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Welcome To

BELLEVUE FOREST RESERVE, NESTLED INSIDE THE GREATER ADDO AREA

Welcome to Elephants Safari Lodge, we have everything you need to know right here.

LAPA AREA

Network is open, Just Connect!

ROOMS AREA

Network is open, Just Connect!

PARKING AND CURIO SHOP AREA

Network is open, Just Connect!

This is local slang for electricity cut-outs. Africa – am I right? So do not be alarmed if the lights go out.

If this starts to occur you can download an App called Eskom Se Push to view the schedules and times that the different parts of Paterson  will be having load shedding.

There are either a battery light, candles or rechargeable lights in your bathroom as well as your bedside lamps. If you are need of assistance please contact our team.

Please remember to turn off heaters or blow candles when leaving the unit or going to bed.

MANAGER ON DUTY

Connect with Brian: +27 72 312 3874

SECOND POINT OF CONTACT

Connect with Tanya: +27 67 416 4797

EMERGENCY

Local Police: 1011

Medical Emergency: 911

SEPTIC TANKS

We very grateful to have some kind of plumbing in the forest. Our lodges use septic tanks. Please only flush the 1-ply toilet paper provided

BUG CONTROL

We do try our best to monitor the bugs. Please find an electrical mosquito plug in each room and citronella candle or coil (please do not leave it burning all night). However, sometimes the creepy crawly do make their way in to the units. If they bother you please contact our staff to remove them.

LAUNDRY

We offer a laundry service at an additional cost of R250 per load. Please inquire with one of your friendly hosts or duty managers.

NO SMOKING BUTT

Our Rooms are No Smoking. But, we get it. You more than welcome to use the outside areas. There is an ash tray in designated areas such as our lookout lounge. All we ask from you is not to get the smoke in the units or burn any of the furniture or upholstery. Oh, and please do not leave butts on the ground.

WARMTH

There are blankets in the bedroom. Extra blankets are kept at the foot of the bed or in the cupboard. There are water bottles on your bed, that is our gift to you. Use them, fill them up at the tap and take them with you. During our winter season, on very cold nights our team will offer warm water bottles with turndown.

We also have heaters that we can arrange to put out before the stay. We try however not to put them out in an effort to lower our carbon footprint, if you need them please let us know by start of dinner latest.

BEACH? POOL?

Yes, you are very much stranded in a forest, but water is very precious. Please feel free to explore our Earth dam we have in-front of reception. It is filled with precious spring water, full of salts and very good for our skin.

And yes, we are in the process of getting a swimming pool installed too. This will probably see the sun before April. All we ask is be careful. The usual rules: watch over kids, no glass, no diving, no running – pretty much use at your own risk.

The nearby Sundays River Mouth and Indian Ocean is also on our doorstep, about 25 minutes away.

We do supply umbrellas, beach towels and if you need more please contact our team.

WILDLIFE

Our Forest is home to a wide variety of life including our fury friends, legless lizards and hard-shell creatures. Excitement is on the up as we are expecting our first Elephant introduction to the reserve this coming May 2023. We also have 21 other antelope species, 169 bird species and so the list continues.

We have asked you to sign an indemnity form since this a nature reserve. Please respect our wildlife and be aware of your surroundings. Please feel free to say hi to Tweety the Ostrich, but be aware they are still wild animals and can sometimes be unpredictable.

BRAAI SPOTS

A braai is our version of a barbeque (we also believe its the O.G.). What’s better than to have your first taste of African Food Cuisine? if this tickles you ask, and we can arrange a braai for your next dinner. We have a few braai spaces all around lodge premises – overlooking our beautiful garden – referred to as the dam or inside the thatch roof lapa next to the bar.

We also offer braai wood, fire starters and braai packs at an additional charge. Please contact our team for more information

ENJOY A MASSAGE AT ELEPHANTS LODGE. CHOOSE BETWEEN BACK, NECK AND SHOULDER , HOT STONE OR FULL BODY MASSAGE.

We have partnered up with Tania Rossouw  and her team to bring a selection of massage packages to the Forest to ensure you get the full experience of the tranquility of the rich and deep forests. Tania, a fellow femme entrepreneur, born raised in in Addo’s Region, specializes in massage therapy. She saw a niche gap in the market toppled with her experience created the mobile massage spa. We hope to support her and her team by providing an opportunity for guests to get the holistic experience that they will never forget and, with Addo Indlovu’s special touch, a luxurious experience is promised.

According to Tania and her Team, everyone needs to fully enjoy the diversity and beauty of Addo and therefore one needs to be in harmony with the peaceful atmosphere that the Garden Route embodies.

