge in 2002.

Up until 2002, when Ukhozi Lodge opened, the reserve only comprised approx. 2,000 hectares bordering onto the Kariega river. In 2003 an additional 3,500 hectares, which bordered the Bushmans river, was added to the reserve. This additional land made Kariega large enough to introduce the Big 5. In May 2004 the first elephant herd and lion pride were introduced onto the reserve.

In 2006 Kariega then acquired 500 hectares across the Bushmans river which resulted in the unique River Lodge opening in October 2006. At the same time an historic old farmhouse (built in 1908) was restored and The Homestead, a private sole use lodge, joined the portfolio of lodges.

In early 2007 the opportunity arose to acquire a unique and beautiful 4,000 hectare property adjacent to Kariega, thus taking the reserve to approx. 10,000 hectares. Owned by the same Settler family since 1823, it is an integral part of the history of the region. The land is truly spectacular and provides a fabulous backdrop to Settlers Drift, Kariega’s 5-star luxury tented lodge, which opened in December 2014. Settlers Drift has completed Kariega’s portfolio of five lodges now ranging from 4 to 5-star.

Habitat expansion and restoration is essential to the survival of many wild and endangered species and the current focus for many conservationists. In 2021, Kariega Game Reserve received the donation of a critical piece of habitat in the Bushmans River Valley. This exciting habitat expansion project has grown the reserve to 11,500 hectares and ensures the conservation of approximately 25 kilometres of the Bushman’s River tidal estuary, range expansion and additional carrying capacity for elephant, white and black rhino, as well the opportunity for the reintroduction of additional apex predators such as the endangered cheetah. 

Securing this critical piece of land for conservation also creates the opportunity for the creation of connected wildlife corridors within the Eastern Cape over time.

Kariega’s landscape and topography is arguably the most beautiful of all the Eastern Cape game reserves, resulting in stunning views and vistas. Having two major rivers incorporated into the reserve (the Kariega and Bushmans rivers) also adds enormous beauty and value. Kariega Game Lodge also enjoys extremely high game carrying capacities which results in their game viewing and birding experience being exceptional. The amazing story of rhino poaching survivor, Thandi, and the birth of her four calves has captivated the world and has been an inspiration to many.

Today, Kariega Game Lodge is an internationally renowned Big 5 private game reserve set in 11,500 hectares of pristine African wilderness incorporating the picturesque Kariega and Bushmans river, just 10 minutes from Kenton-on-Sea and 80 minutes from Port Elizabeth.

Today Kariega Game Reserve is still family owned and operated by the Rushmere and Fuller families with Colin and Tony’s children (and some grandchildren) working passionately within the business.

Luxury Safari Lodge Accommodation

With Breathtaking Vistas Over Hills, Valleys & Rivers

River Lodge | * * * * Superior
R 7,400
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Main Lodge | * * * *
R6,100
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The Homestead | * * * *
From R50,000
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Settlers Drift | * * * * * Tented
R10,800
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Ukhozi Lodge | * * * * Superior
R7,400
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Unforgettable 4x4 Game Viewing in the Eastern Cape

Unique Safari Activities and Things to Do

Each day begins with a morning safari as the sun brings the bush to life. During evening game drives you may be lucky enough to witness the thrill of a lion hunt, be surrounded by a herd of elephant, or watch as a family of hippo emerge from the water for a night of grazing. As nocturnal life begins to stir, return safely to the lodge for a hearty dinner.

Two beautiful rivers and access to the sea by boat from some lodges make this game lodge unique. Complement your safari experience with a boat cruise, guided bush walkrelaxing spa or take a canoe onto the river for a quiet paddle. In the evenings, sit back with a sundowner to simply enjoy the tranquil sights and sounds of bush life within this unique game reserve.

Kariega Game Reserve is ideally situated in the subtropical Eastern Cape coastal region and easily accessible by road and air.

Game Viewing

Experience the ultimate in luxury safari holidays at the beautiful 11,500 hectare Kariega Private Game Reserve in malaria-free Eastern Cape, South Africa. Prepare to be captivated by close-up viewing of the Big 5 – lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and leopard as well as a multitude of other African wild game and bird species.

