5 reasons I fell in love with Shamwari Game Reserve

Shamwari Game Reserve has been on my wanderlust list for the longest time.

It has been a dream of mine to visit this prestigious game reserve that attracts tourists and locals alike. Because this is the year of making dreams come true, I recently visited Shamwari for a fun filled, magical two-night stay.

After my absolutely amazing experience, I simply fell in love with Shamwari.

Here is why …

1. Ultimate Safari Experience

Shamwari is a place where guests exist in harmony with nature and free roaming wildlife allowing for the ultimate safari experience. It is a 25 000 hectares, malaria free, private game reserve that is home to the Big 5. In addition to the Big 5 there are giraffes, hippos, cheetah and antelope, to name a few. With two game drives a day, one in the early morning and one in the evening, you will definitely leave with stories to tell.

On our visit we were lucky with our sightings. In actual fact, I don’t know whether it is luck or that we had the most knowledgeable ranger, Abel, who made our experience a lot more memorable and exciting.

Our very first game drive saw us listening out to the sounds of lions crunching on bones, which we were then lucky to find, thanks to Abels excellent tracking skills. The second game drive, Abel “surprised” us with a cheetah and four cubs playing in the grass. On our next game drive we watched a lion stalk some buck. And on our last game drive we watched a herd of elephants with their babies splashing in the water. Together with these phenomenal sightings, we spotted rhino, giraffe, antelope, zebra and warthog and a lot of tortoises.

2. Location

Shamwari is situated in the Eastern Cape and is less than an hours drive from Port Elizabeth. Shamwari is also a three hour drive from the Garden Route. Plettenberg Bay is my second home, and forms part of the Garden Route. We left Plettenberg Bay at about 9am and arrived at Shamwari just in time for lunch and our first afternoon game drive.

What I love about the location of Shamwari is in the morning you can be on the beach, soaking up the sun and in the afternoon, you can be at Shamwari in time for your first afternoon game drive.

3. The Lodges

Shamwari offers 6 luxury lodges all catering for different accommodation preferences:

Sarili Lodge is a private oasis for a family or a group of friends as there are only 5 luxury rooms in this lodge.

Eagles Crag Lodge is for the honeymoon couple as all 9 luxury suites are secluded so you can enjoy the utmost privacy and total relaxation. Along with the essentials, you will enjoy a private deck with a plunge pool, in and outdoor shower facilities and you will be provided with a bird spotting scope in your room.

Lobengula Lodge offers 6 luxury villa’s mirroring traditional African “kraal’s”. This lodge is tucked away in the valley bush veld offering breathtaking views.

Bayethe Tented Lodge is a tented paradise offering 12 luxury tents. Each detached tent also comes with its own plunge pool. This is definitely the lodge you’re looking for if you want the ultimate safari experience of camping in style (well, its more like glamping).

Riverdene Family Lodge is Shamwari’s very own elegant family homestead with 9 luxury rooms. The lodge caters specifically for families and offers activities specially for the kids.

Long Lee Manor is a gracious Edwardian Manor House in the heart of the African bush with 15 suites. This colonial style lodge boasts manicured gardens, pools and verandas all with magnificent breathtaking views.

Long Lee Manor

We arrived at Shamwari and were shown to our room at Long Lee Manor. What a welcoming change to stay in such a beautiful colonial style home in the heart of the African bush. We have only ever “roughed it” in the bush so staying in such a luxury manor was definitely a breathe of fresh air.

Our room was beautiful and spacious. My favourite feature was definitely the two daybeds to lie on and gaze out the patio window onto the reserve. I was hoping to see elephants in the distance but I did see giraffe heads bobbing up and down.

With a scorching temperature of 35 degrees, if we weren’t on a game drive, we found ourselves soaking up the sun in one of the two beautiful swimming pools at Long Lee Manor. One of the swimming pools overlooks a watering hole. So picture basking in the swimming pool, while watching animals in front of you. My favourite were definitely the warthogs hogging the waterhole 😉

4. The Food

From breakfast, to lunch and dinner, and even afternoon high tea, it was most definitely a food fiesta.

Breakfast was in the dining room and the buffet was endless. Lunch was by the patio overlooking the swimming pool and included some very delicious options. But dinner was the most special. On our first night we had a barbecue/braai at the boma. And on our second night we were treated to a three- course dinner in the dining room. The food was of a very high standard with endless options for everyones tastes.

If you know me by now, you will know tea time is my favourite time, especially when you get to have a slice of homemade lemon rosemary cake. Wow!

5. Born Free Foundation

What makes Shamwari one of a kind is their Born Free Foundation, which is a compassionate conservation and animal welfare. Born Free takes action worldwide to protect threatened species and stop animal suffering. How is this done? By rescuing animals from lives of misery in tiny cages and give them lifetime care. Born Free believes wildlife belongs in the wild and works to phase out zoos.

We visited the Born Free Foundation at Shamwari and witnessed the absolutely amazing job they do! These lions below were rescued from the most awful conditions in the circus. Although the animals at Born Free, like these lions, will never be fit enough to be returned into the wild, they most definitely enjoy better conditions at Born Free.

Did You Know?

Shamwari celebrates its 25th anniversary this year!

Happy Anniversary, Shamwari. 

And there you have it, 5 reasons I fell in love with Shamwari Game Reserve.

It is the most wonderful and exclusive private game reserve that ensures a truly magical experience with memories to last a lifetime. So much so, I am counting down until I visit again.

For more information on Shamwari, click here.

Thank you Shamwari for the getaway. As with all posts, the opinions are my own.

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