And we believe Bellevue and Tania’s team can do just that. Enjoy a sixty minute, ninety minute or a two hour massage package either in the comfort of your beautifully designed room or find a hidden space in the forest. All you have to do is book and we will arrange the rest.

HOW DO YOU GET TO THE
FOREST? WELL…

Bellevue Forest has quite the history.

BELLEVUE – A PLACE WITH HEART

Bellevue Forest Reserve in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province is not just another game farm or tourist operation. It is a dearly loved refuge, managed by a passionate conservationist owner and a close-knit ‘family’ of staff. Bellevue has a beating heart and a nurturing soul that is felt by those who visit.

So how did this sanctuary come into being?

Now THAT is a fireside story worth telling – a genuine piece of South African history!

THE STORY OF US

Back in the day circa 1880, Bellevue was in fact a bustling little town. Well, maybe town is a stretch… but certainly more than a railway siding, which was its primary function. A post office, station and court building were surrounded by some 60 dwellings, mostly those employed in the business of seeing to the burgeoning rail line into the Eastern Cape interior and the deep Karoo. It was here, at the top of a ridge, that trains climbed from the steamy coast to the heady hills, pulling in to a stopover before the descent.

This was the tone of the town for 57-odd years, until the South African government decided that the land named Bellevue would be sold off to a civilian – the last of the Republic’s Crown Land to be sold to a private person. And that individual was Pieter “Hoender” Buchner – a pioneering dairy and chicken farmer with a vision to tame the wild hills to provide grazing for his many cattle.

Among the residents of Bellevue were a number of unemployed men whose sole source of income was chopping and selling wood – ‘olienhout” (olive) – for use as mine supports and farming fences. These hefty timbers were dragged by mules up the slopes to be loaded onto the trains – and the marks they left can still be seen today. Many of the old stone homes are still well enough preserved to be restored and reoccupied – as they surely will be in time.

Between farmer Piet and the woodcutters, a lot of land was cleared – yet a large swathe of wild, original Albany thicket remained when the time came for the property to change hands – this time to Pieter’s nephew Carel Buchner, in 1999. Carel was a big Nguni cattle farmer with a deep appreciation for the land.

However, times grew tougher as drought set in, and he made the tough decision to sell. His son, Loodt, had grown up spending countless days wandering and exploring the verdant hills, finding the wild animals relaxed and undisturbed. It was where his soul found resonance, and his mind found peace.

The resident wildlife – such as kudu and warthog – delighted the young university student and he implored his father not to sell. Instead, Carel made him an offer – buy it for yourself. Offering Loodt a fair price, the student nevertheless had his work cut out for him to convince the bank manager that he was a good bet.

Displaying the tenacity that has only strengthened with age, Loodt succeeded in securing the loan, and in 2012, Bellevue Forest Reserve was born, with Loodt as the new, young owner!

Wasting no time, Loodt got cracking on rehabilitating the reserve, rewilding old grazing lands and introducing animals. Slowly, steadily, the reserve took shape. Old fences came down, new fences went up, roads were laid to access the distant hills.

Neighbourly discussions were initiated, and in another bold move, Loodt became the owner of the old Olifantskop Lodge among 2500 Ha of verdant land with breath-taking views towards the distant coast. Significant upgrades followed as the tourism side of the vision unfolded – culminating in a 4-star grading for the elegant and luxurious renamed Elephants Lodge.

And now? There’s no slowing THIS train down! Bursting with passion, enthusiasm and energy, the dream continues. Bellevue Reserve is on the brink of expanding further, securing more land for species conservation. During the year ahead, majestic elephants will once more roam the lands after which the lodge takes its name.

Communities that have benefited from employment and upliftment initiatives, whose livelihoods remained secure during the disastrous COVID epidemic thanks to the moral fibre and ethics of the reserve owner, continue to breathe life and authenticity into what is truly a family-run destination. This family is related not only through blood connections but encompasses the people who make the place what it is today.

As Loodt says: “I love the people, I love their energy – they give this place its unique identity and soul.”

And THAT, ladies, and gentlemen, is the Bellevue Forest Reserve of today – A place with HEART.

OTHER ACTIVITIES WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND YOU DO IN THE FOREST IN OUR IMMEDIATE SURROUNDINGS.