Stunning Safari Drives

At Kariega, everything revolves around our twice-daily safari drives – the close-up encounters with African wildlife are the centre of guests’ unforgettable safari holiday. Our experienced game rangers will drive you out on safari every morning and afternoon/evening in open game-drive vehicles, traversing the valleys, grassy plains and African bushveld to bring you close to the Big 5 and other game roaming freely in their natural habitat. If you are fortunate, you may witness the lion hunting or feeding, or even the heartwarming social interactions of an elephant herd.

Plentiful African Game

Kariega Game Reserve is the perfect setting for exciting safari holidays, with abundant game and spectacular viewing. Apart from lion and elephant, the game reserve is home to the other three members of the Big 5 – rhino, buffalo and leopard. Other species abound such as hippo, hyena, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, eland, kudu, waterbuck and a variety of other antelope, as well as a myriad of bird species including the nesting crowned eagle, martial and fish eagles.

Dramatic African Bush and Landscapes

The game reserve is bordered in the east and west by the vast and dramatic Kariega and Bushmans river valleys. On safari drives you will explore many different habitats highlighting five different ecosystems – valley bushveld, savannah grasslands, fynbos, riverine forests and acacia woodland. The awe-inspiring African landscape will captivate your senses and the trees, grasses and plants of the Eastern Cape will divulge their secrets. Sometimes it is the hidden secrets of the bush which guests most treasure as memories of their safari holidays, the amazing intricacy of a spider’s web or the monumental work of a dung beetle. There is never a dull moment on safari drives; you never know what African bush experience awaits around the next corner.

There is much to do and see at Kariega Game Reserve. As a result anything from two to seven nights can be enjoyed, however, a minimum three night stay is highly recommended for your ultimate safari experience.

Safari Tips

  • Don’t forget your binoculars!
  • Bring cameras and video recorders to capture the stunning close-up sightings of lion, elephant and other wild game as well as dramatic African vistas.
  • You may want to go out on the exciting night drives to view nocturnal wildlife activity, so bring warm clothes (particularly in the cooler months from May to September).

Guided Bush Walks

Kariega offers guided bush walks with our experienced rangers. This provides our guests with the opportunity of walking amongst more than 25 species of game and abundant birdlife.

Health Spa

Kariega Wellness Centres

The Wellness Centre at Kariega Private Game Reserve is the perfect place to rest, relax and rejuvenate body, mind and soul. Treat yourself to the luxury and pampering you deserve in beautiful, tranquil surroundings and indulge in our range of treatments and therapies, including various relaxing or energizing massages, facials and the like.

Situated at Main Lodge, the Wellness Centre is also ideally positioned to service guests from Ukhozi Lodge and the Homestead . The centre includes two treatment rooms. gym is located separately at the Main Lodge.

Treatments for River Lodge and Settlers Drift guests are available in the spa at each lodge.

FAQs

When and how should I book?
Feel free to book any treatment in advance whilst making your reservation. Otherwise, appointments can be made at the Wellness Centre (Main Lodge) or by calling the 260 extension from your room. Settlers Drift and River Lodge guests can book at their lodge.

When should I arrive for my appointment?
Please arrive 10 minutes prior to your appointment. In the case of late arrivals, the treatment duration may be reduced.

What should I bring?
Robes and towels are provided by the spa.

Do you have treatments for both men and women?
All of our spa treatments cater for both men and women.

What if I have any health considerations?
Please be sure to inform your therapist prior to your treatment of any health considerations for example: diabetes, high blood pressure, pregnancy, epilepsy etc.

Cancellations
Two hours advance notice is required for cancellations, after which the full treatment price will be charged. We will however assist in rescheduling your appointments where possible.

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Experiences

Game Viewing

Experience the ultimate in luxury safari holidays at the beautiful 11,500 hectare Kariega Private Game Reserve in malaria-free Eastern Cape, South Africa. Prepare to be captivated by close-up viewing of the Big 5 – lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and leopard as well as a multitude of other African wild game and bird species.

