A common misconception about South African game lodges is that they’re too expensive for locals to afford. While this might be true for some, there are quite a few affordable safari lodges in South Africa and the Garden Route Game Lodge located between Albertinia and Mossel Bay is most certainly one of them. We recently visited for a weekend getaway with our 3-year old boy and a memorable time was had. Even though it can be challenging traveling to a 4-star game lodge with a toddler, I have to make special mention of the super friendly and helpful staff who went out of their way to make our stay as stress-free as possible.
So if you’re looking for a family-friendly Big 5 game reserve in the Western Cape then look no further! Travelling time from Cape Town to Garden Route Game Lodge is just under 4 hours and there are plenty of farmstalls along the N2 to keep the driving boredom at bay.
Accommodation options at Garden Route Game Lodge
This Western Cape game lodge has a variety of accommodation options to choose from. We stayed in one of their Luxury Family Suites which is a freestanding two-bedroom suite offering a spacious main room and a second room with a private deck overlooking the game reserve. The sunset views are simply magnificent and if you’re lucky, the Eland will pass by on their late afternoon graze adding to the magical bush setting.
The en-suite bathroom flaunts a freestanding bath, double vanity and spacious rain shower. For the adventurous, there’s also an outside bath and shower which I took a sunrise bath in so I’d highly recommend starting your day in such an invigorating way – after all, YOLO! The suite also has a wood burning fireplace, air conditioning and a Nespresso machine.
Additionally, there are three lodge room options with convenient access to the two swimming pools and three freestanding chalet options all with private viewing decks.
Big 5 Game Drives in the Western Cape
Garden Route Game Lodge is home to plenty of animal and bird life including the famous Big 5. You can look forward to up-close viewings of lions, white rhinos, giraffes, elephants, buffalos, cheetahs and an abundance of antelope and smaller mammal species during your game drive. We were lucky enough to spot all of the aforementioned animals (except for the giraffes who are viewed on a separate game drive) on our very first day just after checking in! Our little one was especially captured by the elephant and cheetah cub sightings.
Game drives take about 2-3 hours to complete depending on how much time is spent at each sighting but don’t worry, there’s a coffee stop on the morning drive and a sundowner stop on the evening drive because they know very well that all that excitement will require some refreshments. I’d definitely recommend bringing a jacket along as it can get quite windy and chilly on the game drive. Also, do not forget your camera!
Get Lost in all the Activities at Garden Route Game Lodge
Our boy absolutely loves splashing in water so the family pool came in handy and put our minds at ease while allowing us to fully relax and enjoy the glorious valley views. The family pool is 1,2 meters deep and adjacent to it is a 300mm deep paddling pool for toddlers. Both pools are heated so the kids can swim to their hearts content.
Those looking for a romantic game lodge experience will be happy to hear that the larger pool consists of a 1,8-meter deep infinity pool and an adjacent hot tub which doubles up as a lap pool and a space for couples to relax while enjoying a cocktail from the poolside bar. The outside bar also serves light lunches and we ordered some French fries for the little guy as he was ravenous after his almost 3-hour swimming session!
What is a getaway without a bit of pampering? I indulged in a full pedicure at the stylish onsite Ayana Spa. The nature setting adds to the state of relaxation and wellness while you unwind and enjoy your treatment. The luxury spa offers both indoor and outdoor treatments as well as a sauna and steam room.
The Serengeti’s Restaurant has a kiddies menu and accommodates early meal times for breakfast and dinner. Room service is also available and child minders are available if needed to take care of the little ones if you wish to enjoy a relaxed dinner.
Take the Kids!
Taking the kids on safari? Then Garden Route Game Lodge is the perfect destination! The game lodge offers an amazing Kids Bushwise Activity program which is led by a game ranger and includes activities such as a kids game drive, where children can enjoy the experience of getting up close to some of the wildlife on the game reserve, a guided bush walk and insect walk or fishing at the nearby waterhole. Think of it as their Garden Route safari camp – just way better than the school excursions!
Besides the child-friendly pool, the game lodge also has a games room and lounge where the kids can play table tennis, foosball, board games or catch up on their favourite Netflix programmes. This will be particularly helpful if you’re planning on having a winter Western Cape safari. I they don’t feel like being cooped up inside, there’s also the Reptile Center (home to a variety of snakes and crocodiles) and the Skull Garden which they can explore. Our little guy had a keen interest in the various snakes’ names and the unique patterns on their bodies.
They also have child minders available should you want to enjoy a particular game lodge activity without the kids. Please note, kids activities are only for children aged between 6 – 12 years.
Get Ready for Awesome Western Cape Game Reserve Specials
The Garden Route Game Lodge currently has a variety of special offers running to suit almost every South African’s budget. The most notable one to take advantage of being the ‘Stay 3 Nights, only Pay for 2’ package which includes breakfast, dinner and daily game drives. They’re also running a Family Fun Break special where children under 12 years stay for free (max of 2 children) – considering the variety of kids activities on offer this is an amazing offer to take advantage of!
www.grgamelodge.co.za | + 27 28 735 1200 | firstname.lastname@example.org
**We were hosted for a 2-night stay at Garden Route Game Lodge in their Luxury Family Suite including breakfast, dinner and game drives. As always, all views are our own, unbiased and completely honest.