GIRAFFE TRACKING SAFARIS

Possibly the most distinctive animal of all, the skyscrapers of Africa dominate the treetops of our bushveld. An exhilarating, authentic African experience is to join a giraffe tracking safari on foot in our 2500-hectare private game reserve.
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WILDLIFE BIG 5 SAFARIS

Bellevue Forest Reserve offers exclusive, personalised wildlife tours to the Addo Elephant National Park, home of the free ranging ‘Big 5’ wildlife and so much more. On these tours you will experience breath-taking wildlife sightings that only our area can provide.
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Scenic Flights

An incredible adventure that can be organised through Bellevue Forest Reserve for our guests is the opportunity to take a helicopter flight over the visually stunning Eastern Cape region, taking in the extraordinary combination of dense bushveld and terrestrial wildlife, together with the vast dunes and coastline.
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Tooth and Claw Safaris

Guests are treated to close encounters with a large variety of game species, including lion, elephant, buffalo, zebra, rhino, crocodile and many more. Drives are guided by an experienced and knowledgeable game ranger in comfortable open-air safari vehicles.
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Buffalo Encounters

Experience an African safari like no other by joining our buffalo encounters. A behind-the-scenes glimpse at the management of these iconic animals, this extraordinary excursion brings guests right up close to our Cape buffalo as they are fed and monitored daily.
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Stargazing

Experience something truly magical – stargazing in the Eastern Cape, South Africa! Enjoy dark and clear skies full of stars, far away from light pollution and city life. Explore the night sky in one of the best places for star gazing, and discover a whole new universe.
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Beauty Treatments

Wellness and relaxation are key attractions during a visit to Bellevue Forest Reserve. While we are working on developing our own inhouse Wellness Centre, guests at present can make use of the facilities of the Addo Indlovu Spa, situated in the nearby Addo Elephant National Park.
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Forest Bathing

Ancient forests and champagne air. One of the purest pockets of virgin forest on the planet. Inhale the energy and soak up the life force. Know that you are home.
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WE WANT YOU TO EXPERIENCE A PLEASANT STAY. AT BELLEVUE WE OFFER SOME ADD ONS TO HELP YOU OUT. PLEASE HOLLER AT US IF YOU NEED ANYTHING.

Elephants Lodge is there to spoil you. We also know the beauty of staying in a forest reserve, and therefore we would like to offer some services to you.

BREAKFAST MENU

Breakfast is amazing, and will be served with an array of local sauces and homemade chutneys. There is normally a continental buffet and then a hot breakfast that can include anything from a full English to a frittata; and the standard food served in an imaginative way. You’d need to confirm with the lodge how they work their breakfast menu.

LUNCHES: BOBOTIE OR SOMETHING LIGHT:

Lunches are always an affair of food. They can be anything from a light quiche and salad, to a traditional bobotie or simple wraps. Bobotie is a dish made with mince that is slightly curried and topped with a layer of rich, savoury custard. There would probably be a butternut squash version for vegetarians. Quiche seems to be popular at a variety of lodges. The more food focused a lodge is, the more gourmet the meal.

SAFARI DINNERS

Dinners are extravagant and lavish, and always end up with a session around the campfire in the boma. Dinners are normally served at the lodge, on the edge of a waterhole, in the bushveld or anywhere unique to the lodge/camp. Chefs love nothing more than to introduce South African cuisine into the menu, and thus a braai is quite common practice throughout. A braai cannot be missed ! A selection of meats and vegetables are cooked on an open fire, and an array of sides served with your meal. A potjie is better version of a stew and is cooked in a cast iron pot over an open fire.

ADDO BRAUHAUS

FAMILY STYLE | KIDS FRIENDLY

Just a 10 minutes away, on the road to Addo Elephant National Park. They serve an array of local foods, burgers and toasted sandwiches.

 

ADDO WILDLIFE

RESTAURANT | LOCAL

Looking for a place for kids to play, lovely cuisine and a reptile park close by. 

 

AFRICANOS RESTAURANT

FINE DINE | LOCAL | ETHICAL

 

CATTLE BARON

GENUIS | LOCAL  | RESTAURANT

Right around the corner from Bellevue, situated inside Addo Elephant National Park is Cattle Baron. Great for Dinners and Lunches when on self drives inside the park.

BEACHES ARE VERY CLOSE TO US AND ACCESSIBLE.

Greater Addo is home to the only BIG 7 experience in the world which includes the Big 5, Southern Right Whale and Great White Shark! Port Elizabeth has three premier “Blue Flag” status beaches, all very close to Bellevue.

 

HOBIE BEACH

The popular Hobie Beach, in the vicinity of Shark Rock Pier and the Boardwalk, is the venue for the annual “Splash Festival”, beach volleyball and world boardsailing championships.
 
Hobie beach, which is a favorite for swimming, sunbathing and body surfing, also offers sheltered rock pools with interesting inter-tidal sea life. Other facilities include plenty of eating establishments, ablution facilities, as well as a launching place for sailing and rubber ducking.

