Gondwana Game Reserve, Western Cape, South Africa
After being on safaris in Tanzania and in South Africa’s Greater Kruger National Park, I figured I’d be all safari’ed out by the time I hit Gondwana. Turns out, that wasn’t the case at all. The gods were just saving the best for last.
Situated 4 hours from Cape Town and 25 minutes outside the town of Mossel Bay, Gondwana Game Reserve is the first private game reserve in the Western Cape, and the only one along South Africa’s famed Garden Route. That makes it somewhat of an oddity in the extremely competitive game reserve sphere, and if you know me, you know I like oddities.
First off, the location is achingly beautiful. Almost otherworldly.
I did some digging, and it turns out Gondwana takes its name from one of the two original supercontinents (the other being Laurasia) that merged into that singularly super of all continents, Pangea about 500 million years ago (give or take a few million years.)
It’s an apt name for this place. As soon as you cross the gate into the reserve, you feel that you’re in a land that time forgot.
And while I’m not saying there were pterodactyls or velociraptors milling about, I’m not saying there weren’t either.
In fact, the vegetation here — called Fynbos — is found in no other place in the world.
The owners of Gondwana didn’t forget the amenities though. And that’s where this place really shines.
The individual thatched huts are both elegant and spacious, and their dome shape certainly adds to that dreamy landscape.
The main building has separate dining, reception, and bar areas, and there’s also a stellar pool if you feel like sneaking a dip.
The food is the calibre you’d expect of a 5-star property — — fancy, fresh, and plenty of it. Just the way food should be.
Even the snacks during the day are works of art.
But it’s not the food that most people come here for — it’s the animals. And there are plenty of those. Like these guys.
And this guy (obviously bored with all the attention.)
And this hippopotamus that felt his tan was more important than the truckload of looky-loos that pulled up beside him. (Actually, there were only 4 of us plus the driver, so I’m sure he felt no threat.)
And these magazine-worthy zebras.
And a lion and a rhino that knew the meaning of “Cleanliness is next to godliness.”
So how do you end a day of game spotting? With a glass of wine and a sunset of course.
It doesn’t get much better than this folks. I think I’ll quit while I’m ahead.
Note: I was a guest of Gondwana Game Reserve during my time in South Africa, but they did not ask that I write a positive review or drink all that booze at sunset.