Shamwari Private Game Reserve

Shamwari provides both luxury lodges and spectacular wildlife sightings. It is the finest private reserve to enjoy a luxury safari in the southern part of South Africa and a favorite with families wanting to book a malaria-free Big Five Safari. Port Elizabeth Airport provides easy access, with a drive of just over an hour to Shamwari.

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Drought, agriculture and hunting laid the foundations for the establishment of the Shamwari Private Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. Once regarded as the most fertile and prolific wildlife area in the country, the area sadly lost its rich diversity to farming and hunting.

Pioneering hunters such as Cornwallis Harris and Sparrman recorded the Big Five in the area. Scientific evidence suggests that the Eastern Cape supported vast herds of buffalo, wildebeest, elephant, zebra, and many other species. In 1931 the Cape lion became extinct. Hunting threatened the local survival of other species. Since then, conservation efforts at Addo and Shamwari have returned some natural balance to the region. In 1992, Shamwari opened its gates to visitors. Today, the reserve consists of 25000 hectares, 5 000 head of game, and seven lodges.

250 km²
Eastern Cape
Interesting fact
It is home to Five of South Africa's Seven Biomes
Famous for
Animal Planet series 'Shamwari: A Wild Life'

Tours and Safaris that visit Shamawari

9 Days From: ZAR 69,270 pp Luxury Code: S13

This Safari combines wildlife viewing in three of South Africa's finest private game reserves. Sabi Sand, Phinda and Shamwari Reserves.

7 Days From: ZAR 69,270 pp Luxury Code: T04

Book a package that combines a private tour of the Garden Route with a malaria-free safari at Shamwari. Two of the top destinations in the Cape.

Safari Lodges

Shamwari is home to seven distinctly different lodges. Each offers a unique safari adventure in this Big Five reserve.

Eagles Crag

Eagles Crag offers luxury and sweeping views of the surrounding rock faces where eagles can often be spotted soaring. The lodge offers nine suites and magnificent central areas.


Twelve luxury tended suites provide accommodation to visitors to Bayethe. The lodge offers double-volume central areas in an area of pristine beauty.

Explorer Camp

Explorer Camps is a rustic tented bush. The camp is open seasonally in the South African summer and is a base for walking safaris conducted on the Shamwari reserve.


Riverdine lodge offers family accommodation and is the ideal venue for a luxury family safari without malaria risk. The unique Kids on Safari program at the lodge informs youngsters about conservation.

Long Lee Manor

Long Lee Manor offers luxurious Edwardian-style accommodation offers views of the Bushmans River Valley. There are two Manor Suites, Four Garden Rooms, and Eleven Plains Rooms. A two-bedroomed family suite is also available.


Sindile is a new luxury-tented camp in a secluded location deep in the bush. The nine tents, built on wooden platforms, offer a safari reminiscent of the great east African safaris yesteryear.

Reasons to Visit Shamwari


Child-Friendly Safari

Shamwari is in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, a malaria-free region. It is ideal if you are planning a safari and would like to enjoy a hassle-free all-encompassing experience with the kids. Shamwari is for you. The reserver caters extensively to children with, among others, the Kids on Safari program.


A Safe Haven

At Shamwari, the Big Cat Sanctuary takes care of various animals rescued from unnatural and often horrific conditions, including circuses and nightclubs. Unfortunately, their previous conditions mean they will never be able to return to the wild again, but at least here, they can live as close to nature as possible.


Relaxing Retreat

There is a multitude of spa facilities available at Shamwari. If you want to take a break or treat yourself to a pampering session, make a reservation at one of the facilities. Some lodges even offer treatments from the comfort of your room, ranging from massages to pedicures.

Experiences to Savor

Guests at Shamwari will delight in the various lodge's exceptional service levels and incredible wildlife interactions.

Great Service

All staff here, from housekeeping to game rangers, go above and beyond to ensure each guest experiences the safari of a lifetime. Whether traveling with friends, family, children, or even for business, you can be sure to be very well catered for at all times.


You will leave with a renewed sense of hope. Their conservation and rehabilitation endeavors aim to conserve a vanishing way of life that is both inspiring and educational.

Easy Access

One of the best things about the reserve is its location. It is a mere 75km from Port Elizabeth, just off one of South Africa'sAfrica's national and best-kept roads. It is so easy to reach and offers one of the best African safari experiences.


