Shamwari Private Game Reserve

Shamwari, Eastern Cape

The hotel

Home of two Born Free big cat sanctuaries, the Shamwari Private Game Reserve boasts an impressive 25,000 hectares of land, bursting with free roaming wild animals, birdlife and indigenous Flora and Fauna. Game-drives leave twice a day with your specialist Ranger in open 4x4 vehicles, during the morning and early evening with sightings of the ‘Big Five’ plentiful. Guided walks are also a fantastic way to get to grips with your stunning surrounds and make sure you visit the brand new Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre. Accommodation is of the highest standard throughout the seven lodges with Eagles Crag lodge recommended for those who adore privacy and serenity. Families are also more than welcome at Riverdene Family Lodge, offering a range of child-friendly activities to take advantage of (kids aged 4 and over are welcome on family game-drives too). As well as the wildlife, there’s a swimming pool with shallow area just for them, a kids club and outdoor adventure centre. Long Lee Manor offers the feel of a bygone era and Bayethe tented lodge offers a wonderful ‘back to the bush’ experience never to be forgotten. Sarili Lodge offers an intimate experience with only five rooms, perfect for families, groups and friends with a large deck overlooking the Bushman’s River. Meals can be enjoyed in your lodge, the dining room or in the boma, feasting on traditional African dishes from the barbecue.

Amenities

  • Bar
  • Safari
  • Spa
  • Wheelchair access
  • Restaurant

Where is it

On 25,000 hectares of bushveld in the Eastern Cape. Driving time from Port Elizabeth Airport: 1 hour.

Hotel information

There are 7 different lodges in total plus the Explorer Camp: Long Lee Manor - has been completely refurbished and has recently re-opened. This colonial building offers a traditional stay and has amazing views over the open plains with game wandering across throughout the day and night. With a rim-flow pool, a garden lounge and spa* you are sure to feel at home in this gracious manor house. Offering accommodation in 15 beautifully decorated rooms, 4 Garden rooms with veranda, 11 Plains Rooms with veranda and outdoor shower. All with air-conditioning, TV, heating and en-suite facilities, sleeping maximum 2 adults.

Riverdene - is perfect for families, with a very exciting and complimentary children's programme. This is a wonderful lodge with relaxed loungers, offering the perfect stay for families, with interconnecting rooms, childcare facilities and an exciting new outdoor kids activity centre, child-friendly game-drives for children from the age of 4 years, a child friendly dining room, pool and a place to relax and enjoy the bush. There are only 9 rooms, all with private facilities, air conditioning and TV, sleeping maximum 2 adults and 1 child.

 

All Inclusive of: meals and selected local beverages. All game-drives and visits to Born Free Sanctuary.

Long Lee Manor - has been completely refurbished and has recently re-opened. This colonial building offers a traditional stay in either a room or suite and has amazing views over the open plains with game wandering across throughout the day and night. With a rim-flow pool, a garden lounge and spa* you are sure to feel at home in this gracious manor house. Upgrades include 2 Manor House Suites with a balcony or a Family Suite with 2 bedrooms, a living room and private plunge pool. All with air-conditioning, TV, heating and en-suite facilities.

Lobengula - this lodge has been designed to reflect a traditional Africa Kraal and and is located in a secluded spot with views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Combining contemporary design with traditional African touches, the lodge offers 6 Junior Suites with a private patio or deck with private plunge pool, sleeping maximum 2 adults. 

Sarili - this lodge is for sole use only. This luxury lodge consists of 5 Luxury Rooms sleeping a maximum of 10 people. Enjoy Bushman's River and plains view on the deck of this African thatch design villa. There are bar/lounge and dining areas and a child friendly swimming pool. Choose from a Luxury Courtyard Room (rooms are interconnecting via a passage so are suitable for a family) or a Luxury River Room, each sleeping maximum 2 adults. From June 2020 this lodge will be available for exclusive use.

Bayethe - recently refurbished, this wonderful and popular tented lodge is nestled along the riverbed and overlooks a busy waterhole, here you can enjoy drinks with the wildlife after dark, and relax in one of the 12 luxury tents. All with en-suite facilities, private outdoor shower, plunge pool and viewing deck.

Eagles Crag - this premium lodge, which has been newly refurbished, is for the traveller who wants to enjoy contemporary and modern African design alongside the traditional chic of the African bush. The upper level offers a great dining area and lounge with individual 'dining pods' that look over cliffs. There is also a spa* for extra relaxation - and with only 9 rooms, you are sure to be spoilt. Secluded by natural vegetation your suite offers privacy and tranquillity, with your own private deck and heated plunge pool, indoor and outdoor shower and luxury en-suite facilities. Sleeping maximum 2 adults.

Sindile - Shamwari’s new, ultra luxurious tented camp offers superior accommodation, all in a a great location. Premier Luxury Tents are elevated high above the bush and feature a private deck with heated plunge pool and lounging area under a pergola. Sleeping maximum 2 adults.

