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Shamwari Private Game Reserve – South Africa

The detail

Hotel Type: Luxury private game reserve.

Location: In 25,000 hectares of restored wilderness in the Eastern Cape – an hour from Port Elizabeth.

Style: Wilderness chic. 

Rooms: Luxurious lodges and tented camps with private decks and plunge pool.

Ideal For: A close up to African wildlife.

Swimming: Some of the lodges have swimming pools with a shallow swimming pool suitable for young families at Riverdene.

Dining: Excellent cuisine in stunning surroundings.

Children: The ideal place for a family safari and there are also lots of indoor and outdoor activities for little ones to get involved in. 

Activities: There are game drives every sunrise and sunset, as well as guided walks around the reserve full of expert knowledge on identifying species and tracking animals. Indulge in one of the many treatments available at the spa, where you’ll leave feeling rejuvenated. 

Spa: Shamwari offers a wide range of treatments including body and facial treatments and beauty services. There is also a three-hour signature treatment which includes a full body exfoliation, wrap and massage, as well as a facial. 

Low Season Price From:£699 from a double room including breakfast.

High Season Price From: £784 from a double room including breakfast. 

Open From: All year round.

Home to the Big Five, Shamwari is recognised as one of the world’s leading game reserves for its diversity of flora and fauna and for having one of the largest concentration of wildlife in the Eastern Cape. Once a collection of farms, it has been dedicatedly restored, with years of conservation, to the original savannah where wildlife roam completely freely. With a collection of luxury lodges scattered across the reserve, it boasts spectacular game viewing and exhilarating safari experiences, with the added bonus of being malaria free. The raw beauty of the landscape and being so close to nature make Shamwari a South African experience not to be missed. 


Dotted about the reserve and in harmony with their surroundings, the lodges and camps are superbly appointed. Some are perfect for those looking for privacy, and others offer an ideal safari experience for families. From luxury tented camps to a restored Edwardian manor house, it’s rare to find a reserve with such a choice. Blending into the bush, the tented camp at Sindile is both secluded and luxurious. With nine free-standing premium tents with elevated vantage points looking out over the surrounding veld, each one has a private deck, outdoor shower and plunge pool. Eagles Crag has an air of real exclusivity, built from glass and stone and with views of the cliff faces where the eponymous eagles soar. Here there are nine beautifully appointed Junior Suites, each with a private deck, outdoor shower and heated plunge pool. The luxury tented suites at Bayethe are exceptionally peaceful, set in the midst of lush vegetation and with far reaching views of the bush. Each of the suites has its own deck with a plunge pool. Long Lee Lodge offers guests more of an hotel style accommodation in very elegant suites. Choose between Garden Rooms that can interconnect or Plains Rooms with an outdoor shower; the Manor House Suites or the two bedroom Family Suite with a plunge pool. All of them come with a verandah or balcony and look out across the savannah. The Lodge has a large rim-flow pool surrounded by very comfortable daybeds. Nestled in the bushveld is Logengula – a little oasis of a lodge, designed to resemble a traditional African kraal. Six Junior Suites, each with a plunge pool offer total seclusion and magnificent views. For families, Riverdene has nine luxury rooms, all of which can interconnect. And if you want to go really wild and get back to nature, then book the Explorer Camp – three old style luxury tents out in the bush, with campfire dining. It still comes with a plunge pool! Sarili Private Lodge is for exclusive use only – perfect for multi-generational family gatherings or a special celebration. Sleeping up to ten in five luxury rooms, it is perched on the banks of Bushman’s River, looking out over the plains. Everything here is tailored around you – from game drives to dining.


Dining at each of the lodges and tented camps is a treat. The lodges and camps each have their own superb restaurants, maximizing the views over the reserve, and alternate between private table dining and more informal camp style dining. Every ingredient is responsibly sourced and the inimitable South African culinary flair is evident in every dish. Many of the lodges have a deck with a bar and fire pit – magical places for a sundowner and to listen to the sound of the bush. You even have your gin and tonic served in a crystal glass at the Explorer Camp!


What child will forget a family game drive? Shamwari is exceptionally welcoming to families, with a range of activities for both young and old. Children of all ages can stay at Riverdene; they need to be aged eight and over to stay at Long Lee Lodge; 12 and over in most of the other lodges, whilst Eagles Crag has a minimum age of 16. Riverdene is completely set up for families with younger children, including a swimming pool with a very shallow end and a supervised kid’s club and adventure centre. The Kids on Safari programme at Shamwari educates children and parents on the conservation practices at the reserve, including visits to the Born Free Foundation Big Cat Rescue Centre. Children under the age of four are not permitted on game drives – there is a childminding service where parents can leave little ones in very safe hands.


The best time to see African wildlife is early morning and evening, when the animals are at their most active. At Shamwari there are game drives every sunrise and sunset lasting from three to four hours. One of the many highlights of the reserve are the guided walks. Expert rangers share their intimate knowledge; show you how to track animals and teach you how to identify different species. There is something quite extraordinary and utterly memorable approaching the wildlife on foot. No visit here can be without seeing the Rehabilitation Centre and the Born Free Foundation Big Cat Rescue Centre and the injured and orphaned animals. The teams here love explaining what they do and why. Not many reserves can boast Spa treatments – many of the lodges have a dedicated Relaxation Retreat where guests can indulge in a variety of treatments. Whether you come to Shamwari for a few days or longer, or as an extension to exploring the Garden Route, you’ll discover one of South Africa’s jewels.


The principle ethos at Shamwari is responsible conservation. Much of the land was once agricultural and has been returned to its natural condition, repairing this important ecosystem. Their Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre rescues animals from all over the Eastern Cape and beyond with the aim of returning them to the wild. Their main focus in recent years has been orphaned rhinos and successfully introducing them back into a safe environment, in order to grow the population for the future. The game reserve works closely with the Born Free Foundation in educating and creating awareness of some of the exploitative ways in which many wild animals are kept in captivity, with two sanctuaries taking in maltreated big cats. It also has a dedicated and very effective anti-poaching unit.


Pricing & Availability

For all hotel pricing and availability please speak to Philippa, Gemma, or Jo on the phone (01306 264 005), or via email (, or


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