We figured just because we’re trying to discover all the local experiences across the globe doesn’t mean locals don’t enjoy some luxury.
Enter Gondwana game reserve, situated just 18km from Mossel Bay, this lodge offers an authentic wildlife experience within reach from the usual summer days on the beach.
The 11000-hectare malaria free reserve has won several awards with different accommodation types and it’s also family friendly. We opted for the luxurious Kwena lodge which is a contemporary interpretation of a Khoisan hut.
Upon arrival we were greeted by friendly staff with some cold towels and a welcome drink, then it was off to lunch. We had the fish & chips as well as the the Ostrich bobotie and paired with the view it hit the right spot. After lunch the staff walked us to our room, yes you get accompanied as the animals are free-roaming and seeing that we almost stepped on a pofadder already, we didn’t mind the company.
The rooms are beautiful and spacious, the bathroom has a tub overlooking the rolling hills which creates a great feeling of luxury. The domed hut boasts a circular skylight which makes the interior much better than conventional thatch roofs, it also works as a little stargazing hole at night. This is a really cool touch expect that Adriaan’s OCD was trying to think how they could have designed it without the steel window frames.
Twenty minutes later we were off to our afternoon game drive, but not before some snacks off course. Our guide, Mr Delicious, was helpful and informative and definitely not afraid of the animals as he gets very close. The great thing is that they have 4 of the Big 5 and you never drive for too long without seeing at least something.
After the game drive it was dinner time which we were very excited about because the menu sounded great, but unfortunately we were a bit disappointed with the food as it was definitely not a 5 star experience we were given. Luckily the bottle of Jakkaslvlei red helped (A good wine farm just around the corner from there).
With no time for sleeping in we were on the morning game drive at 6:30am. These early birds were luckily rewarded as a sighting of the male lion was reported. Rushing out from the morning coffee with rusk crumbs flying we made it in time to spot the king of the jungle. He was walking broad shoulders as he recently became the father of a few cubs (would have loved to see them).
Breakfast was served in the boma and it was really great. Fresh fruit, pastries and muesli is served to the table, once again paired with a spectacular view. The hot breakfast is served in African buffet style, from cast iron pots. The tourists seemed to love this.
The Roosterkoeke were amazing.
The experience was great and such a well-managed game reserve is a fantastic treat so close to the coast, but we do hope they work on their food. That being said we can definitely confirm there is nothing wrong with a little local luxury in SA and we’ll be sharing more of our African trips soon!