Guests per Safari Vehicle
Nestling on the banks of the Bushman’s River with breath-taking vistas of rolling plains of the Amakhala Reserve lies perhaps the most charming and stylish little lodge in the entire Eastern Cape – the 4 gorgeous tents that make up HillsNek Safari Camp! Located on the far eastern border of the Amakhala Game Reserve (conveniently located just 70 Km outside Port Elizabeth - bordering Shamwari Game Reserve and Addo), HillsNek Safari Camp is an intimate family-run lodge. As you can imagine, with just 4 rooms, this is a lodge where privacy, warm hospitality and personalized attention is the hallmark of every stay. As you can imagine, it’s ideal for a small group of family or friends and can be rented out on an exclusive-use basis on request.
The main lodge and 4 luxury tented chalets (1 of which is a Family Tent) of HillsNek are elevated on expansive wooden decks that command panoramic views of the open plains below. This tented camp has undergone a recent and very sophisticated refurbishment, creating an inspiring and fresh new look – in fact, they have to rate as some of the nicest tented rooms of any lodge in South Africa! The redesign and redecoration of the lodge was handled by owners Brent and Chantelle Cook, and they have done a fantastic job! The safari tents have been completely reimagined whilst still retaining the essential integrity and special ambience of the camp. A fresher African safari feel has been introduced using a clever fusion of natural colours from tranquil off-whites through to dark chocolates, with contrasts of bright African shades such as lime and burnt orange – your jaw can’t help but drop when you walk into these tented suites!
The tents are all very discreetly positioned to ensure privacy and tranquillity and are linked to the main lodge by raised wooden walkways. Inside they are spacious, well equipped and wonderfully airy, with large roll-up canvas blinds that succeed in opening up the tent to the stunning views of the surrounding bush which you can even enjoy from the comfort of your oversized king bed! Whilst the tents inevitably hark back to the nostalgia and romance of the safaris of yester year, they’re also bang-up to date feeling courtesy of stylish oversized black and white wildlife prints as well as use of colourful throws and cushions. A highlight for us has to be the en-suite bathroom complete with deep tub and romantic ‘wash in the wild' rustic outside shower - here you can soap up whilst simultaneously soaking up the uninterrupted sprawling vistas under the heat of the African sun. Whilst the warm water cascades down on you, sun birds’ flit about the surrounding foliage and lizards bask on the sunny deck!
It is not just the tented rooms that impress though. The main lodge area has undergone the same stylish transformation whilst retaining the open design that engages the senses with its outside-in feel and gives the impression of a tangible connection to its spectacular surroundings. It’s all very natural and organic in feel, with stone, canvas and thatch utilised to make up the stylish open plan lounge, bar and dining-room with decks overlooking the surrounding vegetation. But what we perhaps love most is that the entire canvas front of the lodge can be opened up to best enjoy the surrounding landscape and to let the cool air flow in on those hot summer days!
The solar heated stone swimming pool sits front and centre on the main deck offering you another place to relax and watch the wildlife casually traversing the nearby plains whilst taking refuge from the heat of the day! The lodge sets a spectacular stage for viewing unforgettable African sunsets followed by pleasant evenings sitting around a copper bowl fireplace under the stars with the Milky Way seemingly almost at your fingertips – not to mention the perfect setting to tuck into some delicious bush cuisine whilst chatting with fellow guests.
But in some ways what excites us most is actually the prospect of just chilling at this characterful and charming little lodge – it really is the perfect place to simply let the bush work its special magic on you in a romantic, tranquil and soulful atmosphere. A perfect escape from the reality of modern life!
The Amakhala Game Reserve is a unique conservation initiative that allows animals to be re-introduced to the area where they once roamed freely and so contributing to the conservation of our natural heritage. It is located about 50 minutes’ drive from Port Elizabeth and approximately 9-hours from Cape Town or 748km via the N2 (National Road).
Amakhala Game Reserve is named after the Xhosa word meaning Aloes, the prolific indigenous plant found in the uniquely diverse Eastern Cape province. Steeped in history and beauty, this 7000- hectare game reserve creates an ideal environment for an unforgettable safari and an intimate experience of the varied landscape, including breath-taking views of the Bushman's River.
The Amakhala Game Reserve offers a range of morning and evening safaris and other activities to enable visitors to experience the fascinating flora, fauna and birdlife of the Eastern Cape. This is your opportunity to return to nature.
Go on game drives in an open Land Rover in search of wildlife including lion, black and white rhino, elephant, cheetah, buffalo, giraffe, black wildebeest, zebra, tortoise and over 16 antelope species, or take a night drive with cheese and wine sundowners before searching for the elusive nocturnal animals such as lynx, porcupine and spring hare.
Relax on a slow river cruise down the Bushman’s River. The riverine bushveld offers excellent bird watching with a good chance of seeing the majestic African Fish Eagle and all three species of Kingfisher. Amongst the game drinking at the river’s edge, the rare Cape Clawless Otter might also be sighted.
Surrounding attractions include the Shamwari Game Reserve (5 min), Addo Elephant Park (30 min), Grahamstown (40 min), the Sunshine Coast with its stunning beaches (45 min), and historical Settler villages such as Sidbury and Salem.
3 Safari Tents
1 Family Safari Tent
Port Elizabeth International Airport
45 minutes from Port Elizabeth Airport
40 minutes from Grahamstown
2 hours from East London
HillsNek Safari Camp – Amakhala Game Reserve, Buyskloof, South Africa