"The Eastern Cape, second largest of South Africa’s nine provinces, is quite possibly the most enchanting of them all. From the immense spaces of the semi-arid Karoo in the western interior and the dense coastal Tsitsikamma forest near Knysna, the landscape transitions along 820km of mostly rugged, unspoilt coastline into the alluring wilderness and some of South Africa’s other top game reserves, including Kwandwe and Shamwari. Take your time here: there is so much to explore.”

- Narina Exelby

Eastern Cape Game Reserves

While Kruger is the flagship of South Africa’s parks, when it comes to areas of abundant wild spaces the malaria-free Eastern Cape really is hard to beat. The private game reserves – including Big 5 destinations Amakhala Game Reserve and Kariega Game Reserve – deliver safari luxury that’s on a par with the best camps on the continent; the national parks offer incredible game-viewing and bush-walking opportunities, and the varied landscapes and ecosystems mean that almost with every kilometre travelled, there is something different to see.

There is frontier-war history at Kwandwe Private Nature Reserve, which is also home to rare and endangered wildlife including black-footed cat, blue crane, black wildebeest and black rhino. Here, accommodation is an absolute delight with exquisite views, luxurious comfort and unique style weighing in in equal measures. At Shamwari Private Game Reserve, revered for its outstanding game-viewing opportunities, there are six private lodges scattered around the reserve. Guests at Shamwari experience life in the bush in utter luxury, and accommodation varies from a gracious colonial-style manor house to a five-star family-friendly lodge and tranquil safari tents.

The Garden Route National Park and Addo Elephant National Park (which boasts the Big 7 –great white sharks and Southern right whales have been added to the traditional Big 5) are ever popular, and the small, understated Mountain Zebra and evocative Camdeboo national parks are particularly special. A visit to nearby Nieu Bethesda at the foot of the Sneeuberg mountains is well worth it: the town, where sculptor Helen Martins’ intriguing Owl House is the main drawcard, has become a gathering point for creative folk.

North-east of East London, the pristine beaches of the aptly named Wild Coast remain wonderfully off the beaten track.

When to go

Find out when is best to visit

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SUMMER

A beautiful time to visit with plenty of sunshine and warm weather. The Eastern Cape does occasionally experience heat waves during these months with temperatures climbing over 35°C/95°F, for this reason you will find safari activities taking place at sun rise and late evening to take advantage of the cooler conditions.

The Eastern Cape is situated between KwaZulu Natal and the Western Cape and its climate is a bit of a mixture of the two. Its coastal areas enjoy both a subtropical and Mediterranean climate while inland things get a bit hotter. The geographic location between the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean give the region rather mixed rainfall patterns, with no distinct dry period as found within the Western Cape. Rainfall amounts are however usually minimal with plenty of sunshine throughout the year!

SUMMER

A beautiful time to visit with plenty of sunshine and warm weather. The Eastern Cape does occasionally experience heat waves during these months with temperatures climbing over 35°C/95°F, for this reason you will find safari activities taking place at sun rise and late evening to take advantage of the cooler conditions.

The Eastern Cape is situated between KwaZulu Natal and the Western Cape and its climate is a bit of a mixture of the two. Its coastal areas enjoy both a subtropical and Mediterranean climate while inland things get a bit hotter. The geographic location between the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean give the region rather mixed rainfall patterns, with no distinct dry period as found within the Western Cape. Rainfall amounts are however usually minimal with plenty of sunshine throughout the year!

AUTUMN

With more pleasant midday highs and generally clear conditions this remains a fantastic time of year to visit.

The Eastern Cape is situated between KwaZulu Natal and the Western Cape and its climate is a bit of a mixture of the two. Its coastal areas enjoy both a subtropical and Mediterranean climate while inland things get a bit hotter. The geographic location between the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean give the region rather mixed rainfall patterns, with no distinct dry period as found within the Western Cape. Rainfall amounts are however usually minimal with plenty of sunshine throughout the year!

AUTUMN

With more pleasant midday highs and generally clear conditions this remains a fantastic time of year to visit.

The Eastern Cape is situated between KwaZulu Natal and the Western Cape and its climate is a bit of a mixture of the two. Its coastal areas enjoy both a subtropical and Mediterranean climate while inland things get a bit hotter. The geographic location between the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean give the region rather mixed rainfall patterns, with no distinct dry period as found within the Western Cape. Rainfall amounts are however usually minimal with plenty of sunshine throughout the year!

WINTER

The Eastern Capes location so close to the Indian Ocean offers much more pleasant midday temperatures in comparison to the Western Cape, averaging around 20°C/68°F. Morning can be a little cool, so do pack some warm clothes!

The Eastern Cape is situated between KwaZulu Natal and the Western Cape and its climate is a bit of a mixture of the two. Its coastal areas enjoy both a subtropical and Mediterranean climate while inland things get a bit hotter. The geographic location between the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean give the region rather mixed rainfall patterns, with no distinct dry period as found within the Western Cape. Rainfall amounts are however usually minimal with plenty of sunshine throughout the year!

WINTER

The Eastern Capes location so close to the Indian Ocean offers much more pleasant midday temperatures in comparison to the Western Cape, averaging around 20°C/68°F. Morning can be a little cool, so do pack some warm clothes!

