Eastern Cape

Eastern Cape
At the end of the Garden Route which makes it easy to combine with Cape Town, and it's malaria free. Plenty to see for a first safari, but reserves are smaller and numbers of animals are lower. Addo's elephants are so peaceful I've walked right up to them. It's not classic acacia & savanna Africa, with dense bushes and undulating hills, and not all reserves are Big 5. Gentle, comfortable camps are child friendly, with a/c and heating for chilly winters. South Africa.
Best time: Pleasant from September to May, can be cold and wet from June to August.
Access: Scheduled flights from Cape Town (1 hr) and Joburg (1.5 hrs), or drive the Garden Route from Cape Town (8 hrs but best done over 2-3 days).
Combine with: Madikwe, Waterberg, Tswalu

I recommend these camps

Gorah Elephant (11 tents-en-suite) Colonial manor house and tented suites deliver an elegant experience, the only private concession in Addo – close encounters will peaceful elephants guaranteed. Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa. Child friendly. $$$$.
Kwandwe Ecca (6 suites) Modern architecture and stylish décor, in the rolling hills of this top reserve, excellent service and very good with families. Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, South Africa. Child friendly. $$$$. Read more.
Kwandwe Great Fish River (9 suites) A dramatic setting on the edge of a gorge looking onto the river, this is a more traditional thatched safari-style camp, with Kwandwe’s good game viewing. Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, South Africa. $$$$. Read more.
Kwandwe Melton Manor (4 suites) Stylishly furnished and private, set in Kwandwe’s attractive rolling scenery – ask your private ranger to find elusive aardvarks at night… Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, South Africa. Private villa. Child friendly. $$$$. Read more.
Kwandwe Uplands Homestead (3 suites) A restored 1905 farmhouse (this area was once farmland) which has a lovely Out of Africa home feeling, exclusive use with a private team to explore the reserve. Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, South Africa. Private villa. Child friendly. $$$$. Read more.
Samara Manor (4 suites) A tastefully decorated villa that is more lux than the main Samara lodge; it may not give you the views of the Big 5 but it sure makes up for that with cheetahs and other rarer species, and the dramatic mountaintop scenery with unusual habitats. Samara Private Game Reserve, South Africa. Private villa. Child friendly. $$$. Read more.
HillsNek (4 tents-en-suite) Family run, intimate camp with although tented has nice touches like big bathtubs. Fair Trade accredited. Small reserve but has the Big 5. Amakhala Private Game Reserve, South Africa. Child friendly. $$$.
Kariega Settlers Drift (9 tents-en-suite) Kariega’s most stylish camp is a fusion of tented style with decks, big bathtubs and other luxuries. Birding great, gameviewing OK. Kariega Private Game Reserve, South Africa. Child friendly. $$$.
Kichaka (10 suites) Dramatic hillside setting, good food and service, secluded suites with views. Small reserve but has the Big 5. Lalibela Private Game Reserve, South Africa. Child friendly. $$$.
Kwandwe Fort House (4 suites) Overlooking plains in this beautiful reserve, modern conveniences make it great for families with kids. Pool with lawn, wine cellar, spa treatment room, guest pantry. Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, South Africa. Private villa. Child friendly. $$$$. Read more.
Pumba Msenge Bush (11 suites) Like at sister Water Lodge you’ll feel pampered in suites with plunge pools, there’s a spa too. A solid first safari destination, especially with kids. Pumba Private Game Reserve, South Africa. Child friendly. $$$.
Pumba Water (12 suites) Thatch & stone cottages on the water with plunge pools, popular for first safaris, boat rides and fishing too. Pumba Private Game Reserve, South Africa. Child friendly. $$$.
Samara Karoo (9 suites) A restored farmhouse that has a traditional feel, the food is uninspired, the landscape is spectacular and you can track rhino and cheetah on foot. There are no lions, as their focus is on protecting cheetah. Samara Private Game Reserve, South Africa. Child friendly. $$$. Read more.
Shamwari Long Lee Manor (15 suites) Restored historic farmhouse is elegant in an Edwardian, manicured-gardens way, with lovely views watching game over the plains. Due for an upgrade 2018/19. Shamwari Private Game Reserve, South Africa. Child friendly. $$$.
Sibuya Forest (5 tents-en-suite) Similar to sister camp Sibuya River, simple tented style but very comfortable. Small reserve with 4 of the Big 5, great birding. Sibuya Private Game Reserve, South Africa. Child friendly. $$$.
Sibuya River (5 tents-en-suite) Beautiful location on the river – which you can swim in or boat along. Great birding, simple but comfy camp. Close to beaches too. Sibuya Private Game Reserve, South Africa. Child friendly. $$$$.
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