Sibuya Game Reserve, South Africa

Set among Big Five habitats, the luxury tented Sibuya Game Reserve offers the ultimate African safari experience

Published 13 Jun 2017, 16:21 BST

Set among Big Five habitats, the luxury tented Sibuya Game Reserve offers the ultimate African safari experience. The reserve is home to an abundance of animals — from elephants to otters — and, with around 400 species of bird in the area, is a near-unbeatable destination for bush-lovers and birdwatchers alike. Sibuya boasts two luxurious eco-destinations: Forest Camp and River Camp, which run almost exclusively on solar power — meaning no TV, wi-fi, air-conditioners, fans or hairdryers — so guests can enjoy the simplicity of life without these mod cons. If those extra features are required, however, the secluded Bush Lodge — with grid electricity — is a better option.

Sibuya’s reception is in the village of Kenton-on-Sea in the Eastern Cape Province, about 80 miles equidistant from Port Elizabeth and East London. It’s a natural extension to any trip from Cape Town up the Garden Route, and easily accessible from both Port Elizabeth and East London. Charter flights to Port Alfred put guests right on the doorstep of this lesser-known gem.

The Sibuya experience starts with a 45-minute boat transfer up the Kariega Estuary to River Camp, Forest Camp or Bush Lodge. Leaving the beach — where, if lucky, turtles, dolphins and whales may be seen — the boat journeys up the estuary to the reserve. All three secluded accommodation venues nestle in indigenous forest, though Bush Lodge is currently situated just outside the main reserve.

Throughout their stay, guests are hosted and guided by a team of enthusiastic experienced professionals. The guides offer personalised game drives, boat trips, canoe outings and sumptuous beach or bush picnics. Additional activities at an add-on fee include wellness programmes, featuring massages; horse-riding on the beach; and — weather permitting — deep-sea fishing. Township tours can also be arranged. Sibuya prides itself on serving up fresh, healthy buffet-style meals, eaten al fresco or in one of the charming lapas (thatched huts).

Forest Camp

Perfectly situated on the banks of the Kariega River is Forest Camp. Adopting a low-impact model where maximum privacy has been carefully considered, the camp’s accommodation is built on raised wooden decks, with long wooden walkways through pristine thicket. Sibuya offers true luxury tented accommodation: each secluded tent measuring 645sq ft accommodates two adults sharing comfortable king-size or twin beds, and has a unique large en-suite bathroom with bath and shower. Four of the eight tents are equipped with a pull-out sleeper couch enabling the option of a third person sharing — ideal for those travelling with an older child. Fireplaces in every tent are a cosy addition for chillier nights.  Secluded nooks enable stunning views of the River or surrounding forest. Forest Camp is only available to adults and children over the age of 12.

River Camp

Ideal for families with children, or for sole-use specialist groups, the smaller, more intimate River Camp has four secluded tents tucked away in the riverine bush. The luxury tents each measure 807sq ft, accommodate two adults sharing comfortable king-size or twin beds and are adjoined by a spacious en suite bathroom with both shower and bath. Private decks offer views of the river or forest. Each tent has the addition of a divan bed, and cots are available on request. For chillier nights, hot water-bottles and fireplaces in each tent create a cosy ambience. Children of all ages are catered for, and camp-related entertainment and babysitting are available by prior arrangement.

Bush Lodge

Sibuya’s Bush Lodge is set in a pristine wilderness only a short drive from the main reserve. Overlooking the indigenous wooded valley below, viewing decks surround the main lodge and provide a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts. A swimming pool is an inviting alternative to the Kariega River and provides an ideal place to relax and refresh between game drives or other activities. Bush Lodge is on the main electrical grid, so for those guests wanting a little more luxury and comfort, this is the ideal alternative. Bush Lodge is only available to those over the age of 12.

Day trip packages

Sibuya organises day trips to the reserve, hosted by professional guides. A leisurely cruise up the Kariega River is followed by a three-hour game drive and a cold buffet-style lunch on the banks of the river. A slow cruise back to Kenton-on-Sea is a fitting end to an exhilarating experience. Tailor-made packages can be arranged.

Responsible Tourism

Sibuya aims to be a low-impact, sustainable and responsible eco-destination by encouraging guests to use still-water decanters and reusable water bottles. Water is solar-heated in the summer months and hot winter days, while gas geysers are used during the winter or rainy months as a back-up. The footprint of Sibuya’s building has had almost no effect on plant and animal life.

Need to know

Key facilities

• Forest Camp
• River Camp
• Bush Lodge
• Restaurant with all-inclusive meals, soft drinks and local beverages
• En suite bathrooms
• Fireplaces

Key activities

• Big Five game drives
• Bush and beach picnics
• Boat trips and canoeing
• Fishing
• Horse-riding
• Wellness programme


T: +27 46 6481040

Read More

Explore Nat Geo

  • Animals
  • Environment
  • History & Culture
  • Science
  • Travel
  • Photography
  • Space
  • Adventure
  • Video

About us


  • Magazines
  • Newsletter
  • Disney+

Follow us

Copyright © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society. Copyright © 2015-2021 National Geographic Partners, LLC. All rights reserved