Stunning Safari Drives

At Kariega, everything revolves around our twice-daily safari drives – the close-up encounters with African wildlife are the centre of guests’ unforgettable safari holiday. Our experienced game rangers will drive you out on safari every morning and afternoon/evening in open game-drive vehicles, traversing the valleys, grassy plains and African bushveld to bring you close to the Big 5 and other game roaming freely in their natural habitat. If you are fortunate, you may witness the lion hunting or feeding, or even the heartwarming social interactions of an elephant herd.

Plentiful African Game

Kariega Game Reserve is the perfect setting for exciting safari holidays, with abundant game and spectacular viewing. Apart from lion and elephant, the game reserve is home to the other three members of the Big 5 – rhino, buffalo and leopard. Other species abound such as hippo, hyena, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, eland, kudu, waterbuck and a variety of other antelope, as well as a myriad of bird species including the nesting crowned eagle, martial and fish eagles.

Dramatic African Bush and Landscapes

The game reserve is bordered in the east and west by the vast and dramatic Kariega and Bushmans river valleys. On safari drives you will explore many different habitats highlighting five different ecosystems – valley bushveld, savannah grasslands, fynbos, riverine forests and acacia woodland. The awe-inspiring African landscape will captivate your senses and the trees, grasses and plants of the Eastern Cape will divulge their secrets. Sometimes it is the hidden secrets of the bush which guests most treasure as memories of their safari holidays, the amazing intricacy of a spider’s web or the monumental work of a dung beetle. There is never a dull moment on safari drives; you never know what African bush experience awaits around the next corner.

There is much to do and see at Kariega Game Reserve. As a result anything from two to seven nights can be enjoyed, however, a minimum three night stay is highly recommended for your ultimate safari experience.

Safari Tips

  • Don’t forget your binoculars!
  • Bring cameras and video recorders to capture the stunning close-up sightings of lion, elephant and other wild game as well as dramatic African vistas.
  • You may want to go out on the exciting night drives to view nocturnal wildlife activity, so bring warm clothes (particularly in the cooler months from May to September).

Typical Day

There is much to do and see at Kariega Game Reserve. As a result anything from two to seven nights can be enjoyed, however, a minimum three night stay is highly recommended for your ultimate safari experience.

Guests should try to check in before 14h00 to be in time for lunch and afternoon game drive. Check out time is between 10h00 and 11h00. 

A day at Main LodgeUkhozi Lodge and The Homestead

06h00 : Tea, coffee and a snack. Depart for an early morning game drive or perhaps a river cruise.
10h00 : Return to your lodge for a late, but hearty breakfast/brunch. 
11h00 : Enjoy a bush walk, a spa treatment, have a swim, or just relax or siesta.  
14h30 : Savor the flavors of our well-earned afternoon eats.  
16h00 : Depart for an evening game drive and sundowners.
19h30 : Return to the lodge for your evening meal in either the boma or the restaurant.

*The itinerary at The Homestead is very flexible – with your own personal hosts, cook and game ranger the schedule can be adjusted to accommodate the requests or needs of each family or group.

During winter months Main Lodge guests enjoy a hearty breakfast before their morning game drive.

A day at River Lodge

06h00 : Tea, coffee and a snack. Depart for an early morning game drive.
10h00 : Return to the lodge for a late, but hearty breakfast/brunch. 
11h00 : Take a trip down the Bushmans river to the coast, enjoy a bush walk, go fishing or canoeing, have a swim, a spa treatment, or just relax or siesta.
14h30 : Savor the flavors of our well earned afternoon eats. 
16h00 : Depart for an evening game drive and sundowners.
19h30 : Return to the lodge for your evening meal in either the boma or the restaurant.

A day at Settlers Drift

06h00 : Tea, coffee and a snack. Depart for an early morning game drive.
10h00 : Return for a hearty breakfast/brunch. 
11h00 : Enjoy a bush walk, a spa treatment, go fishing or canoeing, have a swim, soak in the view from your private deck, or just relax or siesta.  
14h30 : Savor the flavors of our well-earned afternoon eats.  
16h00 : Depart for an evening game drive and sundowners.
19h30 : Return to the lodge for your evening meal in either the boma or the restaurant.

Note that all the above indicated times are adapted slightly during winter months. 

