Isiko Tours » Sibuya Game Reserve & Tented Camps

By: Isiko Tours  11-11-2011
Keywords: Game Drives

Our journey started on a clear autumn day motoring up the scenic Kariega River with the sound of the ocean receding in the distance.   Herons stood motionless on the sandbanks and the Knysna Touracos ‘croaked’ in the forest canopies. Binoculars at the ready we waited for the cry of the Fish Eagle, but for to day sadly it was “no show”.  River Camp (one of two ecologically sensitive camps run by the Sibuya team – the other is Forest Camp) lies nestled in riverine forest, with its four luxury en-suite tents positioned so as to afford good river views and individual privacy.   Under canvas we would be, but Sibuya gives a whole new meaning to the “tent” experience.   Brushed by the keen eye of a designer, these light, spacious and airy tents, raised off the ground on wooden decks, are stylishly appointed and offer everything you could wish for in the way of comfort and indulgence. After settling in, we joined other guests to enjoy a flavoursome alfresco lunch before setting off for a couple of hours of canoeing and exploration up the river. Here you definitely had a sense of that old Louis Armstrong song….’and I think to myself, what a wonderful world’.   The silence of the afternoon was broken only by the occasional splash from our paddles, persistent birdsong from the forest canopies and the rutting of the impala in the bush nearby.

The afternoon game drive starts at about 15h30 and no sooner had we alighted from our short boat transfer and climbed up into the waiting game vehicle when we had our first sighting of white rhino. Not one, not two, but three at extremely close quarters.   Undeterred by us they grazed away, with a couple of small groups of impala hovering close by.   The sky was clear, there was a chill in the air. Wrapped in the fleecy ponchos supplied by the Camp we spent 3 wonderful hours driving across the open river plains and up onto the grassy plateau in search of zebra, giraffe, eland, red hartebeest, waterbuck and nyala.  Here we tarried a while enjoying a sundowner as nightfall drew its curtains on the spectacular landscape. There were plentiful signs of elephant but the thicket today proved dense and unyielding.  In the fading light scrub hares scampered through the undergrowth as we wound our way back to the jetty for the crossing to the Camp.

Our day of adventure drew to an end with a veritable feast served up by Ross and his team.  This was no campfire meal …. it was cuisine of the highest standard.  And so to bed, to the trilled notes of the Fierynecked nightjar and the roar of a distant lion.   As dawn broke the next morning we met once again to take our chance with lion spotting and maybe if we are lucky an elephant or two.  The air hung thick with mist, which made our ascent onto the plateau all the more surreal.  As the sun broke through, African Hoopoes with their short quick steps and their nodding heads, foraged on the ground for the odd hapless insect and a pair of black-backed jackals slunk off into the tall grass.   The morning’s work included a good sighting of lion, a close up acquaintance with zebra and a chance sighting of the master of camouflage himself - a majestic kudu bull.   With tummies rumbling and the heat of the day approaching we returned once again to Camp to enjoy a well-earned breakfast. For the next few hours it was ‘hammock’ time and a chance to peruse our photographs, listen to the sound of the bush or catch up on a bit of reading.  Later perhaps we would take a guided walk.

Sibuya is an experience unique for its location and authentic in its rendering. For game viewing it delivers what Africa does best, for birders it is a thrill and for those just seeking refuge… this is a secret revealed. 

Additional facts:

I stayed in the smaller of the two Camps, but it must be noted that children can be accommodated at this Camp with a dedicated play area set aside for them.   Forest Camp slightly further up the River has no facilities for young children (those over 12 are welcome) but can accommodate up to 16 people in the 8 tents whether as part of a group or as individual guests.   Forest Camp also serves as a wonderful function or small wedding venue. Weddings at the Camps have become increasingly popular but these need to be booked well in advance to ensure exclusive use of the venue.  Rates and conditions for such events are available upon request.

Arrivals and departures: Boat transfers leave from Sibuya's reception in Kenton on Sea, once daily at 12h00 (midday).  Departure time from the Camp back to reception is at 11.00 each day in order to check out at 11.30 back in Kenton.   Should these times not fit in with your itinerary, boat transfers will be organised in advance at an additional charge of R500 per trip.

The Camps have limited electricity connectivity.  Lighting is provided by a solar system with a generator back up.  There is a facility in each camp to charge mobile phones and camera batteries, but there is insufficient power for hairdryers and other electrical appliances.  There is also very limited mobile coverage either in the Camp or on the Reserve.   There is no internet connectivity.

You will be issued with a re-usable "Sibuya" water bottle on your arrival.  We would encourage you to replenish this bottle with purified spring water at each of the Camps rather than purchase bottled water. Plastic bottles constitute one of largest pollutants in the world to-day, so this is one of Sibuya's effors to reduce pollution and their carbon footprint.


These include breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as non-alcoholic beverages, beers, basic spirits and selected South African wines.  Guests may bring their own premium wines, imported champagne or premium spirits if they wish. Activities included are twice daily game drives in an open 4x4 vehicle, game and birding walks, scheduled boat transfers to and from reception and boat activities in lieu of drives and walks, canoeing and fishing.

RIVER CAMP – 4 Tents – maximum 8 adults and 8 children (2 children to a tent sleeping on large fold out sofa beds)

01 May 2011 – 30 September 2011

Adult:R2450.00 pppn sharing
Single:R3375.00 pppn
Children (aged 3-12):R1125 pcpn sharing 

01 October 2011 – 30 April 2012           

Adult: R2495.00 pppn sharing                                                                     
Single:R3743.00 pppn
Children (aged 3–12):R1248.00 pcpn sharing                                   

01 May 2012 – 30 September 2012

Adult: R2450.00 pppn sharing
Single: R3375.00 pppn
Children (aged 3-12): R1125.00 pcpn sharing                                                                     

Should you wish to book the whole Camp on an exclusive basis the cost will be:

01 May 2011 – 30 September 2011:   R15000.00 per night                        

01 October 2011 – 30 April 2012:       R18000.00 per night               

01 May 2012 – 30 September 2012:   R15000.00 per night                     

FOREST CAMP – 8 Tents – maximum 16 adults           

Same rates as above – with no facilities for children


01 May 2011 – 30 September 2011

Boat Trip and lunch
Adult: R405.00
Children (aged 3-12): R200.00

Boat Trip, 3 hour Game Drive and Lunch
Adult: R695.00
Children (aged 3-12): R345.00                

01 October 2011 – 30 April 2012

Boat Trip and lunch
Adult: R445.00
Children (aged 3-12): R225.00

Boat Trip, 3 hour Game Drive and Lunch
Adult: R795.00
Children (aged 3-12): R395.00                             

01 May 2012 – 30 September 2012

Priced as for same period in 2011

Keywords: Game Drives

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