One of the best family trip ideas in South Africa - a Grahamstown Festival & Wildlife Safari!
The winning combination of the Arts Festival and Big Five Game Reserves near the coast, spells entertainment for the whole family - young and old. This mix of arts festival and game viewing safari, close to the unspoilt Sunshine Coast beaches, really does have something for everyone - from the bush fanatics to the theatre buff, and even the beach lover.
The National Arts Festival in Grahamstown
Africa's biggest cultural event, the Grahamstown National Arts Festival showcases the best of local South African, pan-African and international talent in a vibrant and colourful annual celebration started in 1974.
Held over about 10 days in the historic, university town of Grahamstown at the end of every June, the National Arts Festival attracts as many as over 200 000 people.
The festival offers a feast of entertainment and arts, with more than 500 shows, ranging from opera, cabaret, drama and jazz to stand-up comedy and folk music. Genres and activities include drama, dance, physical theatre, comedy, opera, music, jazz, visual art exhibitions, film, student theatre productions, street performances, lectures, crafts, workshops and a children's arts festival, as well as historic tours. Theatres pop up in every possible nook and cranny, while the parks, streets and sports fields are transformed into open-air stages and flea markets.
The Grahamstown Festival is a truly action-packed and diverse arts and culture event that oozes with talent, creativity and enthusiasm that is sure to inspire, impress and move festival goers.
The Wildlife Safari - Private Game Reserves near Grahamstown
This renowned arts festival in the quaint town of Grahamstown lies within easy reach of the Sunshine Coast and several premier game reserves. Below are some of the Best Game Reserves near Grahamstown, ordered from closest to furthest from Grahamstown.
These private game reserves offer warm hospitality, luxurious accommodation and the chance to see the Big 5 of Africa in the rugged and malaria-free Eastern Cape, rich in history, culture and wildlife!
Only 20 km's from Grahamstown
Five-star Big Five African Safari Experience at Pumba
- Gold status for environmental responsibility (The Green Leaf Initiative).
- 5-star Accommodation rating at two lodges - Pumba Water Lodge and Msenge Bush Lodge
- Big 5 (lions, leopards, buffalos, rhinos and elephants) or more than 250 bird species, over 60 different species of mammals including the White Lion.
- Soul Spa - massages, full body wraps, hot stone therapy, manicures, pedicures, facials and hydrotherapy with a steam room, gym and plunge pool.
- Numerous game viewing activities - guided walking safaris, game drives, exhilarating night drives, bass fishing, rewarding bird watching, stargazing and supervised archery practice.
- Transfers to nearby activities - golf, beach horse rides, skydiving and scuba diving.
Under 38 km's (about 30 minutes drive) from Grahamstown
Big Five Lalibela Family Safari Experience in Pan African Style
- Big 5 (lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo & leopard) and other predators - cheetah, hyena, jackal & lynx
- Other wildlife, including zebra, giraffe, warthog, impala, wildebeest, blesbuck and other antelope species.
- 5 ecosystems offering an impressive diversity of flora and fauna in 7500 hectares (about 18 500 acres)
- Private viewing decks and large watering hole attracting wildlife to the lodge.
- Abundance of birdlife seen from the rooms, pool deck (two swimming pools) and lounge area.
- Open-air boma and indoor dining serving local specialities and safari style cuisine
- Children’s programme & game drives included (children of all ages are welcome)
Between 46 and 50 km's from Grahamstown (about 40 minutes drive) and 10 minutes drive from coastal Kenton-on-Sea
Authentic Big Five Bush & Beach Kariega Safari Experience
- Close up Big 5 game viewing and multitudes of other wild animals.
- 10 000 hectares of pristine wilderness, home to rich biodiversity.
- Boat cruise or kayak down the scenic Kariega River (also features Bushman's River).
- Perfectly placed to combine with a beach holiday on the Garden Route.
Kariega Game Reserve is located near the coast, between Grahamstown and Kenton-on-Sea within close proximity of both beaches and the festival in Grahamstown, so it offers the best of three - beach, wildlife and arts!
Here are the four exclusive lodge options in Kariega Game Reserve:
- Kariega Main Lodge - relaxed and friendly, ideal for families
- Kariega Homestead - comfort, convenience and luxury
- Kariega River Lodge - one-of-a-kind offering luxurious peace and tranquility
- Kariega Ukhozi Lodge - intimate and romantic with panoramic views
Shamwari Private Game Reserve - 7 Superb Safari Lodges
About 73 km's (1 hours drive) from Grahamstown
Award-winning Five Star Big Five Luxury Shamwari Safari Experience
- Superb, close-up Big Five game viewing on the ultimate luxury African safari.
- Award-winning and world-renowned Shamwari Game Reserve.
- One of Southern Africa's most successful private conservation initiatives.
- One of the largest private game reserves in the Eastern Cape, covering 25 000 hectares.
- Hosts 5 of the 7 biomes of South Africa in one prime wilderness area.
- 3 Luxury Spas and the unique bush spa in Shamwari, one of the best private game reserves.
- Shamwari Conservation Experience - participate in unique conservation efforts at Shamwari.
World-renowned Shamwari Game Reserve Lodges:
- Shamwari Sarili Lodge - perfect luxury safari destination for families, offering upmarket accommodation in the bush.
- Shamwari Batheye Lodge - luxurious tented camp along the river, offering the ultimate in African game viewing.
- Shamwari Bushmans River Lodge - pure unadulterated luxury in a restored Victorian homestead in the African wilderness.
- Shamwari Eagles Crag Lodge - architectural triumph offering serenity and superb views, ideal for discerning travellers.
- Shamwari Lobengula Lodge - exclusive, luxury getaway in a tranquil environment, offering an authentic journey into Africa.
- Shamwari Long Lee Manor - distinctive Colonial elegance in an untamed bush setting, with luxury spa treatments.
- Shamwari Riverdene Lodge - classic colonial, family-friendly accommodation in a luxurious, elegant and stylish safari lodge.
View the 2013 Grahamstown Festival Programme