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Discover: Irresistible Inkwenkwezi

Updated: Jun 10, 2020

Inkwenkwezi, which means ‘under the stars’ in isiXhosa, took its initial steps in 1983 when the first of several farms was purchased near Chintsa, north of East London.

In 1999, after 16 years of building up a population of various species, Inkwenkwezi, led by Umtata-born brothers Graham and Keith Stanton, opened its doors. 

Today the 4 ,500-hectare reserve has a number of unique drawcards. It’s home to the second-largest population of the endemic Umtiza listeriana tree, with more than 300 trees in a one-hectare area. (Only the Umtiza Nature Reserve on the other side of East London has more.)

Secondly, a rare, cycad-feeding moth called Veniliodes setinata has been spotted in the reserve; there are only four places in the world where it still occurs. Thirdly, Inkwenkwezi has white lions. Sightings of these rare cats are pretty much guaranteed as they have their own 100-hectare enclosure.

On game drives, the ocean occasionally comes into view (the beach is 7,6kms away). As well as the lions, we saw giraffe, buffalo, blesbok, impala, zebra, wildebeest and nyala. Birdlife includes long-crested eagles, grey-crowned cranes and narina trogons.

There are two rivers in the reserve and guests can take a two-hour canoe trip in a tidal estuary, which is protected from the ocean by a sandbank so the waters are often calm.

Despite the wonders of the landscape, the lodge was one of my favourite features, with a view of the valley thicket from its elevated deck. Hearty buffet meals are served here three times a day, under high thatched roofs, and the lounge is the perfect spot to unwind after exploring the reserve.

And the show’s not over: cheeky vervet monkeys lurk in the trees and dash inside to steal sugar and snack on it like popcorn-munching movie-goers, while nyalas promenade along the pathways. 

Source: Getaway Magazine

(Read the full article, 7 Secret Eastern Cape Parks Uncovered) at

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