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Gondwana Game Reserve
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All reviewskwena lodgegame reserveeco campcape townbush villafree roamingevening drivesafari experienceflora and faunahot towelsmale liongreat safarithe main lodgehis knowledgebeautiful accommodationfantastic experiencebeautiful animals
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Reviewed December 23, 2013

We just returned from South Africa where we spent 3 nights at the magnificent Gondwana game reserve. I have been on safari in South Africa many years ago but this was definitely the best all round experience. The staff are all very welcoming on arrival and the accommodation lodges are a fun and novel experience (as well as clean and warm at night with the electric blankets!). The reserve itself is vast and we weren't disappointed with the animals that we saw - after 2 days we had seen the big 5. Our ranger throughout our stay was new but impressed us with his knowledge of all animals, birds and flora, whilst also making the drives fun. Both the breakfasts and evening meals were of excellent quality with the evening menu changing each night. During our stay we had the pleasure to meet the owners Mark & Wendy and had a chance to chat with them about the reserve - you can see that the passion and energy that they are putting into Gondwana is certainly paying off for them. Thanks for a great time to all involved and we look forward to returning one day!

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Jamie E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 14, 2013

Being just off the Garden Route this game reserve is very conveniently located to travel along the Southern coast. We stayed there for 3 nights in late November. It was an interesting experience. They got all the big things right. 1. The suites are beautiful and well appointed. 2. Our game drives were a blast. Our guide, Mike, was both knowledgeable and passionate. I think we saw most of the animals on the property except the leopard - which Mike admitted never having seen himself. We got up close and had plenty of viewing time. Don't expect to see large numbers of any one type of animal. The reserve is young and the 'herds' are very small. Mike also shared a lot of information about the flora and bird life on the reserve. The reserve is rich with fynbos which attracts many beautiful birds. 3. The property is gorgeous because of all the fynbos and rolling landscape, which you also enjoy during the game drives. Unfortunately, there was also a downside to our stay: numerous little things that they didn't get right. For example: 1. Prior to our stay I had made spa appointments. They scheduled them at a different time than my confirmation so I was not able to receive the services I had booked. 2. The restaurant was a challenge. At almost every meal waits were unreasonably long between courses (45+ minutes at lunch?!), wrong things were brought to the table and at one dinner they even forgot to serve our entree. Unfortunately these constant little things really detracted from the total experience.

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Mary N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 9, 2013

We visited Gondwana Game Reserve on 5th and 6th December 2013. The Game Reserve is located in a pretty secluded area and is approx 11000 acres. This works a positive as it makes it that easier to spot animals in the reserve. We were received very warmly by Colin and Linda. We were shown our Kwena Lodge and it was HUGE!! The only thing missing was bathroom doors!! This makes it a problem if you have children running around. Immediately after check in we were to go on our afternoon game drive and assembled near the huts waiting for our ranger Richard. It was at that time that the General Manager of the lodge took us aside for a 'family discussion'. He told us that our travel agent had made a horrible mistake and that children under six (my daughter was 5) are not allowed on game drives. He said that young children might make noise during the drive that could scare away game or make them aggressive. This is not good for other guests on the game drive as they may complain - so we were told. However, he said that since it wasn't our mistake, he would allow our daughter to go on the drive but exhorted us to 'keep a special eye' on her. We accepted his logic and promised to keep an eye on our daughter. Our daughter was very well behaved during the entire game drive and gave no cause for other guests to complain. We saw a lot of game - zebra, elant, springbok, bush bok, wildebeast, elephant, even lions! Our ranger Richard was very courteous and knowledgeable.
We had another surprise in store for us after the drive was over. We were told that our daughter could not accompany us for dinner as it was a 'formal' dinner. We were offered the choice of a baby sitter at our lodge while we attended the formal dinner. Of course we refused and said that we would rather have dinner at our lodge. I don't know what happened but we were suddenly informed that our daughter could accompany us for dinner. When we arrived for dinner, we saw that dinner for the three of us was served in a separate hut away from the others. I didn't get the logic of children not being allowed at dinner time - did the same logic as that for the game drive apply for dinner time as well! Anyway, we didn't make any fuss of the same though we felt terribly insulted. Linda served us dinner and did a good job of it.
The next morning I alone went for the game drive. My wife and daughter slept in. We were able to see a white rhino at close quarters! After the game drive we had a sumptuous breakfast served by a smiling staff.
Overall my experience was satisfactory. A very good and helpful staff but with utterly and equally nonsensical children policy!
Also the General Manager was probably doing his job, but I would suggest that if a mistake is made by a travel agent, then he needs to take it up with them directly instead of involving the guests themselves and making them feel obliged!

  • Stayed: December 2013
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1  Thank saurabhvd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 1, 2013

I have never done a Safari before have nothing to compare my experience with. However, on a hospitality point of view i think it saw very good. They did all they could for to make us feel welcome - took our cases to our room, escorted us around the premises, explained the itinerary, etc. The accommodation was really luxurious. The view from the room was breathtaking and you were completely isolated from the neighboring lodge via a large bank of earth high enough to completely block them from view. Also, none of the lodges overlooked any of the other. The lodges were circular and when laying in bed you could look through the glass roof above to the stars (If you are lucky enough to get a clear night that is"! The room also had a log burning stove for those out of season chilly nights.

As for the game drive - we did 2, one in the early morning (6:00am) and one late afternoon. We did not see any lions on either. But while that was disappointing; it was still enjoyable and an unforgettable experience as we saw most of the other game attributes. I believe that you need really warm weather for the best chance of seeing all the "big five" and since it was quite cold for us I am not going to pass judgement on that. What I will say is that I thought it good value and I really enjoyed it.

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank ph1l_13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 30, 2013

I have been to south Africa several times this is defiantly the best game reserve in the area. Firstly the accom is amazing. We originally booked the Kwena huts (which looked beautiful) but upon arrival we got upgraded to the Villa's. The design and decor was perfect with a log fire in the main living room. Every night the maids came and lit the fire in the bed and which was amazing as we had the double doors onto our veranda open so when you lie in bed you can here all the wonderful sounds of the game reserve.

The food in the restaurant was fantastic. If they have Kudoo steaks they are are a must try. They also provide high tea each day with the most amazing cakes and pastries. Breakfast is served continental buffet style with cooked to order hot food.

The reserve is truly free roaming big five. We saw the most fantastic sighting of the lion pride. We saw 4 and half of the big five. The half was because we found fresh Leopard tracks but did not find the animal.

I would definitely recommend this to any one looking to do a game reserve close to cape town.

Room Tip: Kwena huts if you area a couple as these are perfect. Kwena huts have the most amazing sky light above them so you can see the stars whislt lying in bed. Large familys should upgrade to the Villa's and they are huge.
  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled with family
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Thank Richard H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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