Bushman Sands Game Reserve

Bushman Sands Game Reserve

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If you’re looking for a tranquil and breathtaking destination for your next wildlife adventure, Bushman Sands Game Reserve is definitely worth considering. Situated on nearly 4000 hectares of former farmland,…

Bushman Sands Game Reserve

If you’re looking for a tranquil and breathtaking destination for your next wildlife adventure, Bushman Sands Game Reserve is definitely worth considering. Situated on nearly 4000 hectares of former farmland, this reserve is a hidden gem in the heart of the Eastern Cape. While it may not offer frequent sightings of the Big 5, Bushman Sands still provides a unique opportunity to explore the natural environment of South Africa and encounter a wide range of antelope species and small game.

What sets Bushman Sands apart is its commitment to restoring the environment to its natural state. Years ago, working with Shamwari’s conservation team, Bushman Sands reintroduced indigenous animals to the reserve. This includes cheetahs, black wildebeests, red hartebeests, zebras, giraffes, hippos, kudus, elands, springbucks, and waterbucks. It’s an incredible experience to witness these animals roam free in their natural habitat, just as they did over 200 years ago.

The reserve is also home to a unique cultural legacy, as visitors can explore rock art paintings dating back thousands of years. These Bushman paintings are accessible in the reserve, offering a glimpse into the cultural heritage of the Khoi San people.

Another highlight of Bushman Sands is the massive 200ha New Years Dam, located in the heart of the reserve. Originally built as a source of water for steam trains, the dam now sustains the wildlife in the arid Eastern Cape landscape. It’s a stunning sight to behold, and visitors can take in the scenery while on a game drive through the reserve.

The game drives are three hours long and take place daily, led by qualified rangers who have been employed from the Alicedale community. You’ll be introduced to true African big game from open landrovers, giving you a chance to see these animals up close and personal. And with the reserve being malaria-free, visitors can explore the natural beauty of the area without worrying about health risks.

Popular activities and tourist attractions at Bushman Sands Game Reserve

Aside from game drives, Bushman Sands Game Reserve offers visitors a wide range of activities to make the most of their time in the area.

Horse Riding
Experience the beauty of the Eastern Cape on horseback. The reserve offers guided horse riding experiences, taking you on a leisurely ride through the reserve’s stunning landscape.

Hiking
For those who prefer to explore on foot, there are several hiking trails available in and around the reserve. The trails take you through scenic valleys and hills, providing the opportunity to spot wildlife and soak up the natural beauty of the area.

Golf
Bushman Sands Golf Club is located within the reserve, offering visitors the chance to play a round of golf on a championship course. The course is set against the backdrop of the reserve’s stunning landscape, making for a truly unique golfing experience.

Addo Elephant National Park
Located just a short drive from Bushman Sands Game Reserve, Addo Elephant National Park is a must-visit destination for wildlife enthusiasts. The park is home to a wide range of wildlife, including the Big 5, as well as several unique bird species.

Graaff-Reinet
This historic town is known for its well-preserved Cape Dutch architecture and is located about an hour’s drive from the reserve. Visitors can explore the town’s many museums, art galleries, and antique shops, or simply soak up the atmosphere of this charming destination.

Camdeboo National Park
This park is located just outside of Graaff-Reinet and offers visitors the chance to see unique geological formations, including the Valley of Desolation. The park is also home to a wide range of wildlife, including buffalo, zebras, and antelope.

Birdwatching
Bushman Sands Game Reserve is home to over 200 bird species, making it a birdwatcher’s paradise. Visitors can spot everything from eagles and owls to kingfishers and sunbirds.

Bushman Sands Game Reserve and its surrounding areas offer visitors a wide range of activities and attractions to explore. From wildlife viewing to golfing, hiking, and historic towns, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this beautiful part of South Africa.

Amakhala Game Reserve

Bushman Sands Game Reserve is not the only game reserve worth visiting in the Eastern Cape. Amakhala Game Reserve, located about 50 minutes’ drive from Port Elizabeth, is another unique conservation initiative that allows animals to be reintroduced to the area where they once roamed freely. The reserve spans over 7000 hectares and is named after the Xhosa word for Aloes, the indigenous plant that is common in the Eastern Cape.

Amakhala Game Reserve offers a range of morning and evening safaris and other activities that allow visitors to experience the diverse flora, fauna, and birdlife of the Eastern Cape. One of the most popular activities is game drives in an open Land Rover in search of wildlife, including lion, black and white rhino, elephant, cheetah, buffalo, giraffe, black wildebeest, zebra, tortoise, and over 16 antelope species. Night drives with cheese and wine sundowners offer the opportunity to spot elusive nocturnal animals such as lynx, porcupine, and spring hare.

