African Safari Mag: A Journey into the Heart of the Karoo

Tucked away in the Western Cape’s wild and vast Karoo region, Inverdoorn Safari Lodge is a true hidden gem, located just a short 2.5-hour drive from Cape Town. Unlike the typical safari destinations in South Africa, this unique location offers panoramic landscapes and fynbos vegetation that are truly one-of-a-kind, making it an essential stop for any safari lover and boutique accommodation traveller.

In this post, we share a recent review of Inverdoorn by Craig Howes (“African Safari Mag” and “City of Cape Town”), a professional wildlife photographer whose stunning images and compelling narrative bring Inverdoorn to life. His insights and visual storytelling provide an immersive glimpse into the guest experience at Inverdoorn Safari Lodge.

Craig Howes at Inverdoorn Private Game Reserve. Image Source: African Safari Mag

This review (and Images) was written by Craig Howes, a professional wildlife photographer who has travelled across Africa and experienced various safari adventures. Craig was voted Safari Influencer of the Year in 2020.

A Safari Sanctuary

Inverdoorn is more than just a safari lodge; it’s a wildlife sanctuary. Spanning over 10,000 hectares, the reserve is home to an impressive array of animals, including the Big Five – lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo. The dedicated conservation efforts at Inverdoorn also mean that you can spot cheetahs, giraffes, zebras, wildebeest, ostriches, caracal, meerkats and various antelope species in their natural habitat.

What Is the History of Inverdoorn?

Inverdoorn Private Game Reserve has a rich history rooted in Karoo wildlife conservation. Over 50 years ago, the reserve was one of the Western Cape’s biggest citrus farms. Today, there are little to no signs of its agricultural past; the landscape is now almost completely covered with the indigenous vegetation of the Karoo, comprising of shrubs, succulents, small trees and grasses — all which have adapted to the semi-arid environment.

“Inverdoorn’s commitment to preserving the natural environment and its wildlife makes it a standout destination for those who value conservation and sustainable tourism.”

Craig Howes, African Safari Mag
Rhinoceros at Inverdoorn Private Game Reserve.

The land was transformed into a private game reserve with a strong focus on wildlife rehabilitation and protection. Over the years, Inverdoorn has become known for its efforts in rescuing and reintroducing animals, particularly cheetahs, back into the Western Cape. The lodge has continuously expanded its conservation initiatives, including establishing a cheetah sanctuary and rewilding various endangered species into the Karoo.

“The King and Queen of Inverdoorn”. Image Source: African Safari Mag

Cheetah Conservation (Karoo Rewilding Project)

One of the standout features of Inverdoorn is its cheetah conservation programme. As one of the fastest land animals on earth, cheetahs symbolise grace and speed but are sadly also endangered. The reserve’s cheetah conservation programme’s focus is to rehabilitates and reintroduces these magnificent creatures back into the wild.

“During our visit, we witnessed the exhilarating cheetah run, where a lure is dragged on the ground for the cheetah to chase. Once they catch the rag, they are rewarded with a meal.”

The ‘Cheetah Run‘ keeps the cheetahs fit, robust and accustomed to chasing ‘prey’ to eat. The two male cheetahs will be released into the reserve in August 2024. The close encounters with these beautiful cats were educational and rewarding, offering a rare insight into their world.

Stargazing at Inverdoorn

The clear, unpolluted skies of the Karoo make Inverdoorn an ideal location for stargazing. After a day of adventure, we relaxed by the campfire and gazed at the Milky Way, far from the city’s lights. The lodge often arranges guided stargazing sessions where you can learn about the constellations and the myths behind them.

“For my partner and me, it was a perfect getaway. We had a fantastic time stargazing, learning about conservation, exploring the cheetah project, and enjoying game drives that offered unique sightings.”

Karoo Stargazing Experience. Image Source: African Safari Mag

Luxury 4-Star Accommodation

Inverdoorn Safari Lodge offers a range of accommodation options that cater to various tastes and budgets. From luxury suites with private verandas and stunning views to more budget-friendly Tankwa chalets, there’s something for everyone.

“The lodge’s design seamlessly blends comfort with the rugged beauty of the Karoo, ensuring that your stay is both relaxing and immersive.”

Craig Howes, African Safari Mag
Private pool overlooking the Karoo. Image Source: African Safari Mag

The Ambassador Suite

The Ambassador Suite is a must for those seeking the ultimate in luxury. This opulent suite features a private rooftop terrace, a spacious living area, and a private pool. It’s the perfect retreat after a day of safari adventures, allowing you to unwind in style while gazing at the stars in the clear Karoo sky.

