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Boesmans River
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Boesmans River


... is a section of the Sunshine Coast that lies around 150km east of Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape region of South Africa.

The 75km of coastline that lies to the west of Port Alfred is amongst the most alluring in the country, with wild and rural landscapes backing broad sand-dune beaches between glorious river mouths and estuaries.

Inland from the coast lie a number of private safari reserves, all of which are easily accessible from the main N2 highway from Port Elizabeth.

The upsides of safari in these reserves is that the area is non-malarial safari, the landscapes are attractive, the wildlife viewing is easy, there is a wide range of accommodation options, many of which are particularly child-friendly. Most offer the renowned "Big Five" experience. The lodges here also tend to be relatively well priced compared with most safari areas across the continent.

The potential downsides are that safari here can be relatively tame. Most of these reserves are on reclaimed farmland, are close to the main road and close to human habitation. All of them are fenced and stocked with animals.

We consider these negatives to be so significant that none of the lodges in this area are rated at higher than around 8/10. For higher rated safari lodges it is necessary to head at least a thousand kilometres north.

Where to stay ...

Sibuya Reserve ... is an interesting place, a safari area which can be accessed by boat from the coastal settlement of Kenton-on-Sea. Sibuya Forest Camp and Sibuya River Camp are both pretty decent options.

Kariega Reserve ... is a more substantial conservation area with free-roaming elephants, rhinos and lions. The best accommodation here is the quaint Kariega Homestead, backed up by the more substantial Kariega River Lodge and Kariega Ukhozi Lodge.

Sebumo Tude ... is a rural retreat a little further west, which can function as a good lower cost base for day trips along the coast.

Kenton-on-Sea ... is a pretty seaside village with a modest range of beach accommodation, notably including River Roost and Oyster Box.

For a full list of accommodation in this area please refer to the map link top left.

How we like to include this area in trips ...

The vast majority of our guests who want to combine safari and Cape Town tend to fly upcountry to the wilder areas of Kruger, Botswana and beyond. But there are occasions when the wildlife reserves of this area are worth considering.

During the Cape summer Nov/Mar, the weather in this area is much more likely to be hot and sunny than elsewhere, almost all other safari areas experience their green season during this time.

When we do include the area in trips it is virtually always as part of a self-drive exploration, often starting in Cape Town, heading east through various locations in the Western Cape, before entering the Eastern Cape and coming up here for a few nights, maybe combining with another wildlife reserve in the region, before usually turning back south to end in Port Elizabeth.

It is one of the most cost effective ways to do a safari in Africa. It is also malaria free and therefore highly suitable for families with small children, who are far less likely to notice the downsides listed above.

The beaches of this area tend to be rarely included in trips, they are most commonly visited by domestic holidaymakers and more experienced South Africa travellers.

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Jay Hanson
Jay Hanson, Senior Safari Consultant
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