Guided game drive
Only half an hour’s drive from where we currently live, is Inkwenkwezi Private Game Reserve. So, instead of doing our weekly grocery shopping on a Saturday morning, we decided it will be much more fun to go on a guided game drive … I’m sure you will agree this is indeed way better than doing shopping 😄.
Inkwenkwezi Private Game Reserve:
You will find this private game reserve only 50km (31 miles) from East London Airport. It’s in the heart of the Wild Coast and have 4 of the Big 5 animals (the elephants were causing too much trouble for the neighbouring farms which surround this reserve). It’s a malaria free zone and because it’s on the Wild Coast, beautiful beaches are close by – sounds like a win-win situation to us!
Inkwenkwezi offers different types of guided game drives – you can choose between early morning-, afternoon- or a sunset game drive. And there are a whole lot of other things to do … like quad bike tours and guided forest walks, oh yes, and you can stay in their amazing accommodation should you so wish.
But for this post, we will concentrate on our 3-hour game drive early in the morning …
As we were driving into the game reserve, we spotted some zebras close to the road.
Before our departure, we walked around Inkwenkwezi’s garden to take some photo’s. The staff were busy preparing for a wedding that were taking place there later in the morning and they were busy decorating their lovely restaurant with white linen and flowers. I think you must be very fortunate to have your wedding here on Inkwenkwezi Private Game Reserve … for one, the photo’s should be pretty impressive!
We enjoyed complimentary hot drinks while Gareth, our guide, got the vehicle ready for us. At 8:30 we left from the main building for a very relaxing 3-hour drive through the scenic landscape of Inkwenwezi. It was just the two of us on the game drive with Gareth, which was great. He stopped on our requests to take some photo’s and answered our many questions effortlessly.
The first part of the drive goes through a very dense area and we did not see any animals (though, I’m sure they were there between the thick bushes and high trees). As we got to the open area of the reserve, we started to see wild animals.
The first animals we encountered were two ostriches. And we were very privileged to experience the ‘male mating dance’. The male ‘danced’ low to the ground to signal to the female that he was ready to mate. Even the female showed brooding behaviour and it was quite a sight to watch these two performing for quite some time!
Gareth mentioned that they are experiencing a ‘green drought’ at the moment. This means there is just enough rain to make the reserve look lush, but not enough to relieve dry conditions. (★)
Our next sight was of a herd of impalas. This is a medium-sized antelope that are mostly found in eastern and southern Africa. They were widespread in the reserve and we saw them often.
And then we spotted a couple of giraffes. It’s always great to see them in the wild … it’s of course not the same ones we saw three weeks ago on our houseboat trip, but they felt like old friends.
On one of the highest points we could see the Indian Ocean in the distance. This is just a reminder that we are only a short distance from the sea and that the beautiful beaches are very accessible.
We were now approaching the highlight of the game drive, namely a drive through the lion camp. As we entered the camp, we got the smell of dead animals. The lions were fed the previous day and Gareth warned that we might not see them since their tummies are full and that they are probably sleeping between the dense bushes.
We drove around for quite some time … Gareth mentioned that the scary thing is they know we’re there and can see us, while we can’t see them. But we could hear a light roar every now and then … eventually we saw a male and female busy … well, you know … busy doing their thing 😉. When they saw us, they relaxed and laid down next to each other.
After a while, we left these two and drove one more time around to see if we can spot more lions. And we were lucky with the sight of another male and female. They were quite happy laying in the sun and we were able to take a couple more pictures.
We spent at least half an hour in the lion camp and we really enjoyed our time here. Gareth went out of his way to find the lions so we could see them up close… it was, well, it was just amazing.
As we left the camp, Gareth parked our 4×4 on a high hill. He offered us some cold drinks and water while we could stretch our legs a bit. After all the excitement of seeing the lions, I said that I need to ‘wee’. And we had such a laugh when Gareth said: “Well, any tree is a lava-tree”!
From here, we drove for another 45 minutes back to the main building. We saw more impalas and zebras, but the other bigger animals (like the rhino, kudu and wildebeest) were nowhere to be found. That didn’t really matter, because to us it was just great being out in nature (and we did saw the lions)!
On our way back, close to a river, we spotted a leguaan (‘likkewaan’ in Afrikaans) baking in the hot sun.
Just before leaving the dense area, we drove through a river. Gareth stopped here so we could take some photos and just enjoy the tranquility.
Now … this was wayyyy better than a shopping trip, don’t you agree? We would love to visit Inkwenkwezi Private Game Reserve again at some time to see whether we can spot other animals as well. But we left more than happy after a great morning in nature. And Gareth was not just a very knowledgeable guide, but also a great 4×4 driver … he took us with ease on a very rough road!
After the game drive, we just had to drive down to the Indian Ocean we saw from the high viewpoint in Inkwenkwezi Private Game Reserve. We drove to Cintsa beach to see it from closer and then walked over to The Jolly Roger Pub where we enjoyed hot drinks – the perfect way of concluding an amazing morning.
(★) The good news is that since we left Inkwenkwezi, it started to rain that afternoon … and it rained continuously for 2 days. Hopefully this will bring some welcome relieve.