If you’re wondering where to see wildlife in South Africa, look no further than Inverdoorn Game Reserve and its private Kuganha camp. The reserve offers glamping with a side of safari—and therefore, it’s a must-do trip!
Few things can match sleeping in a remote, private game reserve with elephants and giraffes as your only neighbors. Kuganha Private Camp, an upscale extension of South Africa’s Inverdoorn Game Reserve, had us smack dab in the middle of the wildlife action, with elephants visiting our pool and giraffes snacking along our driveway. I repeat: Giraffes were chomping away just steps from my tent. (#@$*&#*$!!)
The Kuganha experience was a blessing and a curse; from this point forward I struggle to imagine a more perfect wildlife getaway. (Although I’m open to trying more to find out…) If you’re considering a game reserve to visit during your time in South Africa, here are five reasons to consider Kuganha:
1. Revenue helps rescued animals
Inverdoorn Game Reserve offers more than a cool safari camp; they put revenue toward the reserve’s rescued animals. From lions rescued at caged-hunting facilities (where people “hunt” lions in cages, and pretend they shot the animals in the wild—gross on so many fronts) to elephants rescued from riding camps and circuses, Inverdoorn gives animals in-need a new shot at freedom in its expansive reserve. (Our guide, Simon, told us most camps turn away these rescued animals because they require more work, care, and funds.)
2. You can have safe wildlife encounters
Instead of, say, riding an elephant (which you should never, never do), guests can feed elephants at the private Kuganha camp. This is a surprise-and-delight experience unlike any other; the elephants sneak up and catch you off guard when they arrive at your pool in search of treats! I was actually in the shower the first time when Frank ran to our tent yelling, “the elephants are here!” Bully and Nduna, the two rescued elephants, are led by their guides and caretakers who keep them safe and (very well) fed.
3. The food is unreal
Dining under the stars is heaven in and of itself, but add home-cooked breakfast, lunch, and dinner to the mix and wow. Life at Kuganha is unreal. Our cook, Benny, grilled meats and fish right at our camp. We also had wine and snacks for the road so we could sip away while enjoying the vast Karoo views.
4. You’ll see diverse wildlife in a short timeframe
Most people actually visit Inverdoorn for just one day, and to be honest, that would be enough (we stayed longer because we heart animals, like, a lot). In just one game drive you can see everything from rhinos to cheetah and hippos to giraffes, with the chance to see Africa’s “big five” (lion, elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard and rhinoceros).
5. The tents are what glamping dreams are made of
It’s hard to even call the accommodations “tents” because they’re beyond luxurious. Not only is the bed super comfy, the tent has a rustic-chic vibe with old books, rocking chairs, and artwork, not to mention a hot shower and working toilet. Ah, and don’t let me forget—the fridge (because yes, there’s a fridge) actually comes fully stocked with local beer. I mean, come on. This is nothing if not #glampinggoals!
If you’re visiting Inverdoorn Game Reserve and the beautiful Kuganha camp, make sure to pack extra layers. It gets quite chilly in the evenings and early mornings, and I actually ended up wearing every single layer I had (and therefore looked like a big South African marshmallow).
If you need more convincing, here’s a quick video highlighting our two-night stay:
Ready for more South African adventures? Check out my guide to Cape Town!