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Why Gondwana Game Reserve should be your next family safari destination

Located less than four hours from the city of Cape Town, Gondwana Game Reserve is our safari lodge of choice for families traveling to South Africa’s Garden Route. The malaria-free private reserve is home to Africa’s Big 5 – lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo and elephant –  and offers a variety of eco-friendly accommodation options, as well as an engaging Junior Ranger Experience for children from age 4 and up. Read our exclusive interview with Caroline Daniel to find out why Gondwana Game Reserve should be your next family safari destination. 

 

Game drive with expert guides through Gondwana Game Reserve

01. Gondwana Game Reserve is a firm favourite for families traveling to South Africa. Can you describe what a day on the reserve entails for families?

Gondwana is very much a family and child-friendly game reserve. All families are accommodated in the spacious and luxurious 3-bedroom Bush Villas for their comfort and convenience. 

 

Elephant outside Kwena Lodge Suites at Gondwana Game Reserve

From a game drive perspective, children under the age of 6 are not permitted on game drives for their safety however, private vehicles can be arranged for an additional fee or the other alternative is young families will be grouped together on game drives where possible upon check-in. This works very well for families with children 4 – 6 years of age. Additional family activities include mountain biking in our Protected Species area (free from predators) – we offer mountain bikes for adults and children, the Junior Ranger Programme, our Botanical Conservation Experience with our “Resident Botanist” and Bush Spa treatments for Mom and little one.

 

Engaging Junior Ranger Programme for kids that visit Gondwana Game Reserve

02. Gondwana Game Reserve offers an interactive Junior Rangers Programme. What are some experiences little ones’ can look forward to and why is the programme beneficial to children staying at Gondwana?

The Junior Ranger Programme is complimentary to all children 4 years of age and up. They receive a fun Ranger’s backpack and cool custom safari booklet upon arrival and the programme runs daily from 10h30 – 12h00. The experience includes educational family game drives, known as “Bokkie Game Drives”, which are shorter in duration and do not traverse into the heart of the reserve and interactive activities such as animal tracking and identifying mammals, birds, Fynbos species and even stars with a dedicated Junior Ranger Field Guide. The younger children’s activities are always based around the Main Lodge to stay closer to parents whereas the older “Junior Rangers” will explore further afield with a dedicated Ranger giving Mom and Dad a bit of downtime. Upon check out they are given a Level 1 Junior Ranger completion certificate signed off by their Junior Ranger as well as an instapic with their Ranger as a keepsake.

 

Gondwana Game Reserve Junior Rangers Programme certificate

They always leave Gondwana with a greater understanding of conservation and our precious ecosystem, all whilst having a safari holiday they will never forget!

 

Kids discovering Gondwana Game Reserve

03. We all know kids can be picky eaters, what does the team at Gondwana do to accommodate kiddies around the dining table?

Breakfast is a continental buffet which is always a winner with kids and we also offer a hot a la carte menu which is very flexible for the kids. For lunch and dinner, we offer yummy kids menus which include wraps, burgers and pasta dishes. If there is nothing on the menu to their liking, then our Chefs are always very flexible in whipping up something other than what’s on offer.

 

Walking safari at Gondwana Game Reserve

04. What about when mom and dad need some downtime? What experiences does Gondwana offer exclusively for adults?

We offer babysitting in the Villas so that Mom and Dad can have some downtime. Besides game drives, additional activities include mountain biking, guided fynbos bushwalks in the Protected Species Area, a botanical conservation experience with our resident Botanist and Bush Spa Treatments for Mom and Dad.

 

Guided fynbos walk at Gondwana Game Reserve

05. At Jumbari Family Safaris, we are dedicated to sustainable tourism. What is Gondwana doing to minimize its impact on the environment?

Our Owners, Mark and Wendy Rutherfoord are incredibly passionate about Conservation. The company has established “The Gondwana Conservation Foundation (GCF)” as a non-profit organization and the main aim is to contribute towards the conservation of South Africa’s threatened and endangered wildlife and vegetation relevant to the Southern Cape through active management, training and skills development of our local community. The Southern Cape is home to one of the most critically endangered vegetation types on earth being Fynbos, and we also have a high unemployment rate within the region.

 

Lions at Gondwana Game Reserve

The foundation currently has three active projects:

Conservation Education

A vital part of our conservation efforts includes the education of all our neighbouring communities and the regular hosting of community schools (grade 6 & 7s) which contributes to awareness and understanding of the value conservation brings to all of us as well as exposes them to conservation as a possible career.

Rainbow Rhino Initiative

The GCF sponsors various anti-poaching training courses annually, benefitting both the public and private sector, and is establishing a breeding population of rhino on Gondwana to distribute to protected areas.

Conservation of Critically Endangered Fynbos

Our location in the Cape Floristic Kingdom, with its critically endangered Fynbos plant species, requires very specific data collection and monitoring as well as land management with ongoing research and experimentation, to determine optimal game densities and regenerative veld burning programs. All of which are critical in sustaining its biodiversity.

 

Mountain biking at Gondwana Game Reserve

06. How can families get involved in conservation efforts at Gondwana?

We have developed a one of a kind conservation tourism experience for individuals, families or groups who want to get more involved in Africa on their safari. We offer a 3 or 5 night Eco Camp experience and have “family weeks” whereby we accommodate children over the age of 6 years of age.

Participants get involved in wildlife and veld management, learn important bush skills and interpretation, and simply enjoy a behind the scenes view of a Big Five private game reserve. The research and findings from the program are fed back to our conservation department to assist in decision making enhancing the reserve management plan. The itinerary includes plenty of game drives, bush walks, and downtime in an utterly inspiring landscape. One really gets involved in the important conservation work of a Big Five game reserve and not only enjoy but to contribute towards the Reserve. It’s very much a “working” holiday.

Want to experience a South Africa safari with your kids? Get in touch with one of Jumbari’s expert consultants to curate the perfect itinerary for you and your family at Gondwana Game Reserve.