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“An amazing stay at Quatermains!”

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Quatermains 1920s Safari Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 20 September 2013

The 1920s tents were a triumph! Fabulously attentive both rangers Craig & Dwayne and hosts, Riann & Julie. Amazing drives into the bush where we saw among other animals lions. cheetahs, rhino - white & black, elephants - by moonlight as well which was magical! The food was excellent & breakfast particularly restorative after early morning drives. The heaters in the tents made an early morning shower an adventure!
This was the best way to have a safari experience.
Thank you so much
Liz & Julie

Room Tip: All 3 tents perfect 1 with double bed for a couple further away from main site
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  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank LizHDavies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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124 - 130 of 229 reviews

Reviewed 27 August 2013

Wow. What a weekend. Where do I even start? Lions... Cheetahs eating a springbok....poop spitting contest... what else can you ask for? This weekend my friends and I took a break from our hectic lives and spent 2 nights at the camp site at Amakhala. Talk about high class camping. No need for a tent, no need for a sleep bag, no need for anything- they have it all there, but still making you feel as though you are in the middle of the woods. Which you are. Being in the tents in the midst of the winter, not once did I not feel safe or cold. Blankets and heaters were provided, and of course hot showers, which is instant temperature booster. The atmosphere and staff at Amakhala was one any guest hopes for. Not only do you get a personal experience with Dwayne, Craig, Julie, Riaan, and don't forget cute little Samuel, but you leave the reserve knowing more about animals and nature than you thought your brain could handle. In one weekend I saw everything I needed to see while I study here in SA. Even though I could get excited about seeing a zebra every time, looking back at my stay I can definitely say we got our money's worth. I'm forever grateful for my weekend at Amakhala and recommend this for a group of friends or family. Did I mention the limitless supply of alcohol at the campsite in the middle of no where in the woods.... point stated.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with friends
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2  Thank Hannah R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 August 2013

My girlfriend and I enjoyed four incredible nights at Quatermain's Camp in April of 2013. Coming off the back of some very unfortunate weather on the Wild Coast, we rolled in to the outskirts of Quatermain’s Camp around 3:30 in the afternoon following a very long drive. We were met at the nearby lodge of Carnarvon Dale by one of the camp’s rangers, Duane, who gave us the choice of going straight to the camp or heading out for an evening game drive. We opted for the latter, loaded ourselves into the Land Cruiser, and rolled out for Amakhala. It was a stunningly beautiful evening and we were both just totally in awe of the zebras and wildebeests and bushboks and giraffes and myriad other incredible animals we saw. We enjoyed our first “sundowner” – a glass of wine and some cheese enjoyed at sunset in the middle of our drive. As it got darker, we worked our way back to the camp.

Quatermain’s is on a part of the Amakhala reserve that doesn’t house any of the more dangerous animals (eg lions, elephants, rhinos, etc) but does have lots of antelope species, monkeys, birds, etc. The car remained parked at Carnarvon Dale as the roads to the camp are quite rugged and we were transported down in the Land Cruiser. The camp is well into the bush of the reserve, no electricity and with only showers and flush toilets as concessions to contemporary life. We stepped out of the vehicle and walked around the corner to be greeted by the boma – the covered area with the fire, brai, and dining table. We met Craig, the other ranger, and were escorted to our tent, a couple of minute walk along a trail into a wonderfully isolated spot with nothing but the sounds of nature around us.

The tents are awesome – traditional canvas safari tents, but nicely laid out with a small deck in front, a bed and a trunk in the main section, and then a cleverly built wooden shower and toilet space behind. Paraffin lamps provided illumination for the scene. We freshened up quickly and returned to the boma for dinner – especially since we’d not really had breakfast or lunch, we were more than ready for this! Our first night was the braai, with steak, lamb and boerwoors for me, and veggie kebabs and veggie patties for Kristin. Craig was busy preparing the food and Duane was waiting with two glasses of sherry to welcome us. We enjoyed our sherry by the fire and chatted with the rangers, and then moved over to the table for our dinner – on this evening, Craig joined us for the meal and Duane manned the kitchen. After a few glasses of wine and a hearty, delicious dinner, we decided to call it a night and wander back to our tent, paraffin lamps in hand.

Sleeping in the camp was fantastic – the noisy silence of nature was quite incredible, and sometimes you could hear the roars of the lions or the grunts of the baboons. The skies were quite clear and the moon was waxing towards full, so the natural illumination was substantial, although fumbling around in the tent by oil light was quite entertaining as well.

