100%
Members Recommend
5.0
Excellent 1196 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

Amenities

  •  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

Overview

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

Reviews

5.0 Excellent 1196 Reviews
Truly incredible safari
Reviewed 7 days ago

My wife and I stayed for 3 nights in Bayethe tented lodge (number 12) in May 2018. We had a truly incredible experience - no words can describe how amazing it was!

We arrived early morning and the team had set up breakfast just for us - which was incredible. Lots of continental options and amazing hot food from the extensive menu! In fact all of the food for breakfast, lunch and dinner was amazing (we often had eggs benedict for breakfast, tapas for lunch, and a full 4 course dinner!) We were then shown to our beautiful lodge, with our private deck, hammocks, plunge pool, huge bath tub overlooking the bush, outdoor shower and indoor fireplace. The lodges are tented but with every luxury and modern convenience you could ask for! It was a fantastic experience to be in our lodge, hearing the lions roar, and seeing impala and warthog wander past and play.

We had our first game drive that evening, and a further 5 that followed, and again can’t describe how magical and incredible the experience was. We were lucky enough to have two game drives to ourselves and we made memories we will cherish forever. A huge part of our experience was made by our ranger, Headman, who was so knowledgable, friendly and great to go on drives with. We saw so many animals - in fact the only one we didn’t see was the elusive leopard (which provides a great reason to return!) and Headman was brilliant in taking us to ‘action scenes’ where we saw a young female lion try and stalk a warthog, and the northern pride lions challenge the dominance of the southern lion.

Overall it was the most magical and amazing experience which we genuinely can’t describe and can’t wait to be back. Thank you so so much, Shamwari!

Bayethe Lodge
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Just returning from a 3-night stay at the Bayethe Lodge in mid-May with my husband and two other couples. Everyone in our party was very pleased with the Shamwari Game Reserve and the lodge selected through a Canadian-based tour operator as a part of a more extended tour of South Africa and Zimbabwe. In addition to the luxury "tented" accommodations that include indoor plumbing and a separate outdoor shower, electricity, heat/air, and a wood stove, the food served at the restaurant is equal to that of a 4-star restaurant, and the field rangers for the game drives are absolutely amazing. We had Dylan as our field ranger and he is very knowledgable as well as personable and accommodating. After the first game drive, our group was able to agree on what animals we were interested in tracking for subsequent game drives and Dylan was able to deliver (with the exception of the ever elusive leopard and cheetah). On each game drive, there was time to stop for drinks (coffee/tea in the morning and wine/liquor in the evening), picnic-styled snacks, and to enjoy the scenery. This was my first safari during an African winter so was not sure what to expect from the weather. Although I packed layers of clothes, I was not prepared for driving in an open air vehicle at speed (chasing lions, etc.). The lodge provided separate ponchos for both warmth and rain as well as very warm blankets in the vehicle and clothing (fleece hats, gloves, and jackets) for purchase in the gift shop. Having no other lodge in the Shamwari Game Reserve to compare to, I would say that we were very happy with the location of the lodge to the reserve and the wildlife that we encountered within the lodge such as warthogs, monkeys and giraffes.

A Beautiful add on to CapeTown
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

This place has it all. It is going to be remodeled so I won't speak about our room. The food was plentiful and delicious. It was formal type dining and people got dressed up for dinner. Everyone went out on safari in regular clothes (my husband and I are used to wearing safari clothing on safari). We had a female guide and she was EXCELLENT!! She looked at animal tracks and animal reactions and really knew her stuff. We saw all the big five several times plus so many other wonderful animals and birds. She made sure we had an awesome experience. The animals were more in the open here. You could look out on the plain and see the zebras eating with the wart hogs (I have never seen so many in my life!!) and the variety of antelopes. All the guides there seemed very knowledgeable and personable. The only thing I would say is they are building a giant pool and we felt we did not have time to enjoy the place. It took so long to eat that we would then rush off for safari. They woke us up super early, but then sat and waited for our food. I would have preferred sleeping in and just being able to grab the food I wanted. Instead, we had to wait to be waited on. I highly recommend this place if you have limited time and want to make sure you see the Big 5. The guides will find them for you.

Lovely Bayethe
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

We stayed at Bayethe recently for 4 nights. The tents are very well spaced apart for good privacy and are quite spacious. They are semi built in parts but still have the traditional tent style but with modern conveniences. Large decked area with loungers and plunge pool.
Dining for breakfast and dinner was cosy with roaring log fires (cold in morning & evenings) great food and good breakfasts. Staff all friendly and helpful. Our ranger, Dylan was superb and went beyond what was expected to make our safari as good as possible and saw some great wildlife and some truly magical moments. He was a joy to be with and his knowledge of the wildlife etc was excellent. Enjoyed our coffees and sundowners whilst on safari. We were with a nice group of people and they were good company to be with which added to the enjoyment. Love Shamwari and their philosophy on conservation. We were also taken to the Born Free foundation which we are members of and it was good to see the great work they do. Would go back to Shamwari without question and fully recommend.

Bayethe - amazing!
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

We stayed for 3 nights at the Bayethe tented lodges and it was superb!
We arrived late afternoon and were immediately invited out to catch the last of the daylight with our ranger, Monet, and were lucky enough to see rhino, giraffe and elephants within the first hour, it was incredible!
The Shamwari team were really flexible and the rangers showed a real interest in ensuring we had the best stay and saw everything we could. With the animals being wild, there is no guarantee you will see anything, but we saw elephants, lions, rhino, hippo, buffalo, lizards, zebra and much much more, all thanks to Monet!
I would also recommend the spa at Bayethe, where I had an incredible massage.
The food is plentiful and tasty, my only constructive comment would be that we felt rushed by the serving staff to leave dinner quite quickly; our plates were taken away as soon as our cutlery was put down; we didn’t feel encouraged to stay and have a drink with our fellow guests on safari! That said, all the staff were friendly and professional.
The accommodation is comfortable, we were lucky to have a lodge with an inside shower, which was lovely on the cold mornings! The talented lodges allow you to what some of the wildlife outside which was wonderful, and the wood burner in the room was lovely one evening.
Overall, would thoroughly recommend!