Looking to book an epic group safari for your next birthday bash? Gondwana Game Reserve is just a four hour drive outside of Cape Town, making it the ideal safari option to pair with a trip to South Africa’s favorite coastal city. Plus, with easy group accommodations (more on that later), Gondwana makes it simple to book a trip with all of your family and friends that will produce memories to last well beyond your stay.
Photography by Michelle Halpern
The Luxury Huts
The central hub of the 27,000 acre Gondwana Reserve is situated around a peanut-shaped infinity pool, where the mainstay Kwena Lodges house pairs of guests looking for that romantic escape. These dome-like luxury huts were modeled after traditional Khoi-San dwellings and feature open plan bathrooms, skylights for stargazing and fireplaces to cozy up to on chillier nights. Where do we sign up?
Gondwana doesn’t leave larger groups out in the dust, though. In fact, it’s made for them. The reserve offers attractive lodging options for family and friend getaways looking for a bit more privacy and space. The most luxurious is the Ulubisi House, which sleeps up to 8 people and comes with the option of a private chef, laundry and butler services to ensure any stay is seamless and hassle free – your birthday palace. The modern interiors featuring authentic African touches are just a bonus add to the incredible service that you’ll receive from booking Ulubisi. But for something a bit more pared down, check out the Bush Villas (3 and 4 bedrooms) or Fynbos villas (3 bedrooms), which are equally as cozy but geared towards smaller groups.
Sunrise & Sunset Safaris
It’s safe to say you won’t be clocking a ton of hours sitting inside though, because the highlight of any stay at Gondwana are the 2x a day game drives where all the action happens. Guests are escorted out on safari both at sunrise and again at dusk (the best time to spot animals) in order to maximize chances of seeing the Big 5 out in the wild. Plus, the reserve’s knowledgeable staff are experts at not only teaching guests about the history and habits of these awe-inspiring animals, but also tracking them down! If members of the group want to sit one excursion out, there’s always the spa, infinity pool or other activities like cycling, birding and hiking to provide a diverse mix of daily adventure and relaxation during your birthday bucket list trip.
Protecting the Animals
The best part of it all? Staying with Gondwana means being assured that your visit is helping to provide resources that protect the animals throughout the area. The Gondwana Conservation Foundation is a non-profit formed by the reserve that focuses on the protection of threatened and endangered wildlife in the region through anti-poaching efforts and re-wilding programs for certain animals that have been born in captivity. Honestly, we can't think of anything that feels better than booking an epic vacation knowing it’s going to a good cause.
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