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: 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 Education Centres and Animal Rehabilitation centre.

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. Offering accommodation in 17 beautifully decorated rooms and one 2-bedroom villa with a private 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 - suitable for older families, couples or small parties. 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 (1225)
  • Very good (78)
  • Average (24)
  • Poor (10)
  • Terrible (4)
Image of the Tripadvisor rating HEAVEN ON EARTH !! A BEAUTIFUL EDEN... Karien was superb !

May 22, 2020 Kevjc90 Port Glasgow, United Kingdom

During my trip to South Africa we stayed at Shamwari for 3 nights and I wish it was so much longer !! We stayed at Riverdene Lodge which was beautiful the pool area looked out over the Savannah and plains were you could see the animals, if you didn't want to squint your eyes in the sunlight you could walk to the end of the cottages and on the… Read more
During my trip to South Africa we stayed at Shamwari for 3 nights and I wish it was so much longer !! We stayed at Riverdene Lodge which was beautiful the pool area looked out over the Savannah and plains were you could see the animals, if you didn't want to squint your eyes in the sunlight you could walk to the end of the cottages and on the right had side about 200m away over the perimeter fence there was a watering hole which was a must see every morning with new visitors each day. Every game drive we saw something new which was great for the little checklist that you got in the room - i think i managed to get to see all the mammals except the elusive brown hyena and maybe a few hares or so but everything else was AMAZING !! I am a massive fan of nature programmes and a big supporter of conservation and seeing the animals was heaven on earth for me ! i could not have asked for a better experience. One evening we went out to see the lions and their cubs and on route back down our guide Karien who was fabulous ! A testement to the lodge ! said lets go look for the elephants which were very far in the distance we caught up with them and as the passed by us we decided to drive round the bushes to where they were heading... what a treat over 20 elephants of all ages were there we sat for about 30 minutes while the sun disappeared and it was the most humbling experience ever ! The rooms were large and spacious, the food was fabulous and the staff were excellent. I would also highly recommend a visit to the born free centre This is a place i will never forget and definitely will be back. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Wow! The most incredible place.

Apr 19, 2020 MrandMrsM2010 Manchester, United Kingdom

I travelled here with my mother. This place is heaven. We stayed in the Sarilli lodge and from the minute we arrived and were greeted we felt at home. Nothing was too much for the staff, especially the manager (I embarrassingly cant remember her name). The rooms are modern and ooze luxury. The view from our sliding doors and balcony were out of… Read more
I travelled here with my mother. This place is heaven. We stayed in the Sarilli lodge and from the minute we arrived and were greeted we felt at home. Nothing was too much for the staff, especially the manager (I embarrassingly cant remember her name). The rooms are modern and ooze luxury. The view from our sliding doors and balcony were out of this world! Looking over the whole of the game reserve was just incredible. The food was lovely, freshly cooked and ample of it. The customer service was amazing, they met us with hot drinks and flannels after the game drives and asked when we wanted dinner. Our game driver Cabous was very knowledgeable and very entertaining! He made every drive an adventure and even in some of the worst weather conditions! We saw 4 of the Big 5 multiple times. We were so sad leaving here, I just cannot wait to go back when my children are older to experience this once (or hopefully) twice in a lifetime opportunity. Can’t wait to see you again Sarilli Lodge! Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Amazing experience

Apr 13, 2020 mjl192018 Camberley, United Kingdom

My wife and I stayed at Sarili Lodge in March 2020 and it was absolutely brilliant, the highlight of our holiday in South Africa. The lodge itself is luxurious, over looking a river (dried up when we were there) and a very large grassy plain. There are only 5 rooms so you get to know the other guests too. The staff are wonderful, and the food is… Read more
My wife and I stayed at Sarili Lodge in March 2020 and it was absolutely brilliant, the highlight of our holiday in South Africa. The lodge itself is luxurious, over looking a river (dried up when we were there) and a very large grassy plain. There are only 5 rooms so you get to know the other guests too. The staff are wonderful, and the food is excellent and plentiful. But the best part are the game drives, this was the first time we'd been on safari so we weren't sure what we'd see or how close we'd get but this exceeded all our expectations. We saw elephants, giraffes, lions, zebra, rhino, hippos, buffalos, springboks, monkeys, baboons and so much more. Many of them had their babies too, which was great. We got suprisingly close to a lot of them too, but always at a safe enough distance of course. Well worth waking up at 5am for. Our ranger was Barrie, and he was fantastic, very knowlegable and nothing was too much bother. We were there for 2 nights, but would love to go back for longer. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Another amazing visit to Shamwari

Mar 11, 2020 JaneEth124

We visited 2 years ago and loved Shamwari, so wanted to return with our son and daughter, this time to sarilli lodge, requesting if it was possible for our first ranger Mino to guide us and show his passion and knowledge to all the family. We were not disappointed, thank to all, Mino, the lodge and the animals. Amazing food and service too and a… Read more
We visited 2 years ago and loved Shamwari, so wanted to return with our son and daughter, this time to sarilli lodge, requesting if it was possible for our first ranger Mino to guide us and show his passion and knowledge to all the family. We were not disappointed, thank to all, Mino, the lodge and the animals. Amazing food and service too and a great family experience from which we have learnt so much and appreciate the conservation that is going on especially with the Born Free Trust and rehabilitation centre. We now cannot wait to return. Thank you again Mino Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Bucket List!!!

Mar 5, 2020 RuthHereward

Myself and my husband stayed here for one night of our honeymoon in the Bayete Tent. It was exceptional from start to finish - the hospitality is out of this world!!! The food is top class and go hungry! You really felt the 5 star quality in the details and service. Our ranger was Siya, who was genuinely interested in the game drives and his… Read more
Myself and my husband stayed here for one night of our honeymoon in the Bayete Tent. It was exceptional from start to finish - the hospitality is out of this world!!! The food is top class and go hungry! You really felt the 5 star quality in the details and service. Our ranger was Siya, who was genuinely interested in the game drives and his enthusiasm/knowledge shone through the experience. He didnt chase animals and was very respectful and gave everything it's time and really tried his best for us to see as many animals as possible. Would definitely go back in a heartbeat. Read less