Activities

Inclusive Activities

Kariega Game Reserve Elephant Herd

Game Drives

Guests are taken out twice daily in open safari vehicles, usually in the early morning and late afternoon, although times are dependent on the season and weather. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the African bush, while your skilled ranger provides hidden details and fascinating facts about the surrounding wildlife. Game drives are the center of the Kariega safari experience and guests will be thrilled by close-up encounters with the likes of lion, elephant and an abundance of other African wildlife.


Kariega River Boat Cruise

River Cruises

An abundance of bird and animal life makes for exciting game viewing whilst enjoying the peace and tranquility of the dramatic river valley. During one of the morning game drives, guests at Main LodgeUkhozi Lodge and The Homestead can enjoy a majestic cruise down the Kariega river. At River Lodge, an optional daily boat cruise takes guests down the Bushmans river, through the quaint village of Kenton-on-Sea and to its picturesque beaches. Settlers Drift guests can also enjoy boat cruises on the Bushmans river.


Guided Bush Walks

Guided Bush Walks

Kariega offers guided bush walks with our experienced rangers. This provides our guests with the opportunity of walking amongst more than 25 species of game and abundant birdlife.



Canoeing on Bushmans River

Canoeing

Take one the canoes for a leisurely paddle down the Bushmans river and watch in blissful silence as the river birds and animals go about their daily business.



 
Fishing on Bushmans River

Fishing

Guests at all lodges can enjoy river fishing on either the Kariega or Bushmans rivers. River Lodge and Settlers Drift are perfectly situated for keen fisherman, where guests can fish in the Bushmans river from a boat or canoe.

 

Local Attractions

The following local attractions are not included in the tariff.

Golf

Golf

For the enthusiastic golfer the Royal Port Alfred and Fish River Sun Golf courses (Gary Player designed) are respectively 25 and 40 minutes away.

 
Kenton

Beach

The golden beaches of Kenton-on-Sea are less than 15 minutes away. If you plan your trip well, you can be thrilled by combining Big 5 game viewing, river fun and beach beauty!

 
Grahamstown

Historical Sightseeing

Kariega Game Reserve is situated in the heart of 1820 Settler Country and offers guests the opportunity of visiting local towns rich with history and packed with monuments, some of the highlights being GrahamstownSalemBathurst and Port Alfred – all significant in South Africa’s history.

 
Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth

Known as the Friendly City, Port Elizabeth is a beautiful coastal hub offering everything from scuba diving to great shopping and scenic bayside restaurants.

Photographic Safaris

Kariega Game Reserve offers photography enthusiasts the option to add private, tailor-made photo safaris to their stay. Each experience is customised according to guests’ requirements. 

Experienced guide photographer and private specifically rigged vehicle

Specialised photo safaris are led by an experienced guide photographer in a private dedicated vehicle rigged specifically for photographic equipment.

The photographic guide is also a qualified ranger and interacts with guests before, during, between and after game drives to ensure amazing photo opportunities and that all questions are answered.

Hands-on advice including composition, technical assistance and post-production is also included.

Malaria-free Eastern Cape photographic safaris

A photo safari at Kariega provides many opportunities to capture unique photographs of Big 5 and rarer species of wildlife in a malaria-free coastal temperate climate. The varied landscape that spans across five different eco-systems (valley bushveld, savannah grasslands, fynbos, riverine forest and acacia woodland) also offers dramatic and varied backgrounds for your subjects.

Photographic safari package details

Photo safaris are an additional experience for Kariega safari guests. The cost is R1,000 per person per day with accommodation at any of the Kariega lodges

  • Photographic safari guests must stay at one of Kariega’s lodges for a minimum of three nights (at normal accommodation rates).
  • The rate of R1,000 per person per day excludes normal Kariega fully inclusive accommodation.
  • The package is subject to a minimum of six people.
  • A maximum of eight guests can be accommodated.
  • No photographic equipment is provided by Kariega.
  • Pre-booking is essential as photographic safaris are subject to availability.

We look forward to welcoming you on a photographic safari at Kariega . Download the details of our Kariega photographic safari.

