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Quatermain’s Safari Camp Review: 3-Nights in Amakhala Game Reserve

Quatermain’s Safari Camp Review: 3-Nights in Amakhala Game Reserve

If you are looking for an authentic safari experience in South Africa, then Quatermain’s 1920s Safari Camp is the place for you can.

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 Camp offers all of this and much, much more.

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Male elephant eating leaves from a high tree in Amakala Game Reserve

Where is Quatermains 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 young sons this is a charming and inviting place to stay.

How Many Game Drives are Allowed

Two daily game drives are offered, early morning and mid-afternoon which take you into the bush. 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 strong that it changes you in a way I can’t explain.

two zebras walking in Amakhala Game Reserve

Non-Malarial Safari Experience

Being in a non-malarial area was the reason I chose to go on safari in South Africa. I didn’t want to give malarial tablets to my family, so this was the perfect solution.

I then set about searching for a safari experience that didn’t include swimming pools, butler service or overcrowded game drives. Quatermains offered non of those but did provide an authentic 1920’s tented camp experience. I was sold on the idea and booked straight away!

Sign saying Amakhala Game Reserve

Communal Camp Area at Quatermains

Arriving into 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 place to read and a welcome reprise from the afternoon sun. The tea and coffee area offers basics, no Tassimo or Nespresso makers here, just metal mugs and a kettle, perfect.

A large communal dining table indicates that the camp is all about getting to know one another and sharing stories rather than dining alone. Finding out that Quatermain’s owners, Rhian and Julie, built the camp themselves makes it an even more impressive space.

communal dining table

Tented Accommodation at Quatermains

Stop what you are thinking! You are not going to 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.

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 a torch is also at your disposal.

Tents are spread well apart and give you privacy with a natural pathway leading from the main camp. Rest assured 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 and who always seem happy to help.

A tortoise in the bush
No tortoise was harmed in the delivery of this can!

Mealtimes at Quatermains

Forget silver service, and Michelin starred restaurants and be humbled at the creativity of the local ladies that 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 would be given 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 all 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 and then 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 that there are no predators near the camp and so any hidden glistening eyes will be harmless, just curious animals trying to figure out what you are and where you are heading.

Fancy Going on Safari?

Read all about My Incredible Lion Encounter in Shamwari Reserve

Game Drives on Amakhala Reserve

Twice a day you will be transported by safari 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. 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.

There is only one jeep at Quatermain’s, which makes you feel as though you have a private viewing. We were the only guests there when we travelled, and even when full, there will only be a few others.

Viewing an elephant on a game drive
A grey elephant facing forward
Viewing a giraffe on a game drive

Final Thoughts About Quatermains

Imagine an experience and a place that will touch your heart in a way that you will never forget. Where the hosts have not just set up a business, they 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 and welcome you in with open arms. A place where you arrive as a guest and leave as a friend.

Tracks leading through the wildlife on a jeep safari in Amakhala Game Reserve

What month did I travel? April – South Africa’s autumn/fall.

How was the weather? It was sunny and pleasantly warm.

How long should I visit? According to my son “forever” was the correct answer, but in reality, three nights/4 days at Quatermain’s camp will allow you to have five-game drives and flora and fauna walk through the bush.

Is it 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 nearest airport? Port Elizabeth

If I drive 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.

How did I book my stay? Book your tented stay at Quatermain’s here.

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Nic Peters

Tuesday 19th of May 2020

Wow! What a truly unique experience this must have been and what better way to enjoy the marvels of a Safari than from the comfort of this rather glamorous looking tent! Your choice in places to stay is impeccable and I will be definitely putting a savings pot together so I can get myself to Amakhala ASAP! This is right up my street 😁


Tuesday 19th of May 2020

Thank you Nic, I am also pleased to tell you that the cost to stay at Amakhala is very reasonable as compared to other Safari Lodges. Hopefully, you will be able to travel there one day and experience it for yourself.

Sinjana Ghosh

Thursday 19th of March 2020

I have seen elephants, antelopes( of many variety) and even tigers in Indian jungles, but never seen Giraffes in the wild. They look so glorious! Thanks for this virtual safari in African jungles.


Thursday 19th of March 2020

I would love to see tigers in the wild, it must be a magical experience.


Wednesday 18th of March 2020

That looks amazing - I’ve been to Africa but not South Africa and you’re right seeing or hearing animals in the wild is so exciting. Will the tortoises bring wine, if you ask them really nicely!


Wednesday 18th of March 2020

I think they would, they seemed a helpful bunch


Wednesday 18th of March 2020

Looks like a great experience! Love the bathroom set up. South African 'Amarula' and Italian 'Amaretto' are both similar to Baileys - I love that liqueur! I must do that trip someday. :-)


Wednesday 18th of March 2020

It was so great and I did bring a bottle of Amarula home with me to England only to discover they sell it in my local supermarket!


Wednesday 18th of March 2020

Oh Angie, what a dream come true / Once in a lifetime kind of trip! Reading your story makes me so jealous, I am kind of turning green with envy!


Wednesday 18th of March 2020

Maybe one day you will be able to do this trip. We waited a long time to finally get there but it was so worth the wait