To finish my guide to South Africa: no visit in this fascinating country without safari, right?! So here comes my very last guide to South Africa for a wild adventure in the jungle 🐒
You know me, I always seek wilderness but I am not willing to give up on my standards of course 😉 The perfect combination of nature and luxury is the Tsala Treetop Lodge. This hotel in the heart of the Garden Route (and the perfect starting point for some wildlife adventures in the area) is nestled in the middle of an age-old forest and mainly built on pilings high above the treetops, so breathtaking views and jungle feelings are guaranteed! I especially loved the architecture and interior design, the perfect combination of the spirit of Africa and modern design elements. If you are lucky, the super cute monkeys living in the forest will visit you for a swim in your private pool or join you for the lavish breakfeast buffet… SO CUTE!
Another big plus: the fantastic food options! The Zinzi Restaurant is the super cool and chic restaurant of Tsala and it was packed with locals – always the best sign. If you like it more calm and intimate, check Hunter’s Country House just a short walk away. Part of the same charming hotel group, you get this gorgeous cottage feeling right here. The best of both worlds!
Some words first: For me, it was really important to not support the wrong wildlife parks in South Africa as there are several tourist attraction ones making money by exploiting the wonderful animals of Africa, treating them in a wrong way and I don’t want a single animal to suffer for my entertainment. So I selected wisely the parks which are contributing to saving animals, educating humans about them and which are worth to be supported. But overall, I had the impression that the South Africans care a lot about all kinds of animals, some European countries could use them as an example!
Knysna Elephant Park: Exactly across the street of Tsala, Knysna Elephant Park was the first facility in South Africa to house and care for orphaned African elephants and they rescued more than 40 elephants since starting their work. This park does such an inspiring work, and experiencing the majestic elephants without being forced is just wonderful. You won’t be able to ride elephants here, and I don’t want to support a single place which offers elephant riding. Make up your mind about this on your own. The elephants are free to spend their day in a huge field area, where you can join them and have a walk with them, touch them and if they have enough of you, they can just walk away. BTW fun fact and one of my favorite facts in the world: Elephants think of humans as “cute” in the same manner that humans think of kittens or puppies.
Tenikwa Wildlife Rehabilitation and Awareness Centre: One of the largest active wildlife rehabilitation centres in the Western Cape, also just a short drive from Tsala, with a focus on the impressive wild cats of Africa. I learned so much from the super friendly staff about these gorgeous cats here. The special highlights: the breathtakingly beautiful, white male lion and the chance to have a walk with cheetahs. A once in a lifetime experience for sure! Behind the scenes, the wildlife hospital takes care of about 300 animals per year, from birds over penguins to turtles and also returning them into the wild. Definitely worth your support!
Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve: This 2,200 hectare reserve at the foothills of the Tsitsikamma Mountains is home to four of the Big Five (ok they advertise with all five but I saw no leopard) and offers game drives as well as horse safaris in the African bush. But most fun was just the drive to the game lodge with your own car, as you actually drive through the game reserve and can start your very own, private safari in your car 😉 Of course, no predators in this area but you can get really close to the giraffes and zebras!
Overall, the chance to see the wildlife of South Africa was one of my highlights of my trip for sure and should not be missed on your journey!