Gondwana Private Game Reserve is a serene and peaceful haven located in South Africa’s Garden Route, just 4 hours from Cape Town. Spread across 11,000 hectares of pristine indigenous fynbos, the reserve boasts of a rich biodiversity of flora and fauna. Visitors are greeted with a rare treat, as the reserve is home to some of the world’s most fascinating and magnificent animals, including the big five – lions, black rhinoceros, elephants, red hartebeest, and eland.
The reserve gets its name from the original landmass that existed 120 million years ago called “Gondwanaland”, which Africa was formed from after it broke into different continents. This geological connection is reflected in the unique vegetation of the Gondwana Private Game Reserve, which comprises both Fynbos and grass plains, considered to be the most beautiful in the world. The Fynbos resembles wildflowers and is endemic to the Western Cape, which adds much color and beauty to the reserve. The Outeniqua and Swartberg mountain ranges, the last visible evidence of Gondwanaland, surround the reserve, making it a true spectacle of nature’s wonders.
Before the development of the reserve, it was home to three sheep and cattle farms and was chosen for its conservation value and viability to support wildlife. The developers took great care in minimizing the impact of the reserve on the environment, preserving areas of indigenous vegetation and placing restrictions on water usage, making the reserve self-sufficient with its own streams. Furthermore, processes are in place to remove all invasive plants that may harm the delicate ecosystem.
Popular Activities and Tourist Destinations at Gondwana Private Game Reserve
Gondwana Private Game Reserve offers a range of activities for visitors to enjoy and make the most of their stay. From exploring the breathtaking landscapes to discovering the diverse wildlife and indulging in the local culture, there is something for everyone.
For nature lovers, the reserve offers guided game drives, bush walks and birdwatching opportunities. These activities allow visitors to get up close and personal with the wildlife, with the possibility of spotting the big five and other rare species.
For those seeking adventure, the reserve offers quad biking, horse riding and kayaking, providing a unique and exhilarating way to explore the scenic surroundings. The reserve also provides a guided mountain biking experience, taking visitors through the rugged terrain and giving them the chance to admire the breathtaking views.
In the local vicinity, visitors can explore the charming town of Mossel Bay, famous for its rich history, pristine beaches and world-renowned surf spots. For history buffs, the Bartholomeu Dias Museum Complex and Portuguese Museum are a must-visit. The nearby Cango Caves, located in the Swartberg Mountains, are also worth exploring. These limestone caves offer a fascinating glimpse into the geological history of the area and provide an unforgettable experience for visitors.
For those looking for a more relaxed experience, the nearby Botlierskop Private Game Reserve offers luxury spa treatments, including massages, facials and body wraps, making for a truly pampering experience.
Gondwana Private Game Reserve is a haven for adventure, wildlife and nature lovers, with a range of activities and tourist destinations to choose from. From exploring the breathtaking landscapes to indulging in the local culture and history, visitors are sure to have a truly memorable experience.
Point Of Human Origins Experience
Visitors to Gondwana Private Game Reserve can also take a trip to the nearby Point of Human Origins Experience in Mossel Bay, just a short drive away. This experience provides an opportunity to learn about the origins of modern human behavior and discover the significance of the Pinnacle Point Caves, where evidence of Homo sapiens has been found. The experience is led by Dr. Peter Nilssen, one of the scientists who made the discovery 17 years ago, and he provides an informative presentation at the start of the tour.
There are two options available for visitors – the first is a 3-4 hour tour with Dr. Nilssen, while the second is a 90-minute guided cave visit with a specially trained and knowledgeable guide. This experience is suitable for anyone who wants to learn more about the beginnings of modern human behavior and is a must-visit destination for history and science enthusiasts.
The Pinnacle Point Caves remain part of ongoing international studies, with over 40 scientists from all over the world involved in the process, led by Professor Curtis Marean from Arizona State University. With its rich history and ongoing scientific significance, the Point of Human Origins Experience is a unique and fascinating destination for visitors to Gondwana Private Game Reserve. To book your tour, simply contact the Point of Human Origins or visit their website.
Coffee @ Work
If you’re looking for a coffee shop that’s more than just a coffee shop, Coffee@Work in Mossel Bay is the perfect spot. It’s situated in the heart of Mossel Bay, a coastal town along the Garden Route that serves as a halfway point between Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. The coffee shop is easily accessible to both locals and travelers who need a pick-me-up.
