INKWENKWEZI Private Game Reserve
Inkwenkwezi Private Game Reserve, located in South Africa's malaria-free Eastern Cape Province near East London, is more than just a wildlife sanctuary - it's an experience! Inkwenkwezi (meaning ‘Star' in isiXhosa) is an eco-tourism experience dream that has been carefully planned and meticulously cultivated by the Stanton brothers, Keith and Graham, for years prior to opening the reserve in November 1999.
I visited the reserve while test driving the new VW Combi Tsi (read this review in the June edition), and travelled from Port Elizabeth, approaching the Chintsa turn-off to Inkwenkwezi from the N2 motorway some thirty kilometres North of East London.
What is immediately apparent on arrival is that this is no ordinary game reserve - the visual impression can best be described as “original Africa”. By that I mean that one gets the feeling of having arrived in a time warp − to a time when this region of the Eastern Cape was teeming with wildlife, and the biome unspoilt by western agriculture and industrialisation. And that's exactly what the brothers Stanton set out to achieve when they purchased a small farm near the Kei River and the border to the Wild Coast, and subsequently expanded this parcel of indigenous bush to the 4000 hectare reserve that is Inkwenkwezi today.
“We wanted to rehabilitate the land by eradicating alien vegetation and reintroducing wildlife species that were endemic to the area,” said Keith when I finally managed to pin him down for a brief interview. “Our aim has always been to facilitate an experience for guests that embraces the fundamental values of nature: solitude, timelessness, freedom from a world where man is in control, and a place where the sounds and ways of nature prevail.” And that aim has been superbly achieved. But I'm getting ahead of myself - back to my arrival.
Guests are met at the main lodge reception and after check-in procedures, whisked off by game viewing vehicle to their allocated