My family and I, party of 5 adults and one 9 year old, stayed one night on October 23rd/24th 2013. Some of us have been to SA before and had done various game 'experiences', including trips to Addo, Augrabies and the Okavango. This was to be a short spin around a reserve to see as many animals as we could, as close to nature as we could, yet be within a drive of Simon's Town, where we are based for a fortnight.
Finding GRGL couldn't be much simpler, it's on the N2. Check in was smooth and efficient. The huts, if you could call them that as they are much more, were absolutely fabulous. Luxurious enough but still for real world and not 'life styles of the rich and famous' money.
We were assigned to Tracey as our driver for the first of our two planned drives through the reserve. She drove a well kept and comfortable 4WD with raised seating on the back for 9 guests. On our evening trip we spotted wildebeest, springbok and other game. Best of all was a trip to the separate lion enclosure. The enclosure has to separate as they readily acknowledge they don't have space to sustain lions in the main reserve. I liked the fact that they are very upfront about this and don't pretend that all animals are in some magical self-sustaining ecosystem. This reassured me that there was a high degree of integrity in this operation. The highlight for me was when we caught a radio message echoing from the truck cab which we thought contained the word 'hippo'. Tracey seemed to brush this off, maybe so as not to raise our hopes to high, but then drove like a demon to the hippo pond where we were delighted to spot two hippo surfacing and rolling in the water. The drive ended with a drink and a gathering around the fire.
The evening meal was great with excellent food and a really splendid restaurant. The catering operation was staffed by enthusiastic staff who seemed to genuinely want to please, especially the ones operating the griddle. Choice was wide and varied.
Our second drive began at 7am or thereabouts, and again Tracey was our ranger. What an absolute star she is! She managed to find us a cheetah within 5 minutes of entering the reserve proper. Not only this but here driving skills amazed us all. At one point reversing for near on a quarter mile up a steep, rutted sandy track to find us two female rhinos to go with the male she'd already tracked down. They make no bones about the fact that some animals are GPS tagged/collared so that they can be found 'to order'. This is important when time is limited. If you want to find your own then go to Etosha or the Okavango (we'll try that next year).
Breakfast was again exceptional and then we rounded off the visit with a look around the reptile centre and cheetah conservation area. Tracey's knowledge of the history of cheetahs as a species was excellent and I came away having learned much about the genetic bottleneck that nearly drove them to extinction long before humans started to interfere in a big way. The reserve is making a great deal of effort to maintain genetic diversity for this species in particular.
Good luck to GRGL as they expand their operation to include two more adjacent areas of farmland and encourage it to revert to a more natural state.
Well done Tracey - you were the star of the show for us and we love you for it. We have a video clip on an iPad which will be with us forever as it has your voice and one of those memorable phrases....."Happy with the rhino?". How could we not be?
Thanks and best wishes.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Set against the backdrop of the majestic Langeberg mountain Range, the Garden Route Game Lodge guards the entrance to South Africa’s world famous Garden Route Coast.Only 3½ scenic hours drive from Cape Town, this malaria free, family owned and operated private game reserve is home to an abundance of animal and birdlife including the Big 5.Visitors to the Garden Route Game Lodge can enjoy game viewing in open Landrovers, luxury accommodation and a memorable dining experience in one of our African style restaurants. Our friendly staff and management are there to anticipate your every need to complete your unforgettable stay. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Garden Route Game Hotel Albertina