Kariega Game Reserve

Eastern Cape, South Africa

Kariega Game Reserve

Kareiga Game Reserve is a malaria-free, big-5 wildlife reserve in the heart of South Africa's Eastern Cape. It's a short detour for those travelling the Garden Route, and within easy access of Port Elizabeth.

Kariega is a family-owned and managed game reserve covering some 25,000 acres of land in South Africa's Eastern Cape. This is a convenient location, easily accessible from Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, and only a short detour for those travelling the popular Garden Route. Kariega also has the advantage of being malaria-free.

These factors make Kariega very easy to recommend as a convenient stop-off point. It's ideal as a short two or three night safari add-on, particularly for those who don't have time to visit the larger and more famous reserves in the Kruger and Kalahari. And while Kariega obviously lacks the scale and diversity of South Africa's major game parks, it's a beautiful reserve, encompassing many different habitats – bushveld, savannah plains, and riverine forests. The game-viewing experience is generally very good, with all of the "Big 5" present.


Accommodation at Kariega Game Reserve is split across three distinct lodges (Main Lodge, Ukhozi Lodge, and River Lodge), a luxury bush camp (Settlers Drift – opened in late 2014), and a private homestead. The decision to spit the accommodation into multiple lodges, which are all owned by the same family, is a good one, as it ensures that none of them are too big. The largest lodge, Main Lodge, has 21 rooms, while the others have fewer than 10, ensuring an intimate atmosphere.

Each of the lodges/camps at Kariega is unique, and the standard is high throughout. Perched on a high hill overlooking the Kariega River Valley, Main Lodge offers Scandinavian-style log huts, which are warm and spacious, and a welcome twist on the usual safari tents and thatched huts. Ukhozi is similar to Main Lodge, with the same type of log chalets, but it's smaller, with only ten chalets.

River Lodge is a more traditional safari lodge featuring thatched suites. The rooms here are spacious and beautifully furnished, and the location, on the edge of the Bushman's River, is superb in that it provides opportunities for river cruises and fishing excursions as well as 4x4 game drives.

Settlers Drift is a new luxury tented camp that opened in late 2014. We have not visited this new lodge, but we understand that it is the most luxurious option in Kariega, with huge, fully equipped tented suites, perched on a hill overlooking the Bushman River.

Finally, there's a private villa, the Homestead. Ideal for families or small groups, the Homestead has seven rooms, a private pool, bar and children's playroom. It's located in a remote region of the reserve.


The following activities are included:
River Cruises
Game drives
Guided walks
Canoeing and fishing

Excursions to the beach at Kenton-on-sea, which is a short boat journey away from River Lodge, and Grahamstown, can also be arranged at additional cost.

Child Policy

Kariega Game Reserve offers brilliant family safaris. It's malaria-free and safe.

Younger children can be accommodated at Main Lodge and the Homestead, both of which provide a children's play area and suitable activities as part of their schedules. Ukhozi and River Lodge, on the other hand, only accommodate children aged over ten.

Please note that children under the age of five can only join game drives and river safaris at the manager's discretion, and then only within the vicinity of the lodge.