INKWENKWEZI Pri­vate Game Re­serve

Tourism Tattler - - PROPERTY REVIEW SOUTH AFRICA - EASTERN CAPE - By Des Langk­ilde

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

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