Members Recommend
Excellent 1273 Reviews
Jetsetter Verified
This Hotel meets our standards
Our editors have been here and it has met our standards

What We Love

  • All meals, game drives, soft drinks and local beer and wine are included in the Jetsetter rate

  • Two three-to-four hour game drives per day are also included with your stay
  • Varied accommodations
 keep families and couples separate
  • Knowledgeable guides mean there's an excellent chance of spotting all of the Big Five
  • The conservation angle: staying here means contributing to animal welfare

  • Dinner in the boma under the African stars

  • Sundowners in the bush on the sunset game drive
  • The blend-into-nature landscaping and lavish but down-to-earth decor

What To Know

  • Arrive in time for lunch on your first day so you don’t miss the afternoon game drive

  • There's a 5:30 a.m. wake-up call for your day’s first game drive, so don’t stay up too late

  • Dinner alternates between the indoor and outdoor dining rooms and between barbecue and a set menu
  • Hard alcohol and some juices are not included in the daily rate
  • Shamwari is malaria-free, but some nearby parts of South Africa are not; ask your doctor about necessary vaccinations

  • If you do not have at least two blank pages in the back of your passport, you will not be allowed to enter South Africa; customs is very strict about this


  •  Babysitting
  •  Bar
  •  Eco-Friendly
  •  Free WiFi
  •  Gym
  •  Handicap Accessible
  •  Kids Club
  •  Parking On Site
  •  Pool
  •  Restaurant
  •  Spa
Disclaimer: This content was accurate at the time the hotel was reviewed. Please check our partner sites when booking to verify that details are still correct.
living room outdoor structure home house


The Review

The guestbook at the 49,000-acre Shamwari Game Reserve showcases a review from Brad Pitt: “The people are as fantastic as the animals majestic. Enjoyed the food chain. Many thanks.” Everyone who stays at this magical place – A list or not – leaves behind an equally glowing review.

Established by Adrian Gardiner in 1992 as a conservation effort to reclaim oversettled and poached land, today the 49,000-acre Shamwari is a testament to his dream, home to all of the Big Five (elephant, rhino, lion, leopard and buffalo), as well as the elusive cheetah.

{“type”:”img-inline”,”src”:”/static/images/product/properties/editorialreviews/9745/pgal-81006-1287607684-full.jpg”,”width”:”275″,”caption”:”Get close to the Big Five during twice-daily game drives; cheetah sightings are also possible.”}Two safaris per day are included in the rate: one before sunrise and one at sunset (the best times to spot animals). There’s nothing like getting up before first light, stumbling into an open-air jeep, wrapping a blanket around yourself and watching the sun rise as the lions, hyenas, giraffes and cheetahs come out to play, eat and drink.

Shamwari’s guides make the experience even more pleasurable by using their tracking skills to increase the chance of a close encounter with big cats or rare birds. And while it is never guaranteed, you’ll likely spot all of the Big Five, as well as cheetahs — a rare treat in South Africa.

Once you’ve experienced the Shamwari blend of Old World elegance and responsible tourism, you’ll know why the property consistently wins so many awards, both for luxury travel and conservation. There are several stylish and unique five-star lodges to choose from on the property, and each has a totally different style, from stately manor to rustic lodge. Families and couples are placed in different parts of the property, and that generally keeps all kinds of travelers happy.

Shamwari is a true throwback to the golden era of safaris. Genteel and elegant, it personifies the romantic African holiday ideal. But even more important, a visit to Shamwari gives guests the chance to give back to Africa, to the animals themselves. Think of it as tipping the lion for posing in the perfect photo op.

How to Get There

Shamwari Game Reserve
N2 Between Port Elizabeth & Grahamstown
Paterson, 6000 South Africa


5.0 Excellent 1273 Reviews
Exceeded all our expectations
Reviewed 4 days ago

The last reviewer said it all, what an amazing place. We were greeted on arrival with hot towels and a drink as we were after each safari. This really is 5 star premium treatment, I would even say it’s 6 star.

We stayed at Riverdene Lodge and the rooms where beautiful as were all the communal areas. The staff could not do enough for you, nothing was too much trouble. Just outside the grounds of Riverdene is a watering hole and it was amazing seeing the animals come down for a drink so close to the lodge.

