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“Wonderful end to honeymoon”

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Shamwari Game Reserve Lodges
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed November 21, 2012

Fabulous place, wonderful staff, great safari. Ben our ranger was superb. I cant complement him enough. His knowledge of the animals and birds was endless and ensured we saw loads of exciting things such as a herd of twenty elephants, lots of rhinos, and lions and their cubs feasting on a kill. It's hard to know what to wear on safari before you go I had heard hats and gloves for morning. We wore shorts to the afternoon safari and jeans and jackets in the morning. Tent was fabulous, as we were a honeymoon couple they had a bottle of champagne on ice in our tent when we returned from our first game drive and the bath was filled with rose petals floating on top. Dinner was a tasting experience the first night and a barbeque the second. My only negative was I thought the food could have been a little tastier. Overall wonderful experience we were sad to leave.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Caroline C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 21, 2012

Our second stay here, accommodation superb, game drives excellent,rangers very good and knowledge excellent.
This stay we did not enjoy the food as much, the meat quality was poor,unable to eat the steak, although other people on the table did. Also we were not offered the wines listed with dinner.
That is why I rated it as only very good.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Beneyboy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Karen P, Manager at Shamwari Game Reserve Lodges, responded to this reviewResponded November 27, 2012

Dear Janet Wellstead

Thank you for the recent comments you posted on Trip Advisor regarding your stay at Long Lee Manor, Shamwari Game Reserve.
I am very happy to hear that you had such a memorable game experience at Shamwari Game Reserve, however I am sorry to hear that your dining experience fell short of your expectations.
At Shamwari Game Reserve we regularly look at the quality of the produce that comes into our kitchens and work very closely with our suppliers to achieve the highest standard possible.
I hope you see you at Shamwari Game Reserve again for a third visit and the Shamwari Team will try and make it up to you.

Kind regards

Mat Matysik
Senior Shamwari Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 20, 2012

I only wish that I could write a more positive review about my experience at Shamwari. My partner and I had saved up and really splurged for what we thought would be the experience of a lifetime. Unfortunately we left feeling let down.
We chose to stay at Bayethe because we wanted something a little bit different from a hotel room style of accommodation.
We arrived from Jeffrey's Bay, along the N2, following the instructions we were provided with. Unfortunately about 20 minutes from the turn off the road was 'closed' so we managed to find an alternative route which took over an hour longer and was down unsurfaced roads for most of this. I mentioned to the lady who greeted us and she said 'oh- no one contacted you? They should have- you can just drive past the stop sign as the road has caved in after the turn off for Shamwari' and acted slightly indifferent. That set us off on a bad note - not only did the lady not really seem that bothered, but clearly no one on the management side has bothered to contact their guests to let them know about this, as no one we met when we were there was told about it either - how much effort does it take to send a quick email?
We were shown to our room which was absolutely beautiful - extremely clean, spacious and with a private deck and plunge pool. However, there were some little niggles - some of the light bulbs had blown, and hadn't been replaced, and the lady told us that our TV wasn't working, not that we would have used it, but absolutely no effort was made for anyone to come and fix it. Additionally the welcome folder was so tatty, all of the pages inside looked old and worn and most of the information in it was incorrect e.g. wrong timings for lunch/game drives etc. which was confusing when we compared it to the printed information we were given. Also - there was information about our car being complimentary cleaned - a lovely touch - but it never happened. It's the principle more than the act. We would never expect our car to be cleaned but don't then write down this as an extra service you offer which you don't.
Our game drives were fantastic - our guide was very knowledgeable.
The food was the most disappointing part of our experience - the ingredients used are cheap and you can tell. We had some of the best meals of our lives in South Africa and of our 2 week trip, the food we ate at Bayethe was the worst. There is just no excuse. The lunchtime burger tasted like it was from a burger van, the sorbet had big crystals of ice in it. The dinners were the worst - 'fine dining' consisted of a piece of meat so tough that I couldn't eat it, and a dry, overcooked brownie (not exactly the most difficult thing in the world to cook well!)
The BBQ night was terrible - 'chicken' consisted of, among other things, a really bony piece of skin with barely any meat on it, the accompaniments were so so - if I had been served this food at home I would have been happy, but at an establishment that reports itself as 5* - absolutely not, and it is unacceptable. I feel like we have been ripped off, which is such a shame as we were so excited about our stay there. Unfortunately I would not recommend a stay at Bayethe for the food alone, but would maybe try one of the other lodges – such a shame.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Jen082
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Karen P, Manager at Shamwari Game Reserve Lodges, responded to this reviewResponded November 27, 2012