Traditional African bomas. African barbecues. Game-drives take place in the early morning and late afternoon. Guided walks and night drives. Kids on Safari programme. Eagles Crag, Bayethe and Long Lee Manor all have a spa* but spa treatments are available at all lodges. Complimentary WiFi. 2 night Explorer Camp experience*, in dome tented lodges, is also available. Guided walking safari (available Oct-Apr). Born Free and Animal Rehabilitation Centre. New Welcome Lounge (for guests staying at Long Lee Manor, Riverdene, Sarili, Sindile and Explorer camp).

Wheelchair adapted rooms with partially accessible amenities or facilities available on request (Riverdene and Long Lee Manor). Please note that these rooms are subject to availability and may be restricted to specific room categories and bedding arrangements. Rooms and facilities vary between hotels so please check at the time of booking. For more information and contact details please check out our Special Assistance page

2 nights between 1 May-20 Apr.

* Denotes local charge.

Rating summary

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Traveller rating

  • Excellent (1231)
  • Very good (78)
  • Average (24)
  • Poor (10)
  • Terrible (4)
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Fantastic!!!!!! Incredible!!!!! Magical!!!!!

Jun 1, 2021 NatsSouthAfrica South Africa

Blown Away!!!!! Speechless!!!!! Fantastic!!!!!! Incredible!!!!! Magical!!!!! Luxury and adventure combined for the experience of a lifetime for our family of four visiting to celebrate my husband’s 40th birthday. Our Ranger Jesse was an absolute gem, she is amazing with kids, intelligent (her extensive knowledge of animals WOW), patient, kind and… Read more
Blown Away!!!!! Speechless!!!!! Fantastic!!!!!! Incredible!!!!! Magical!!!!! Luxury and adventure combined for the experience of a lifetime for our family of four visiting to celebrate my husband’s 40th birthday. Our Ranger Jesse was an absolute gem, she is amazing with kids, intelligent (her extensive knowledge of animals WOW), patient, kind and most important FUN! FUN! FUN! My kids cried when they left Shamwari. I have never seen them cry after a holiday or leaving a hotel ever so this was definitely a first. Customized to our every desire and a great surprise on each drive. They went above and beyond in making my husband’s 40th the most memorable birthday ever. We were blown away by the hospitality at Shamwari. The staff are incredible every single one of them. The most delicious fine dining experience, kids variety of food met every expectation. The facilities are among the finest we have experienced. The well trained staff made our stay world class. No details were left undone. As the staff gathered to wish us a farewell, we couldn’t help but feel we were leaving our friends. An extremely emotional departure. Thank you Shamwari you will always stay close to our hearts Suresh, Natalie, Tamia and Gia... thank you for a truly brilliant experience. See you soon. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Truly “Shamazing” Family Safari

Apr 22, 2021 rnkhammond Ladera Ranch, California

Luxury and adventure combined for the experience of a lifetime for our family of four visiting from California. Our Ranger Jan is a pro at both tracking animals and getting a smile from a teenage daughter. Customized to our every desire and a great surprise on each drive. We spent 3 days at Shamwari and had new discoveries on each game drive.… Read more
Luxury and adventure combined for the experience of a lifetime for our family of four visiting from California. Our Ranger Jan is a pro at both tracking animals and getting a smile from a teenage daughter. Customized to our every desire and a great surprise on each drive. We spent 3 days at Shamwari and had new discoveries on each game drive. The facilities are among the finest we have experienced. The well trained staff made our stay world class. No details were left undone. As the staff gathered to wish us a farewell, we couldn’t help but feel we were leaving our friends. No matter the distance, we committed then to return soon. Thank you Jan, Liza Marie, Kim, Mandla and Theo for a truly brilliant experience. See you soon. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Best Experience Ever!!!

Jan 17, 2021 Lindyabro Cape Town Central, South Africa

My family and I ( 2 adults , 3 kids aged 13,12 and 8) have just returned from one of the most wonderful experiences of our life. We stayed at Long Lee Manor in the most amazing family suite. It was pure perfection. Long Lee Manor staff are incredible. Nothing was too much trouble for them! I cannot commend them enough. Service and hospitality… Read more
My family and I ( 2 adults , 3 kids aged 13,12 and 8) have just returned from one of the most wonderful experiences of our life. We stayed at Long Lee Manor in the most amazing family suite. It was pure perfection. Long Lee Manor staff are incredible. Nothing was too much trouble for them! I cannot commend them enough. Service and hospitality extraordinaire! And now onto the game drives..... Our Game Ranger was Mino, and after having experienced game ranging in this manner, we are forever spoilt for any other game drive. Mino made it his goal to pamper us and make us all feel like kings and queens ... and that’s besides all the actual game spotting and experiences. He went above and beyond for us. We had the most incredible sightings and experiences. Unforgettable! On our last day we bumped into Shamwari’s CEO, Mr Joe Cloete. And it’s no wonder Shamwari is run so well ! Such a humble man with a fantastic attitude. Our Shamwari Game Reserve experience was everything we wanted and MUCH more. We highly , highly recommended it! ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating It could not be more perfect!

