The Big 5 at Kariega Game Reserve

by Helen Wright on 24 May 2013, 11:05AM

The Kariega Game Reserve is a beautiful and deceptively large Game Park nestled in the heart of the Eastern Cape of South Africa, just outside the seaside town of Kenton-on-Sea. Last week I spend a day on the reserve, and what a day it was!


Even before entering the reserve I spotted a hippo, and during the short meander up to reception I saw blesbuck, zebra, impala and a massive tortoise – the game viewing experience had already begun!


Just spending the day admiring the views and peeking at all the facilities (swimming pool, gym, spa etc) that the reserve offers would have been enough of a treat, but I was also taken on, not one, but two game drives.

If you forget to pack a hat (as I did), there’s no need to worry! My guide, noting my lack of head gear, disappeared and returned with a rather fetching khaki green Kariega floppy hat, which will go wonderfully well with any safari outfit. The Game Rangers are very friendly and knowledgeable, as well as humourously informative. Apparently giraffes used to have short necks, but then one got on the wrong side of Chuck Norris…


Being present for the release of the Reserve’s newly acquired serval was the definite highlight of the day! Serval are beautiful, spotty, big eared wild cats that are indigenous to the Eastern Cape, but their numbers have dwindled significantly during recent times. For this reason, the Kariega Game Reserve, in an attempt at re-establishing them to the area, has introduced four serval - two males and two females. The males have been running free on the reserve for six months now, but the females only arrived two months ago and so were still in their make shift enclosure. This was necessary to ensure that they are healthy and acclimatised to their new surroundings before having to fend for themselves. I am happy to report that after tentatively creeping from their enclosures; they quickly began jumping and pouncing in the grass, sending the rats scuttling for their holes!


The Kariega Game Reserve boasts the Big 5, but also has an abundance of other game that make for exciting sightings. During my day visit I was delighted to see giraffe, zebra, nyala, waterbuck, blesbuck, blue wildebeest, impala, jackal, warthogs, caracal, hippo, white rhino and lions including three lion cubs. We must have watched the latter for an hour as thirst and the evening chill compelled us to move on. We stopped on a hillside for refreshments and watched the most gorgeous African sunset. The skyline was lit with streaks of fierce orange lava, soft pink clouds and a baby blue sky, which drew the perfect end to a beautiful day.


To find out more, just click here

Author Bio: Helen Wright is a South African photographer and blogger, who was based in the Eastern Cape and is now exploring the world on a cruise ship. 

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