We were awakened each morning around 6:30am by Duane, in order to be at the boma around 6:45 for some tea and rusks before departing on our morning drives. For the next three mornings, we ventured into the main part of the Amakhala game reserve, looking for the big animals – elephants, rhinos, giraffes – but also noticing the smaller creatures – the birds, the tortoises, the rodents, the plants. Duane is relatively new to Quatermain’s – he’d only been there about 2 weeks when we were there – but was quickly learning the roads through the reserve and had a good wealth of knowledge about the fauna and flora of the region, as well as a great deal of enthusiasm and wonder at the environs.

After the morning game drive, we’d return to camp for breakfast with Riaan and Julie, the owners of the camp. Riaan has an extensive background as a ranger as well as lecturing on game reserve management and knows the region extremely well; Julie has a background in veterinary studies and also worked as a ranger in the area previously. They have a three year old son, Sam, who has an extremely impressive repertoire of bird calls; a Jack Russell Terrier named Tumi who will fiercely battle monkeys and lions (and whose heart really belongs to Craig); and a baby duiker named Bumpy that Riaan rescued from the N2 motorway and who they have been hand-rearing with hopes of re-introducing to the duiker herds in the reserve. Breakfast consisted of muesli and yogurt, juice, bacon, eggs, beans, mushrooms & toast – quite a feast – and was followed by a few hours of personal time. We mostly filled this time with showers, short wanders nearby, some reading (with a glass of wine or two), and naps. Quite lovely.

Around 3pm, we’d reconvene at the boma for the afternoon drive. Quatermain’s is in a somewhat unique position of being able to do game drives on both the Amakhala and neighboring Shamwari reserves. Shamwari is vast but also has a correspondingly more vast array of fauna; for our remaining three afternoon drives we’d venture into Shamwari. Craig was our afternoon ranger, but, because he was still learning the roads of Shamwari, we had the added bonus of Riaan’s presence on the drives. Craig is extremely knowledgeable, with a strong passion for nature and conservancy, and would have been a fantastic guide on his own; but having 2 sets of ranger eyes scanning the horizon, especially when one pair of eyes belongs to a highly experienced ranger, makes for an incredible viewing experience.

Over the three drives in Shamwari, we encountered white and black rhino, cheetah, lion, leopard, along with strutting springbok, hippos, rutting impalas, and much more. Between the two reservees, we got incredible sightings of some other lesser-seen creatures: a juvenile martial eagle, a genet, a water monitor, yellow mongoose, knyssna woodpecker. It was really quite incredible – the rhinos and giraffes and elephants were probably the most mind-blowing, but we also had amazing chance encounters – like when two cheetah brothers happened to cross our path at night, prowling right through our headlights, on their way to the kill. Absolutely stunning.

Life in the camp continued to be incredible too – dinners ranged from a kudu stew to a beer can chicken to an iron pan baked hake, with lots of accompanying vegetables and sides. We got to know Duane, Craig, Julie, Riaan and Sam a bit more, heard stories about how they became rangers and the origins of Quatermain’s. We had close encounters with warthogs, baboons, bushbok and duikers in the camp (including right next to our tent). And on the last morning, Duane took us on a walk through part of the reserve near the camp, allowing us to see some of the wildlife and plantlife more closely, introducing us to some of the elements of tracking, and giving us a different perspective on the reserve.

All in all, it was an awesome (in the original sense of the word) experience. To be able to stay in the bush – but with some key comforts (notably showers, toilets, wine and good food) – and really immerse ourselves in the experience was wonderful. The location is fantastic, the rangers were friendly and engaging, and the owners were kind and deeply involved. We both absolutely loved our time at Quatermain’s and I cannot recommend it highly enough!

Some of our photos are here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/colinthescot/sets/72157635018780586/

Room Tip: There are only 3 tents, you can't really go wrong. :)
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  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Seattle_Colin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 July 2013

Quartermain's Camp is the most wonderful place to have an extra special safari experience whilst staying in todays equivalent of what a 1920's explorer must have enjoyed. The camp is small and basic, just 3 tents, no electricity, all food cooked on the briar, but you are treated as friends by the whole crew. Riann, Julie, Dwane and Craig make you welcome from the minute you arrive to the moment you unfortunately have to leave. As well as being able to take game drives in Amakhala, Quartermain's is one of only 2 camps who can also drive in next door Shimwari game reserve with lions, cheetahs and leopards (although we didn't see any leopards). Maximum capacity is 6 guests, but we were really lucky and me and my mate had the camp and the jeep to ourselves. Although there may be no electricity, each tent has a private toilet and shower. So if your looking for 5 star luxury your not going to find it here. If you are looking for an experience of a lifetime, then this is it. Will definitely be heading back there on my next trip to SA.