For a truly luxurious and five-star stay, the Ambassador suite offers guests an exclusive pillow menu and rejuvenating bath experience. Guests are also treated to an inclusive selection of wines, teas, coffees, and fully-stocked mini-bar selection.

Rooftop Terrace above the Ambassador Chalet. Image Source: African Safari Mag

Activities and Experiences

Inverdoorn offers a variety of activities to keep you entertained throughout your stay. Guided 4×4 vehicle game drives are the highlight, providing the best opportunities to see the Big Five and other wildlife up close. But there’s so much for guests to do and experience during their safari leisure time. From horse trails through the reserve, e-bike tours, romantic Karoo picnics, in-room spa treatments, and even private birdwatching safaris, be sure to check out all the add-on safari activities Inverdoorn has to offer.

“Our guide, Memory, who has worked across Africa as a guide for over 30 years, shared fascinating insights into the animals’ behaviours and the ecosystem they inhabit.”

Craig Howes, African Safari Mag
Sundowners on the Sunset Safari Game Drive. Image Source: African Safari Mag

Warm Hospitality

Winner of the 2023 Luxury Hotel Award for the best luxury private game reserve in South Africa, Inverdoorn prides itself on service excellence. Down to the smallest details, like locally made baked goods served with tea and coffee, fresh-pressed ginger shots at breakfast, in-room spa treatments, and welcome drinks upon your arrival, Inverdoorn is a personalised and intimate boutique safari experience like no other.

“One of the highlights of our stay at Inverdoorn was the warm and friendly staff. They went the extra mile to ensure our experience was unforgettable. We felt like part of the Inverdoorn family from the moment we arrived.”

Craig Howes, African Safari Mag
Karoo Horse Trail at Inverdoorn. Image Source: African Safari Mag

Winter Safari Adventures

Going on safari in winter is a beautiful and unique experience. Unlike the northern hemisphere, South Africa’s winters are mild and cool, with the average day-time temperature ranging between 19 – 20 degrees celsius. Although the nights can become quite cool, there’s still so much to see and do from June to August. Not only do the animals become more active in the cooler winter weather, but the Karoo landscape transforms with stunning fynbos blooms, flowing rivers and colourful Namaqua wildflowers.

And, what makes it even better is that Inverdoorn Private Game Reserve offers exclusive winter safari discounts and overnight accommodation deals (valid until 31 October 2024).

“We visited Inverdoorn in winter, and while the game drives were cold, we were provided blankets and had fun dressing warmly to stay comfortable. The crisp air added to the adventure, and we were lucky enough to hear the spine-tingling roar of a lion early in the morning. To top it all off, we enjoyed sundowners on our game drive, sipping a glass of bubbly while soaking in the breathtaking Karoo sunset.”

Complimentary Old Brown Sherry poured for guests. Image Source: African Safari Mag

Getting There (Safari Near Cape Town)

Inverdoorn Safari Lodge is conveniently located about two and a half hours from Cape Town, South Africa. The journey by car is its own adventure through the Western Cape’s famous winelands, Huguenot Tunnel, and stunning countryside, making the drive an enjoyable part of your safari experience.

The road to Inverdoorn Private Game Reserve is also considered a pleasant experience and generally safe. It advised, however, not to disembark from your vehicle unless in a demarcated area. For those looking to freshen up or purchase snacks on the way, there is a fuel station and Engen Ultra-city rest stop half way to the reserve.

Inverdoorn Safari Vehicle overlooking the Karoo. Image Source: African Safari Mag

How Do I Get to Inverdoorn from Cape Town?

The journey to Inverdoorn Private Game Reserve takes you through some of the Western Cape’s most picturesque and remote landscapes, including the beautiful Ceres Karoo region. For directions to Inverdoorn, guests can find the reserve on google maps or follow the helpful map and detailed directions from Cape Town, found on their website.

If you don’t have a car or you’re looking for an all-inclusive experience, Inverdoorn offers private return transport and shuttles to and from the city. For those who prefer to fly, private charters can be arranged. Once you arrive at Inverdoorn, you’ll feel a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city, surrounded by the tranquillity and beauty of the wild Karoo.

Book your Inverdoorn Safari or view our luxurious accommodation options to experience our Boutique Big 5 Safari close to Cape Town, South Africa.

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