Eastern Cape

South Africa’s Eastern Cape is a mesmerising wilderness of sandy beaches, verdant mountain ranges, and game reserves flooded with fauna. This is the perfect destination for those looking to combine a safari with a fantastic road trip on the Garden Route.

Eastern Cape

As well as being home to all of the Big Five, white sharks and southern right whales can be spotted just off the coast too. Another huge draw of the Eastern Cape is that it is a malaria-free area, making it perfect for families

While it’s the safari experience that draws most visitors to the Eastern Cape, the scenery outside of the private game reserves is also well worth exploring. The coastline here is one of the most undeveloped and pristine in South Africa, with a natural beauty that is reflected in its name – the Wild Coast. Providing breathtaking seascapes, the untouched beaches of the Eastern Cape are a surfer’s paradise. This stretch of coast is great for culture vultures too; visitors can gain a strong insight into Xhosa culture as well as visit Nelson Mandela’s final resting place at Qunu. Away from the coast, the barren landscapes of the Karoo are particularly evocative, with craggy mountains forming the backdrop for beautiful sunsets. The Valley of Desolation, close to Graaff-Reinet, would be our top recommendation for experiencing this epically bleak yet stunning landscape.

Safari in the Eastern Cape

Below are our favourite game reserves in the Eastern Cape. 

Shamwari Game Reserve

Beginning its journey in 1990 as a small reserve with just over 1,000 hectares of land, Shamwari Game Reserve is now one the largest private reserves in South Africa and covers an enormous 25,000 hectares. The reserve is home to an abundance of game, including the Big Five, and offers a variety of activities, making it an excellent choice if you are looking for an immersive safari experience. The reserve prides itself on its conservation efforts, responsible tourism, and family-friendly lodges, allowing visitors to get the most out of their stay.

Kwandwe Private Game Reserve

Stretching for 42km along the banks of the Great Fish River, Kwandwe Private Game Reserve covers an area of 22,200 hectares. The reserve is set on the edge of the former Karoo Basin, where several of Africa’s vegetation zones converge, meaning the biodiversity of the area is extremely rich. Guests can get involved with a range of unique conservation programmes while staying in the reserve, including heading out with the wildlife management team to track rhinos and plant microchips into their horns to help identify them and reduce the risk of poaching.

Where to go in Eastern Cape

1 - 6 of 6 Hotels
Kwandwe Ecca Lodge

Kwandwe Ecca Lodge

Eastern Cape, South Africa

Innovative, stylish and intimate, Kwandwe Ecca Lodge embodies a "funk-meets-futuristic-farmhouse" ambience, with just six intimate suites with spacious living areas and ensuite bathrooms. Ecca is a superb family friendly safari option in the Eastern Cape.

Adventure Culture Eco/ethical tourism Wildlife
Kwandwe Great Fish River Lodge

Kwandwe Great Fish River Lodge

Eastern Cape, South Africa

Kwandwe Game Reserve is situated in the non-malarial Eastern Cape. Great Fish River Lodge comprises nine luxurious thatched suites, each with its own private plunge pool, which are linked to the lodge by wooden walkways.

Wildlife Couples Adventure Culture
Kariega River Lodge

Kariega River Lodge

Eastern Cape Game Reserves, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Immerse yourselves in this tranquil location by the Bushmans River. The beautiful suites will not fail to offer a sense of peace and luxury in this idyllic spot. Kariega River offers a unique opportunity to combine a Big Five game destination with the sea

Kwandwe Fort House

Kwandwe Fort House

Eastern Cape, South Africa

Kwandwe Fort House offers the perfect family safari destination. With four bedrooms and its own private guides and staff, Fort House is ideal for those looking to get away from the crowds and enjoy their own little slice of the African Bush.

Adventure Villa
La Plume Guest House

La Plume Guest House

Route 62, Eastern Cape, South Africa

A warm welcome awaits you at this intimate and charming 1902 Victorian homestead. La Plume is a homely guest house on a working ostrich, alfafa and cattle farm with spectacular views of the Swartberg Mountains and the Olifants River Valley.

Short Break Couples
Long Lee Manor at Shamwari

Long Lee Manor at Shamwari

Eastern Cape Game Reserves, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Shamwari's Long Lee Manor epitomises Edwardian elegance in South Africa. Far from a bush camp, but rather a comfortable and impressive Manor House in the heart of the Eastern Cape, set amongst a wildlife rich and malaria free private game reserve.

Couples Wildlife
1 - 6 of 6 Hotels
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