Overview – Amakhala GR

Philip Briggs
Expert
By Philip Briggs

Philip lives in South Africa and has authored many guidebooks to African destinations, including the Bradt and Insight guides to South Africa.

Philip lives in South Africa and has authored many Africa guidebooks, including the Bradt and Insight guides to South Africa.

Philip is the author of many Africa guidebooks, including the Bradt and Insight guides to South Africa.

Philip is the author of the Bradt and Insight guides to South Africa.

Amakhala is a relatively affordable, family-friendly private wildlife reserve. Like other private reserves in the Eastern Cape, it is fully fenced and relatively small in area. Four of the Big Five animals are quite easily spotted, the exception being leopard, which is seldom seen. Depending on river water levels, Amakhala offers boat cruises, as well as walking safaris and traditional vehicle safaris.

Best Time to Go January to December (All year)
High Season October to March (The reserve gets crowded)
Size 72km² / 28mi²
Altitude 180-403m / 591-1,322ft

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent wildlife viewing
  • Very accessible and easily combined with the popular Garden Route
  • Open-vehicle game drives and night drives
  • A variety of privately owned lodges and tented camps to choose from
  • Malaria-free
  • River cruise, canoe and horseback safari available
  • Small and lacking wilderness appeal
  • Bisected by a busy main public road

Amakhala GR Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Wildlife

Amakhala is a small, well-stocked private reserve offering good viewing of most of well-known safari animals, for instance lion, elephant, white rhino, buffalo, cheetah, giraffe, zebra, vervet monkeys and several antelope species including greater kudu, eland and the endemic black wildebeest. Lucky visitors might see brown hyena, bat-eared fox and possibly even leopard. Some nocturnal species such as aardvark and porcupine are sometimes spotted on night drives.

Scenery

Amakhala lies in the Indian Ocean coastal belt and the main game viewing circuit is overlooked by a horsehoe of sandstone mountains. The main vegetation type is Albany thicket intersepersed with open grassland but there are also tracts of fynbos and acacia savannah. The scenic Bushman’s River meanders through the reserve and is best enjoyed by boat.

Weather & Climate

The semi-arid climate of Amakhala sees the game reserve receive a modest amount of rain throughout the year, with the heaviest falls occurring in March and October. As it happens, both months fall within the region’s summer (October to April), when temperatures rarely climb beyond a comfortable 28°C/82°F. The winter months (May to September) are blessed with clear skies, but they can be cursed by some very cold nights.

Best Time to Visit

Due to the small size of the reserve, wildlife watching is good throughout the year. The low-season winter months (May to September) are ideal for watching wildlife at Amakhala but can be very cold at night. The landscape dries out at this time, and the animals by necessity congregate at the remaining pools of water. The number of visitors is also relatively low, unlike during the warmer high-season period (October to April).

Want to Visit Amakhala GR?

Amakhala GR Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
Amakhala (Private Game Reserve), South Africa
3/5

I don’t often go over the top and wax lyrical but I really loved Amakhala. It isn’t the world’s finest game park and while it is stunning scenically, put it next to the Ngorongoro Crater and it pales. But this small 18 000 acre/7,300...

Latest User Review
Massai_1 (Carsten M.) Reviewed: May 25, 2015
3/5

Lions not in the main area, nice scenery (river), stayed two nights but went to Addo for one day.

Full Review