A mystical space in the very heart of the Great Karoo, Mount Camdeboo Private Game Reserve offers wonderful family safaris and a variety of fabulously family-friendly accommodation options, from intimate lodges where you can reserve a secluded double suite or the whole manor house in a lush garden setting, a romantic honeymoon cottage or two luxurious safari tents in the bush.
This is an iconic African landscape of vast plains, endless skies and truly dramatic mountains. Backed by the magnificent ramparts of the Sneeuberg range – South Africa’s second-highest mountain range, with altitudes of 8 000 feet (2 438 metres) – Mount Camdeboo falls within an important biodiversity corridor. This is a place of sweeping panoramas and undulating escarpments, extraordinary plant and animal diversity, and a deeply rooted cultural heritage – from its early Khoisan dwellers to its Dutch settlers. Its 14 000 hectares host herds of antelope, mountain zebra, giraffe, rhinoceros, cheetah and buffalo, with lion forming the latest addition to the reserve.
Time is a relative term in this ancient landscape, which takes its name from the Khoisan who first peopled this place and called it Camdeboo, or ‘place of green hills or pools’. Important fossil beds – including 240-million-year-old fossils and dinosaur remains – bear testimony to the fact that life has flourished here for since time immemorial. Today, Mount Camdeboo is infused with tranquillity. An oasis in this semi-arid landscape where humans are dwarfed by exceptional geological phenomena – from dolerite spires to limestone caves – the reserve provides the ultimate escape for remote R&R. We especially love Mount Camdeboo for multigenerational family escapes. Big, shady trees surround magnificently manicured lawns, the long blue swimming pools invite the whole family to jump in for a refreshing swim, and afternoon high teas are a highlight – we even experienced the joy of the staff bringing in serval kittens for the children to coo over.
Accommodation is in three beautifully restored, gracious gabled Cape Dutch homestead manors, each with its own spacious gardens and sparkling swimming pools, and one with an additional secluded cottage. Life here is laid-back and relaxed, with just the right amount of old-world grace and style balanced by modern creature comforts. Stone floor tiles are warmed by Persian carpets, and there are the velvet-covered loungers and big four-poster beds with mosquito nets and the softest bed linens to entice you. Wood-burning fireplaces, underfloor heating, shady bomas, swimming pools and aircon deal with the summer heat and winter chill of the Karoo, while a dedicated game ranger and a game-viewing vehicle make sure you get the best safari experience.
Historic Camdeboo Manor and Courtyard Manor, which can be rented exclusively or per suite. Each has four sumptuous en-suite bedrooms, offering a range of uber-comfy double bedroom suites with fourposter beds and twin bedroom suites. Of course, they all offer every comfort you could hope for, from aircon and underfloor heating to French doors opening into the garden. The Courtyard Manor’s bedroom options include one that sleeps four in three-quarter and single beds – perfect for cousins and friends to room together.
If you have a large party and are booking one (or both) of the manor houses exclusively, a great additional feature is that friends can overflow into the wonderful tented safari camp, too. The two privately located double-bed canvas tents are raised on wooden decks overlooking a seasonal stream. Accessible by a wooden walkway, each en-suite tent comfortably sleeps two in a queen-size bed.
Peppertree Cottage is situated in a secluded part of Camdeboo Manor’s beautiful gardens. Its romantic ambience is a delight for honeymooners or couples seeking privacy. The spacious cottage features a king-size bed, fireplace, luxurious en-suite bathroom and kitchenette.
And then there is lovely Hillside Manor, available only for exclusive use. In an elevated position against the lower mountain slopes, Hillside is very private and has sweeping valley views. Its relaxed and spacious living spaces, three double en-suite bedrooms, a lovely swimming pool and a private safari vehicle with ranger make it a perfect family option.
What we love…
- The authentic, heartfelt, welcoming hospitality.
- The utter peace and tranquillity of the lush gardens and the sparkling – and generous – swimming pools.
- The heart-stoppingly beautiful, panoramic scenery.
- The sheer romance of Peppertree Cottage. Built from stone, this utterly private cottage is great for honeymooners or couples.
What you need to know…
- Exciting news: lion are the latest big cats to join the line-up of wildlife in Mount Camdeboo!
- Twice-daily guided safari game drives give you the chance for sightings of the ‘Camdeboo Big Five’: the breeding cheetah pair, the rare white rhinos, the giraffe, the new lions, and the almost extinct mountain zebras.
- The historic village of Graaff-Reinet is just 45 minutes’ drive away and offers fascinating historic and Anglo-Boer War tours.
- A sunset tour to the hauntingly beautiful Valley of Desolation is a must!