Rhino Elephant Kariega Game Reserve

Kids on Safari

  • Main Lodge welcomes children of all ages and kids can enjoy our daily children’s programme, between approx. 11h00 and 14h00. These are mainly about having fun but we also aim to inspire, excite and educate.
  • Children are encouraged and welcome to join their parents on all game drives. Baby-sitting is available if required.
  • Please note that children of all ages are most welcome at Main Lodge and The Homestead. Settlers Drift, River Lodge and Ukhozi Lodge do not accommodate children 10 years and younger.

Game Drives

Children of all ages are encouraged to enjoy morning and afternoon game drives with their parents (as well as the river cruise). For children five years and under it is the guide’s and General Manager’s discretion as to whether they can be taken to sightings of the more dangerous Big 5 for safety reasons.

Playroom

This area is situated at Kariega Main Lodge and is ideal when the weather is bad or during evening meal times – when Mom and Dad sometimes have to deal with restless kids! The area is equipped with:

  • Wildlife and fun DVDs
  • Books, toys, puzzles, colouring-in books, play-dough, games, etc.
  • Black-board
  • Table tennis (in conference room)

Midday Activities

There are children’s activities on offer between 11h00 and 14h00. Meet the dedicated coordinator at the Kids on Safari centre and receive a goodie bag. Please feel welcome to also discuss options with your guide.

Children will enjoy one or more of the following safari activities (weather permitting):

  • A guided trail within the boundaries of Main Lodge where they will learn more about their beautiful surroundings and the miracles of nature, including plants, insects and animal tracks. The group will have time to ask questions and interact with the ranger. They may be given a fun short test and will each receive a Junior Ranger Certificate
  • Learning how to create moulds of animal tracks using plaster of Paris. These can serve as great souvenirs from their time at Kariega
  • Target practise shooting with a traditional “kettie” (a safe y-shaped slingshot) and other bushcraft and wildlife survival skills (depending on the age of the group)
  • Arts and crafts, including colouring and making animal masks
  • Creating “Bushman paintings”
  • Environmental education using natural items from the bush including ostrich eggs, porcupine quills, skulls etc.
  • Completing the activities in the Kids on Safari booklet.

Children 16 years and over are welcome on our guided bush walks.

Download the Kids on Safari brochure.

Gym Policy

No children 10 years and under can utilize the gym. Children between the ages of 11 and 14 must have parental supervision.

Babysitting

Available at all times for R80.00 per babysitter per hour.

Let the FUN begin!

Special Occasions

Kariega Game Reserve is the perfect destination for a safari holiday, but it may also provide the ideal setting for a variety of special occasions including honeymoons, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and exclusive business getaways.

For an unforgettable honeymoon safariSettlers DriftRiver Lodge and Ukhozi Lodge offer the best in romantic and luxurious getaways. Honeymooners can also request to enjoy their own romantic dinner in a private location.

Equipped with conference facilities, a large restaurant, festive bar area, and chalets accommodating up to six adults, Main Lodge provides the ideal business retreat for larger groups, and the perfect safari stop off for touring sports teams and other traveling groups. Main Lodge is also the natural destination for a fun-filled family safari.

Kariega Game Reserve also hosts small wedding receptions and can cater for other fair-sized celebrations. Whatever the occasion, Kariega will try its utmost to meet your needs. If you have any queries, don’t hesitate to contact our reservations team.

 

Wedding Testimonials

From the first time we visited Kariega we were amazed by the reserve’s extraordinary beauty and the warm hospitality of the people who run it.

We know it isn’t Kariega’s usual practice to host weddings, but they did an outstanding job and we can’t thank them enough for making our wedding day really special.

Many of our guests commented on the outstanding accommodation, breathtaking venue, attentiveness of the staff and the exceptional food.

We have fantastic memories to see us into married life – Thanks to Kariega for making this a truly unforgettable experience for all of us.

– Malcolm & Lyndsey

A huge thank you for assisting us in making our day extra special.

Shelley – Thank you for arranging everything and liaising with me and our guests. Thank you for all the info, arranging all the extras we wanted and making the hay bales happen on such short notice – You were amazing and everything ran so smoothly because the pre-wedding work was done with so much efficiency! Thank you very very much 😉

Shawn, Juan & Paul – Thank you very much for all your assistance, friendliness and amazing organisational skills with all the rangers and making our wedding day run like clockwork! You had such an important role and you made it look easy, when I am sure it was anything but easy arranging everything and everyone. Juan – thank you for playing photographer to me and the bridesmaids before the wedding and driving us around 😉 So much of the success of the day depended on the team of rangers and the team went over and above what was required – you have certainly outdone yourselves!!

