Online safari: Covid-19 Lockdown sees growth in virtual game drives

virtual game drive

They say necessity is the mother of invention. Coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdowns in many countries have seen people searching for entertainment online. Among the various offerings, reports say virtual or online game drives have become popular.

Who knew one day many people will be going on safari online? Several South African game reserves have seized on this new trend and are offering these virtual game drives to ensure time spent indoors is not as dreary.

Shamwari Game Reserve in Eastern Cape

You can now take a virtual game drive with Shamwari’s head ranger, Andrew Kearney.

Although Shamwari Private Game Reserve is under lockdown, its animals aren’t and are going about their business as usual.

Thus, Kearney is still getting up early to offer game drives and guided walks, but instead of just sharing what he sees with the visitors on his Landcruiser he’s posting it on the internet for the world to see.

On his own initiative and armed with just a rifle and cellphone, Andrew has, so far, posted six videos of his daily excursions around the reserve.

Although he’s limited by the technology at his disposal and the fact that the large animals are sometimes just metres away – making loud explanations distinctly unhealthy – he still manages to cram a wealth of information and insight into each four-to-six-minute episode.

In the series so far, you can join Andrew to learn the basics of tracking, get a masterclass on giraffes, track a pride of lions to a kill, get scarily close to elephants, make a careful downwind approach on two white rhino and outrun a leopard tortoise.

If you’re missing your Easter trip to the bush, want something interesting to pass a few lockdown minutes or are looking for a fun, educational distraction for the children, visit Shamwari Private Game Reserve’s YouTube channel. Here’s a link to episode 4, the most popular so far:

Andrew will be posting more episodes and you can also find these on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #shamwari private game reserve. Read more here…

andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal

The Phinda Private Game Reserve is found in northern KwaZulu Natal. The reserve consists of
170 km² of land. This establishment is part of the &Beyond Group, this international group of establishments is synonymous with luxurious stays throughout the world.

andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve has also collaborated with wildlife broadcasting experts, WildEarth, to stream (in real time) twice-daily, three-hour long game drives from &BEYOND Ngala Private Game Reserve and Djuma Private Game Reserve.

You can watch their virtual game drives on YouTube:

Singita Lodges in Mpumalanga

Singita is a group of lodges that has establishments in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Rwanda. This group offers visitors an authentic African experience as well as luxurious stays. With 15 lodges, visitors can certainly be spoilt for choice when it comes to their next holiday.

Singita, which operates the Sabi Sand Game Reserve adjacent to Kruger National Park, among others across the African continent, has been live streaming virtual game drives on Vimeo:

Tembe Elephant Park in KwaZulu Natal

The Tembe Elephant Park in northern KwaZulu Natal is one of the lesser known Big 5 Reserves, but visitors can certainly expect a quality visit. Located just to the south of Mozambique, this 300km2 reserve is the ancestral home of the Tembe tribe.

In addition to the prospect of witnessing the famed Big 5, Tembe also has more than 340 species of birds. The guides that are employed by this reserve are locals who welcome visitors to their ancestral home. Tembe has also taken people on virtual game drives on their Facebook page:

Tintswalo Safari Lodge in Mpumalanga

Sharing an unfenced boundary with the renowned Kruger National Park, the pristine private Manyeleti Game Reserve is home to the luxurious Tintswalo Safari Lodge. The Safari Lodge is part of the Tintswala Group, which consists of six establishments throughout South Africa.

The lodge has been streaming their safaris online via Facebook:


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Actually, Home Food and Travel offers a lot more than just reviews of accommodation, restaurants, spas and adventure activities.  We also visit great destinations, receive advice from interior designers and stop to smell the roses and taste the coffee.

Our team of journalists are seasoned travels and love visiting the myriad of exciting places around South Africa.  Whether it is off the beaten track or in the heart of the top attractions of the country, we’ll be there,

Home Food and Travel advice on finding the right accommodation

So what is the right accommodation?  Well more often than not, it’s your travel budget that dictates the type of accommodation that you choose. 

Expensive is not always better.  Our team at Home Food and Travel will tell you that they have camped in areas with limited ablutions and had a wonderful holiday.  They have also spent a night in a five star hotel only to be disappointed because their expectations exceeded the experience.

The reason for your travels will also affect your choice.  A business trip requires different amenities to a beach holiday. 

Our articles, reviews and experiences can certainly help you make your decision.

Restaurants with a good mix of service, food and ambiance

To my mind a great restaurant offers three things – excellent service, great food and a wonderful ambiance.  Of these, service is the most important. 

No matter that the food is delicious and the setting delightful, poor service can ruin the occasion.  However, great service combined with mediocre meal and a plane jane restaurant can still be a pleasant night out.

We’ve eaten in restaurants that are really dirty but with incredible food and couldn’t help but give a rave review.  We’ve also hardly noticed what we ate because the setting was just amazing.

However, the best restaurants come with the best of service, food and ambiance.

Spas are the ultimate relaxation aid

How do you know when you have had a great spa experience?  The answer, of course, is when you doze off on the treatment table. 

Well that’s our theory anyway.  It also doesn’t take a grand location with enormous facilities for a spa to be really good

A small, personal spa that is owner run can result in the best massage you have ever experienced.  However, the grand spas in five star hotels offer unsurpassed facilities in an environment that just makes the stress in your shoulders and neck melt away before you even finish checking in.


You don’t have to be an adrenaline junky to enjoy an exciting experience.  In fact, what are commonly termed adventure activities usually have incredibly high safety standards and unblemished safety records.

Ziplining, bungy jumping and shark cage diving are all very safe.  It’s just that our mind tells us we are craaazzzzyyyy to be doing this.

On the road to great places of accommodation, restaurants, spas and adventure activities

If you’re driving, be safe and make use of all the wonderful farm stalls that populate South Africa’s open roads.

If you overhear somebody asking a lot of questions or see someone taking photos of empty bedrooms chances are it’s one of our Home Food and Travel team members.

We’re out looking or those great places of accommodation, restaurants, spas and adventure activities.

See you on the road!


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