KARIEGA SETTLERS DRIFT – Barefoot Luxury
The game reserve
Settlers Drift is located in the renowned, malaria free, Kariega Game Reserve. This 5-star plus luxury tented lodge offers a spectacular African safari experience. The ‘Big Five’ family owned and operated private game reserve is set in over 10.000 hectares of Eastern Cape wilderness. The magnificent surroundings incorporate the picturesque Kariega and Bushman’s Rivers. Kariega Game Reserve is situated in Frontier Country, the historical heartland of the Eastern Cape. What makes this area so special is the incorporation of five ecological zones – ranging from lush evergreen forest to rugged mountain and dry savannah. The Eastern Cape wilderness is home to the famous ‘Big Five’ as well as a multitude of African wildlife including hippo, giraffe and zebra. The reserve is a true paradise for nice birdlife, including resident and migrant birds.
Lodge & Villas
The luxury lodge “Settlers Drift” is located in a remote and untouched part of the Kariega Wilderness. Run by husband & wife Phil and Jo Oliver, the resort emphasizes on a personal service and is the perfect place to recharge and connect with nature. Settlers Drift offers a unique tented safari combined with exclusivity and luxury. From the deck of the lodge, one can overlook the Bushmans River and get the impression that the last feet to have touched this remote valley were those of the 1820 Settlers as they guided their wagons across the river. The open-plan lounge and corner bar are spacious and cosy. On the wooden deck outside you have a fireplace for romantic evenings and you can enjoy the breath-taking views. The lodge has a small lobby, a fine dining restaurant with separate private dining area in front of the wine cellar, an outside pool, a nice gift shop, a library room and a spa massage room. Few species of animals living on the resorts ground can be observed very close at the property.
The lodge consists of nine spacious tented suites of 110m2 each, which are perfectly placed throughout the complex for complete privacy. Each suite offers a spacious bedroom, a cosy living area, a full bathroom with indoor/outdoor shower, a contemporary free-standing bath and off course a private deck overlooking the bushes. All natural and earthy design elements incorporate a perfect balance between nature and luxury. Settlers Drift guarantees an ultimate guest experience with unbeaten panoramic views over the valley and Bushmans river.
Upon arrival at the main gate at specific timings, one can join the river boat with a ranger for a boat ride to the Settlers Drift Lodge. The lodge staff will take care of the luggage. What a perfect warming up for the safari trips! Kariega is a 10,000 ha private game reserve offering a combination of game viewing and an expansive variety of fauna, flora and birdlife in a landscape spanning five eco-systems.
Guests will enjoy twice-daily game drives, providing the opportunity to spot the Big Five – lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and Cape buffalo – along with an array of other game species roaming across the savannah, through the woodlands and drinking at waterholes. The landscape is so diverse that you will be surprised over and over again. The open game reserve vehicles seat only six guests in order to optimize each guest’s game viewing experience and comfort. All game drives are accompanied by a professional ranger. The vehicles are safe for safari, even when animals like elephants just pass next to you, as wild animals do not associate these vehicles with food. All-inclusive options include twice daily game viewing but also river cruises, guided bush walks, canoeing and on request river fishing.
Tony Hutchinson is the Executive Chef at Kariega Settlers Drift. The British chef was born in Zimbabwe but moved to South Africa. After studies, he went to London to gain experience in several well reputed hospitality businesses. When he settled back in South Africa, he became not only head chef in Kariega Settlers Drift but also overlooks the other lodges in the Private Reserve. During your stay, the chef will show the South African diverse produce and take guests on an African food journey, fused with International cooking trends. His vision is serving as much as possible locally sourced ingredients, prepared by chefs from the surrounding community.
For lunch, a tasteful Cape Malay bobotie with curried minced beef, fruit chutney and eggs or traditional ‘vetkoek’. At dinner, the chef will indulge you with dishes like Springbok carpaccio or a terrine of venison, pork, pistachio and duck. Pan grilled eland is served with truffled mashed potatoes & seasonal vegetables and the grilled kingklip fish comes with fennel, red onion, cucumber and a cherry tomato salsa. Breakfast is very important after a morning safari and specialties include the ‘Ostrich nest’, a crispy combination of potato with biltong, spinach, egg, bacon and Hollandaise sauce. Or the ‘Crocodile tears’, a chilli omelette with cheese, mushrooms, peppers, bacon and sausage. The lodge has different dining areas like a more classic restaurant part, a private dining table in front of the wine cellar made from eucalyptus tree and for some occasions even an outside area for ‘braai’ dinners.
To relax, guests can enjoy the outdoor swimming pool with a magnificent view over the game reserve or go to the spa with outstanding treatments and massages. In the curio shop you’ll find nice souvenirs or presents to bring back home. Service is yet another aspect that makes Kariega Settlers Drift stand out. It is unique that in the middle of nature guests are treated with a truly personalized service, combining professionalism with an informal approach.
What makes Kariega Settlers Drift so special?
By Frank & Veerle
Kariega Settlers Drift
Kariega Game Reserve Kenton on Sea 6191
Eastern Cape, South Africa
Phone: +27 46 636 7904