PEARSON PARK – COLCHESTER TOWN

Want something less crowded? Pearson Park, also known as Sundays River Mouth is an excellent hide-away where you and your family can spend a day, basking in the sun and having endless fun on white sandy beaches.

POLLOCK BEACH

Pollock Beach or the “Pipe” as it is known locally, is favored by surfers because of its excellent waves and surfing opportunities. The beach is reached by traveling along Marine Drive, Summerstrand, and turning left immediately on passing 10th Avenue. There is plenty of lawn area which is pleasant for rigging, a parking area and a shower house with an ablution block for surfers.
 
Pollock Beach or the “Pipe” as it is known locally, is favored by surfers because of its excellent waves and surfing opportunities. The beach is reached by traveling along Marine Drive, Summerstrand, and turning left immediately on passing 10th Avenue. There is plenty of lawn area which is pleasant for rigging, a parking area and a shower house with an ablution block for surfers.

There is so many hidden and not so hidden gems to explore in Greater Addo. Lets start with some animal love…

If you haven’t seen our family of Giraffes, met Tweety the ostrich or glimpse of the baboons in the threes surrounding the lodge- there is much more wildlife to see around Bellevue and Greater Addo. If you want more information enjoy reading our blog.

ALL ABOUT ADDO

 

ADOPT A GIRAFFE

Is there any animal more iconic or unique in appearance than a giraffe? Consider its absurdly long legs and neck, its exquisite eyelashes shading soulful eyes, a quirky black tongue, and a coat pattern that fabric designers have been in love with forever. The ungainly pose while drinking at a waterhole, but strangely elegant gait at full gallop. No wonder then that we have an innate fascination and appreciation for this most recognizable of all African mammals.

At Bellevue Forest Reserve in the Eastern Cape, we offer the perfect habitat for our growing population of giraffe. They thrive in our wild and biodiverse Albany thicket. Our position in the mountains just north-east of Port Elizabeth (Gqeberha), within the Greater Addo region and poised on the northern end of the nearby Garden Route, offers them a rich landscape that straddles the lushness of the lower lying areas, within close proximity to the drier Karoo inland. In short – giraffe paradise.

Along with our reserve’s expansion plans, we are delighted to be able to add to our wildlife populations – which is where YOU, our guests, enter the picture. Bellevue is offering donors the chance to purchase and own a giraffe without needing to also own the enormous property required to accommodate it! For the cost of purchase, capture and translocation of each animal, a donor will receive the following:

  • A unique microchip that enables identification of the individual animal
  • A certificate of ownership
  • An ethically sourced sample of giraffe hair (obtained during the capture process, while the animal is medically sedated. This is absolutely painless and harmless!)
  • Seasonal updates or photographs from our guides as they observe the giraffe going about their lives. (Perhaps one may even become a giraffe ‘grandparent’ in time?)
  • The pleasure of contributing to the ongoing conservation of one of our increasingly vulnerable species
  • AND – for the subsequent three years, a package that includes two nights’ accommodation each year for two people on a full board basis, including either a guided game drive or guided walk to look for your giraffe. (Our giraffe walks are a hugely popular activity for visitors to the region).

Consider the extraordinary value of such a gift to a wildlife-loving recipient. After all, how many people have the privilege and opportunity to own a giraffe?

We look forward to discussing with you further this amazing opportunity to support African wildlife conservation in a direct, tangible and meaningful way.

Email our reservations: book@bellevueforest.co.za for more information.

ADDO WILDLIFE CENTRE

ADDO TOWN | 25 MINUTE DRIVE

One of the old time favorites for families, a lekker restaurant, with reptile and bird center for kids to learn more about wildlife which is not seen everyday. Enjoy a guided tour with one of their knowledgeable tour guides.

BAREFOOT ADDO ELEPHANT ENCOUNTER

THE ZUURBERG | 60 MINUTE DRIVE

This is the first South African facility to house and care for orphaned African Elephants. This sanctuary is situated in the Zuurberg Mountains between Bellevue and Addo. They offer meeting and feeding the herd and exclusive sundowners.

BORN FREE BIG CAT SANCTUARY

SHAMWARI PRIVATE GAME RESERVE | 10 MINUTE DRIVE

Born Free operate two sanctuaries in Shamwari Game Reserve – the Julie Ward Centre (est. 1999) and the Jean Byrd Centre (est. 2006) – to provide lifetime care for lions and leopards rescued from zoos, circuses and other captive environments. An education centre also allows local children and other visitors to learn about South Africa’s wildlife and the importance of conservation.

 

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