Giraffe, buffalo tours a popular new attraction within easy reach of Bay

Bellevue is becoming known for its giraffe walks, which are proving popular with visitors
Bellevue is becoming known for its giraffe walks, which are proving popular with visitors
Image: Supplied

If you have visitors on your hands this winter school holiday, there’s a fun new outing you can send them on – and it’s within easy reach of Port Elizabeth.

Bellevue Forest Reserve in the Greater Addo region, under less than an hour’s drive from the Bay, recently held an educational for media, tourism, travel and hospitality industry representatives at No 5 by Mantis in Summerstrand.

The reserve is becoming popular for its giraffe walking safaris and buffalo encounters – and the good news is that children of all ages may also take part.

Being able to observe animals from the ground, in the presence of a trained guide, makes for a fresh experience that is really quite different from only seeing them from the back of a game-drive vehicle, as is usually the case.

Bellevue Forest Reserve’s CEO, Loodt Büchner, said visitors could either go on a morning or afternoon safari at the 2,500m² reserve near Paterson, reached at the corner of the N10 and the Alicedale turnoff.

Tours are available daily, with the morning tour at 7.30am and the afternoon tour at 3pm.

Each tour lasts about 90 minutes, and morning participants enjoy tea, coffee and rusks on arrival.

After this, a game drive to find the animals begins.

Once the giraffes are spotted, the group leaves the vehicle and starts walking closer to the animals in order to observe them and take pictures.

A maximum of 10 guests are accompanied by an experienced trail guide in each open-air vehicle.

Büchner was at pains to point out the animals are entirely wild and able to move freely wherever they want. The aim, he said, was to get as close as possible to them, usually about 15 to 20m away.

Besides giraffes the reserve is populated by about 75 buffaloes that have been bred there.

You cannot leave the vehicle during the buffalo tour, however, as these animals are considered dangerous.

Tourism trade coordinator Doné Louw, left, and B&B association chair Shena Wilmot with Bellevue’s Loodt Büchner and Stephan Smith, right, at the Bay event
Tourism trade coordinator Doné Louw, left, and B&B association chair Shena Wilmot with Bellevue’s Loodt Büchner and Stephan Smith, right, at the Bay event
Image: Salvelio Meyer

Following the morning tour visitors return to Bellevue’s lodge for breakfast, which is included in the tour price.

For After the afternoon tour participants get to have cake, tea and coffee after the tour.

The price for both tours is R1,100 a person while the price for a single tour is R650 a person.

Entrance and conservation fees are included. Büchner said the afternoon tour was ideal for people already visiting Addo Elephant National Park.

Commissions can be discussed should tour operators and accommodation establishments want to book tours on behalf of their guests.

Book online at www.bellevueforest.co.za, via WhatsApp on 084-475-0007, or send an e-mail to: book@bellevueforest.co.za or loodt@bellevueforest.co.za

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