Gillian & the restaurant staff – WOW, thank you for setting up, breaking down and making amazing food for our entire weekend. You did everything with a huge smile and we could call on you at any time and you accommodated us with our requests with a huge smile! Your team was great, the dancing were amazing and the friendliness was an experience all on its own!

Graeme – In general, thank you for allowing us a lot of freedom and flexibility out at Kariega and accommodating us in our requests from the word go! We had an amazing weekend and the team out at Kariega was incredible. Our guests will talk about it for years to come and I can definitely say that your team out at Kariega were incredible, organised and assisted us with so much patience and friendliness that every moment of interaction were AMAZING!!

Have a wonderful year & good luck with everything out at Kariega, the team deserve the best.

Warm Regards

– Chantell & Damian Giulietti

Kariega game reserve special occasion wedding safari venue eastern cape  (4).jpg

Kariega game reserve special occasion wedding safari venue eastern cape  (12).jpg

Health Spa

Kariega Wellness Centres

The Wellness Centre at Kariega Private Game Reserve is the perfect place to rest, relax and rejuvenate body, mind and soul. Treat yourself to the luxury and pampering you deserve in beautiful, tranquil surroundings and indulge in our range of treatments and therapies, including various relaxing or energizing massages, facials and the like.

Situated at Main Lodge, the Wellness Centre is also ideally positioned to service guests from Ukhozi Lodge and the Homestead . The centre includes two treatment rooms. gym is located separately at the Main Lodge.

Treatments for River Lodge and Settlers Drift guests are available in the spa at each lodge.

FAQs

When and how should I book?
Feel free to book any treatment in advance whilst making your reservation. Otherwise, appointments can be made at the Wellness Centre (Main Lodge) or by calling the 260 extension from your room. Settlers Drift and River Lodge guests can book at their lodge.

When should I arrive for my appointment?
Please arrive 10 minutes prior to your appointment. In the case of late arrivals, the treatment duration may be reduced.

What should I bring?
Robes and towels are provided by the spa.

Do you have treatments for both men and women?
All of our spa treatments cater for both men and women.

What if I have any health considerations?
Please be sure to inform your therapist prior to your treatment of any health considerations for example: diabetes, high blood pressure, pregnancy, epilepsy etc.

Cancellations
Two hours advance notice is required for cancellations, after which the full treatment price will be charged. We will however assist in rescheduling your appointments where possible.

Kariega Frequently Asked Questions

Is Kariega Game Reserve malaria-free?

Yes, Kariega is a malaria-free game reserve. Situated in the Eastern Cape in South Africa, there is no threat of catching malaria in this area. 

What is the weather like at Kariega Game Reserve?

Kariega is located in the Eastern Cape where the weather is usually mild and pleasant. Summers can become quite hot (up to around 30° C) and winters can be chilly – especially at night and early mornings which can drop to about 7° C. January and February are the hottest months, while June and July tend to be the coldest. Find out more about the temperatures and rainfall on Accuweather and also on averages on World Weather Online website.

What are the check in and check out times?

  • Check in – 14h00
  • Check out – 10h00

Can Kariega arrange transfers?

Kariega is happy to arrange transfers to and from the game reserve (which can be booked through our reservations department). The cost will depend on the number of guests and the destination.

Does Kariega offer tours?

No, but we do recommend fantastic tour ideas along the Garden Route from Cape Town to Kariega based on our personal experience. We are more than happy to give advice and will refer any enquiries to our preferred operators. For more info visit our tours page.


Location

How far is Kariega from Port Elizabeth?

Kariega Game Reserve is an 80 minute drive from Port Elizabeth.

How far is Kariega from Cape Town?

Cape Town is about a 1 hour flight from Port Elizabeth (approximately 900km/560 miles).

How far is Kariega from the Garden Route?

Kariega is situated on the Garden Route making it the perfect place to start or end a journey along this spectacular route. For more on the Garden Route and Garden Route Tours, click here.


