If you have neither the time nor the budget to safari in South Africa’s luxurious Sabi Sands, the Eastern Cape is a fabulous alternative. Just a short 1 hour 20-minute flight from Cape Town, the Safari Lodges of the Eastern Cape are easily accessible from Port Elizabeth Airport, and as this region is officially a malaria free zone, you can get up close and personal with the local wildlife, without worrying about what you might take home with you.
On a recent trip to South Africa we visited Kuzuko Lodge in the greater Addo Elephant National Park. A luxurious 5* lodge that blends in seamlessly with the surrounding bush, it offers comfortable accommodations, a great pool, an indulgent spa where you can pamper yourself after a hard day searching for the Big 5, and all the safari activities you could possibly wish for.
While nowhere near as big as Kruger National Park at 19,485km², Addo Elephant National Park still covers a sizeable 1,640km², which is plenty big enough for a short 2 or 3-day safari, and if you are lucky enough to visit during the drier months, there is plenty of wildlife to be found.
We had just one night at Kuzuko Lodge, but we still managed to see Lions, Elephants, Giraffe, Wildebeest, Water Buffalo, and plenty of gazelles, springboks, and zebra, and while we didn’t get to see the huge volumes of wildlife that one can expect to see in the Serengeti Plains, it was more than satisfactory for a short break.
If you dream of going on South African safari but cannot stretch to the luxurious lodges of Sabi Sands and Kruger, give the Eastern Cape a try. There are some fantastic lodges to choose from, and a short safari here will coordinate beautifully with your trip to Cape Town.