Our recent family holiday saw us spend a few nights at Gondwana Game Reserve and Hog Hollow on the Garden Route as well as some time in Oudtshoorn, where we visited the family favourites of an ostrich farm and the Cango Caves.
Today I’m sharing more about where we stayed… Buffelsdrift Game Lodge, an affordable family-friendly game reserve in the Klein Karoo and just off Route 62.
After driving all morning and then stopping off out our first outing we were only too pleased to finally arrive at our destination. And the first thing that greeted us was the sight of 3 elephants taking a drink at the huge dam right in front of the Buffelsdrift reception area!
We sat down to soak in the view from the deck, which was to become one of our favourite things to do at Buffelsdrift especially as it is also a great spot to watch the weavers at work while sipping a decadent hot chocolate – something we made time for each afternoon. You know… the priorities of holidays!
A a short while later made our way via golf cart to our room… a luxury tent with 2 bedrooms and a shared bathroom with outdoor shower and views over the dam.
We stayed in one of the 4 family tents at Buffelsdrift. Our room was such a unique experience for all of us and we loved it. The temperatures during our stay went down as low as zero and we were very grateful for the air-conditioning unit with a warming function and the electric blankets on our beds… in retrospect I should have left them on all night though!!
The family units can accommodate a family of up to 5 people and are located near to the waterhole but set a bit back with an elevated view of the Swartberg Mountains and are surrounded by Karoo fynbos and bushveld.
It wasn’t long until it was time to head back to the main lodge to join the other guests heading out on a game drive around the reserve. Game drives here are booked as separate activities so you don’t head out every morning and evening as at other game lodges so we really didn’t want to miss this chance. We wrapped up warmly and hit the road, menacing storm clouds above threatening to break at any moment!
Besides seeing a fair amount of game (more of that in the next post) we were lucky enough to dodge the rain and rather watch it from afar while enjoying sundowners with a view. And what a view! The vantage point from the highest point at Buffelsdrift commanded an incredible vista across the Klein Karoo with our tented camp far below us.
Our drive home provided us with another aspect of Buffelsdrift – from across the dam and we were lucky enough to spot the elusive hippos on their way back from their early evening swim!
After our exciting game drive, we headed back to our room to warm up and the winding walk back meant we were able to enjoy the most spectacular sunset before heading up to the restaurant for supper.
The a la carte restaurant at Buffelsdrift is open to the public for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as drinks & sundowners on the surrounding deck overlooking the waterhole and if you’re passing through the area I highly recommend you pop in for a meal or drink just to enjoy the view. You might even be lucky enough to spot some wildlife too!
The following day the wind chill factor was quite high so we opted to spend the day chilling in our tent… and didn’t feel any guilt about it at all! After all spending the day enjoying the view from our bed, watching a family movie all crammed between the king sized sheet, indulging in a lazy afternoon nap and picnicking on our veranda while playing games are what holidays are meant to be about, right!? There was even time for Ben to get out his sketch book and draw the scene set before us of a nyala peacefully feeding off the bushes right outside our tent!
For someone like myself, who always has a list of places to see and things to do, it was quite unheard of to spend a day like this and my husband was celebrating… no driving, no tick list, no people to meet. Nowhere to go and nothing to do. All we could do was unwind and relax, well, aside from our short jaunt to feed the elephants, but more on that later! It really was one of the best days on our family holiday… relaxing in a beautiful tent at Buffelsdrift while overlooking a special view can’t be too bad a way to spend a day!
However, don’t be fooled, there are a lot of options for things to do right on the Buffelsdrift property. This means that once you arrive you don’t have to leave until you check out! Choose from an array of animal activities suitable for the whole family: African Bush Safaris, Meerkat Safaris, Elephant Feeding, Walking & Riding Experiences. At Buffelsdrift you pay extra for your extras so you can opt to do as many or as few activities as you like, according to your budget. What that means is that Buffelsdrift is an affordable option for a family-friendly safari experience.
Over the next few days I’ll be sharing more about our experiences of some of the activities mentioned above so come back soon to find out more about our stay at Buffelsdrift.
P.S. Have you driven Route 62. It’s a really recommended route through the country – a great alternative to the N2 when driving up or down the Garden Route. When we drove the road it was pretty much deserted and we felt like we had the road to ourselves, making for a very pleasant trip. Pass through small country towns like Calitzdorp for a spot of shopping at some of the best Port wineries in South Africa and drive through gorgeous mountain ranges, fields, orchards and vineyards all the while soaking in the scenery.
Images: Kathryn Rossiter