Animals

What animals can be found on Kariega?

For a list of animals on Kariega Game Reserve, download our Wildlife Field Guide here.

Are you a Big 5 Game Reserve?

Yes – lion, elephant, buffalo and rhino are all spotted frequently on the reserve. The Cape leopard is also indigenous to the area but is spotted very infrequently. Cape leopard is a rare and endangered species. 

What birds can be spotted on Kariega?

Kariega Game Reserve is a great location for bird watching, being home to two abundant rivers and a pristine, untouched landscape. For a list of bird species found at Kariega Game Reserve, download our Birdlist here.

Are there ticks at Kariega?

Ticks occur in many parts of the world and Africa is no exception. Ticks occur mostly in rural and wilderness areas throughout South Africa, including at Kariega Game Reserve. The bite of baby ticks, often called pepper ticks because they are so small, can cause irritating itchy bumps which in isolated cases can give rise to tick bite fever which needs to be treated correctly. 

Tick bites can be largely prevented and accordingly we recommend that you apply the insect repellant (available in your suite/chalet, from your ranger or at reception) on all walks. For more information read: What to do if you find a tick while on safari.


What to pack

What clothes should I bring?

During winter and autumn months we recommend warm clothes including a winter jacket and/or raincoat, as well as some cool clothes for the day, as winter days can be quite warm. During summer and spring months we recommend cool clothes as well as some warm clothes including perhaps a spring coat and/or raincoat as evenings can be quite cool. Remember to also pack comfortable walking shoes if you would like to enjoy our bush walks. Formal wear is not necessary for dinner.

What else should I pack?

Sun screen, mosquito repellent, a hat/cap and if you have your own binoculars you might like to bring those, although we do have a number of binoculars for guests to use.

Are there hair dryers?

Yes, all chalets, suites and luxury tented suites have hair dryers.

Is there a shop at Kariega?

The Main Lodge Curio shop serves Main Lodge, Ukhozi Lodge and The Homestead. River Lodge and Settlers Drift have their own Curio shops. All Curio shops stock safari memorabilia as well as basic necessity items ranging from clothing and jackets to basic toiletry items as well as insect repellent, sunblock and batteries. Please note that our Curio shops only accept South African currency.


Facilities and Accommodation

Is there Wi-Fi on the game reserve?

Yes, Wi-Fi is available in all lodge main areas, chalets and suites.

What is the electricity supply and do we need to bring adaptors?

The South African electricity supply is 220/230 volts AC 50HZ. Our suites and chalets have 110 volt outlets for electric shavers and appliances. Some US-made appliances may need a transformer. The South African plugs are 15 amp 3-prong or 5 amp 2-prong, with round pins. Reception can also provide adaptors.

What does ‘selected beverages’ mean?

Non alcoholic beverages, local beers, wine and spirits.

Do you cater for Haalal, Kosher or Vegan diets?

Kariega Game Reserve caters Halaal dishes but unfortunately not Kosher. Vegan options can be arranged with prior notice. If you have any other specific dietary requirements please let us know, and we will try our best to accommodate you.

Are there laundry facilities at Kariega?

Yes, Kariega offers laundry facilities at all our lodges at an additional fee.

Does Kariega offer room service?

Due to the nature and design of the lodges, we do not offer room service at Kariega.

Are there a childrens activities and baby-sitting available?

Baby-sitting is available at an extra cost per hour and takes place in the guest’s chalet or in the children’s play area. There are also activities available at Main Lodge for children. Click here to read more about our Kids on Safari activities.

What are the differences between all the lodges?

