If you want an authentic safari experience in South Africa, then Quatermain’s 1920s Safari Camp is the place for you.
Imagine a time when pitching a tent was the usual way to experience being on safari.
When your camp was illuminated by gas light, your dinner was cooked over an open hole in the ground, and game drives were determined by the animals’ behaviour rather than what time cocktails were served.
Quatermain’s Safari Camp offers all of this and much, much more.
Useful Information about Quatermain’s Safari Camp
Where is Quatermain’s Safari Camp?
The camp is located at the end of the Garden Route in the non-malarial Eastern Cape of South Africa on Amakhala Game Reserve. Run by a wonderful South African/English couple and their two sons, this is a charming and inviting place to stay.
If I drive to Amakhala Reserve, where do I leave my car?
You will leave it at the main lodge as you enter Amakhala and be picked up and taken to Quatermain’s camp by jeep.
If I come by plane, where do I land?
The nearest airport is Port Elizabeth.
How long should I stay at Quatermain’s Safari Camp?
According to my son, “forever” was the correct answer, but in reality, three nights/four days at Quatermain’s camp will allow you to have five game drives and one flora and fauna walk through the bush.
When is the best time to visit South Africa?
April is South Africa’s autumn/fall and a great time to visit as it is not too hot.
How many game drives do you get?
Two daily game drives, early in the morning and mid-afternoon, transport you by jeep into a scene not dissimilar to a David Attenborough documentary (who also happens to be my son’s idol)
Wear layers, as the mornings are chilly; however, blankets are provided to keep fingers and toes warm in the jeep. Body temperature will be the last thing on your mind once you get a glimpse of the animals.
We had the pleasure of being taken around by Craig, a character in his own right who made every drive exciting by giving us so much information about the animals and the area.
You won’t be able to contain your emotions when you make eye contact with your first giraffe or hear the roar of a lion; I know I couldn’t.
To see wild animals in their natural habitat releases emotions so strongly that it changes you in a way I can’t explain.
There is only one jeep at Quatermain’s, which makes you feel you have a private viewing. We were the only guests there when we travelled, but even when camp is full, there will be only a few others.
Do I need to take malaria tablets?
No. Amakhala Reserve is in a non-malarial part of South Africa, which is why I chose to stay at Quatermain’s Camp.
I didn’t want to give malaria tablets to my family, so this was the perfect solution.
Is the bush a safe environment for children?
It is safe and the best environment they could be in. My son was so inspired by his visit to South Africa that he wanted to pursue a career as a ranger.
Please note the camp only accommodates children over the age of 12.
What is the communal camp area like?
Arriving at the camp after being met at the perimeter of Amakala Reserve is like stepping onto a film set.
True to the description on the website, it feels very African and very colonial. The mix of styling has been sympathetically chosen and does not feel “gimmicky” in any way.
A small bookshelf by a wooden chair offers a quiet reading place for guests and a welcome reprise from the afternoon sun. The tea and coffee area offers basics; there are no Tassimo or Nespresso makers here, just metal mugs and a kettle, which is perfect for this authentic experience.
A large communal dining table indicates that the camp is about getting to know one another and sharing stories rather than dining alone.
Finding out that Quatermain’s owners, Riaan and Julie, built the camp themselves makes it an even more impressive space.
What is the tented accommodation like in camp?
Stop what you are thinking! You will not be staying in a tent reminiscent of your old scouting days, far from it! Your secluded tented accommodation is cosy and comes with a rustic ensuite, open bathroom with modern facilities. A new addition in 2023 is your very own wood-fired hot tub.
Nothing is more exhilarating than showering to the sound of animal calls or having a bird watching you wash. It’s a beautiful experience, but you may also see a few insects; after all, you are in the bush.
Don’t be alarmed; nothing dangerous has access to the camp, and the creatures are more scared of you.
On cold nights, the staff will put a hot water bottle in your bed and light the oil heater. Once under the thick blankets, you will be as snug as a bug in a rug (please note this is not a reference to your bed companions)
If you wake in the night and need the bathroom, then the moonlight will guide you but don’t fear as a torch is also in the tent.
Tents are spread well apart, giving you privacy with a natural pathway leading from the main camp.
Rest assured that no one will accidentally walk past and get a glimpse of you in your finery. Well, maybe a tortoise, of which there are quite a few in camp who always seem happy to help.
How do I book my stay?
You can check online availability and pricing for Quatermain’s Safari Camp.
What is the food like at camp?
Forget silver service and Michelin-starred restaurants and be humbled by the creativity of the local ladies who cook for the camp.
Breakfast is taken after your morning game drive and is a welcome reward after your early wake-up call. Hot drinks and a biscuit called a rusk, which can be plain or fruity, will be given to you during the drive. Be sure to dunk it in your coffee; it’s delicious.
Candle-lit dining in the communal area will be waiting for you at the end of your afternoon game drive, prepared in the fire pit or small kitchen. Expect mouthwatering stews, tender meats and perfectly cooked vegetables.
All meals are included in your visit, and alcohol is available at an additional cost should you require it. Your host or guide will eat with you. After dinner, they will sit around the open fire and share some stories of the bush while enjoying the local tipple called “Amarula”, similar to Baileys and very addictive (like Baileys!)
As your evening concludes, take a gas lamp and retire back along your private pathway to your tent. Listen out for the jackals calling to one another or the hoot of the barn owl.
Be secure, knowing there are no predators near the camp. Any glistening eyes will be harmless, just curious animals trying to figure out what you are and where you are heading.
You can read here about My Incredible Lion Encounter in Shamwari Reserve.
Final Thoughts About Quatermain’s Safari Camp
Imagine an experience and a place that will touch your heart in a way that you will never forget.
The hosts have not just set up a business but have created something unique to share with their guests to allow them a brief glimpse into life in the bush.
A place where the team are like a big family that welcomes you in with open arms. A place where you arrive as a guest and leave as a friend. That’s Quatermain’s!
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