Is the reserve child-friendly?
Shamwari is ideal for family safaris and caters specially for children.
Are there any spa facilities in the reserve?
Yes, currently there are four lodges that offer wellness retreats.
What kind of conservation efforts are active in the reserve?
The Born Free Big Cat Sanctuary, Ian Player Rhino Awareness Center and the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center make Shamwari a leader in conservation.
Are there any swimming facilities on the reserve?
Yes, swimming pools can be found at some of the lodges on the reserve.
Are night drives available?
Your late afternoon game drives will typically lead into the early evening, which is also ideal for stargazing.
Is there a souvenir shop?
The lodges on the reserve all have curio shops on site.
What is the closest city?
The nearest city is Port Elizabeth, which is roughly 75km away.

Useful Travel Info

Getting There

By Air

Shamwari is in the Eastern Cape, not far from Port Elizabeth, often referred to as PE, the Windy City, or the Friendly City by locals. Guests traveling to the reserve will be welcomed at OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, or Cape Town International and assisted in transferring their flight to Port Elizabeth Airport.

By Road

Upon arrival at Port Elizabeth Airport, guests will be transported to the park in a private, air-conditioned vehicle by a professional guide. The reserve is approximately 75km from Port Elizabeth, and the short drive on one of South Africa's national roads is sure to be comfortable. The trip passes the Addo Elephant National Park, an ideal combination for a safari in the Eastern Cape.

Weather & Best Time To Visit

The region's semi-arid climate means that Shamwari has good game-viewing opportunities throughout the year. Still, it is best during the dry winter months, from the middle of April to September. However, it gets freezing in the winter evenings, and morning game drives can be very chilly - remember to pack accordingly.

When the rainy season starts at the beginning of spring, the region transforms into a lush green landscape, with flowers blossoming everywhere. Newborn antelopes take their first steps, and birding is terrific during this time as migratory birds are present. It is, however, peak visiting season, and the reserve is thus at its busiest.


In 1990, Adrian Gardiner realized his dream when he bought a 1200-hectare farm. He subsequently bought parcels of land surrounding his property; eventually, his farm consisted of 7 000 hectares. Adrian named his land "Shamwari" and returned it to its former glory in historical terms with the wildlife and vegetation that once flourished in the area. In 1992, the Shamwari Game Reserve was born.

It had a staff of only 7, but they all shared the dream of making conservation profitable. The first guests stayed in Long Lee Manor, built around 1916. Two cottages from 1820, Highfield and Carn Ingly, were also restored and opened to guests. Today, the reserve consists of 25 000 hectares with seven lodges.


Scientific reclamation and restocking programs have returned the area to a natural state. The plains, hills, and valleys are teeming with wildlife that historically occurred in this area. Wildebeest, both black and blue, may be observed in large herds, along with their striped sentry, the zebra. Sable, eland, kudu, and a variety of smaller antelope also thrive in the area.

Conservationists cautiously reintroduced big cats, and today Shamwari has healthy lion, leopard, and cheetah populations. Both white and black rhinos make their home in the reserve, along with the Cape buffalo and African elephant.

Shamwari boasts around 400 bird species, including hornbills, Knysna turaco, brown scrub robin, white-starred robin, black-bellied starlings, and many other species too numerous to mention. Raptors of all descriptions ride the thermals alongside the cliffs, and waterbirds make their home in the reserve's wetlands.

Vegetation & Terrain

Before its establishment as a game reserve, the area was used for farming and hunting, severely damaging the soil compounds and the area's natural ecology. Today, it comprises five South African biomes and fourteen vegetation types. The different ecological regions have also adapted well to each other, and transitional zones are not as barren as is the case on many occasions where ecological reintroduction and reestablishment occur.

The biomes in the park include grasslands, savanna, and scrub, which sustain healthy grazers populations and the predators that pursue them. The white rhino also prefers these areas. Subtropical thicket provides for the elephant and black rhino. The reserve is renowned as an eco-pioneer, and the human footprint on the terrain is minimal.


Shamwari offers visitors one of the best activity packages available at any game reserve in South Africa. Each group of six visitors is assigned a personal game ranger, who, along with the lodge manager, designs a daily program for their guests. The objective is to create an experience of learning and enjoyment unequaled anywhere else.

Game viewing is from a modern, open-air 4x4 vehicle designed for comfort and viewing potential. The game ranger's job is to provide visitors with valuable and insightful information about the interactions between climate, vegetation, water, and animals.

Guided walks allow visitors to gain a realistic perspective of the African bush. Specially trained qualified rangers lead these walks; for many people, it is the highlight of a safari in Africa.

The Kids on Safari program is unique to Shamwari and provides children with an age-appropriate experience. The reserve offers childminders to allow parents some spare time of their own. The focus is on education and fun.

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