Interactive Map of Eastern Cape Reserves
Eastern Cape Reserves
Addo Elephant National Park
Just 75 years after its proclamation to protect the 11 elephants that remained in the area, Addo Elephant National Park is now a world-renowned mega park. Elephant numbers have swelled to over 450 – making this one of the densest elephant populations on earth, plus there are buffalo, lion, leopard and rhino completing the Big 5. With great white sharks and southern right whales in the marine section of the park means that Addo now boasts the Big 7 of Africa.
Found here are ancient, 1,000-year-old cycads; hillsides adorned with pastel-coloured proteas; primeval impenetrable thicket; bizarre-looking spiny noorsveld; and wide-open plains where antelope graze. Into this lion and spotted hyena have been reintroduced and there are kudu, red hartebeest and eland too. In the drier Karoo section of the park, gemsbok and springbok can be seen, while the moody black rhino enjoy the noorsveld area.
While Amboselli is well known for its great elephant viewing, Addo is now rated on a par as offering the best close-up encounters with elephants in Africa. Plus Addo also has a wide variety of other game and marine life to enjoy, including the world’s largest breeding colony of 160 000 Cape gannets on Bird Island and the second largest colony of African penguins.
Kwandwe Game Reserve
Kwandwe Private Game Reserve lies in the heart of South Africa’s malaria-free Eastern Cape near Grahamstown, and is a natural conclusion to a journey along the world-famous Garden Route. A victory for far-sighted conservation, 20,000 hectares (49,000 acres) of farmland in the Great Fish River region were restored and restocked with African wildlife. Today, thousands of animals including lion, black and white rhino, buffalo and elephant roam this diverse and fascinating reserve. Kwandwe aptly means “Place of the Blue Crane” in Xhosa (South Africa’s highly endangered national bird) and is home to a population of these rare birds. It offers an exceptional safari experience in a region steeped in history and culture. The Great Fish River was a hotly contested border during the Frontier Wars of 1779 to 1878 between the Xhosa nation, Dutch farmers and the 1820 Settlers from England. Kwandwe’s reception building is a Frontier War-era fortified homestead and the Reserve boasts its own intimate chapel.
Shamwari Game Reserve
Shamwari Game Reserve is a 25,000-hectare (61,000 acres), malaria free, private game reserve. The Reserve has received numerous international awards, including the World's Leading Conservation Company and Game Reserve many years over. It is situated in verdant bush along the Bushmans River, halfway between Port Elizabeth (45 minutes drive outside the city) and Grahamstown, a pleasant drive from Cape Town, forming a natural extension to the famous Garden Route. Shamwari is about conserving a vanishing way of life and is the realization of one man's dream, and the success of many people's passion. Steeped in Settler history, and dating back to the time when a multitude of game roamed wild and free, Reserve boasts five eco-systems, thus enabling the support of many forms of plant, animal and bird life. Shamwari is an African adventure and conservation effort coupled with responsible tourism.
Since 1991, 14 separate farms have been integrated, fences have been removed and roads closed. Over-grazed land has been rehabilitated, the plains re-seeded with indigenous grasses and more than 5,000 head of game have been bred and re-introduced. Today Shamwari employs 250 people, stretches across vast land and has been returned to its rightful owners, the fauna and flora. (From the book “Shamwari – History in the Making” by Susan Goosen).
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