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“An amazaing place to stay”

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Gondwana Game Reserve
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
“An amazaing place to stay”
Reviewed August 17, 2011

A friend and I were in South Africa for the first time. We were traveling around the Western Cape seeing all the cool things around there but also wanted to see some game which is how we found Gondwana. It certainly was the right choice because traveling up north to Krueger would have not been worth it given what we experience there.
From an accommodation perspective the place had everything someone needed or could have hoped for. We stayed at one of the Villas which has three bedrooms, a large kitchen, living room, and two terraces. The place was very luxurious, had neat finishes, and amazing views. The bed even had the ability to be heated. Shower and bathroom were outstanding and had good water pressure. Some can hardly imagine given that it was far away from civilization.
The food was all included in the price and outstanding. Breakfast had everything one could have hoped for warm and cold. Lunch and dinner were either 3/4 course meals or a typical braai down outside by the pool area under the stars. Drinks we also included in the price. They mention local drinks which essentially covers all the non-alcoholic stuff, beers, and a red and white house wine. Other wines were available for an extra charge but the house ones were enough for us.
The best piece though was the service we received. All the game reserve staff was super friendly and accommodating. It felt like we were part of a big family. Our ranger was Julian who picked us up for the two game drives (one at 7am and the other one at 4pm) and drove us around when we needed to get to and from the house to the main area where the restaurant and pool were.
Going to the game reserve obviously means that one wants to see some game. The reserve currently has all the big 5 game there and is expanding its animal base further. On our 3 drives we were able to pretty much see everything there except for the lions who were in hiding. It was however the wrong time of year though.
The bottom line is that I will return with my wife next time I am going to the Cape again. While the place is not cheap you get what you pay for and unlike with other places it is essentially all your are going to pay. So at least one knows where one is at.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Alexander S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Westfield, New Jersey, USA
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed June 29, 2011

My wife and I recently spent 3 days/2 nights at the Gondwana Game Reserve...and what an amazing stay it was.

After about a 4 hour drive from Cape Town we arrived at the private game reserve. We were not there two minutes when we saw 2 elephants approaching the lodge. Our accomodations were at the Kwena Huts (more like ultra luxurious bungalows). My wife and I were the only 2 guests and the staff had prepared an outdoor picnic for us by the pool. As we were eating our lunch the elephants came closer and closer. We were brought up to the dinning room area which was a little further away from the elephants. We spent the next 45 minutes watching the "ellies" while still trying to finish our lunch. They walked up to the guest pool area and took a drink and then continued to roam around the lodge area. They got pretty close to us and I was able to snap some amazing photos.

That evening we went on our first game drive in the open top Land Rover. Our personal guide - Forget ( how can you forget his name) - was amazing and very knowledgeable about the animals and surrounding area. The park is still relatively new so the total number of animals is still not as high as the larger parks. However, in addition to countless antelopes, zebras, a cheetah and 2 hippos, we did see 4 of the "big five" - lions, elephants, rhino and buffalo. The only one we did not see was the leopard. Having lived in Kenya for 7.5 years when I was younger I was a little skeptical about this safari experience. It did not disappoint. The next day we went on 2 more game drives (morning and evening) and were also treated to a fabulous picnic lunch in the middle of the park with all the amenities of a luxury resort (wine, beer, china dishes, real glassware, cheese/crackers and a full spread of sandwiches). The dinners at the lodge were also first rate. On our last morning we had another game drive followed by a full breakfast (bacon and eggs, cereal, yogurt...the full spread) at another scenic part of the park.

Being the only 2 guests was nice as we received everyone's undivided attention, but it would have been nice to talk to other guests and compare our experiences. But, it was the off season. Who are we to complain.

I highly recommend this place to anyone who comes to South Africa.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank KSchultz69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed May 25, 2011

I stayed at Gondwana game reserve for two nights in April. I spent quite some time researching where I wanted to go to see game somewhere within driving distance of Cape town, and selected Gondwana expecting it be more authentic than many other options, and not completely priced out of my pricerange.

First of all, the accomodation and staff were excellent. I stayed in one of the smaller huts (I was by myself) and I found it to be perfect for my requirements. It was set among a group of other huts, but the landscaping and layout of the huts make each one quite private. The amenities were well-suited to the experience. No TV but a fabulous view out over the valley to the mountains from the veranda outside the front door (from which I watched a couple of elephants wandering through the valley), a comfortable bed and well thought out bathroom, and a fireplace that I was able to easily light and relax in front of after the sun had set with a nice glass of wine.

The all inclusive package is pretty much all inclusive - more expensive wines and spirits are available for a fee, but the basics are all included, and food is high quality and plentiful. Every time I walked by t he communal lounge area, someone would offer me something to eat - a meal or a snack, and the rooms are also well stocked with a mini-bar, snacks, water, coffee.

