Members Recommend
Very Good 866 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


Carol P

We spent 3 days at Bayethe in October 2019. It was a fantastic experience! The tented lodges with plunge pools, incredible food and wine, warm and efficient staff were top notch. Our safari drives were incredible. We had lions and elephants walk very close to the trucks and saw a huge variety of wild life. We hope to go back again with the rest of the family some day. Big shout out to Timothy, our knowledgeable, reliable, enthusiastic guide with the best sense of humour!

Founders Lodge by Mantis - Fantastic holiday
Christiaan G

We stayed at Founders Lodge which is just outside Shamwari Game Reserve but has free traversing rights to provide guests with a safari experience in Shamwari. The lodge is owned and managed by Mantis and the quality of their accommodation, food and service is top notch. We had an incredible time and were lucky to spend valentine's day at Founders (unplanned, but a special treat as we were royally spoiled by the staff on valentine's day). Our ranger, Skumbuso was one of the nicest, friendliest and knowledgeable rangers we have ever had and really enjoyed our game drives with him. Would highly recommend Founders Lodge to any traveler.

A fantastic family holiday

We stayed at Riverdene for four nights with eight game drives along with two safari walks. Raymond our Ranger is one of the nicest guys we’ve met, extremely knowledgeable and at all times respectful to all around him. We got to see the big five, loads of close encounters with lions, cheetah and the ever elusive Leopard which we got to see on two separate occasions. Raymond knew the huge reserve like the back of his hand and managed to keep all our family including our youngest boy who is six constantly interested and wanting more, our three hour game drives passed in no time and as we relaxed between drives and took in the views from our pool side we constantly talked about what we had seen and the next drive. Riverdene was the height of luxury and the fabulous kids club was a hit with our younger boys. We have just left and are checking out when to go back, could not recommend highly enough.
The Clinton family from Ireland