3 days´ safari in South Africa
Maybe you have been thinking about going on a safari but are not sure about what it is, what you do or how you stay. It might seem like a complicated thing to do but it is actually really easy. It is like booking and then staying in an all-inclusive hotel with free acitivites, that is going on a safari or game drives as it is called. Depending on where you go and what you pay there may also be other acitivities included like going on a fishing or beach trip or a hike.
We had been on a safari before, in Tanzania. At that time we were students with a very limited budget so we stayed in small tents in Serengeti. This time we were going with our teenage kids and wanted a more comfortable stay. We ended up choosing to stay at Kariega Game Reserve north of Port Elisabeth. This place is like staying in a 4-star hotel including 2 game drives each day.
Needless to say, going on a safari was our kid´s absolute favorite part of the whole round trip in South Africa. Most people stay for 2 nights. We decided to stay for 3 nights. For us adults that was perhaps too long, we would have been just fine with 2 nights, but then we had done this before. Our kids thought 3 nights was perfect and we belive they would have loved to stay even longer.
Arrive at Kariega Game Reserve
1/2 day safari
Kariega Game Reserve is about 2 hours north of Port Elisabeth and 4 hours north of the Garden Route.
Kariega is a large private game reserve of 10 000 hectars of wilderness with a river - the Bushman´s river - running through the landscape and connecting it with the Ocean at Kenton-On-Sea.
To stay in Kariega you book like any other hotel on their website for the number of nights you choose to stay. At first you might think it is expensive, but it´s full board and with guide and transportation.
Kariega offers 4-star and 5-star lodging. Kariega River Lodge is their 4-star lodge with 8 bungalows, each one of them for 2 people so in total we were 16 people there.
After checking in in our bungalow by the Kariega river we had a snack lunch around 2:30 pm. You should try to arrive before 2 p.m. to have time for the lunch and settle in before the afternoon game drive (safari tour) at 4 p.m.
A game drive lasts for about 3,5 hours. In the evening there is also drinks served during the drive. You are divided into groups of 4-10. In the luxuary 5-star resort in Kariega you are only 4 people in the jeep.
On a safari you sit in an open jeep and the guide drives along small unpaved roads. The guides know where the Big 5 - elephant, lion, rhino, leopard and buffalo - usually hang around but the animals walk around freely in the area. It is not like in a animal park and you will not see all Big 5 on our first day. You need more time for that.
After the game drive dinner is served around 7:30 p.m. This is a very relaxed place and you are not expected to dress up for dinner.
At dinner you sit with the people you go on a safari with. You can also ask for your own table. The guides are having dinner with their groups so you can ask any question you might have.
Safari means getting up early, at 6 a.m. The reason is animals are most active in the morning at sunrise and in the evening at sunset.
Every morning the guide called us at 6 a.m. to give us enough time to get dressed and drive in our golf cars to the main building for a small breakfast usually a muffin and coffee. Then it was time for the early morning game drive.
Around 10 we returned to the lodge for a long breakfast and then it was up to you what to do. You could fish in the beautiful river, relax by the pool, go on a bush walk, SPA or go by boat down the Bushman´s river to the coastal town of Kenton-On-Sea. Everything but SPA-treatments is included in the price.
On our first day we relaxed by our bungalow and on the second we went on a boat trip to Kenton-On-Sea. It is a tourist resort with mostly South African people. We loved that place and the boat trip down the river was beautiful.
After the boat trip it was time for lunch snack at 2:30 p.m. and a game drive at 4 p.m. like on our first day.
To summarize, a day on a safari at Kariega Game Reserve River Lodge is like
Tea, coffee and a snack before leaving for the early
morning game drive
Return to the lodge for a late breakfast/brunch
Free-time. Choose between a boat trip down the
Bushmans river to the coast, a bush walk, go fishing or canoeing, relaxing by the pool, a spa-treatment
Afternoon tea/coffee and snacks
Evening game drive
Return to the lodge for dinner
1/2 day Safari
In the morning of our last and third day we went on a final game drive in the morning and then checked out after breakfast.
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