Dear Jen082,

I would like to thank you for recent response on TripAdvisor. I have looked into all your comments raised about your recent trip to Shamwari.
You arrival to Bayethe was not one that we wish our valued clients experience and we wish to apologise for error in communication in respect to directions that did not reach you in time for your arrival, and for the way in which your concerns were addressed. We are in communication the National Roads Agency and are negotiating with them in order to get revised signage, and will step up our efforts in trying to contact our valued clients to inform them of the correct travel detail. We will also post updated information on our web site and our other social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter.

The maintenance and guest folder issues that you mentioned have now all been resolved but I can assure you that every effort was made to have these items fully functioning again, we strive to get this done whilst our clients are experiencing the Big 5 game drives.

Our chefs receive constant training and on the whole we have a very good customer rating on the feedback we receive from the guest questionnaires that are left. I have personally looked into your comments and have addressed these with our reserve head chef and the kitchen brigade at the lodge and on the reserve. We have implemented further measures in order to avoid the same errors occurring again.
We are glad that you enjoyed the game drive experience and hope that these memories stay with you for a long time.

Kind regards,
Gunther Strauss
General Manager

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Reviewed November 19, 2012

With children ranging from 6 to 14 Riverdene was fantastic. First - a very easy transfer from Port Elizabeth. The lodge is small & relaxed. The children free to roam to & from the games/play room. Also a large garden with climbing frame etc which was great for them to run around, kick a rugby ball in after sitting in the jeep. Each child (under 12) received a ruck-sack (v useful for all the layers), cap & most importantly an activity book - challenge to collect various plants, identify tracks, learn Khosa words & all importantly collect elephant & rhino dung! On our first evening drive we saw a family of cats eating a giraffe & that was it - the kids were hooked. There was no complaint at getting up at 5.30 the next morning! Everyone loved our stay. The rangers approachable, knowledgeable & fun. Saw the big 5 & lots more (even managed my desire to see a Caracal). Elder males of the family got quite obsessed ticking off the species from the Shamwari wildlife list. Lots of lovely touches - a tale from the bush to read every night, a bank of international plug adaptors in the drawer.
Two negatives - the hot water system is linked throughout the bathrooms so having a consistently hot shower was challenging.
Born free centre - as an adult was v depressing to see.
STRONG ADVICE - sitting in a jeep at 6 am is freezing! Take thermals, fleeces, hats & gloves. The lodge does a roaring trade in fleeces for those who don't believe me!

Room Tip: All the rooms are the same & have a terrace giving onto the lawn.
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank NDLindsay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 10, 2012

Together with my wife had "The Safari" during our three days in Long Lee at the beginning of November. It is hard to decide what was the best moment:
- seeing lion cubs walking one meter near our car
- having all Big Five in the first two safari's (and again in the next 3) in the first day
- the great fun with our group all the time
- when the elefant decided to attack our jeep and Mino - The Indian ranger stopped it just with voice
- the super-lunch in the bushes, with all Shamwari at our feet
- looking at the male lions eating a zebra near us - so sad, but this how nature goes on
- walking in the bush for the hypo
- running after the leopard and meeting it, even if were warned that is almost impossible to see it
- listening Miro's jokes and explanations
- looking eye 2 eye from 5 meters with cheetah brothers (on feet, not on the car)
... sorry, can't stop this list.

