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.

  • 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. 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

  • 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
  • Value Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Cleanliness Image of the Tripadvisor rating

Traveller rating

  • Excellent (1217)
  • Very good (78)
  • Average (24)
  • Poor (10)
  • Terrible (4)
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Excellent Personal Service!

Jan 17, 2020 Rick F Exeter, United Kingdom

This was our second stay at Shamwari but our first at Sarili Lodge. Bearing in mind that this is a luxury resort and the prices reflect this, I had my doubts that our expectations could be met, let alone exceeded. I was wrong - they were smashed! The rooms and facilities are genuinely 5 star but that is what you would expect. The game drives were… Read more
This was our second stay at Shamwari but our first at Sarili Lodge. Bearing in mind that this is a luxury resort and the prices reflect this, I had my doubts that our expectations could be met, let alone exceeded. I was wrong - they were smashed! The rooms and facilities are genuinely 5 star but that is what you would expect. The game drives were incredible and the information regarding the reserve and the animals that was passed onto us from our ranger, Janco, made the difference. What absolutely blew us away at the lodge was the personal service from every single member of staff that we came into contact with at Sarili. They went out of their way to ensure that our stay was memorable, and nothing appeared to be too much trouble for them. The stay was a 21st birthday present for my step-daughter and she was feted like a celebrity. From her arrival to her departure she was made to feel incredibly special and the icing on the cake (excuse the pun) was the incredible cake baked for her on the last night. At most of the resorts we have stayed in, the manager is in the background. Stephani is the exception to this rule. She was everywhere and worked with her team to ensure that everything was in place and that we constantly had smiles on our faces. We cannot thank you and your staff enough for making our stay incredibly special. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Exceptional Safari Trip

Jan 11, 2020 laura19792017 Weymouth, United Kingdom

We (my husband, 10 year old boy and I) stayed at the Riverdene Lodge for 3 nights after staying in Cape Town and travelling along the Garden Route. What a perfect way to end our time in South Africa. I highly recommend this accommodation especially for families with younger children as the facilities / kid club available to them in between… Read more
We (my husband, 10 year old boy and I) stayed at the Riverdene Lodge for 3 nights after staying in Cape Town and travelling along the Garden Route. What a perfect way to end our time in South Africa. I highly recommend this accommodation especially for families with younger children as the facilities / kid club available to them in between game drives are great with such friendly staff. All the staff at The Riverdene Lodge are absolutely fantastic with nothing being too much trouble. I have to give a special nod to Michael the barman, what a lovely gentleman. We were very lucky to have had the friendly, funny, engaging, informative Karien as our ranger who really made our stay so special. Karien really went above and beyond. We were very fortunate and saw lions as well as the elusive leopard eating. We saw elephants with a baby and rhino including a black rhino that was quite an emotional moment for me. Karien persevered in the pouring rain (unusual) and for that reason we were lucky enough to see cheetah hunting, a special moment that will stay with me forever. Karien also provided great information on lots of other interesting animals, birds, insects (dung beetles are so impressive) and plants along the way. I cannot thank Karien enough. The food on offer was divine and constant. My favourite were the treats in the afternoon before the second game drive of the day. Accommodation / facilities all high standard. Such an amazing experience, thank you so much Shamwari Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating We had an experience of a lifetime

Jan 1, 2020 alan N Bedford, United Kingdom

Shamwari truly is a magical place. We stayed at Riverdene between the 17th to the 20th of December. Our stay here was way way above any expectations we had the lodge is fantastic the rooms amazing. The food is high quality and plenty of opposition. If you go hungry it’s your own fault. What made this holiday for us was our ranger Keigen this man… Read more
Shamwari truly is a magical place. We stayed at Riverdene between the 17th to the 20th of December. Our stay here was way way above any expectations we had the lodge is fantastic the rooms amazing. The food is high quality and plenty of opposition. If you go hungry it’s your own fault. What made this holiday for us was our ranger Keigen this man was amazing his knowledge his passion for the animals his personality matched ours perfectly. Thank you Shamwari for blowing our minds. And keigen your a legend thank you so much Keigen may all yours dreams come true. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Incredible accommodation, amazing service, exceptional cuisine and great game viewing !!!

Dec 28, 2019 S3761OXcraigb Cape Town, South Africa

Having last had a family safari holiday over ten years ago, we decided it was time to visit the bush again and so after much research by my wife, we chose the new Sindile luxury tented lodge in the malaria free Shamwari Game Reserve for our Christmas holiday. Every aspect of our four days was superb ! The friendly welcome, amazing six star… Read more
Having last had a family safari holiday over ten years ago, we decided it was time to visit the bush again and so after much research by my wife, we chose the new Sindile luxury tented lodge in the malaria free Shamwari Game Reserve for our Christmas holiday. Every aspect of our four days was superb ! The friendly welcome, amazing six star accommodation, each tent with its own private pool and sun deck overlooking the river and plains teeming with game, simply took our breath away. The tented lodge including reception area, bar, dining area, fire pit and multiple viewing decks was amazing and the design, facilities, decor and staff at this luxury tented camp made for a truly memorable holiday where nothing was too much trouble and we felt incredibly welcome and pampered. From our welcome from CEO Joe, GM Theo and friendly service from Kalalani, Portio, Odwa, Bonolo, Kati, Siya and the rest of the Sindile team and the four days spent with our senior ranger Mino and newby Gerhard, ensured our every request was taken care of and we were made to feel very special. The early 5.00 am wake up calls, a quick cup of coffee and then onto the brand new open safari vehicles to track the waking animals was a fantastic daily experience ! Seeing Cheeta’s, Lions, Elephants, Rhino’s, Buffalo, Hippos, Giraffes and dozens of species of antelopes literally feet away from our vehicle and in abundance every day was priceless ! We had two great rangers who made every drive a fun adventure and whose knowledge of the plants, birds and the game was just incredible. Senior ranger Mino was a character who ensured we had a lot of fun and laughs and there wasn’t a moment of boredom. The breakfast, lunch and dinners at Sindile and the other camps we visited were truly superb and a very nice surprise, not what we expected deep in the bush at a safari camp. The Born Free Foundation on Shamwari which relocates traumatized Lions, Leopards and other animals from circuses and zoo’s around the world is well worth a visit as is Shamwari’s animal rehabilitation centre where orphaned ( usually by poachers) or injured animals are treated, nursed and prepared for re- introduction into the wild. We saw owls, antelope, elephants and rhinos all being treated at this centre and we truly enjoyed our few hours there. Having visited many luxury game reserves, Sindile Tented Camp was by far the best we have visited - pricy but a great luxury experience and worth every cent. Thanks Shamwari and the team at Sindile, you have given my wife , two adult children and I memories that we will cherish for many years to come !!! Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Lodge -Safari-Touren

Dec 19, 2019 konstanzee2016

The lodge is situated within nature. The food and the service were excellent. We went on 5 tours with Jason. He always made sure that everyone was comfortable and had a good view of the animals. He was a perfect guide. Thank you so much, Jason!