Amakhala Game Reserve is a 7000-hectare private game reserve of great natural beauty. It is about an hour's drive east of Port Elizabeth, on the southern boundary of Shamwari Reserve. The reserve was founded by five families, who each run their own lodge. Consequently, hospitality is a special feature of these lodges.
Game is plentiful and includes lion, rhino, elephant, cheetah, buffalo, giraffe, black wildebeest, zebra, tortoise and over 16 antelope species, including large herds of hartebeest, eland and blesbuck. Although you are unlikely to see leopard here, the cheetah sightings are very good and the reserve can do guided walks into cheetah sightings.
The Bushman’s River runs through the reserve, so boat trips and canoeing are on offer, in addition to game drives and bush walks.
Accommodation at Amakala
Our clients especially like Woodbury Lodge, five stone and thatch chalets set inside the reserve, and Shearers Lodge, a stylish conversion of a shearing shed, set in rolling lawns. Leeuwenbosch is a former colonial manor house that is especially suited to families and Safari Lodge is an intimate thatched lodge tucked away in a valley on the northern boundary of the Amakala Reserve.
Set in a wooded ravine deep inside the reserve, Woodbury has the atmosphere of a traditional game lodge. The five thatched chalets are secluded enough for privacy and the setting, high on a cliff above the Bushman’s River valley, offers magnificent views across the reserve. The chalets have air-conditioning.
By placing less emphasis on luxury than many other lodges, Woodbury manages to offer exceptional value. Nevertheless, the lodge has recently been awarded four-star grading. Facilities include a cosy lounge / bar, a swimming pool, and a boma with campfire where everyone eats on warm evenings. Woodbury was built and is run by the Gush family, and Richard Gush is usually there to greet you.
This is not the place for very young children – we suggest 8 or over. Both Shearer's and Leeuwenbosch are happy to accommodate young children.
The Fowlds family settled in this area in the 1850s. William Fowlds was a wagon-builder from Yorkshire. Leeuwenbosch was bought as a farm in 1873. The family prospered and the colonial manor house was built in Edwardian times. Now converted to provide four comfortable and spacious bedrooms with en suite facilities, the house retains its period charm and exudes history. Nearby, there is a charming bar, in a converted chapel, and a dining room where fine evening meals are served, often hosted by Heidi and William Fowlds, or their father, Bill Fowlds, all of whom are very active in managing both Leeuwenbosch and the greater reserve.
Leeuwenbosch is an ideal base for families. There are two family suites, and there is a special programme of activities for children aged 8 or under, including dedicated game drives, since children aged 6 and under are not permitted on the normal game drives. Arrangements can be made for young children to accompany their parents on private game drives, subject to the availability of guides and vehicles. Children dine earlier than their parents and, after dinner, they can be entertained in the family room.
Originally built in 1930 as the shearing shed for the farm’s merino sheep, this long, low shed has been beautifully converted into four luxury en suite rooms, three twins and one suite. From the verandah, which runs the length of the building, there are excellent views across the valley to neighbouring Shamwari Game Reserve.
Leeuwenbosch and Shearer’s are close together, set in lovely gardens with rolling lawns and a good-size swimming pool.
The Safari Lodge
This tranquil and luxurious bush lodge is built in traditional African tribal style. The lodge sleeps twelve people in six air-conditioned safari huts, two of which are suites with private plunge pools and separate lounge areas. The huts overlook a waterhole and one can often see antelope and zebra coming to drink.
Large beds, double baths and outside showers make this lodge a favourite with honeymooners. The food is exceptional and the Weeks family runs the lodge with a warm and personal touch.
Special three night package
Amakhala also offers three-night packages combining a stay at one of the lodges and activities on the reserve with a game drive in nearby Addo Elephant Park and a day safari at Shamwari. The day safari includes a game drive on Shamwari Private Game Reserve and a visit to the Born Free Foundation, where you can view lion and leopard that have been rescued from captivity and are being rehabilitated