Because I fully agree with Kevin below, I just add some tips:
1. If you can, ask for Miro, the indian Ranger - he is the best story teller, super social and fun but also shows what he is promising and create extraordinar moments. Also, he is able to compare with Kruger park and other places.
2. If you are a little sensible in health - dress a lot, if posible in multi layers, and take special care with head, ears, nose. It is always windy and if the jeep rushes some miles for the lion just announced on the radio - can be real challenge. My wife unhappily got otitus during safari, but hard to complain - they gave us poncho, blanket for each
3. Take care of the car you got. During our stay we learned some cars remained stucked and seems that were all Range Rovers not Land Cruisers (as our car)
4. Ask for Lunch out from the first moment and also for walk with some animals

Go or it !

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Mihai P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 9, 2012

My wife and I stayed at Long Lee Manor for 3 days at the start of November 2012.It was our first time on Safari and it won't be the last as we intend to return to Shamwari again.The staff were extremely attentive and staying at Long Lee Manor made us feel special.The animal experience here is hard to put into words - it's unbelievably good.We were fortunate to get the "Indian Ranger", Mino, who is very experienced, committed to giving you the best possible experience, and always having fun.We were in touching distance of elephants, and leaping distance of leopards, lions and cheetahs!At one point we walked up to 2 Cheetah brothers sunning themselves after an earlier kill.We were close enough to hear them panting, and yet felt safe and in sympathy with them in their environment -an experience I will never forget.All the rangers are friendly and knowledgeable and the Shamwari experience ensures a feeling of camaraderie amongst your group.All in all I can't speak highly enough of the whole experience - unbeatable, and highly recommended.KBT

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled on business
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2  Thank Kevin T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 8, 2012

This was the highlight of our 2 week, 4 stop, South Africa stint. Our tour ranger, Jo, was the best and so knowledgable and knew the importance of up close encounters with these wild animals. We saw everything. White Rhino, Elephants, Lions, Hippos, Cheetah, Giraffes, Jackals, Cape Buffalo, and all the game you could feed a predator! Being amongst the animals in a true habitat, as opposed to the zoo, is the best way to experience nature from a safe all terrain vehicle. The chef was creative with local game so strap on your culinary adventure belt. Rooms were nice and the bird calls that wake you up in the morning are just heavenly.

Room Tip: They will help you choose a good room. Some lodges permit children and have sitters, some lodges hav...
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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Thank WorldViewElite
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Shamwari Game Reserve Lodges

Address: N2 between Port Elizabeth & Grahamstown, Shamwari Game Reserve 6000, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > Eastern Cape > Shamwari Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Specialty Lodging in Shamwari Game Reserve
Price Range: $742 - $1,331 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Shamwari Game Reserve Lodges 5*
Number of rooms: 56
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A mere 75 km from Port Elizabeth towards Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, South Africa. Shamwari is the crown jewel of private game reserves situated in the malaria free Eastern Cape, the birth place of Nelson Mandela. This privately owned 25 000 hectares of prime natural terrain has received numerous international awards. Shamwari is an exploration of nature with close encounters of free roaming wildlife and the coveted big five with a choice of unique lodges, an exclusive private villa and the adventurous Explorer Camp. Luxury accommodation is offered in 7 different game lodges on Shamwari Game Reserve, all of which are 5 Star graded. Choose a game lodge that perfectly compliments your ideal African experience. EAGLES CRAG LODGE - Exclusivity, privacy and serenity for the most discerning of travelersBAYETHE TENTED LODGE - The ultimate in luxury tented accommodationSARILI LODGE - A colonial and bush experience. Perfect for families or small partiesLONG LEE MANOR - Refined elegance from a bygone era. RIVERDENE FAMILY LODGE - Colonial Africa in an elegantly restored CHILD FRIENDLY frontier home. VILLA LOBENGULA - Villa Lobengula is a beautiful and tranquil space tucked away in the depths of the valley bushveld. Booked on an exclusive use basis only. EXPLORER CAMP - Camping & walking experience among the Big 5 on the magnificent Shamwari Game Reserve ON SAFARI - Game drives can last up to 3 hours each and are conducted twice a day in open vehicles / Guided walks / Star gazing RELAX - Various treatments can be enjoyed at our Relaxation Retreats which are situated at Eagles Crag, Lobengula Lodge, Bayethe Lodge and Long Lee Manor ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Shamwari Game Reserve Hotel Shamwari Game Reserve

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