28 February 2021
Shamwari Game Reserve, South Africa
Unquestionably luxurious with its five-star lodges and tents in the heart of the Eastern Cape province – famed for its abundant wildlife – Shamwari is far from just a pretty face. Voted World's Leading Private Game Reserve in the World Travel Awards every single year since 1998, this private reserve works in collaboration with the globally renowned Born Free Foundation animal welfare charity and is home to two unique sanctuaries where you can learn more about the plight of wild cats and rhinos in captive environments across the world. There’s also the more recent Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre with its passionate team happy to talk to you about their work caring for young, injured and abandoned animals before releasing them back into the wild.
Conservation and Responsible Tourism
As you’re driven by open-top Jeep across Shamwari’s stunning 25,000 hectares, you’ll encounter an extraordinary variety of animal species including Africa’s famed Big Five and plenty of birds of prey. Guided on your explorations by Shamwari’s expert rangers, you’ll come away with a whole new level of knowledge and understanding about African plant- and wildlife. Drives take place at sunrise and sunset when the animals are at their most active and last around three to four hours, with coffee or sundowner stops depending on the time of day. You’ll learn about everything from animal habitats and tracking animals to the area and its history. You can also sign up for bush walks, guided by rangers keen to share their intimate knowledge of the reserve and point out animal tracks, dung and birds, including the tiny oxpeckers that live on the backs of wild buffalo – a resounding conservation success.
Accommodation and Pampering
Despite your proximity to raw nature, there’s no chance of roughing it at Shamwari, where the five-star lodges come complete with elegant canopies, private decks, wooden floors, lanterns and refreshing plunge pools. There are even spa treatments to be had in 'relaxation retreats’ with panoramic views. Each lodge is individually designed and full of its own character. They include the super-indulgent Eagles Crag nestled deep in a valley, with its nine junior suites, the Explorer Camp offering once-in-a-lifetime guided walking safaris across the reserve’s trails, and family-friendly Riverdene complete with a supervised playroom and a swimming pool (it sleeps two adults and one child in each of its nine interconnecting rooms). Shamwari Game Reserve reserve is malaria-free – a particular bonus if you’re travelling with young children. Then there’s Sindile, a newer addition to the experience. This secluded, ultra-luxurious tented camp is set deep in the African veld for a true escape into the wilderness. Featuring nine tents elevated over the surrounding bush for uninhibited views, this is an adult-only spot (each tent sleeps two adults).
The game drives are for everyone from age four years and up, but younger kids can enjoy a host of activities courtesy of the children’s coordinator at Riverdene and the reserve’s childminding service.
As well as the swimming pools at Shamwari, for junior adventurers Riverdene has a naturally inspired Adventure Centre including zip-lining, climbing walls and treehouses connected by suspended walkways.
Good to Know
Shamwari’s lodges are widely spaced across this vast reserve for a truly private African experience.
Shamwari can be found just 75km outside Port Elizabeth on the Eastern Cape, making it easily accessible for anyone visiting the Southern/Eastern Cape, be it via the Garden Route or by an internal flight into Port Elizabeth.
Get in touch with me today for more information or to arrange your future travels