Coffee@Work opened its doors in 2015 and has been a staple in the Mossel Bay community ever since. With a menu that includes a range of options for breakfast and lunch, there’s something for everyone. The focus is on healthy, tasty meals, such as freshly baked quiches and salads, roasted vegetable and hummus sandwiches, and a variety of wraps and salads. But don’t be afraid to indulge in their sweet treats, like their famous giant muffins. The consistently great coffee and efficient service have earned Coffee@Work numerous awards, including Favourite Coffee on the Garden Route and Best Small Business of The Year.
Coffee@Work opens early in the morning to cater to cyclists, gym-goers, and business people. Whether you’re in need of a hot cup of coffee or a delicious breakfast, Coffee@Work is the perfect place to start your day.
Shweshwe Stop Shop
Gondwana Private Game Reserve is not just known for its diverse wildlife and stunning landscapes, but also for its proximity to some of the most popular tourist destinations along the Garden Route. The Fragrance Route in Friemersheim, located between George and Mossel Bay, is one such destination that offers visitors a unique experience that showcases the flora, culture, and heritage of the Western Cape. The 40-kilometre circular route is home to the Shweshwe Stop Shop, which is a must-visit for those interested in traditional South African textiles.
Shweshwe is a popular fabric in South Africa, known for its small print and vibrant colours, and the Shweshwe Stop Shop is dedicated to showcasing its versatility. Established in 2018, the shop offers a platform for local communities to sell their designs and products made from the “national heritage item” Three Cats shweshwe. The range includes clothing, toys, bags, covered buttons, and the star of the show, the PROEbag, a slow cooker that requires no electricity and is perfect for camping and long beach days. Purchasing these locally-made products not only uplifts the communities around the Garden Route, but also provides visitors with a unique and memorable souvenir from their trip.
Visitors can also stop by the Great Brak Museum, which houses information about the Friemersheim church and the Volkwyn chair, as well as miniature wire versions of the chair that are available for purchase. A visit to the Fragrance Route and its Shweshwe Stop Shop is a must for those who want to immerse themselves in the culture and heritage of the Western Cape while exploring the Garden Route.
The Fragrance Route
Gondwana Private Game Reserve is situated in the heart of the Garden Route, offering visitors a unique blend of breathtaking scenery, rich cultural heritage and world-class amenities. The Fragrance Route is a must-visit destination for those looking to immerse themselves in the beauty of the Western Cape. This circular trail is around 40 kilometres long and is conveniently located between Mossel Bay and George.
Visitors can experience the best of the Fragrance Route by booking a day in advance, as the route is only open by appointment. Some of the highlights of the Fragrance Route include:
Brothers Coffee Roastery
Visitors can enjoy a steaming hot coffee made with freshly roasted beans.
The Kobus Halliday Car Museum
Showcasing 104 classic cars, making it one of the largest car collections in South Africa.
Hakuna Matata Game Farm
An eco-friendly farm that is home to various antelope species, as well as three hand-raised lions.
An export protea farm where visitors can witness the beauty of these magnificent flowers.
The Village Lodge restaurant
Offering world-class cuisine in an upmarket setting.
The Friemersheim Nursery
Visitors can explore and purchase stunning plants grown in idyllic surroundings.
The Shweshwe Stop shop
Offering clothing, accessories, gifts, homeware, and the PROEbag (a non-electric slow-cooker) made from the traditional South African textile, Shweshwe.
Hester Uithaler’s garden
A peaceful spot to sit and enjoy a sweet treat and a cup of tea.
The Great Brak Museum
Highlighting the unique history and heritage of the area.
Aside from the Fragrance Route, there are many other attractions nearby, including the vibrant harbor town of Mossel Bay, which is popular for watersports and shark cage diving. George is home to the acclaimed golf estate of Fancourt, offering a taste of luxury living. Cape Town and its international airport are about six hours’ drive from the area.
Friemersheim DIY Walk
The Friemersheim DIY Walk is an exciting stop for families visiting the Garden Route in South Africa. This walk takes visitors through the charming countryside of the Garden Route, between George and Mossel Bay, and is located near the Fragrance Route. The DIY walk includes a visit to a lavender nursery with 10 different varieties of lavender and a stop at Hester Uithaler’s garden for a refreshing cup of tea.
The Shweshwe Stop shop is another must-visit during the DIY walk. Here, visitors can taste traditional South African treats infused with lavender, such as ginger beer, koeksisters, and melktert, as well as enjoy beautiful African-style textiles and purchase products made from these textiles, including the iconic PROEbag, a non-electric slow-cooker that is perfect for communities without access to electricity.
In addition to the Friemersheim DIY Walk, the Fragrance Route has a variety of other attractions that visitors can experience by appointment throughout the year. These include the Brothers Coffee Roastery for a steaming hot coffee, Santa Bonné for a stunning display of protea flowers, Hakuna Matata Game Farm for a chance to see various antelope species and hand-raised lions, and the Village Lodge restaurant for world-class cuisine.
