Hopewell Private Game Reserve is luxurious, exclusive and unique

hopewell private game reserve

Located off the R72 between Port Elizabeth and Alexandria, in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, Hopewell Private Game Reserve deserves all of its five stars.

This is not just because the accommodation is all that one could expect and more, but also because of its exclusivity.

Hopewell Private Game Reserve only caters for a very limited number of guests which means that visitors get to appreciate the African bush in peace and tranquility.

The setting of Hopewell Lodge is magnificent too.  Located on the side of a hill with sweeping views of the valley below, the lodge is immersed in the surrounding bush.

I have a love and passion for the bush and, having worked as a field guide in my younger years, I have a professional knowledge of the beauty and diversity of Africa’s natural environment.

It is my personal opinion that Hopewell Private Game Reserve is one of the most attractive game reserves in the region. 

Located close to the warm Indian Ocean and with relatively high rainfall, this game reserve has more grasslands than any of its contemporaries.  Being close to the Alexandria Forest, this is also one of the very few game reserves with trees taller than three meters.

This mix of thick forest and sweeping grasslands interspersed with shade trees makes Hopewell Private Game Reserve spectacularly beautiful.

A personal experience

It took just 50 minutes to reach Hopewell Private Game Reserve from Port Elizabeth and my partner and I had no problem finding the entrance thanks to the signage on the R72.

The beautiful tree lined road to the reception had a welcome committee of a large heard of Bushbuck.  They calmly watched us drive by as they rested on the sun dappled lawn.

We were met at reception by our game ranger and checking in was simple and easy.  Shortly thereafter the adventure began!

We climbed aboard the game viewing vehicle and, with our luggage stowed, headed for Hopewell Lodge.

Right from the start our game ranger was great.  Her easy banter and informative observations were both entertaining and educational.  Her knowledge was impressive and we felt encouraged to ask questions to satisfy our curiosity.

Also onboard was the lodge’s tracker and tree expert.  He joined us for all our game drives and we made frequent stops so that he could describe the different plants and their medicinal value.  His love of the bush was contagious and he had us enthralled.

On arrival at Hopewell Lodge we were introduced to the chef and waiting staff and taken on a tour of the building to discover where all the amenities were to be found.

We were then shown to our Private Luxury Suite .  Luxury is the perfect adjective.  The suite is large spacious and airy with a big viewing deck, private pool and comfortable furnishings.  Every part of the suite has been designed to take advantage of the great view, from the stand alone bathtub to the voluptuous couch to the King size bed.

We were then shown to our Private Luxury Suite .  Luxury is the perfect adjective.  The suite is large spacious and airy with a big viewing deck, private pool and comfortable furnishings.  Every part of the suite has been designed to take advantage of the great view, from the stand alone bathtub to the voluptuous couch to the King size bed.

The suite has his and hers basins and an indoor and outdoor shower.  Taking a hot outdoor shower on a cool morning is one of life’s greatest pleasures and an opportunity not to be missed.

We ordered lunch and shandies on our viewing deck and, between scanning the bush with our binoculars, we took regular dips in the sparkling pool.

At 5pm we took a stroll down to Lodge for our evening game drive.  Here we met some of the other guests. All aboard and we were off.

As I have mentioned elsewhere, this is one of the most beautiful game reserves that I have visited.  The steep sided hills are covered in dense, dark green euphorbias and other indigenous bush and the valleys filled with thick grass and massive shade trees. 

Our journey took us through the different valleys with a short and steep climb over the hills into the next dale.  The valleys were teeming with antelope and other big game and on the hill sides we learnt about the incredible diversity of plant species this area has to offer.

Highlights of the drive were a close encounter with a heard of Elephant, spotting a pair of Eagle Owls napping in Milkwood Tree and watching the Hippo play with a couple ducks!

We stopped on the edge of one of the hills overlooking herds of Giraffe, Eland, Zebra and Hartebeest for sundowners.  Sipping on a cold G&T with a spectacular view of an African bush sunset is another of life’s wonders.

We returned to the lodge shortly after sundown, freshened up and went out to dinner.  Out being the operative word as dinner was served in the lodge’s Boma.  A winding, lantern lit path through the bush leads you into a wooden palisaded enclosure open to the clearly visible Milky Way above.

The floor is covered in beach sand and lit with a large fire and lamps.

The three course dinner was superb.  Broccoli Soup with fresh rolls was followed by a mixed grill prepared on a typical South Africa braai (barbeque).  Desert was an apple tart liberally covered with Amarula custard.

Prior to starting the Chef called at our table to brief us on our meal and, once replete, checked that it was to our satisfaction.  Our waiter was brilliant.  Quietly and efficiently he ensured that our glasses of wine were refilled and he discreetly served each course.

We had a wonderful evening chatting with the other guests around the fire and at our communal table.

Once back at our suite we lay on the pool loungers and just stared into the incredible array of stars above us.  We were lucky to have a cloudless evening with the moon not yet risen.  With no ambient light, the Milky Way was displayed in all its glory. Yip, this is yet another of life’s great experiences.

We both slept like the dead – a perfect endorsement to the superbly comfortable bed, great dinner and quiet of the African night.

Despite the comfort of our bed we rose early for another game drive.  Coffee and scones were waiting for as at the Lodge, which went down a treat, before we departed for another bush experience.

On the drive we climbed to the highest point on the reserve and looked across the rolling hills to the vast Indian Ocean in the distance.  The coastline in view is part of the Marine Section of the Greater Addo Elephant National Park and home to an incredible assortment of marine mammals, birdlife and fish.

A delicious combination of a health, Continental and English breakfast was served on the deck at the Lodge immediately after the morning game drive.

What a wonderful experience and a big thank you to the Hopewell team who took such great care of us.

Conservation at Hopewell Private Game Reserve

Private game reserves are a shining star in the darkness that is the uninhibited destruction of our natural environment by a global population that seems set on its self-destruction.

The Eastern Cape of South Africa, thanks to its large number of private game reserves is one of the few areas in the world where the natural environment is being restored and conserved.

Most private game reserves have a trade-off between conservation and profit.  The more guests, the higher the profit but the higher the impact on the environment.  More roads, more vehicles, more staff, more buildings mean higher profits but they also take their toll on the fauna and flora.

The owners of these private game reserves all have a passion for the environment and so their dilemma lies in how to balance their pocket with their passion.

It seems to me that at Hopewell Private Game Reserve the owners have credited conservation at the expense of their wallet.

Apart from the roads that wind through the bush and a few man made waterholes, it is hard to find any evidence of the old agricultural activities that would have marred the landscape.

Hopewell Private Game Reserve have done an incredible job in rehabilitating the land and reintroducing animal species that had been hunted to local extinction.

The 3000 hectare reserve is home to more plant and bird species than found in all of Europe and roamed by herds of antelope and other big game.

Visiting Hopewell Private Game Reserve is not just an incredible experience, it is also a personal contribution to the preservation of this magnificent corner of Africa.

Contact Details

To contact Hopewell Private Game Reserve call 083 281 3383 or email info@hopewell-lodge.com.  To check availability and make a reservation click here.  To find them on Google Maps click here.


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