If it's the simple pleasures you seek, then Sibuya Game Reserve at Kenton-On-Sea in the Eastern Cape is that perfect escape.
Sibuya Game Reserve is an eco-destination approximately 120 kilometres from Port Elizabeth or East London- and incorporates the East Cape valley bushveld, grasslands and coastal forests.
Unlike most game reserves, travellers get to Sibuya via a 45-minute cruise along the Kariega River. This means that guests do not have to worry about dusty and gravel roads.
The boat journey to get there is an experience in itself. While sipping on some chilled wine or beer- travellers get to see a range of birdlife, animals and, if they have a good eye, the famous decorated stone structure named Old Suzi. Old Suzi, hidden along the cliffs, is a hit among game rangers and fishermen, who never pass without blowing a kiss to her for ‘good luck!’
Once you have sailed your way to Sibuya, guests tuck into a sumptuous lunch with their game ranger before they check in at their accommodation. Sibuya offers 3 accommodation offerings.
There are 2 solar-powered, secluded luxury tented camps tucked away in the forest on the banks of the Kariega River. There is no cellular connection or wifi for those Instagram updates.
The Forest Camp tents, where I stayed, look like any other glamping tent, but once inside guests will be transported into a fascinating space that celebrates African wildlife.
Coupled with a modern and rustic look, the tents are spacious and offers stupendous views and sounds of the river.
The bathroom is quite unusual but ties in with the rustic theme perfectly. Designed to look like a tree bark, it has a shower, bathtub and mirrors. That coupled with luxury amenities and mismatched coloured rugs tie it all together perfectly.
There are tea and coffee facilities, although the guest will need to ask their game ranger to bring hot water to their tent due to the limited access to electricity.
Guests who want a game experience but are not keen on giving up their internet connectivity and electricity can book into Bush Lodge, situated on a pristine, densely forested valley.
I am told that this is where the Hollywood A-List stars stay when they visit. The staff are so tight-lipped about them that it's hard to even guess which famous celebrities have visited.
Dinners are a spectacle that mixes good food in a romantic setting.
The in-house restaurant, decorated with tree barks, lamps and candles, set the tone for a delicious buffet. During my visit, the buffet table was filled with venison, prawn and chicken curry and vegetables. They even prepared a special vegetarian hot pot for non-meat eaters. The Amarula laced tiramisu and homemade biscuits, the desserts change every night, was the perfect ending to the night.
By morning, despite the cold chill in the air, everyone was ready to see some of the Big 5 during an early game drive.
Our game ranger Chris Van Zyl enlightened us on the origins of the game reserve and about the 45 species of game animals, including the big 5, and 400 bird species on the 3000-hectare property.
Seated comfortably in the green coloured game vehicle, we got to see a herd of elephants taking a morning stroll in the blistering sun, while the baby calfs played. Not far away, the adult elephants tucked into an early breakfast of leaves and twigs. Also spotted was Binky, a 2 and a half-year-old rhino, whose parents were poached in 2016. Binky was busy cleaning herself in the mud when she was interrupted by the sounds of clicking cameras. Chris also told us fascinating stories about the buffalo, impala and zebra.
The great thing about Sibuya is that the rate is inclusive of meals, drinks and activities such as canoeing, fishing, bush walks, game drives and hikes. In addition, travellers can pay to indulge in spa treatments, horseback riding, deep sea fishing, rock and surf fishing.