Room Tip: There is one tent they call the honeymoon tent - further away from the boma with a double bed. The...
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  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank Col M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 July 2013

Already the booking process was easy on the website. Julie contacted me via eMail and was a huge help arranging airport transfer. From the first moment, I felt well taken care of!
I arrived early and they invited me for breakfast with the leaving guests in the morning who told me already alot and made me all excited. The first afternoon game drive was already breathtaking! Seeing cheetahs chilling in the sun, some huge rhinos, and getting caught in a herd of elephants. Yvonne, our Ranger, was more than passionate and it was a pleasure to just listening to her and seeing how much she loves her job and loves to share her knowledge. We were only 6 people on that afternoon and fun crowd. Second afternoon game drive was the highlight: only two of us with Yvonne - what a royal treatment! This was the most breathtaking afternoon in my life (and I have travelled the whole world due to my job). We have seen everything that existes in Shamwari (which we were exploring on that afternoon) including both prides of lions, hords of elephants, rhinos, hippo and and and...
Dinner was always BBQ style with one Ranger and was a fab end of the day, talking about what we have seen and getting more detailled info.
Yvonne, Julie, Craig and Riaan, I cannot express enough what a great time I had. This was mostlikely the only chance for a Safari for me for many years and I made the right decision staying at Quatermain's! The best experience ever! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! Tim.

  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled solo
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Thank Traveller90269
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 July 2013

My husband and I were fortunate enough to spend three nights at Quartermain's Camp in May. For those looking for a snobby game luxury lodge experience, please don't come here and complain! This place is extra special, an amazing experience. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing uncomfortable about this camp. The 1920's English expedition style tents were well equipped with ensuite bathrooms with showers. Plenty of hot water and good water pressure. Our double camp bed was comfortable, and as long as we had our "bush babies" (hot water bottles) we were very cozy at night. The bush setting of the tents was totally private and beautiful. The common area was a quaint boma with cozy fire and braai. We spent many happy hours at the boma conversing with the guides and Julie, Riaan & Samuel over a few wines or a beer. I felt like I was really in the back of beyond, although it is a convenient distance to Port Elizabeth.

The game drives were the best we had in Africa in terms of the wildlife we saw. Because Quartermains has the right to drive in Shamwari as well as Amakhala we got double the viewing opportunities. We saw some rare and wonderful things including a pair of leopards mating, a brown hyena, a Cape Eagle owl, a bat-eared fox and the gorgeous male lion with his pride. Craig and Duane, our guides, both seemed to have the knack of finding where things were. The sundowners were something to remember, always in a beautiful spot.

The meals were very tasty, mostly cooked over the braai. Homemade breads, kudu stroganoff and of course Duane's beer chicken were some highlights.

Booking was easy via the website, and the communication and directions from Julie were spot on.

We were so very well looked after at Quartermains, and the personal feel of the camp made it something extra special. It's hard to describe, it was all in the feeling of the place. Quite magic!

  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank bluegoldhighlander
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 June 2013

This place blew us away. If safari is on your bucket list this is the ONLY way to go. Despite the authentic experience comfort has not been compromised. The accommodation is basic, private and extra ordinary. The staff is exceptionally motivated and they make you feel instantly at home. Because of the limited size of the camp (max 6 people at a time in the camp) the experience feel tailored to your need and not just a package deal as on the bigger resorts. The food is simple but fit perfect with the experience and just as unforgettable as the rest.

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Mikkel H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Quatermains 1920s Safari Camp

Address: Paterson, Amakhala Game Reserve 6130, South Africa
Phone Number:
Region: South Africa > Eastern Cape > Amakhala Game Reserve
Amenities:
Free Parking
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 8 Speciality Lodging in Amakhala Game Reserve
Price Range: £316 - £386 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Quatermains 1920s Safari Camp 3*
Number of rooms: 3
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Quatermain's Camp is an intimate 6 bed tented safari camp situated on the beautiful Amakhala "Big 5" Game Reserve. We offer two four hour game activities per day, with knowledgeable and qualified rangers, fantastic South African bush cuisine and a friendly and personal experience. Come and let Julie and Riaan show you the delights of the African bush. ... more   less 
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