Our ranger Raymond was an absolute star and so thoughtful. He found out we are supporters of Born Free and made sure we visited the northern Born Free as well as the southern one. Raymond’s knowledge of the animals and their behaviour was amazing and he really made each drive educational as well as exciting and fun. He is a true professional and really passionate about what he does. We really can’t thank him and the rest of the team there enough for making it such a wonderful experience. We were extremely sad to leave and we are now planning our return. We have the safari bug.

Shamwari really is such a special place with so much respect for the animals and it was fantastic seeing the rescued Lions at Born Free, especially King whose fund we had donated to to help get him there. They are now trying to raise funds to get 4 Lions from Lyon there so please anyone reading this review check out the Born Free website to see their progress.

Most amazing place
Reviewed 7 days ago

We’ve just returned from the most incredible Safari ever. We cannot reiterate enough what an amazing time the staff made our stay at Shamwari. The minute we arrived to the minute we left we were all treated so so well.

We stayed in Sarili Lodge and the views were incredible.
Our rooms were so comfortable and clean. At night we’d have a different gift left on our rooms and the attention to detail was incredible.

It has the most amazing staff in all areas. The chef is so talented and served us up really top notch food. There was so much to eat at all servings we just couldn’t manage to eat as much as we’d hoped. From the minute you wake to the time you go to sleep the most incredible food is available. You get pre-game drinks and cakes, return from your game to the most amazing breakfast, you have the most incredible lunch on the terrace, followed by pre-game afternoon tea and then on return get again the most incredible dinner. Even on each game you stop and get served lovely drinks with snacks. Just so much to eat and so much thought has gone into this incredible experience.

We had the most amazing ranger called Headman. Well no words can describe the knowledge this man has. He has been a ranger for 19 years and really knows he’s stuff and is so respectful of the animals. He did he’s upmost for us to see as many animals and oh wow what an array we saw. Even he said he was amazed what we’d seen in the first game drive.

All staff were so friendly and welcoming. Nothing to was to much. Shanelle especially was so attentive and kind. She made us feel a million dollars and we wish her lots of luck in becoming another ranger. She’ll be wonderful I’m so sure.

Honestly the accommodation was spotlessly clean. So peaceful and amazing. We were on a drive with two others who had been on 5 safaris and they said Shamwari was the best they’d experienced.

Born Free is again amazing. These wonderful people rescue big cats and give them the quality of life these big cats deserve. It is incredible moving when you hear there amazing stories. I was in tears how these incredible animals are treated. This really shouldn’t be happening in our world today. Well done to all these amazing people.

I can’t honestly praise this Safari experience any higher. If you have any concerns or doubts - don’t you will not be disappointed.
I’m happy to answer any questions you may have.

We will definitely be returning and getting friends and family to visit this most incredible place.

A few photos of my fav animal, the elephants. Next is Sarili Lodge, next is Simbad whose been rescued from a circus and has no teeth because they have been pulled out and he use to be fed on pasta, the next is our amazing Ranger Headman.

I literally have hundreds but sadly can’t show them all. Get booking 😊

one of the best experiences I have ever had
Reviewed 1 week ago

What ca I say.. from the time we arrived, Nina our Lodge Manager made us feel so special. Shamwari is amazing. Our lodge was gorgeous, the staff were so lovely and nothing was too much trouble. The reserve blew us away. We felt like little kids in a David Attenborough Documentary. Patrick our ranger, was so knowledgeable and we got to see so many different animals. It was a great privelege and cannot thank Shamwari reserve, staff and the Born Free Foundation for such a life changing experience! If there is one thing you have to do, do this x

Riverdene bliss
Reviewed 1 week ago

We had the most wonderful two nights at Riverdene, all the staff were marvellous but particular praise goes to Raymond for the quality of the game drives. Our children had a truly memorable stay and wish they could have stayed forever.. we will definitely be back!

Eagles Crag - pure luxury
Reviewed 1 week ago

Spent 3 nights at Eagles Crag in a Junior Suite which was large, luxurious and we had our own plunge pool. We had 2 morning, 2 evening and 1 all day drive which included a picnic lunch. Frans was our ranger who was great company and more importantly very knowledgeable. Our first drive we saw a pair of cheetahs which are known to be difficult to see. Also we came up close to lions, giraffe and elephants and less close to the white rhinos, water buffalo and the rare leopard.
The staff are fantastic and at all times made you feel welcome and always trying to help. We went to Shamwari with Exclusively Africa.