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“A beautiful place to stay”

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Shamwari Bayethe Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 19, 2014

Unfortunately, because of delayed flights, we arrived very late at our superb luxury tent, and also missed a game drive. The tents are fantastic and very well appointed with everything you would expect in a 5star hotel. We arrived in the dark and I have never seen such brilliant stars in the sky. Even showering in the outside shower at 5am before a game drive, one could see the milky way. One could not fault the organisation of the game drives or our guide, Ben. He had amazing knowledge and took us so close to all the animals, driving off piste over rough terrain. We saw all big 5, even a week old baby elephant being gently pushed along by its mother. Lionesses with young ones and the big male lion who put on his best show for us. Cheetah brothers were lying together on one drive and eating a 'kill' on the next. We saw every variety of antelope.
Food, cooked by Marshall was second to none. Whatever you wanted was prepared for you. Sundowner snacks were very appetising, including the small shortbread biscuits which melted in your mouth. I now have a new recipe but I'm sure they wan't taste as good as on a game drive! Breakfasts overlooked the waterhole where elephants came to drink and at night strange night noises and shadowy creatures wandered across while we sat silently listening. Night time dinners were either inside or out with a braai one night where we could choose from soup, then steak or kudo, garnished with a variety of salads. We thoroughly enjoyed our 3 night stay at Bayethe and one day would love to revisit. Thank you to all the staff.

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank snowdrop67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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174 - 180 of 226 reviews

Reviewed March 1, 2014 via mobile

Absolutely fantastic stay at Shamwari. Only 3 nights but wished we'd stayed for 5! Jacques our ranger was great and ensured we got to see what we wanted to see. His patience and persistence paid off and we had some unforgettable moments in the company of the Big 5!

The weather wasn't great but we didn't care. We were well looked after and even looked forward to the 5am wake up calls and what lay ahead on that morning's drive.

The food was okay but let's be honest you don't come here for the food!

Fantastic stay and we can't wait to go back!

Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
1  Thank Loobylou119
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 25, 2014

Three months ago I spent a whole week at Shamwari – my fourth visit in as many years. That in itself speaks volumes about my feelings for this magical place.
I first heard about Shamwari via the Born Free Foundation, and was inspired to visit after adopting one of their rescued lionesses, Shada. They have two Rescue Centres on the reserve, and I longed to see Shada in person. Little did I imagine I would fall in love not only with my cat, but also with Shamwari as a whole. With its green rolling hills, mist-draped valleys, and endless vistas, the landscape has a personality all of its own. And then, of course, there are the wild creatures that live in its midst.
As a solo traveller, it’s very important to make good connections – with the wildlife, the landscape, the people. The staff at my lodge couldn’t be lovelier – so friendly, warm-hearted, always smiling.
I stay at Bayethe Lodge every year. A heady combination of rustic beauty and luxury. The tents are huge, very private, and beautifully decorated in natural colours, with wooden floors, gorgeous bathroom, outdoor shower, and plunge pool on the deck for when it gets too darn hot! After a tiring day of early rises and two game drives, they provide a blissful haven.
The main lodge is stunning, where you can eat either inside or outside, weather dependent. Every other night there is a braii, where you can choose whatever meat you wish to be cooked for you, and top up your plate with all sorts of tasty salads and vegetables. The wine is so delicious it just has to be drunk!
Each game drive is unique - you never know what you’re going to see from one minute to the next. Being someone who’s always needed a lot of sleep, initially I was apprehensive about the very early wake-up call! I needn’t have worried. The pull for the wild is even stronger than the pull for sleep!
Headman, who I’ve been fortunate to have as my guide every year, is a legend. He really knows his stuff. More than that, he FEELS it. He talks with such passion, and his knowledge is boundless. He seems to have a ‘sixth sense’ – to know exactly where the animals will be at any given moment. That said, he always makes sure to tell us before we start on each drive, “Let’s see what the bush will provide today.” No animal will just appear to order. And those who bring their ‘tick list’ with them, only intent on seeing the Big Five, should think again. Each creature, however great or small, is worth seeing, and as fascinating as the other. It’s all about taking the time to stop, listen, and be quiet. Only then will you be able to truly feel the magic. I would highly recommend Headman to any future guests. Coupled with his immense passion for wildlife, he has a great sense of humour. We laughed heartily and often.
I must also make brief mention of Mino, “The Only Indian Game Ranger!” He and Headman have a great working relationship, and a highlight of my last trip was when they took us on foot to see two cheetah brothers lying in the sun. What a treat.
So next time you’re thinking of booking a Safari, you couldn’t make a better choice than Shamwari. It’s only an hour’s flight from Cape Town, and an easy transfer – just over an hour by car. Try to visit the Born Free Rescue Centres while you’re there. That too is a very special experience. I’ve witnessed many a guest thrilled and moved by the rescued cats’ stories.
I hope I’ve said enough to tempt your travelling taste buds. I’m already booked to visit again this year. I can’t get enough of the place! But don't take it from me - go and see for yourself!

