Shamwari Private Game Reserve

Shamwari, Eastern Cape

The hotel

Home of the Born Free big cat sanctuary, the Shamwari Private Game Reserve boasts an impressive 25,000 hectares of land, packed to 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 Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre. Accommodation is of the highest standard throughout the six lodges with Eagles Crag lodge recommended for those who adore privacy and serenity. Families are also more than welcome at Riverdene Family Lodge, it is very spacious indeed and has a range of child-friendly activities to take advantage of, the over 4’s 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 6 different lodges in total: Riverdene Family Lodge - has been newly refurbished and is perfect for families, with a very exciting and complimentary children's programme. This is a wonderful homestead with relaxed loungers, offering the perfect stay for families, with interconnecting rooms, childcare facilities and an excititing 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.

Lobengula Lodge - This lodge has been designed to reflect a traditional Africa Kraal and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Combining contemporary design with traditional African touches, the lodge offers 3 Junior Suites with a private terrace overlooking the main pool, and other 3 suites that have a private deck with private plunge pool, sleeping maximum 2 adults. 

Sarili Lodge - Suitable for older families, couples or small parties. This luxury lodge consisting 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 Roo, each sleeping maximum 2 adults. 

Bayethe Tented Lodge - This wonderful tented lodge is nestled along the riverbed, where 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 Lodge - 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 out over cliffs. Your suite offers privacy and tranquillity, with your own private deck and heated plunge pool, indoor and outdoor shower, luxury en-suite facilities and a spa* for extra relaxation - and with only 9 rooms, you are sure to be spoilt. Sleeping maximum 2 adults.

  • Honeymooners: couples receive a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine in their room on arrival, a private candlelit dinner (either in room or in the dining room), a romantic turndown after an evening game drive and private lunch time picnic (can be taken in the garden, room or out in the bush). Valid for stays 1 Jan–31 Dec '19.

  • Long stay offer: stay 3 nights and receive 10% discount on accommodation costs; similarly stay 4 nights and receive 15% discount on accommdation costs. Valid for stays between 1 May-31 Oct '19.

  • Virgin Holidays offer: all Virgin Holidays guests receive a complimentary 45 minute head, back and shoulder massage per person per stay. 

    Valid for stays between 1 May '19-30 Apr '20.

Traditional African bomas. African barbecues. Game-drives take place in the early morning and late afternoon. Kids on Safari programme, guides walks and night drives. Eagles Crag, Bayethe and Long Lee Manor all have a spa*. Complimentary WiFi. 2-day Explorer Camp experience* (guided walking safari available Oct-Apr). Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre. New Welcome Lounge (for guests staying at Long Lee Manor, Riverdene Family Lodge, Sarili Lodge and Explorer camp).

Wheelchair accessible rooms available on request (Riverdene Family Lodge 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

  • Location Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Sleep Quality Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Rooms Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Service Image of the Tripadvisor rating
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  • Cleanliness Image of the Tripadvisor rating

Traveller rating

  • Excellent (1175)
  • Very good (78)
  • Average (24)
  • Poor (10)
  • Terrible (4)
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Amazing!!!

Aug 16, 2019 ivxavier Belo Horizonte, MG

We stayed at Eagles Crag Lodge and it's incredible. Every detail is particularly take care. The Lodge as a whole and the rooms are very clean, well decorated and cozy. In the middle of the nature you feel at home. The staff is extremely attentive and polite... Rina, Ntombi, Kg, Leo, Kingston, Maria, Andrea and our game driver Timothy (who's… Read more
We stayed at Eagles Crag Lodge and it's incredible. Every detail is particularly take care. The Lodge as a whole and the rooms are very clean, well decorated and cozy. In the middle of the nature you feel at home. The staff is extremely attentive and polite... Rina, Ntombi, Kg, Leo, Kingston, Maria, Andrea and our game driver Timothy (who's passionate about his work) were some of the guys that provided us a great stay there. The gastronomy is fantastic too... a super brunch is waiting for you after each game drive. Several options of meal for lunch and dinner. One night we could enjoy a typical african 'barbecue' with music and dance. Great drinks are also available... bourbons, scotchs, gins, wines... you name it! Massages are available and were awesome too. The Shamwari Private Reserve is huge... Several ecosystems that allow us see many animals, including the big five. It's a great experience in South Africa with one of the most beautiful sunset that we've ever seen. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Unforgettable experience

Jul 27, 2019 JamesBell33 London, United Kingdom

Just returned from the magical Shamwari game reserve where we stayed at the luxurious Eagles Crag. Everything was superb from the accommodation to the safari drives to the food (where vegetarian and vegan diets were brilliantly catered for). The ranger and staff were excellent and nothing was too much trouble for them. We saw herds of elephant,… Read more
Just returned from the magical Shamwari game reserve where we stayed at the luxurious Eagles Crag. Everything was superb from the accommodation to the safari drives to the food (where vegetarian and vegan diets were brilliantly catered for). The ranger and staff were excellent and nothing was too much trouble for them. We saw herds of elephant, rhino, lions with their cubs, hippopotamus, zebra and more, and enjoyed a memorable sundowner watching the African sunset on the bushland plains next to a family of giraffes. It's a once in a lifetime experience which we would wholeheartedly recommend. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Superb experience for kids and grown ups in a luxurious yet humble safari lodge

