Members Recommend
Excellent 1290 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


Unforgettable experience

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.

Superb experience for kids and grown ups in a luxurious yet humble safari lodge

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!

Vicky A

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.