Venture inland from the enigmatic seaside towns of the Wild Coast to discover unspoiled grassland and savanna landscapes dotted with traditional Xhosa villages, unique sceneries, and plentiful wildlife. The malaria-free Eastern Cape is an underrated secret safari destination, boasting everything from abundant elephants in Addo to skulking big cats in several private reserves. The best part? You can expect minimal crowds in this wild destination.
The malaria-free Eastern Cape is an extraordinarily beautiful safari destination. Nature-lovers will be delighted by its unique landscapes of undulating green hills dotted with colourful Xhosa homesteads, sprawling rivers, and wildlife. Several game reserves in the Eastern Cape boast the Big 5 plus other charismatic creatures like giraffes, zebras, warthogs and hyenas. Experience enormous herds of elephants amidst the thicket, wonder at fierce big cats prowling along plains and peer skyward at soaring birds of prey. The wide selection of award-winning reserves in the area offer a unique array of scenery, animals, activities and conservation feats. The best part of visiting these lesser-trodden spots is that there aren't enormous crowds, meaning you could enjoy the sighting of a pride of lions at a waterhole all to yourself!
Listen to the rumbling bellies of hundreds of elephants at a waterhole
Catch cheetah posing atop anthills while on a game drive
Come face-to-face with wildlife on an exhilarating horseback safari
Go on an educational walking safari where you'll learn about – and get up close to – the local flora and fauna
Experience a traditional Xhosa meal and dance at a local village
Canoe down a meandering river straddled by untamed wilderness
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Best time to go to Eastern Cape Game Reserves
The Eastern Cape has a Goldilocks climate – not too hot, not too cold – with plenty of sunshine, making it a prime year-round destination. The best time to visit for wildlife viewing is in the dry winter season from May to September as the foliage is sparse and animals flock to water sources. The winter nights can be very cold, so you will need your fleece and beanie. Between October and April, reserves are busier owing to the warm weather. You can also enjoy an abundance of baby animals, spring flowers and migratory birds during this period.
Featured Eastern Cape Game Reserves stays
Addo African Home
An unforgettable green escape at the end of the Garden Route