The same friend who accompanied me for A Day @ Knysna Oyster Festival (read blog here) joined for a full day’s safari @ Botlierskop Private Game Reserve. And what an amazing overall experience we got to enjoy!!
Arriving at the Day Center in time for our morning GAME DRIVE, we were welcomed by a warm fireplace, filter coffee and traditional eats (koeksisters and rusks) before hopping onto the open-air vehicle, off to go spot 4 of the Big 5, amongst others.
Set on a sprawling 3000 hectare, malaria-free private game reserve, the 3 hour game drive took us on a round-trip during which we experienced close encounters with giraffe, lions, rhinoceros, buffalo, Mountain Zebra, rare Black Impala, Eland and Elephants. The well stocked & free roaming reserve is home to over 26 different species of animals and more than 200 bird species. Fauna and flora abound.
A personal favorite was the ancient ‘Mother Tree’, standing strong & solo in an open field, to which we could not resist giving a big bear hug!
Did you know: Botlierskop is proud of their relationship with the IFAW, which enabled them to assist in the rescue of 3 African lions, kept in a separate 100 hectare enclosure. In addition, they keep their Rhinos protected & safe from poachers prying eyes, by keeping their horns ‘trimmed’…don’t worry, it’s like hair. It grows back!
Our guide was extremely knowledgeable and patient with all our questions and requests: “Can we stay with the lions just a little longer, please?” “Please take ANOTHER photo of us with the giraffe” (after the 26th).
Coming to the end of our drive, we stopped at a beautiful look-out point: The Reserve set in the picturesque valley to our right, Mossel Bay in the nearby distance to our left, the sparkling Indian Ocean on one side with the Outeniqua Mountain range on the other. Safari with magnificent views…what a bonus!
Interesting fact: Botlierskop is named after one of the spectacular mushroom-like rock formations on the reserve. The odd shaped “koppie” is a landmark in this area. A visit to this ‘koppie’ could not be missed.
The last stop-over was at the elephants. The family of 3 (dad, mom and baby) are all well trained, with Elephant Back Rides, Picnic with Elephants & Elephant Feeding as daily activities on offer. Unfortunately time didn’t allow for us to partake in any of these, but we did get some great photos!
p.s. For those who have watched ‘There’s a Zulu on my Stoep’ (South African production – a MUST see) the mother elephant starred in this movie. She’s a real legend!
Bit of History: Dr Dirk Neethling, who’s been in the game farming industry since 1960, bought a few neighboring farms in 1996 and combined it to create Botlierskop. After 4 years recovering from domestic farming, the reserve was ready to open to open its doors, welcoming guests to experience the beautiful Cape environment as nature intended, with wild animals roaming freely.
We elegantly disembarked onto a wooden platform leading into the Main Lodge. After a warm welcome by the receptionist and chit-chat, we were shown to our table set outside. Being a perfect Winter’s sunshine day, we enjoyed basking in the sun and taking in the beautiful vistas surrounding us. Lunch was ordered and we were super impressed by the presentation, flavor and reasonable price. 4* Cuisine without breaking the bank – yay!!
Drinks and dessert followed, by the rim-flow pool side of course. Time to relax, reflect and rejuvenate (as the Afrikaans saying goes: Maagie vol, oogies toe aka Tummy full, eyes closed – cat nap prrrrr)
Then time came to jump up and onto our 4-legged companions for an hour’s HORSEBACK SAFARI. Located nearby the Manor House, a short stroll from the Main Lodge, we greeted our fellow-rider guides, met our horses and set off into the reserve. Highlights of this 1/2/3 hour activity: a) The horses are very chilled/well trained, a special breed adapted to getting close to animals in the ‘wild’ b) Unique way of experiencing a Safari c) You get very close to the animals, great for photo opportunities d) Gallop on the open plains (we loved it).
If you’re a horse lover, this outride come highly recommended. Again, our guides were most knowledgeable and informed us on the fauna, flora and animals (big and small) we came in close contact to.
Last but not least…one of my personal favorites: SITE INSPECTION!
Botlierskop offers 4* rated accommodation, with a choice between The Manor House (4 Suites in total, accommodating children younger than 6 yrs old) or the unique Luxury Tented Lodge.
First stop was the The Manor House. Recently restored, this original old farm house (dating back to the mid 1800’s) offers 4 beautifully appointed rooms, each en-suite and spacious. Set on the plains of the reserve, enjoy views from your private patio of game roaming freely, literally on your doorstep! Suited for FAMILIES with kids under 6 yrs old or group of people wanting an exclusive Safari Villa (you can even hire your own private butler).
Next were the Tented Suites. We saw both the units on the other side of the Moordkuil River (a home-made yet reliable platform with pulley system saw us safely across), also those nearby the Main Lodge. Walking up to the first unit, we were led past a buffalo (I could have put my hand out to touch it…but better judgment said rather not try), through a canopy of trees, around a corner and onto the balcony of a stunning tented suite. Very romantic, secluded and tranquil setting indeed (as are all their tented units). Each unit was carefully built, as to be incorporated into the surrounding bushveld. Tented Suites are ideal for couples seeking a ROMANTIC GETAWAYS, also families with kids over 6 years old. Their family unit has 3 sleeper couches for ages 6 to 12. They’ll sure love playing ‘monkey business’ in the hammock suspended between two trees as well!
Besides the latter, our favorite aspect of the Tented Suites was the large oval baths and outdoor showers. Shower and bath under the stars…simply love-ly!
Last but not least, we were shown the Bush Spa. Enjoy intimacy with nature! – 2 massage rooms available (the inter-leading sliding door can be opened to make one large room, allowing for couple treatments), both are en-suite with large showers where sunrays beam in through the skylights! A separate Bush Sauna is a short distance away. A designated outdoor wooden platform, surrounded by trees nearby the river, is utilized for outdoor treatments, or alternatively private Bush Dinners for Two (great to pop that special question, guys –hint hint!)
Evening was drawing near and we had to be on our merry way. We thanked everyone for a most wonderful day, said our farewells and set off into the sunset, saying in unison: ‘We’ll be back!’
A visit to Botlierskop is a must for anyone (from 1st time safari goers to avid safari travellers) wanting to experience a unique South African Safari without burning a hole in your pocket!
It’s the perfect start to your GARDEN ROUTE ITINERARY.
SAFARI ACTIVITIES ON OFFER:
- Guided Game Drives
- Horseback Safaris
- Elephant Back Safaris
- Catwalk / Walk with Lions
- Helicopter flights
- Picnic with Elephants
- Elephant Feeding
- Bush Spa
Conference Facilities also on offer (at the Main Lodge).
Dedicated Day Visitors Center upon entrance.
Conveniently situated an easy 25 minute minute drive from Mossel Bay, in the direction of George, and is actually very easy to find. A mere 4-hour scenic drive from Cape Town.