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

Traveller rating

  • Excellent (1189)
  • Very good (78)
  • Average (24)
  • Poor (10)
  • Terrible (4)
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Shamwari is the best choice.

Oct 14, 2019 splash88 Palm Beach, Florida

The attention to detail is remarkable by all members of the Shamwari staff. Each individual that makes up the staff team makes it a point to make you feel welcome daily, with a smile here and a hello there. Nina works hard to ensure safety and comfort. Lindo, Siphelele, Thulele, and Westley all make sure you are getting the maximum out of your… Read more
The attention to detail is remarkable by all members of the Shamwari staff. Each individual that makes up the staff team makes it a point to make you feel welcome daily, with a smile here and a hello there. Nina works hard to ensure safety and comfort. Lindo, Siphelele, Thulele, and Westley all make sure you are getting the maximum out of your holiday. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Safari Advebture

Oct 8, 2019 monag94 Huntington Lake, California

We (group of 10) were met at Port Elizabeth Airport by a Thompson Travel Guide arranged by Lions World Travel. The ride to Shamwari is about 1 hour away. The driver was informative and knowledgeable about the Reserve. Upon arrival at the Luxury Tented cabin in the Bayethe compound, we were greeted with refreshments and escorted to our cabins. … Read more
We (group of 10) were met at Port Elizabeth Airport by a Thompson Travel Guide arranged by Lions World Travel. The ride to Shamwari is about 1 hour away. The driver was informative and knowledgeable about the Reserve. Upon arrival at the Luxury Tented cabin in the Bayethe compound, we were greeted with refreshments and escorted to our cabins. First game is 6 am, Breakfast after return about 9:30, Lunch 1, High Tea 3, second drive 3:30 pm, dinner after 8:30 pm. The rangers (JD and Tim drivers) were friendly, funny, personable and knowledgeable about the area and all the animals and plant life. They bring you up close with the big 5 plus many more. It's a intimate nature experience. Its exciting and peaceful at the same time. We got to see giraffes, impalas, springback, kudos, elephants, rhinos, water buffalos, lion brothers, lioness with Cubs, cheetahs, hippopotamus, crocodiles, warthogs, wilderbeast, zebra and many monkeys. We got to visit the Shamwari Wildlife Rehab center and Bornfree Big Cat Sanctuary. It can be cold in mornings, hot in afternoon. The rides are off-road bumpy and dirty. Dress in layers. The food is fantastic with variety to choose from vegies to various venison and beefs. They arranged BBQs and afternoon bush picnics. All the water is bottled, no one in our group got sick. Our bedrooms were warm, confortable and turned down each evening. It was a trip of life time. I can't wait to return. The staff was friendly and accommodating. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating WOW!!!

Oct 4, 2019 gav188

I can't rate this place highly enough. I need more stars. All the staff were amazing, helpful, professional and nothing was a problem. Every request was granted with a smile. A special mention goes to our guide Raymond. Polite, professional, extremely knowledgeable and above all, respectful of all the beautiful animals we came across. We got to… Read more
I can't rate this place highly enough. I need more stars. All the staff were amazing, helpful, professional and nothing was a problem. Every request was granted with a smile. A special mention goes to our guide Raymond. Polite, professional, extremely knowledgeable and above all, respectful of all the beautiful animals we came across. We got to see so much more than we expected including a lion predation from stalk to kill. We know this is hardly ever seen and consider ourselves beyond lucky. Having said That, Raymond was such a top bloke that I would have been happy just driving around the beautiful property. The conservation and rehab work they do with endangered and mistreated animals is another amazing aspect of this place that is not to be missed. WOW, just WOW!!! Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Wow

Oct 4, 2019 libbywaring Sydney, Australia

Totally amazing! Ray our ranger was the best! Knowledgeable, polite, funny, great tracker and most importantly passionate about the animals and conservation. Very respectful of the animals. We saw all the big five and loads more. We watched 2 lionesses hunt and kill a warthog, the elusive black rhino, leopards, cheetahs, giraffe, zebra, jackals,… Read more
Totally amazing! Ray our ranger was the best! Knowledgeable, polite, funny, great tracker and most importantly passionate about the animals and conservation. Very respectful of the animals. We saw all the big five and loads more. We watched 2 lionesses hunt and kill a warthog, the elusive black rhino, leopards, cheetahs, giraffe, zebra, jackals, hippos and the list goes on. We stayed at Riverdene... staff fab, food delicious. With only 9 rooms, it feels and is very personal experience. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating truely superb!

Sep 29, 2019 SydneyKramer Sydney, Australia

My wife and I stayed at Bayethe and have nothing but the highest praise possible. This is glamping taken next level - I would not mind staying in a tent like this for the rest of my life!!! So much luxury, so much pampering. They just get it all right, for sure. The food the drink, the service, the animals... all amazing. We even saw a… Read more
My wife and I stayed at Bayethe and have nothing but the highest praise possible. This is glamping taken next level - I would not mind staying in a tent like this for the rest of my life!!! So much luxury, so much pampering. They just get it all right, for sure. The food the drink, the service, the animals... all amazing. We even saw a leopard killing an impala. I have to congratulate our superb ranger Suwatha (spelling?) we can truly say we had the best experience of our life! Read less