What do you get when you combine fynbos-covered mountain slopes, fairy-tale forests and lukewarm lagoons with our country’s mighty Big Five? A game-viewing experience along the Garden Route, of course! Although the Kruger is arguably the ultimate wildlife destination, it’s often a stretch too far for those living in the coastal parts of South Africa, especially if you’re just seeking a quick weekend away. To solve this dilemma, TravelGround picked a handful of places on the Garden Route with gorgeous game-viewing opportunities.

Garden Route Game Lodge


Set against the backdrop of the Langeberg Mountains with an abundance of birds and wildlife, including the Big Five, Garden Route Game Lodge tops our list! It’s located approximately a four-hour drive from Cape Town, as well as Port Elizabeth, making this lodge the perfect weekend getaway destination. Breakfast, dinner and two daily game drives, of which one is a sunset drive, are included and game drives for day visitors can also be booked. The experienced rangers will show you as much game as possible, including zebra, giraffe, hippo, elephant, buffalo and springbok. If you’re lucky, you might even spot the King of the Jungle lazing its days away under the African sun. Besides being child friendly with a kiddies pool, play area and short guided hiking trails, this lodge also boasts a spa where a massage with a mesmerising view can be booked! Read more …

Accommodation: 2-sleeper lodge rooms, chalets and luxury chalets, 4-sleeper family suites and a 2-sleeper honeymoon chalet
Facilities: Restaurant, boma, braai area, guest lounge, curio shop, babysitter service, kids’ play area, swimming pools and a spa

Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve

Plettenberg Bay

Being about twenty kilometres from the popular Plett, this Big Five game reserve is ideal for a rustic family getaway or a rural retreat for those tired city souls. Here, you’ll experience the magic of the African bush with a two-hour game drive or get even closer to Mother Nature with an adventurous two-hour horseback safari. Rooms can be booked on a B&B or full-board basis and include a guided game drive. Zebra, buffalo and springbok roam freely and elephants frequently frolick in the waterholes. Be sure to prick up your ears for those mighty roars echoing at night! Read more …

Accommodation: 2-sleeper double rooms, 4-sleeper family rooms and 5-sleeper family units
Facilities: Restaurant, bar, swimming pool, guest lounge, laundry service, babysitter service and free Wi-Fi

Hakuna Matata Boutique Game Farm

Great Brak River

If you’ve ever watched The Lion King, you’ll know hakuna matata means ‘no worries’ and it’s exactly what you can expect on this boutique game farm. Although the farm isn’t far from the retail jungle in George and Mossel Bay’s blissful beaches, it’s totally off the grid with farm-fresh air, no TV or radio and limited cellphone coverage. Fly-fishermen can test their craft at the bass dam and avid birders will likely be able to tick off the Knysna loerie and fish eagle. Read more …

Accommodation: 2-sleeper room, 4-sleeper farm cottages and a 6-sleeper farm cottage
Facilities: Self-catering kitchen facilities, braai areas and free Wi-Fi

Garden Route Safari Camp

Mossel Bay

Imagine sipping on a glass of red wine on your private deck as the sun sets over the tranquil nature reserve ─ at Garden Route Safari Camp this will be your reality! With breakfast included, early morning game drives and bush walks, your days will definitely be filled with many leisure hours. Keep your camera ready to capture the wildebeest, giraffe, zebra and kudu roaming the reserve. And should you want to combine your game-viewing vacation with a sun-bathing afternoon at the beach, Mossel Bay is just a twenty-minute drive away. Read more …

Accommodation: 2-sleeper and 4-sleeper luxury thatched-roof canvas units
Facilities: Kitchen facilities, restaurant, bar, guest lounge swimming pool, laundry service, airport service and free Wi-Fi

Hartenbos Private Game Lodge


At the self-catering Hartenbos Private Game Lodge, set about fifteen kilometres from Hartenbos, you’ll experience the best of both worlds with exciting game drives and a games room with a pool table, billiards, table tennis and darts should the weather interfere. This game farm is rich in fynbos, antelope, giraffe, zebra and boasts more than 135 bird species. Mountain biking, quad biking and bush walks should be part of your plans and if you’re looking for a special spot to tie the knot, you’ve found it! Read more …

Accommodation: 2-sleeper luxury tents and 4-sleeper self-catering villas
Facilities: Braai area, bar, guest lounge, games room, laundry service, swimming pool and free Wi-Fi

If you’ve been dreaming of drives along thicket-lined dirt roads, watching animal families come together at waterholes and listening to those tranquil calls of a fish eagle, it’s time to wake up and plan your next trip ─ a game-viewing getaway on the Garden Route!

All photos are sourced from TravelGround.com

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