Jul 10, 2019 ELunardelli Curitiba, PR

Were there a 6th star, and I'd sure add it to Shamwari. The perfect retreat for couples with young kids. From welcoming to farewell we had the best experience ever! When my wife and I started looking for safari lodges to securely accommodate our 4 and 6 yr old kids we ran into a few well known ones that would not accept kids at such young age or… Read more
Were there a 6th star, and I'd sure add it to Shamwari. The perfect retreat for couples with young kids. From welcoming to farewell we had the best experience ever! When my wife and I started looking for safari lodges to securely accommodate our 4 and 6 yr old kids we ran into a few well known ones that would not accept kids at such young age or would charge extra fees for a private service. Still, as we wanted to drive along the Garden Route, we ended up searching places on the way and luckily came across Shamwari and chose to stay at the Riverdene lodge. All the staff was extremely helpful and humble and would always exceed our expectations. We even learned some xhosa (local language)! Accommodations are really, really cozy, clean and well decorated. The bathroom is a magnificent salon du bagne and is great for relaxing after each safari ride. Candles and linen sprays help enhancing the atmosphere. Food is delicious and of course we gained a few extra pounds! How about having your breakie in the open air, around a fire pit where you can prepare your ham and cheese sandwich while enjoying the amazing sunrise? Don't forget to ask Michael for his special Latte version Safaris were great and we ended up having our own ranger, Sipo (great guy). We spent 2 1/2 days at the lodge and depite the cold and rainy weather of the 1st day we saw all the Big 5 animals and much more! The cherries of the cake were certainly the cheetahs munching on a freshly caught kudu (an antelope species) without even bothering with our presence and the black rhino mom and her cub. Our kids joined us for the morning safaris, but would rather stay at the kids club in the afternoon ones. Oh, the kids club! That is a special chapter of our stay...the whole structure has just been fully remodeled and now has a wide array of supervised outdoor activities, such as ziplining, climbing, tree houses, swing bridges and much more. Thus, our kids would turned from the afternoon safari. Lunch, snacks and dinner are provided right at the club. A great thank you to Theo and all the Riverdene Lodge team for the great time! Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Incredible

Jul 3, 2019 Vicky A Edinburgh, United Kingdom

A group from SRUC college Scotland visited the reserve to do a mixture of activities to include safari, animal monitoring, community work, road maintenance, Born Free Foundation and the rehab centre. This is the college's fourth trip with a mixture of students studying animal/veterinary related course. The setting of Proctors Lodge is beautiful,… Read more
A group from SRUC college Scotland visited the reserve to do a mixture of activities to include safari, animal monitoring, community work, road maintenance, Born Free Foundation and the rehab centre. This is the college's fourth trip with a mixture of students studying animal/veterinary related course. The setting of Proctors Lodge is beautiful, with an array of animals on the doorstep!. The staff are amazing to include the ladies in the kitchen who were fabulous and fed us so well and catered for all types of diets. The guides are outstanding. Their knowledgeable about the flora, fauna and their own country is phenomenal . Our guides were Colleen, Luke and Roy. Colleen has immense facts and skills for a young person, as do Luke and Roy. All of them keep coming up with surprising snippets continually. All have a sense of humour which is a must! We were privileged to see a huge variety of animals. Safety was at the forefront of our guides and the animals were not hassled by the trucks. We had days doing work in the community which included soup making, providing food for local dogs, playing football with a local boys team who were so kind to the non football players as we were rubbish! This trip is a must for students (and lecturers!) as it provides an insight to the ethos , ethics and conservation behind the Shamwari experience which faces many challenges. Thank you Shamwari for the experience of a lifetime. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating A wonderful holiday at Lobengula Lodge.

Jul 1, 2019 SurreyHolidayer Surrey

We (a family of 4) have just returned from a short stay at Lobengula Lodge and can honestly say that our stay could not be improved upon. Lovely, welcoming staff, wonderful rooms and facilities and the best experience one could possibly wish for. Our guide was Tiem, who, within a tight schedule of a few days managed to find pretty much all the… Read more
We (a family of 4) have just returned from a short stay at Lobengula Lodge and can honestly say that our stay could not be improved upon. Lovely, welcoming staff, wonderful rooms and facilities and the best experience one could possibly wish for. Our guide was Tiem, who, within a tight schedule of a few days managed to find pretty much all the wildlife one could wish to see including lions, cheetahs, buffalo, giraffes, elephants and white rhinos (to mention just a few). Thoughtful and informative throughout, he answered all our questions and more. We could not have wished for a better guide, nor a better welcome when we came back every evening from everybody at the lodge. The food and entertainment was wonderful too! A massive thank you to all - it was absolutely joyful. Strongly recommended. Read less