Many visitors to safari parks opt for large, well known reserves where they are almost guaranteed to see lions and other large animals. But I wanted a different experience: a smaller park where we could go off-road, enjoy the scenery and still have a good chance of seeing a whole range of wildlife. So the Gondwana Game Reserve, not far from Mossel Bay on South Africa’s Garden Route, seemed an obvious choice.
Unique Fynbos Landscape
But there are plenty of animals to see. Our ranger, Eugene, was a mine of information about the animals, their behaviour and their habitat, and he was an expert in tracking them down. It wasn’t long before we came upon a trio of giraffes grazing peacefully beside a herd of zebra. And then there were hartebeest, wildebeest and Cape elands. I had never realised that there were so many different types of antelope!
In Search of Big Game at the Gondwana Game Reserve
Later we went on a lion hunt but our course was diverted when Eugene got a message that cheetahs had been spotted. This caused great excitement – one of our group had been on 17 previous safaris but never seen a cheetah before – and we turned round to drive furiously in the opposite direction until we reached the bush where the animals were hiding. We sat still, hardly daring to make a sound, and eventually our patience was rewarded when two young females emerged and crossed the road in front of us.
Birds and Other Wildlife at Gondwana
And here’s a short video clip to whet your appetite some more…
Overall, this was a great experience, more about the animals and their environment than about “ticking boxes” on a list of animals to spot. But I’ve never been to one of the bigger reserves – if you have a view on which type of park is better to visit I’d love to read your comments.