Visitors to Amakhala Game Reserve can also enjoy a slow river cruise down the Bushman’s River. The riverine bushveld offers excellent bird watching with a good chance of seeing the majestic African Fish Eagle and all three species of Kingfisher. Amongst the game drinking at the river’s edge, the rare Cape Clawless Otter might also be sighted.

For those looking for a more immersive experience, guided walks with one of the qualified rangers in the reserve will provide a fascinating and in-depth view into the hidden treasures of the African veld. Canoeing on the Bushman’s River will also give visitors a better insight into the tranquil riverine ecosystem.

Surrounding attractions to the Amakhala Game Reserve include the Shamwari Game Reserve (5 minutes away), Addo Elephant Park (30 minutes away), Grahamstown (40 minutes away), the Sunshine Coast with its stunning beaches (45 minutes away), and historical Settler villages such as Sidbury and Salem.

While day visitors are welcome to Amakhala Game Reserve, to fully appreciate all it has to offer, a stay of a few nights is recommended. The reserve has a range of accommodation options to suit all travel needs and budgets, including self-catering, B&B style, and fully catered luxury game lodges. Special offers are highlighted, and reviews will help visitors make informed choices.

Shamwari Game Reserve

Bushman Sands Game Reserve is a nature lover’s paradise situated near Shamwari Game Reserve. Shamwari, the southernmost, big game, malaria-free private reserve in Africa, offers visitors a unique opportunity to indulge in the ultimate luxury African safari experience. Located halfway between Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown, Shamwari Game Reserve forms a natural extension to the famous Garden Route. The reserve is home to five of South Africa’s biomes, with fourteen vegetation types represented, making it one of the most ecologically diverse areas on the continent.

Shamwari Game Reserve boasts world-class service with a liberal dose of extravagance. Visitors are guaranteed an intimate and dynamic experience of the African flora and fauna, led by personal game rangers who provide important information and take visitors directly to the spots where wildlife has been spotted. Game drives are the highlights of a visit to Shamwari and are a must-do activity.

Shamwari Game Reserve has specialised activities for children, including visits to the Born Free Foundation Big Cat Rescue Centre and the Shamwari Animal Rehabilitation Centre. Families can also enjoy indoor activities like puzzles, DVDs, board games, arts and crafts. Shamwari’s focus is not only on providing a memorable experience but also on conserving and protecting the natural habitats of the animals that live there.

Shamwari Game Reserve is a malaria-free zone, making it ideal for families with young children or elderly members who are vulnerable to illness. The Eastern Cape has a temperate climate, with hot, dry summers and cool winters with regular rain, making it a great place to visit practically all year round. To fully experience the reserve and all it has to offer, a stay of a few nights is recommended.

Visitors to Bushman Sands Game Reserve can also indulge in an array of exciting activities. They can experience game drives and guided walks in the reserve and view wild animals in their natural habitats. The White-fronted Bee Eater is one of the rare species that can be spotted at the reserve. Bushman Sands Game Reserve is also ideal for bird watching enthusiasts, with over 200 species of birds recorded in the area.

Apart from nature-based activities, Bushman Sands Game Reserve offers many other amenities, including an 18-hole golf course, a spa, a fitness center, a swimming pool, and a tennis court. The reserve is located near various cultural attractions, including the historic town of Grahamstown, which has a rich cultural and architectural heritage. The town is home to many educational institutions, museums, and art galleries.

Shamwari Game Reserve and Bushman Sands Game Reserve are both ideal destinations for tourists who want to experience the unique African flora and fauna in a safe and luxurious environment. Visitors can indulge in game drives, guided walks, spa treatments, golf, and other activities while enjoying the natural beauty and cultural heritage of the Eastern Cape.

Great Fish River Reserve

Bushman Sands Game Reserve is a spectacular wildlife sanctuary that lies adjacent to the Great Fish River Reserve, offering visitors the chance to explore the breathtaking landscapes and diverse fauna of the area. The Great Fish River Reserve is an expansive 45,000-hectare reserve that comprises three different reserves – the Andries Vosloo Kudu Reserve, the Double Drift Nature Reserve, and the Sam Knott Nature Reserve. The Great Fish River, which runs through the reserve, holds immense historical significance for its role as a border during the Frontier Wars between Dutch settlers and the Xhosa people.

Visitors to the Great Fish River Reserve can expect to encounter a wide variety of wildlife, including the hippo, kudu, Cape buffalo, elephant, lion, and over 100 critically endangered black rhino – making it one of the fastest-growing populations of black rhino in South Africa. The reserve’s rugged terrain offers some spectacular views and provides an abundance of big game.

