A short drive from Grahamstown on the road towards Kenton-on-Sea you will come across the main gate to Kariega Game Reserve. The reserve is made up of two parts: the non-predator side and the predator side. This makes it perfect for families as the family lodges are situated in the non-predator side of the reserve.
My colleague Rhynhardt and I were met by Natasha our host for the night. We enjoyed a great lunch with the general manager, Alan Wyers (a more knowledgeable man on the history of the Eastern Cape you will not find) and Natasha showed us around the Ukhozi Lodge and Main Lodge. Both lodges have rooms that come with private plunge pools which is something I would definitely request when booking.
We then headed to The Homestead. This is perfect for families as it is a sole-use villa that sleeps 10 people. It comes with your own game vehicle, ranger and chef allowing the guest to tailor-make their safari experience. It is situated in the predator side of the reserve however it is fenced and from what I saw, no lion will be going anywhere near the house; the security was pretty good.
It was then off to River Lodge – Karigea’s five star option. The setting of this lodge is unbelievable, right on the river. Natasha the manager of the lodge and our host could not do enough for us. Anything we wanted and needed was on hand before we knew we wanted and needed it. Rupert our game ranger was also only too happy to oblige with our request of what animals we wanted to see and when we wanted to stop for a drink. The afternoon game drive was great and all the animals in the reserve played their part by coming to have a look at us.
Dinner was great as all the guests sit with each other and therefore lots of talking and lots of wine was had by all. The next morning we went on a cruise down the river which was an extremely peaceful experience, again the hippos and the rhinos played their part. After breakfast it was back in the boat and off to the beach for the afternoon.
Kariega was great fun and the hospitality was outstanding. I would definitely recommend it for families as there is so much more to do than just morning and afternoon game drives. It really was a great experience!