Jan 8, 2021 justordinarypeople Cape Town

What an unforgettable experience we had at Shamwari! We booked place at Riverdene in February 2020 for July 2020, but due to travel restrictions and all the lodges closing, our plans were deferred indefinitely. We were so excited when we heard that Long Lee Manor would be opening and that we could visit after long last in December. We were… Read more
What an unforgettable experience we had at Shamwari! We booked place at Riverdene in February 2020 for July 2020, but due to travel restrictions and all the lodges closing, our plans were deferred indefinitely. We were so excited when we heard that Long Lee Manor would be opening and that we could visit after long last in December. We were blown away by the immaculate arrival at Long Lee Manor after a long, hot trip and it just go so much better from there. Our beautiful, huge room was spotless, the staff were attentive, friendly and professional. The boutique hotel is kept in pristine condition, from it's beautiful gardens to all the amenities. And don't get me started on the food! Every meal was delicious and carefully prepared - it's a pity you just can eat all of it! But of course, the purpose of going to a game lodge is for the wildlife. We had the privilege of having senior ranger, Mino, as our guide for our 5 night stay and he made sure that we were comfortable, looked after and enjoyed ourselves. The sightings were incredible - fantastical elephant family sightings, lion, cheetah but also interesting things like a bat eared fox family, jackals and wonderful birdlife. Every outing was a great adventure and we did not want it to end! I cannot find one fault with this wonderful place and cannot wait to return! They were so attentive to every need, treated our daughter of 11 like a princess and overall, we felt like royalty. With an infinity pool, beautiful bar, spa, the most dreamy boma and everything in-between, Long Lee Manor is exquisite. See you soon Shamwari! Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Once in a lifetime encounter, once in a liftime experience!

Jan 7, 2021 tbbm7175 Greater Johannesburg, South Africa

To celebrate the coming of the new year Barry and I decided to do a walking safari in the Bush. We know the risks that come with such an adventure especially when predators are involved but fear never crossed our minds. In the past we have walked with lions, dived with sharks and played with cheetahs among other adventurous experiences. The… Read more
To celebrate the coming of the new year Barry and I decided to do a walking safari in the Bush. We know the risks that come with such an adventure especially when predators are involved but fear never crossed our minds. In the past we have walked with lions, dived with sharks and played with cheetahs among other adventurous experiences. The difference is that these activities have all been controlled, we have never had a reason to fear. As our walk was approaching, I was excited to find out who else had booked this incredible activity as a New Years adventure. We were going to be a total of 6 explorers and 2 guides, complete strangers about to embark on an incredible journey. We were properly coached by our guides Westley and Janco on how to avoid danger and how to conduct ourselves when we approached any wild animal. However, nothing could prepare us for our encounter on the 1st of January 2021. As the evening drew closer we parked our game vehicle in the middle of the bush and went for a final walk of the day. The rangers got out, inspected the area for any danger and then proceeded into a semi dense bush area in a single file line . Along the path we were on, we stopped to look at the remains of what must of been an old settlers camp. We found old pieces of ceramic jars and chatted about that for a minute or two then carried on. As we walked a couple of meters ahead, I decided to stop to look for a discrete bush for a quick wee. Still in a single file line as instructed and never leaving the group, I turned my head to the back only to realize a young male lion was in the bush next to the path, just staring at us. I quietly said “LION” “LION” only one other explorer next to me heard and she immediately said “ YOU ARE KIDDING, RIGHT?” I nodded no. By then the rangers had taken action, drawn out their rifles and quickly came up with a plan. They moved towards the danger while backing us away. I felt safe at that moment, like everything was under control so I decided to try to get a photo of the ranger and the lion that was laying back down behind the bush. As I lifted the camera to try and get the shot, I saw coming down the same path we just walked on maybe 10 meters from the first lion, was a second, bigger, male lion. The situation got real, unwillingly we had just walked into a pride of 5 lions. From the beginning, that was the experience I was hoping for but now it was real. For the first time in my life I felt FEAR. I don’t think I have ever felt that before. It’s a bone chilling, powerless, humbling, terrifying, paralyzing experience. One I will never forget. The rangers were amazing as Janco lead the group to safety in a cool calm manner, Westley stayed behind with his rifle drawn taking full control of the lions. As we walked away we could hear Westley shouting forcefully instructing the lions to stay. It was difficult to walk away leaving him behind because you could also hear fear in his voice. We heard a lion roar at him and his voice got louder and firmer. That continued until we all made it to safety. Those minutes not knowing if Westley would make it out alive were also very frightening and surreal. The bond that was created between the 8 of us that evening will be one that will last a lifetime. Once we were back at camp strangers were now friends and the night was filled with everyone’s personal take on this frightening encounter. The rangers have trained for this and although they both claim this was their first encounter of this kind, they both had “UNAGI” and new exactly what to do in a dangerous, unexpected situation. We will be forever grateful for this experience ,the guides knowledge, valor and most importantly for the fact that they never fired a shot. We named our adventure “UNAGI” because our guide Westley was a huge fan of “FRIENDS “ and would quote something said by Ross at every meal. Thank you all for an unforgettable experience. That one for sure is ticked off my list. Read less