The riverine thicket that lines the banks of the Great Fish River is a narrow band of beautiful vegetation that allows Cape bushwillow, karee, sweet thorn, and the vulnerable blue crane to thrive in the area. The reserve offers visitors the chance to explore the diverse landscapes and wildlife of the region through various activities such as game drives, guided walks, bird watching, and fishing.

Bushman Sands Game Reserve is a popular destination for those looking to experience the African wilderness up close. The reserve offers guests a luxurious safari experience in a malaria-free area, providing a safe and comfortable environment for guests to enjoy the beauty of the region. The reserve has a range of activities on offer, including game drives, guided bush walks, horseback riding, and hot air balloon rides over the reserve.

For those interested in exploring the history and culture of the region, there are numerous sites of historical significance nearby, including the towns of Grahamstown and Fort Beaufort. Grahamstown is known for its rich history and is home to a number of museums, art galleries, and historical landmarks, such as the 1820 Settlers National Monument and the Cathedral of St Michael and St George. Fort Beaufort, on the other hand, is a small town that played a significant role in the Frontier Wars and is home to the Martello Tower Museum and the Kat River Heritage Centre.

The Great Fish River Reserve and Bushman Sands Game Reserve offer visitors the chance to experience the natural beauty and wildlife of South Africa in a safe and comfortable environment. With a range of activities on offer and numerous historical and cultural sites nearby, the area is a must-visit for anyone looking to explore the region.

Thomas Baines Nature Reserve

Located just 12 kilometres outside of Grahamstown on the N2, the Thomas Baines Nature Reserve is an excellent destination for those looking for a relaxing outdoor experience. The reserve is named after the British artist and explorer of South Africa, Thomas Baines, who lived in the Eastern Cape from 1848 to 1853. Baines painted numerous detailed paintings and sketches about colonial life in South Africa and Australia, some of which can be viewed at the Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town.

The 1024-hectare reserve added the Thomas Baines Goldfields Environmental Education Centre in 1990, which is fully equipped for school and youth club outings. The reserve is open to the public and offers a wide range of activities, including game drives, canoeing, bird watching, bass fishing, sailing, and hiking. Visitors can also camp on the banks of Settlers Dam in non-powered campsites.

Thomas Baines Nature Reserve is home to a variety of wildlife, including the African buffalo, Chacma baboon, common eland, and greater kudu. There were once rhinos in the reserve, but the last rhino, Tom, passed away due to old age and was not replaced. Keeping rhinos in reserves is considered a huge security risk, and therefore, the reserve is now home to a range of other animals.

The reserve is also a popular spot for birdwatchers, with over 175 bird species recorded, including various kingfishers. Picnicking by the dam and exploring the reserve’s 15 kilometres of dirt tracks that pass through fynbos and bushveld is a favourite activity among visitors.

In recent years, a game auction held at the reserve raised R6.4 million for conservation efforts. The animals auctioned off came from a variety of reserves and wilderness areas in the province, including buffalo, red hartebeest, black wildebeest, giraffe, and three white rhino.

Visitors to the reserve can expect a peaceful and scenic outdoor experience with plenty of activities and wildlife viewing opportunities.

Pumba Private Game Reserve

Bushman Sands Game Reserve has a lot to offer for visitors seeking adventure and relaxation. The reserve boasts a wide range of activities, tourist attractions and places of interest, making it a popular destination for tourists visiting the Eastern Cape.

One of the nearby reserves is the Thomas Baines Nature Reserve, located just 12 kilometres outside of Grahamstown. The reserve is named after the British artist and explorer of South Africa, Thomas Baines, who painted a wealth of detailed paintings and sketches about colonial life in South Africa and Australia. The reserve offers game drives, canoeing, camping, bird watching, bass fishing, sailing and hiking. Wildlife in the reserve includes African buffalo, Chacma baboon, common eland, greater kudu and a wide range of bird species.

Another popular reserve near Bushman Sands is the Pumba Private Game Reserve, located about 105 kilometres from Port Elizabeth. The reserve is set in a malaria-free part of the Eastern Cape and provides easy access to big game viewing, including the Big Five. Visitors can enjoy walking safaris conducted by experienced guides, hiking trails, archery lessons, bass fishing, spa treatments, nocturnal bush drives, and bush walks.

The Pumba Private Game Reserve boasts a wide range of animal species, including the significant seven such as giraffe, zebra, hippo, cheetah, warthog and hyena, the diminutive dozen (including the likes of the scrub hare, antbear, Cape fox and aardwolf) and a more than fair selection of antelope. The reserve is also home to Africa’s Big 5, where visitors have a chance to experience many of Africa’s wonders, from giraffe to the elusive leopard, antelope, other small game and over 300 species of birds.

