Lalibela Game Reserve

Eastern Cape, South Africa

Lalibela Game Reserve

Spanning 5 ecosystems in the malaria-free Eastern Cape, Lalibela Game Reserve is one of South Africa's best small game reserves, offering a rich variety of game in a wilderness area that is unobstructed by public roads.

Lalibela Game Reserve is an 18,000 acre slice of bushland in South Africa's Eastern Cape. Spanning five eco-systems, the reserve offers a rich game-viewing experience, much-improved in recent years by a programme of rewilding that has seen a huge number of species, including all of the 'Big 5', returned to the land.

Lalibela is one of a handful of private reserves in South Africa's Eastern Cape, all of which comprise relatively small pockets of land that have in the past few decades been repopulated with game. Traditionally, the primary appeal of these reserves has been their convenience and ease of access—most are easily visited as an extension to a journey along South Africa's popular Garden Route, and most are also malaria-free—but the best of the reserves have begun to offer a game-viewing experience that rivals that of South Africa's bigger game reserves and national parks.

Lalibela, especially, offers a real wilderness experience, not the 'zoo safari' experience offered by some of South Africa's lesser game reserves. Notably, there are no public roads running through Lalibela, and few fences meaning the game is largely unrestricted in its movement. It also has only a small number of lodges (three at the time of writing, in 2014, the largest of which has just eight rooms), ensuring it's never overly crowded.


There are three independent safari lodges in Lalibela – Mark's Camp, Tree Tops Lodge, and Lentaba Lodge – all very different from one another and all offering a high standard of accommodation.

Lentaba is the oldest of the lodges in the reserve, and provides accommodation for 16 in its 8 traditional stone and thatch chalets, all built overlooking a watering hole.

Tree Tops, the most upmarket of the lodges at Lalibela, is located in a beautiful pocket of riverine forest, its luxury tented rooms built on wooden platforms set among the tree line.

Mark's Camp has a more informal and laidback atmosphere, and is the only lodge at Lalibela to accept children under the age of 12. Less wild than the other lodges, it has eight large stone chalets (four of which are family units) spread across neatly maintained lawns.

The game activities are reliably good whichever lodge you choose to stay at.


The dining experience in Lalibela varies somewhat depending on the lodge you stay at, but most follow a similar meal schedule, beginning the day with a light breakfast before the morning game activity, followed by a generous brunch on return to camp, and ending the day with a plentiful buffet dinner. All of the lodges have a boma for outdoor dining and more formal indoor dining areas.


- Swimming pool
- Lounge area
- Dining area
- Boma
- Boardroom
- Game reserve


- Daily game drives
- Night drives

There are many activities available in the local area (mostly at an additional cost):
- Helicopter trip
- Cultural, historical and agricultural tours
- Township tours
- Canoeing trip
- Mountain hike

Child Policy

Children are welcome and those under 12 are charged half of the adult rate (Mark's Camp only). Mark's Camp offers large family units, with triple beds and the possibility of adding additional bunk beds. It also has a children's play area. Lalibela is malaria-free and relatively easy to access, making it a great safari destination for families.