The Eastern Cape is situated between KwaZulu Natal and the Western Cape and its climate is a bit of a mixture of the two. Its coastal areas enjoy both a subtropical and Mediterranean climate while inland things get a bit hotter. The geographic location between the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean give the region rather mixed rainfall patterns, with no distinct dry period as found within the Western Cape. Rainfall amounts are however usually minimal with plenty of sunshine throughout the year!

WINTER

The Eastern Capes location so close to the Indian Ocean offers much more pleasant midday temperatures in comparison to the Western Cape, averaging around 20°C/68°F. Morning can be a little cool, so do pack some warm clothes!

The Eastern Cape is situated between KwaZulu Natal and the Western Cape and its climate is a bit of a mixture of the two. Its coastal areas enjoy both a subtropical and Mediterranean climate while inland things get a bit hotter. The geographic location between the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean give the region rather mixed rainfall patterns, with no distinct dry period as found within the Western Cape. Rainfall amounts are however usually minimal with plenty of sunshine throughout the year!

WINTER

The Eastern Capes location so close to the Indian Ocean offers much more pleasant midday temperatures in comparison to the Western Cape, averaging around 20°C/68°F. Morning can be a little cool, so do pack some warm clothes!

The Eastern Cape is situated between KwaZulu Natal and the Western Cape and its climate is a bit of a mixture of the two. Its coastal areas enjoy both a subtropical and Mediterranean climate while inland things get a bit hotter. The geographic location between the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean give the region rather mixed rainfall patterns, with no distinct dry period as found within the Western Cape. Rainfall amounts are however usually minimal with plenty of sunshine throughout the year!

SPRING

With more pleasant midday highs and generally clear conditions this remains a fantastic time of year to visit.

The Eastern Cape is situated between KwaZulu Natal and the Western Cape and its climate is a bit of a mixture of the two. Its coastal areas enjoy both a subtropical and Mediterranean climate while inland things get a bit hotter. The geographic location between the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean give the region rather mixed rainfall patterns, with no distinct dry period as found within the Western Cape. Rainfall amounts are however usually minimal with plenty of sunshine throughout the year!

SPRING

With more pleasant midday highs and generally clear conditions this remains a fantastic time of year to visit.

The Eastern Cape is situated between KwaZulu Natal and the Western Cape and its climate is a bit of a mixture of the two. Its coastal areas enjoy both a subtropical and Mediterranean climate while inland things get a bit hotter. The geographic location between the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean give the region rather mixed rainfall patterns, with no distinct dry period as found within the Western Cape. Rainfall amounts are however usually minimal with plenty of sunshine throughout the year!

SUMMER

A beautiful time to visit with plenty of sunshine and warm weather. The Eastern Cape does occasionally experience heat waves during these months with temperatures climbing over 35°C/95°F, for this reason you will find safari activities taking place at sun rise and late evening to take advantage of the cooler conditions.

The Eastern Cape is situated between KwaZulu Natal and the Western Cape and its climate is a bit of a mixture of the two. Its coastal areas enjoy both a subtropical and Mediterranean climate while inland things get a bit hotter. The geographic location between the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean give the region rather mixed rainfall patterns, with no distinct dry period as found within the Western Cape. Rainfall amounts are however usually minimal with plenty of sunshine throughout the year!

SUMMER

A beautiful time to visit with plenty of sunshine and warm weather. The Eastern Cape does occasionally experience heat waves during these months with temperatures climbing over 35°C/95°F, for this reason you will find safari activities taking place at sun rise and late evening to take advantage of the cooler conditions.

The Eastern Cape is situated between KwaZulu Natal and the Western Cape and its climate is a bit of a mixture of the two. Its coastal areas enjoy both a subtropical and Mediterranean climate while inland things get a bit hotter. The geographic location between the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean give the region rather mixed rainfall patterns, with no distinct dry period as found within the Western Cape. Rainfall amounts are however usually minimal with plenty of sunshine throughout the year!

Explore Eastern Cape Game Reserves Properties

Kariega Settlers Drift

Kariega Settlers Drift

Kariega Settles Drift is a blissful retreat in a remote valley of Kariega Game Reserve. Peering down into the Bushman’s river, the lodge has a soothing and modern design, opulent tents and stylish communal areas balancing a ..

Kwandwe Ecca Lodge

Kwandwe Ecca Lodge

Ecca Lodge is a stylish and innovative property in the heart of Kwandwe Private Game Reserve. This hillside lodge, with its ‘funky farmhouse’ décor, private wraparound decks and plunge pools in every suite, is the perfect ..

Kwandwe Great Fish River Lodge

Kwandwe Great Fish River Lodge

A luxurious accommodation situated in the game-rich Kwandwe Reserve, Kwandwe Great River Fish Lodge is a classically designed lodge with heaps of African-style décor and magnificent views. Perfect for enjoying the endless ..

What People Say

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  • The personalised service provided was far beyond my expectations. A three week trip visiting four countries in Africa, multiple game reserves, wineries and much, much more was flawless. While a close encounter with a leopard and her cubs…

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