Inverdoorn Game Reserve is a luxury five-star getaway filled with various wildlife.
Having just experienced my first African Safari at the Kruger National Park, I thought it would be a good idea to try a private game reserve.
Only having two weeks in South Africa, we wanted to see more animals without the fuss of organizing our own itinerary – An overnight stay at the Inverdoorn Game Reserve seemed like the right choice.
It was a 2.5-hour scenic drive from Cape Town. Driving through the winding glorious mountain passes and vineyards, the views were palettes of lush greens and yellows, landscapes were constantly changing.
We organized our own transfer to Inverdoorn, but guests are able to drive themselves or arrange transfers through the lodge.
We arrived quite early, but the staff at Inverdoorn didn’t mind so much. Spending the morning at the Cactus garden felt like we were miles away from the world, in wild African terrain. It was a cold morning, but the weather was perfect, blue skies and an incredible landscape makes it an idyllic setting.
Inverdoorn is home to a diversity of animals including zebras, giraffes, hippos and meerkats, various species of antelopes, and bird life Situated across 10 000 hectares in the Ceres Karoo, their rangers will regale you with their knowledge of African wildlife. Over 1 200 animals roam freely on the reserve and you could encounter any number of them while on a safari.
THE BIG FIVE (FOUR)SAFARI
Inverdoorn plays a significant ecological role in South Africa by re-introducing endemic species to the region. The lions and elephants seen on safari are all Big 5 members that have been rescued by the team at Inverdoorn. For the sake of conservation, there are fences to separate and protect the animals. The reserve prides itself on good hospitality, personalized game drives, and cheetah interactions through the Western Cape Cheetah Conservation. There are in fact no leopards in sight, but rumors of one leopard running around.
A PEACEFUL GETAWAY
Amongst the many features of Inverdoorn, the site is a place to unwind. The cactus garden, the poolside and the furnishings are all designed to the finest detail for an intimate, relaxed setting in mind. Not to mention the variety of luxury accommodation options and the resplendent African sunshine. If you don’t fancy staying the night, day trips are available, offering safaris and meals with a breathtaking view.
CHEETAH RESCUE AND REHABILITATION
The cheetah is one of the great animals that Inverdoorn has rescued and returned to the region. With less than 10 000 cheetahs left in the world today, conservation initiatives such as Western Cape Cheetah Conservation (WCCC), pioneered their way forward for cheetah survival. At their Cheetah Educationals class, guests meet and learn more about the tame cheetahs at the reserve. If you book a five-star accommodation, the class is automatically included. There is also the chance to go cheetah tracking with the handlers, see the wild ones during a safari and watch cheetah runs after the sunset.
We stayed at the luxury chalet that had an incredible view of the Game Reserve landscape. Green grass, thorny bushes, shady trees, and cactuses together with the blue sky build a beautiful contrast to the white luxury chalets, which are individually furnished. We were amazed by the animal skins laid out as decorative features in our rooms! The chalet features an en-suite bathroom with a shower and corner-bath for relaxation, as well as fresh bathrobes, and towels every day. No to mention, the communal rooftop terraces provide breathtaking views of the Ceres, makes a great place place to unwind in tranquility. Our Chalet had a private veranda, which spent time sitting and taking in the landscape view in front of us.
The room had a romantic charm with wood-burning fireplace which gives a warm and cosy setting. Besides it was cold all night, we had the fireplace lit up for hours.
Before we set off on our first game drive, we enjoyed lunch by the poolside. The poolside is a lovely relaxing spot, too bad it was cold. Instead, we gathered around the boma style fireplace with other guests to keep warm.
We set off at 4.30 for our first game drive at Inverdoorn. It was getting darker which meant the animals were ready for feeding or hunting. Our private tour guide Paul was the most professional, fun, and knowledgeable guide I’ve ever had. He patiently explained interesting animal behaviors and facts about the animals we discovered throughout our journey.
Also, his ability to track and spot wild animals was ridiculous. I thought I had good eyesight, but Paul didn’t need to binoculars to spot lions camouflaging in the bush!
When we found something of interest, we’d park the truck off-road to get as close as we possibly could. Surprisingly most of the animals were not afraid of the Land Cruiser at all. They just see it as another creature.
After sunset, we visited a Cheetah rescue and rehabilitation center where we witnessed a wildcat run as fast as 80mph! It was difficult to fathom how an animal could move like that, let alone being able to see it first hand- What a privilege it was!
We hoped to dine outside while gazing at the stars, but it was too cold! The Inverdoorn dining lodge had a nice fireplace adding to an ambient and cozy dining experience. The menu is a fine fusion of French cuisine with a South African touch. The waitress was kind enough to add that Inverdoorn uses only the freshest, locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. After dinner, the guests and I spent some time huddled around the outdoor fireplace and sharing our travel adventures.
Getting up bright and early as 6 am for our final game drive, we sipped hot tea and coffee at the cactus garden. The birds were at it again trying to nip at my biscuits. It felt like 5 degrees even though I was dressed in 3 layers of sweaters. Once again, we were blessed with blue skies. We really couldn’t wait to see the Cheetahs up close.
This wild cat just walked by within just a few feet from our open land cruiser, suddenly looking directly at us.
“Cheetahs are just like cats. Only they’re a bit bigger, faster and can actually hurt us”, our ranger said. The other travelers and I watched in awe as the cat walked elegantly.
Safari Animals at Inverdoorn
I could really go on for hours about all the things we saw on safari at Inverdoorn. But to keep it short, here are a few quick highlights.
- The Cheetah run at the Cheetah conservation
- An old Lion with a gigantic mane gobbling his lunch in the bush
- Seeing big drops of poo on the dirt road
- Twenty-foot tall giraffes blocking the road
- Zebras playfully fighting with each other
- Hilarious baby rhinoceroses & warthogs running around
- Elephants playing in the mud
- Female lions being lazy
- Hyenas on the prowl
- Herds of Antelope chilling under the tree
Ending our stay at Inverdoorn, we enjoyed a light breakfast under a roof tent. By 9am, it was getting warmer, so we stayed a few hours before our driver came to pick us up.
Inverdoorn boasts incredible wildlife encounters, luxury, and conservation, and is the ideal safari destination close to Cape Town. If you are willing to pay for more for a personalized and luxurious experience, then book with Inverdoorn. If you’re looking for a real Wild Safari experience where animals are running wild, with the expectations of encountering a leopard, then this isn’t for you. Nevertheless, a safari experience at Inverdoorn might be the perfect complement to end or start a Cape Town holiday. Fancy booking with Inverdoorn? Check out their website, here.
If you liked this post, why not find out what I got up to at the Kruger National Park.