A unique draw card of Pumba Private Game Reserve is its free roaming white lions, there as a result of the reserve’s white lion breeding programme. The reserve has also been recognized for its conservation efforts, having raised R6.4 million for conservation through a recent game auction held at the reserve.

The Bushman Sands Game Reserve and its nearby reserves offer a variety of experiences for tourists, from breathtaking scenery and wildlife sightings to adventure activities and relaxation. Visitors can take their pick from game drives, walking safaris, fishing, spa treatments, bird watching, and much more, making it a must-visit destination for anyone travelling to the Eastern Cape.

Bucklands Private Game Reserve

Bucklands Private Game Reserve, located near the Bushman Sands Game Reserve, is a stunning conservation initiative owned by the Stewart Family. The reserve spans over 5,500 hectares, encompassing the properties known as Bucklands, Lower Bucklands, and Schrikwaters Poort. It is adjacent to the Great Fish River Nature Reserve, a vast area comprising the Andries Vosloo Kudu Reserve, Double Drift Nature Reserve, and Sam Knott Nature Reserve, which amounts to approximately 45,000 hectares in total. The reserve’s establishment aims to conserve and protect the region’s natural diversity, from the abundant wildlife to the unique vegetation and spectacular scenery, for future generations.

The reserve’s climate is hot in summer and mild in winter, and its topography, characterized by hilly terrain, dense thickets, and mosaics of grass and bush, is very diverse. Bucklands Private Game Reserve boasts a combination of Closed and Open Great Fish Thicket, Grassy Bontveld, Karroid Scrub, Disturbed Savanna, and Riverine Thicket that supports a tremendously rich array of plant and animal life, many of which are endemic to the area.

There are plenty of activities to enjoy at Bucklands Private Game Reserve. Visitors can take game drives on Bucklands Private Game Reserve or the neighboring Great Fish River Reserve, which offer unique wildlife sightings. Guided walks through the subtropical thicket biome are available, as well as tours to see bushman paintings and historical sites. Specialist guided walks are available for those interested in specific fauna and flora in detail. Fishing in the Great Fish River is an option, as well as night drives and stargazing. Quad bike trails are offered, as well as birding and a visit to Grahamstown. For those looking for a unique experience, a private picnic on the beach near Port Alfred can also be arranged, making Bucklands Private Game Reserve a complete holiday package for the whole family.

Accommodation options available at Bushman Sands Game Reserve

If you’re planning to visit the Bushman Sands Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape’s Frontier District, there are several accommodation options available in and around the area. Addo Reach & Hein’s Cottage, located in Alicedale, is a highly recommended bed and breakfast with self-catering options.

Addo Reach & Hein’s Cottage is conveniently located just an hour’s drive from the Port Elizabeth International Airport and only 15 minutes from a turnoff on the N10, making it an ideal stopover for those traveling to or from Cape Town and the Garden Route. The cottage is also within close proximity to major game reserves, including the famous Addo Elephant Park, which is just a short and scenic drive away.

The B&B offers a variety of rooms and cottages for guests to choose from, each with complimentary tea, coffee, biscuits, and bottled water that are replenished daily during room service. The rooms also have overhead fans, and heaters are available for cold nights. Vehicles are parked behind locked gates for added security.

In addition to the comfortable accommodation, Addo Reach & Hein’s Cottage offers several on-site facilities, including a non-licensed home pub with a TV, where guests can relax and bring their own drinks. The cottage also has a large garden, which is perfect for enjoying the outdoors.

If you’re not in the mood to cook, the B&B offers meals with prior notice, including a hearty breakfast and a 2-course dinner. For those who want to cook their own meals, braai packs, wood, and bread can be provided. Guests can also head to Louis’ Pub and Grub, which is open on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday and offers the best steaks and pizzas in the area. Louis also provides takeaways.

When it comes to nearby attractions, Addo Reach & Hein’s Cottage is within easy driving distance of the historic and picturesque towns of Grahamstown, Salem, and Sidbury. The renowned Grahamstown Festival in June and July of each year, which features the best of local and international arts, crafts, and theater, is just 52 km away. For those looking for outdoor activities, the area offers excellent opportunities for mountain biking, golfing at the challenging 18-hole Bushman Sands Gary Player Golf Course, and fishing in the local dam. Alternatively, guests can simply relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings, read, paint, and soak in the beauty of nature.

So, while Bushman Sands may not offer the Big 5 sightings that some may be after, it’s still a fantastic destination for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. With its commitment to restoring the environment, unique cultural heritage, and stunning scenery, it’s an experience you won’t soon forget.






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