Onto the game experience. I have visited a number of parks in Tanzania, Kenya, Zimbabe, Uganda so I was wary that I might be disappointed in a such a small park with a limited selection of game. While this isn't a major park, and therefore will never be the same as a visit to the Serengeti or Masai Mara or the like, it is a credible alternative if your travel plans take you to Cape town. The facility and staff are focused on making the most of your game drives (2 a day, 2-3 hours each) without all of the gimmicky add-ons. They were very flexible, willing to get up at any hour and go out in any conditions (I was there for one very wet afternoon) in order to give you the best chance to see the game that you want to see. the drives felt like a very personal experience - partly because I shared the park with one other couple on my first day there - but also because that is the way that the team seem to have arranged the experience. We had one driver for all drives, so he knew exactly what we had seen and not seen, and did his best to find us something new each time we went out.

There is plenty of game to see - admittedly, only a few of each of the major species that they boast, but I didn't see that as a major detraction. The fact that there are only a few lions and a few elephants means that the drivers know the animals that you are seeing, and can give you a bit of a sense for the individuals rather than the species. In addition, knowing that there is only one small pride of lions on the park makes tracking them that much more tricky, and that much more rewarding when you find them. It is worth noting that the park covers a pretty big area, and the game is free-roaming, so you're not guaranteed to find all of the game even over multiple drives. This isn't a zoo-like experience (one of the main reasons I chose Gondwana over other locations).

All in all, I would say that if you are interested in seeing some game for the first time, or happen to be travelling to Cape town and don't want the expense or time involved in travelling a long way north, Gondwana is a fantastic setting and facility to have a safari experience. If I am back that way, especially with my family, I will certainly be returning.

Stayed April 2011, traveled solo
Helpful?
4 Thank mattmooney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edmonton, Canada
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed April 22, 2011

We stayed two nights in a self catered home and had a great time. The house was incredible and sitting on its back porch in the evenings was fantastic. Durning the day we went on both morning and night drives while a staffer watched over our 9 month old baby. Both the sitter and our guide did a fantastic job. For the cape I would say its a great option. But do realize the Kruger has 12,000 elephants and they have 3.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank CanuckalHEad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Beijing, China
1 review
Reviewed April 12, 2011

We were a group of 15 family members and fully enjoyed our stay.
The scenery was stunning and very peaceful. The staff were all super friendly, professional and dedicated and went out of their way to please and satisfy us at all times. All was perfect.
If your main purpose is to see the animals you might be a bit disappointed as the reserve is quite new and does not have yet many animals. If you are looking for a relaxing mind refreshing and cleansing experience this is the place. Only 4 hours beautiful drive from Cape Town DON'T MISS THIS PLACE.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank zevi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed March 26, 2011

We just spent 2 nights at Gondwana and loved it. It has the most beautiful mountain scenery, and the sunsets are just gorgeous. From the moment you arrive you are treated like royalty. The staff - especially our personal game reserve guide Trevor, went out of their way to ensure we experienced a true African experience. The accommodation was brilliant with those amazing views from all rooms, even the bathroom! The food was restaurant quality and abundant in supply.

We highly recommend a stay at Gondwana to anyone interested in being pampered and going on safari.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank jenwegen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
brighton
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 20, 2011

Lovely park with great scenery. The staff and service were amazing from the very start to the beginning. Nothing is too much trouble and the service is warm and genuine. The property, rooms and food are all great too. The reserve is new and this is a little evident when it comes to the wildlife and the variety. That said it is convienent for Cape Town and well worth a visit.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank camillabrighton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Gondwana Game Reserve

Property: Gondwana Game Reserve
Address: Garden Route | 4 hr drive from Cape Town, Mossel Bay 6500, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > Western Cape > Mossel Bay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 34 Specialty Lodging in Mossel Bay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Gondwana Game Reserve 5*
Number of rooms: 24
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Gondwana Game Reserve provides the perfect safari break less than 4 hours drive from Cape Town and 45 minutes from George airport along South Africa’s popular Garden Route. The 11,000 hectare private game reserve offers a distinctive malaria-free safari experience in a spectacular mountain and Fynbos landscape adding vivid colour and interest to a Big Five wilderness experience. This exclusive reserve offers guests attentive service, superb cuisine, inspiring interiors, expert game rangers and a fun Junior Ranger Program for the kids. Kwena Lodge boasts 14 Khoi-San inspired Kwena Rooms. Each open plan suite is nestled into its spectacular surrounds with 180-degree views of the spectacular surrounds overlooking 2 waterholes where elephant frequent. The rooms offer sky lights for star gazing, clay pot fireplaces and deep baths to keep you warm upon return from an evening game drive. The spacious lodge facilities include a large infinity pool, chic open-plan lounge and bar, with food and beverage services offered in an elegant dining room set around 2 open fireplaces or in the outdoor boma. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Gondwana Game Reserve Hotel Mossel Bay

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