For car enthusiasts, the Kobus Halliday Car Museum is a must-visit with its collection of 104 classic cars, one of the largest in South Africa, and some of which can be hired for special events. Finally, a visit to the Great Brak River Museum on the way to Friemersheim offers an opportunity to learn about the history of the Friemersheim church and the Volkwyn chair, and there are two free slideshows on shweshwe and the PROEbag that offer a deeper understanding of the rich South African culture.
Bartholomeu Dias Maritime Museum
The Bartholomeu Dias Maritime Museum is a must-visit for history and maritime enthusiasts visiting Mossel Bay. This museum showcases the rich history of navigation and exploration by the Dutch, English, and Portuguese, with original maps and artifacts on display. The highlight of the museum is a life-sized model of the Dias Caravel, which was the vessel that brought Bartholumeu Dias to Mossel Bay from Portugal in 1488.
In addition to the maritime displays, the museum complex also features an Old Granary, showcasing the diverse range of flora and fauna found in Mossel Bay, and a Shell Museum, displaying an impressive collection of shells from the area. Visitors can also take a walk through the Ethno-Botanical Gardens, admire an old whale skeleton, and pay their respects at the Malay graves. The museum also features the Big Post Office Tree, a fountain, and much more.
Aside from the Bartholomeu Dias Maritime Museum, Mossel Bay is also home to the popular Santos Beach and offers a variety of outdoor activities such as fishing, whale watching, and water sports. Just a short drive from Mossel Bay is the Gondwana Private Game Reserve, where visitors can immerse themselves in the beauty of South Africa’s wilderness and see the Big Five up close. Whether you’re a history buff or an outdoor adventurer, Mossel Bay and the surrounding areas have something to offer for everyone.
Deep Sea Fishing
For those who enjoy the thrill of fishing, deep sea fishing trips from Mossel Bay near Gondwana Private Game Reserve are a must-try experience. These trips, which can be booked in the morning or evening, are designed for fishing enthusiasts and promise a fun and rewarding experience. The fishing operators provide everything you need, including fishing rods, bait, and refreshments, so you can simply bring your personal belongings and be ready to catch the “big one.” Group bookings are available and can accommodate up to 40 people, making this a great adventure to share with friends or family. Just remember to bring along a hat, sunscreen, and towel to ensure you have a comfortable and enjoyable trip. Booking in advance is essential, as this is a popular activity in the area.
Mossel Bay Craft Art Workshop
Mossel Bay Craft Art Workshop is a must-visit destination for those looking to purchase unique and locally crafted gifts. It is a collaboration of four highly talented artists, Andre, Hein, Matthews, and Zandra, who work together to create a stunning collection of artworks. This project not only showcases the artistic talent of the local people but also empowers the community by providing skills training and job opportunities.
Visitors to the workshop can watch the artists and their teams at work and get a glimpse of the creative process behind each piece. With a wide range of items to choose from, including sculptures, paintings, and handcrafted decor, Mossel Bay Craft Art Workshop is a true treasure trove for anyone looking for one-of-a-kind gifts. So be sure to stop by and shop to your heart’s content during your visit to Mossel Bay.
Springbok Aviation in Mossel Bay provides a unique opportunity to experience the thrill of flight. Whether you’re a seasoned pilot or simply looking for an exciting adventure, the Garden Route coast is a perfect place to soar high above the waves. With its moderate climate and breathtaking views of whales, dolphins, and great white sharks, Mossel Bay offers a one-of-a-kind flying experience.
Introductory flights are available for those who want to get a taste of flying before committing to training. You’ll receive a brief from an experienced instructor, followed by a hands-on flying lesson where you’ll have the chance to take control of the aircraft under the watchful eye of your instructor. During the flight, you’ll perform basic flight maneuvers and get a real feel for what it’s like to fly.
In addition to flying lessons, Mossel Bay Aero Club offers skydiving, micro-light training, model aircraft flying, and even horse riding. With its stunning scenery and frequent sightings of marine life, it’s an ideal location for those looking to combine their love of flying with the natural beauty of the region. The club also features a bar and restaurant for those who just want to sit back and watch the planes take off and land.
By developing the reserve, Gondwana has made a significant contribution to the conservation of the critically endangered fynbos species, such as Renoster thicket and Blanco Fynbos Renosterveld. It’s a place where visitors can immerse themselves in nature and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Come experience the beauty of Gondwana Private Game Reserve for yourself.