  • Main Lodge (4-star) offers a relaxed atmosphere and is also perfect for families, where children of all ages are welcome.
  • Ukhozi Lodge and River Lodge (4-star superior) are more exclusive and intimate, offering guests a similar standard of experience – however they are also very different from each other: Ukhozi Lodge offers a real African feel and all the suites have their own private plunge pools and decks which have stunning views of the valley; River Lodge is unique as it is situated on the banks of the Bushmans river. The thatched lodge overhangs the river and provides great views. All the thatched suites have their own patios with complete privacy. Special activities include daily boat trips to the Kenton beaches and excellent river fishing. At both lodges no children 10 years and under allowed.
  • Settlers Drift (5-star luxury tented lodge) is our most exclusive and luxurious lodge. Located in a remote and untouched part of the Kariega wilderness, Settlers Drift offers a unique tented safari combined with five star luxury. The lodge consists of nine spacious tented suites, each with stunning views and secluded viewing decks. No children 10 years and under allowed.
  • The Homestead (4-star) is a private safari lodge for the exclusive use of a family or small group, and can accommodate up to 14 people. The Homestead has it’s own private hosts, game ranger and cook. The schedule is flexible according to the specific needs of the group. Children of all ages are welcome.

Game Drives

Do you offer private game drive vehicles?

We do not offer private game drive vehicles. Guests enjoy two game drives per day (morning and afternoon) with their ranger in a 4×4 open safari vehicle together with other guests that are assigned to the same ranger.

How many guests per game drive vehicle?

Settlers Drift safari vehicles take up to max six guests per vehicle. At Ukhozi Lodge and River Lodge – no more than eight guests per vehicle (normally six). At Main Lodge and The Homestead we can put up to 10 guests on a vehicle when necessary, however mostly there will also be no more than eight guests per vehicle.

Are game drive vehicles covered?

Our game drive vehicles are not covered however we do have ponchos for when it rains and blankets for when it is cold.


Special Occasions

Do you offer special dinners, either on their deck, within the restaurant, separate from the others or in the bush?

We do offer dinners on the decks at Settlers Drift, River Lodge and Ukhozi Lodge, we can also offer a separate table at all the lodge restaurants. Unfortunately at this stage we do not offer private bush meals. Outdoor boma dinners for all guests are particularly popular especially in the summer months for guests to enjoy that ‘African evening under the stars’.

Is there anything special offered for Honeymoon couples?

Kariega provides a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine in the couple’s suite or chalet as well as arrange a romantic dinner on a private deck or at the pool (the venue will be discussed on arrival at Kariega). For three or more nights bookings, also a free spa treatment.

Is anything special offered for birthdays and wedding anniversaries?

Kariega will provide a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine in the suite or chalet and the staff will sing if it is a birthday celebration.


Additional Activities

Does Kariega offer beach trips?

No, Kariega does not offer beach trips but guests who are on a self-drive basis can drive themselves to the beach if they have the time (15 min drive). However, from River Lodge guests enjoy an optional daily boat trip to the Kenton beaches (at no extra charge).

Is there fishing for guests at River Lodge, Settlers Drift and The Homestead?

Yes, guests can fish in the Bushmans river. Fish often caught in this river are Cob, Grunter, Leery, Catfish, Mullet and Steenbrass. River fishing rods are available for use. Kariega can take you to the local shop to purchase any lures you feel you may need (we recommend the 2 or 3 inch blue Rapala lure). Upon your arrival you will be allocated a game ranger who shall remain with you for the duration of your stay, he/she will certainly undertake to assist you with any requests that you may have whilst you are with us.

Is there fishing for guests at Ukhozi Lodge and Main Lodge?

Yes, guests can go fishing in the Kariega River. Fish often caught in this river are Cob, Grunter, Leery, Catfish, Mullet and Steenbrass. Kariega is able to provide river fishing rods. We can take you to the local shop for you to be able to purchase any lures which you feel you may need (we recommend 2 or 3 inch blue Rapala lure). Upon your arrival you will be allocated a game ranger who shall remain with you for the duration of your stay, he/she will certainly undertake to assist you with any requests that you may have whilst you are with us.

Is there horse riding at Kariega?

Horse riding is done off the reserve with Beachcombers Horse Trails at an additional cost. Beginner, intermediate and advanced riders are welcome and a picnic lunch can also be arranged. If you are interested in horse riding you can arrange it with your ranger while you are at Kariega.

Is there sky-diving at Kariega?

No. Sky-diving is offered just outside Grahamstown. You can try a 10,000 feet tandem jump (that means you are strapped in with an instructor) or an extreme 12,000 feet dive. A DVD of your dive is an optional extra. Guests can chat to their ranger if they want to experience this. 

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