The best game reserves in South Africa are in the north east part of the country. We didn’t have enough time to visit Kruger national park which was highly recommended by everyone we spoke to. However, on our drive along the Garden Route, we came across a private reserve aptly called Garden Route Game Drive. Some of the animals are not native to the cape area and are imported from other parts of the country. This works out great for tourists like ourselves who have limited time but would still like to see animals in the wild.
The drive lasted about 2 hours. The animals are kept behind electric fences to prevent them from escaping, and also to protect them from poachers. Rhinos in particular are heavily poached. Several game lodges in the area have reportedly been broken into and the rhinos de-horned and left to die. Some lodges have taken to de-horning their own rhinos so they are no longer attractive to poachers. Sad that this has to happen. The rhino horn is said to have curative powers and can fetch hundreds of thousands of US dollars in Asia.
Aside from rhinos, we saw giraffes, springbok, eland, red hartebeest, wildebeest, zebras, elephants and ostriches. We also caught a glimpse of a lioness. Lions are apparently so aggressive that they will kill even if they are not hungry. Therefore, they are kept in an enclosure by themselves, and we could not get too close for safety reasons. It was interesting to discover that different herd animals graze together for greater safety from predators. We saw a baby giraffe which was described as “dreamy” since she would daydream and get left behind by her parents. When we spotted her, she was with a small herd of eland. We were told she periodically reunites with her parents.
We felt very lucky to have the opportunity to see all these animals. If we return, we will definitely set aside at least three days to visit one of the national parks.