Stayed one week, 12th-19th November 2013

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled solo
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3  Thank LeeuMeisie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 18, 2014

This is a bit of late review as we stayed here in November 2013. I have nothing but praise for this place. Our 'tented lodge' was beautiful, lovely luxury. The bathtub in the middle of the bathroom was lovely, the outdoor shower refreshing. Loved the heated blankets on the bed too!
The food was excellent. The safari trips were great. Our guide Richard was so knowledgeable. Loved the morning coffee stops and the evening sundowners. Had some great game drives and Richard would not rush back if we thought there was going to be some action. Great photos, really able to get soooo close to the wildlife.
It was a great way to end a lovely holiday to South Africa.

Tip - make sure you take lots of layers of clothes. Even though it was getting into the summer months there and the days were warm it got very cold and windy on the jeeps early morning and later in the evening. The blankets provided were good, but still needed the jackets etc.

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank holpals
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 12, 2014

We recently stayed at Shamwari Bayethe Lodge on our first ever safari and absolutely loved it. We went there on a recommendation from The Luxury Safari Company as a must do after our Cape Town and Garden Route tour and wanted to mention Bayethe especially since I am 5 months pregnant and all the staff and our guide were very accommodating, always driving carefully on game drives. The lodge itself is beautiful (we didn't realise that's what a luxury safari was all about!!) and we saw some fantastic wildlife including all the big cats.

Seeing the Born Free Foundation headquarters was also a big draw for us and it proved to be as interesting as we originally thought. We went twice during our four night stay and found their work truly inspirational. We're hooked on safaris now and can't wait to go back, although probably won't be for a few years now!

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank Jessica_Ing
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 10, 2014

We stayed here for the final three nights of our honeymoon. It was truly spectacular. Our 'tented lodge' had every luxury. A beautiful bath tub. A plunge pool. Outdoor shower. Air conditioning. Hair Dryer.I could definitely get used to the 'glamping' lifestyle. On arrival, we were shortly met with our Game Ranger, Mino, otherwise known as 'Indian Ranger'. He introduced us to what would happen during our stay. Made us feel confident, safe and comfertable as we boarded his truck for our first game drive. On our first day we saw a leopard camoflaged while waiting to eat Warthogs (who luckily escaped); white and black rhinos; elephants; cheetahs; zebras and giraffes. How were we going to top that. Then the next day, Mino kindly arranged for us to have a full day out. Instead of getting up at 5am. We enjoyed a full day out on the reserve. A herd of elephants surrounded the truck. So close I didn't know where to look. We got so close to the cheetah's that my husband was lying down in front of them for that perfect eye level shot. Of course we were perfectly safe with Mino by our side. We enjoyed sun downer drinks - where I tried my first amarula. We enjoyed early morning hot chocolates while watching a hippo. We saw cubs. We saw lions. We dined with Mino and our fellow safari friends. It was the most incredible experience.

Room Tip: On our first night we left our lights on. Big mistake. We returned to a 'tent' full of flyin...
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  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank BertieSJG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 9, 2014

Thanks to Indian Ranger Mino our 2 night visit to Shamwari was an unique experience. He is fun, knowledgeable and has very good people skills, anticipating his visitors' needs. The Bayethe Lodge is luxurious without being pretentious. Game drives are amazing with lots of animal sightings..we were really " up close and personal" with the big five, specially the elephants and lions. What a joy to be out in the wide open African landscape below the huge expanse of skies.
We highly recommend this experience for all ages.
A tip for those with back problems : ask to sit upfront with the Ranger. It is less bumpy..We will return on our next visit to South Africa.
Thank you

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled on business
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Thank Keepongoing
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Shamwari Bayethe Lodge

Address: Between Grahamstown & Port Elizabeth | Off the N2, Port Elizabeth 6130, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Eastern Cape > Port Elizabeth
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 83 Specialty Lodging in Port Elizabeth
Price Range: $661 - $1,716 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Shamwari Bayethe Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Shamwari Game Reserve - The Pride of the Eastern Cape!Bayethe Lodge offers the ultimate in Luxury Tented Accommodation.Bayethe is a splendid stone walled & thatch roofed Lodge with a large Deck Area overlooking a Waterhole. There is a double volume Lounge & Dining Area which spills out onto the Deck which is adjacent to the outside Boma for traditional fireside Dining under the stars. The 9 Luxury Tents are camouflaged under trees allowing for ample privacy & unsurpassed comforts. Each Tent is Air-Conditioned & heated & has an En-Suite Bathroom, Shower, private Plunge Pool & viewing Deck.The 3 Premier Tents at Bayethe Hills are the ultimate in tented luxury. These Tents offer the additional luxuries of a Fireplace, Satellite TV, Plunge Pool & Hammocks suspended out of the wooden Decks. Shamwari, meaning “my friend” in Shona, is the pinnacle of private game reserves and home to the coveted Big 5. Stretching 25,000 hectares over a malaria free landscape, it offers an award-winning nature experience and is one of the largest private conservation initiatives in Southern Africa. ... more   less 
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