Lalibela Game Reserve – The Eastern Cape’s hidden treasure offering

by | Mar 2, 2024

There is one South African destination that often slips below the radar of tourists and locals alike: Gqeberha. Those in the know recognise this part of South Africa as a world-class safari destination, where high-end luxury accommodation and exceptional wildlife experiences await. Located in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, the coastal city of Gqeberha (until 2021 called Port Elizabeth, also known affectionately as PE) is home to South Africa’s third-largest port. The city with the small towns of Uitenhage and Despatch comprise the metropolitan area of Nelson Mandela Bay.

So what makes this gem of the Eastern Cape so special? Beyond Gqeberha itself, which is steeped in history, tradition, and culture, the area is a paradise for nature lovers. Its coastline, lapped by the clear and temperate waters of the Indian Ocean, is one of its biggest drawcards. Visitors can enjoy an array of watersports, including surfing, sailing, windsurfing, kiteboarding, and scuba diving, or simply relax on Hobie Beach, Humewood Beach, or Kings Beach (all Blue Flag beaches). This coastal area is also home to southern right whales, great white sharks, Bryde’s whales, bottlenose dolphins, Cape fur seals, and many other marine species.

Kichaka Lodge x | Lalibela Game Reserve - The Eastern Cape's hidden treasure offering | it's a Sher thing

Just outside Gqeberha, lush landscapes lure birders, hikers, and wildlife lovers. The Cape Recife Nature Reserve is home to the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB), where you may have an opportunity to see the release of rescued penguins, while Van Stadens Wild Flower Reserve to the west boasts a stunning array of indigenous plants. Most importantly, Gqeberha is the gateway to the Lalibela Game Reserve and an exceptional safari experience. Just an hour’s drive through rolling green hills from Chief Dawid Stuurman International Airport (make sure to stop off en route at the famous Nanaga Farm Stall), Lalibela Game Reserve offers visitors one of the finest game-viewing experiences in the country, and luxury accommodation across six unique lodges.

Cheetah | Lalibela Game Reserve - The Eastern Cape's hidden treasure offering | it's a Sher thing

Lalibela is a malaria-free reserve spanning five biomes, a feature that allows for an array of wildlife habitats sustaining a dense population of free-roaming wildlife, including the iconic Big 5 (elephant, lion, rhino, buffalo and leopard), cheetah, hippo, and giraffe, and antelope such as wildebeest, zebra, blesbok, impala, and eland. The twice-daily game-viewing experience at Lalibela is unparalleled – it’s normal to see giraffe, elephant, lion, hippo, buffalo and cheetah all in one drive, while your highly trained guide drops fascinating facts about the animals and the surrounding area with its rich floral kingdom.

Cuisine | Lalibela Game Reserve - The Eastern Cape's hidden treasure offering | it's a Sher thing

Each of Lalibela’s six luxury lodges offers a distinct and unique safari experience. For family-friendly fun, Mark’s Camp is the perfect place, while Tree Tops and Inzolo Lodges offer secluded indulgence amid untouched surroundings. Lentaba Lodge’s relaxed and welcoming offering overlooks a bushveld valley, while the five-star Kichaka Lodge and Mills Manor both take the safari experience to a new level of sophistication and opulence.

Outside dining area | Lalibela Game Reserve - The Eastern Cape's hidden treasure offering | it's a Sher thing

Most notably, a trip to Lalibela is more than just a safari experience: it’s a commitment to nature and the people of South Africa. At core, Lalibela is a conservation project, meaning all profits are reinvested in preserving this natural wonder, and supporting the development and upskilling of nearby communities.

Book your stay at Lalibela today https://lalibela.net/.

I’m just a girl who loves new beauty products, alternating between being a blonde and a brunette, travel tips, parenting hacks, eating out, and having fun!

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I’m just a girl who loves new beauty products, alternating between being a blonde and a brunette, travel tips, parenting hacks, eating out, and having fun!

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