We stayed for just one night having booked direct with the property. We spent 3 weeks touring the Cape and Klein Karoo and were looking for somewhere as a special treat where we could be guaranteed to see some of South Africa's amazing wildlife up close.
However by the time we reached Buffelsdrift, we'd already had 2 amazing nights at Addo Elephant Park, where we stayed in superb (and inexpensive) cottages, and saw literally hundreds of animals from the comfort of our own rented truck in superb weather (see my other reviews on this subject).
On arrival we were warmly welcomed and given a complementary welcome drink while our luggage was taken to our tent on a golf buggy. This was a nice touch as it meant we could go to the tent when we were ready without struggling with the luggage. We had a superior tent down by the water's edge and were very impressed by the standard of the accommodation - I've stayed in many expensive hotels that were less well presented than our tent! The reception staff were also most helpful in finding and lending me an electrical plug adaptor suitable for charging my camera.
Our evening game drive was a bit of a let-down, but probably because we'd seen so much more at Addo. I guess it's all relative: anyone who'd not done a safari in the past would probably be pretty impressed. The vehicle used for the tour was a very large and noisy army-style truck that took about 20 people at a time. I've done safari type activities before in East Africa in much smaller landrovers and found these to offer a much better experience. At one point the truck actually broke down and could only be re-started by several people giving it a push! OK, it's Africa, but I really think that for the money they are charging they should do the drives in smaller vehicles - - they'd probably be able to get closer to some of the more nervous species (like the giraffes) as well. We did see 3 rhinos and a couple of buffalos, but as the guide freely admitted, Buffelsdrift is still a very new reserve and is still establishing itself. Apparently they plan to introduce some lions in a year or so, but need to build up animal stocks significantly before then.
Our overnight package included a second game drive in the morning, but we'd arranged to see the meerkats with Grant McIlwrath, the meerkat man (a long-standing ambition we had been unable to fulfil a week earlier when bad weather in the Oudtshoorn area had led to cancellations). The reception people at Buffelsdrift were happy to arrange a swap of the morning's game drive for an elephant esperience (more later), and assured me that the gates would be open at 04:30 in the morning so we could reach the meerkat rendezvous point in time.
In fact the gates were closed when we drove down the entrance road bleary-eyed the next morning. The security guard was nowhere to be seen, and it was only luck that we were able to manually push the electric gate open so we could "escape"! I really recommedn the meetkat magic experience, but suggest this is better done from a hotel or B&B (as we had originally planned before the weather got in the way) rather from Buffelsdrift.
After returning we had a nice shower followed by a pleasant cooked breakfast. Te promised elephant experience was fun, although the 3 "babies" are getting big now! I did feel a little uncomforatble that the eles have been trained to perform tricks for visitors (playing football, various poses etc). I'm not suggesting for a minute they are not well looked after, but it just seemed a bit unnecessary to see these magnificant animals doing the sort of thing we used to see in circuses in the UK many years ago. Not also that the eles are not free to roam around the reserve as they are kept near the main building so that they are readily available for visitors to see.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Buffelsdrift Game Lodge is a sprawling game farm situated in the foothills of the Swartberg Mountains in the Cango Valley, Oudtshoorn. Only 5 hours drive from Cape Town and less than an hour's drive from George Airport. This game farm is located 6.5 Km outside of Oudtshoorn, en-route to the Cango Caves. Pristine bushveld, lush vegetation and a 5 hectare dam provide a haven for twenty-two game species and more than 217 bird species. In May 2004 this beautiful Nature Reserve became part of the 6th South African World Heritage Sites offering a wealth of endemic plant species. It is our aim to bring the highest quality of service to our guests and to this end we try to anticipate their every need.Buffelsdrift Game Lodge offers 9 waterfront, 16 luxury and 4 family tents each one with en-suite bathroom and private outdoor shower, air-conditioning, mini-bar, digital safe, tea / coffee making facilities and a game viewing deck. We can accommodate a total of 50 guests (50 beds) in our 25 tents either with twin or king size beds. A lookout lounge is situated next to the reception with a large round stone fireplace in the middle, overlooking our dam with the Swartberg Mountain Range in the distance. A charming wedding chapel is situated on the edge of a natural water hole with a wide wooden deck as entrance. The deck is an extension to the A la carte restaurant which creates a beautiful space for wedding guests to take their seats and witness the couple exchanging their wedding vows. Conferencing at Buffelsdrift Game Lodge is quite unique. Our fully equipped conference hall is situated right next to the dam, and also extends onto the deck connecting to the restaurant. Activities offered are Bush Safaris (game drive), Meerkat Safaris and Elephant Excursions. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Buffelsdrift Game Hotel Oudtshoorn