Safari close to Cape Town
This one calls for an early start. The Inverdoorn Private Game Reserve is situated a 230 km drive from Cape Town, on the edge of the semi-desert Karoo. The route includes some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in the Western Cape, winding past towering peaks, through vineyard covered valleys and over passes originally constructed over 150 years ago, breaching the barrier to the hinterland. The clear morning air highlights the crags and crevices, giving them a daunting and impregnable presence.
After leaving Ceres, the tar road ends, replaced with a good gravel surface as the hills fall behind. The drier, flatter scrubland stretches out ahead. The turnoff to the reserve appears suddenly and within minutes you are being welcomed by enthusiastic staff, clearly ready to make sure you have a good experience. It may be a good idea to pack a costume as quick dip in the sparkling pool might be welcome after the hot drive. Breakfast is served on the buffet, with Cape Bunting and Cape Canary hovering in the trees behind, ready to peck on the muesli, toast, croissants and fruit on the table as soon as there is no one to chase them away.
Soon after breakfast, the game drive vehicles depart. The rangers have already done an early morning drive and have a good idea of where the game can be seen. First stop is the cheetah enclosure – part of the reserves cheetah breading program (read more http://bit.ly/4NtQ4b). It is difficult to believe that these beautiful, but lazy looking cats can accelerate up to 120 km per hour in less than 60 seconds.
There is open scrubland and bush, herds of eland and springbok are plentiful. More elusive on the day are other antelope such as the blesbok, red lachwe, kudu and impala. The ranger tells excitedly of a leopard kill nearby, obviously made the night before . Unfortunate for the zebra, but this is good as the threatened cape mountain leopard are indigenous to the area and it a step towards restoring the natural balance.
In the shadows of the bush the striped shape of a zebra appears, sheltering from the harsh sun. As the vehicle moves closer the herd materializes and then moves off, deeper into the bush. The rhino teases with views of tracks, but they are hiding in there somewhere. Blesbok, buffalo and black wildebeest show themselves at the water point and one of the hippo shows it’s head above the water before disappearing with a mouth full of something growing on the surface. A few minutes later the dark outline reappears for the next mouthful.
The elegant giraffe poke their heads above the trees and two walk arrogantly across the open veld in front of the vehicle, before breaking into a slow gallop to join the rest of the herd. On to the lion enclosure, where three lion, rescued from a ‘canned lion hunting’ facility (now illegal), spend their days at leisure. Having been born and reared in captivity these lion can never be released back on to the wild.
Back to the lodge for lunch – laid out under the trees. This feels fairly colonial, with attentive staff and colorful table settings. The lunch is simple but tasty, chicken casserole with fresh salads and fruit salad for dessert – an excellent finish to good morning. There is time to relax and have a quick dip in the pool before heading back to Cape Town.
Of course there is the option of staying overnight and doing an evening and morning game drive.
See itinerary details Cape Town – Day Game Safari