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Shamwari Game Reserve Lodges
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 26, 2008

Just returned from a wonderful holiday in SA, which included Shamwari this was a fantastic experience from start to finish. My daughter and I stayed at Long Lee lodge with our friends and can reccomend this to anyone wanting a little luxury in their life. The food and rooms were all top class and the staff could not have been more attentive and polite. The game drives were wonderful (wrap up warm it gets very cold out there) we saw lots of animals and were blown away by the whole experience, our guide Geran was wonderful and very knowledgable.

  • Stayed: September 2008, traveled with friends
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Thank kathecc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 21, 2008

We absolutely loved Shamwari. We stayed in Bayethe in one of their top tents and it was amazing. Very large with fire, private plunge pool on the deck and open plan bathroom area.

Game drives were great. We had a ranger called Moshe who was excellent and had fantastic knowledge of all the animals and the game reserve. We saw Lions, Elephants, Giraffes, Zebras, White & Black Rhino, Buffalo the list goes on. As someone who is not an animal lover i recommend this highly and truly feel that it is an experience that everyone would enjoy. I can't even explain the feeling of being feet away from Lions!!

Just a quick note, we went in September and our morning game drive was at 645am and breakfast was after. If you go in South African winter June, July & August you have your breakfast before the game drive. I personally prefer the way round that we had it

Food is also wonderful. We are quite fussy eaters but they really cater for everyone and the standard is so high.

Spa treatments were very nice, using Decleor products.

We went for our honeymoon and would recommend this place to anyone

  • Stayed: September 2008, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Pete82
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 19, 2008

We arrived at Shamwari (Eagles Crag) not knowing exactly what to expect. As soon as we arrived we were welcomed as if we were family! Eagles Crag has 9 lodges which are mainly occupied by honeymooners and you can see why, this is definitely for the ‘once in a lifetime holiday’ experience. We were waited on hand and foot and basically treated like royalty which is something we have never experienced and rather enjoyed! According to the lodge manager a number of celebrities have stayed at Eagles Crag (including some royalty!) The news that Brad Pitt had occupied our room got my wife very excited!

Following a refreshing drink while we checked in on the sun trapped balcony we were escorted to our room, nestled in amongst the trees. What awaited us was the most stunningly beautiful room which combined ultra luxury with South African ruggedness. The rooms are dominated by huge four poster beds with the twin sinks, roll top bath and shower positioned around the edge. The rooms also have two huge glass sliding doors which opened onto the spacious yet totally private decking area complete with plunge pool and outdoor shower! All the usual little things that normally come with a five star hotel are included and everything is complementary, even the well stocked mini bar!

Once afternoon tea had been consumed, it was time for our first game drive. Frans our ranger was amazing and so knowledgeable on all wildlife, not just the large game. Despite the terrain, the game drive vehicles are surprisingly comfortable. There are six seats, all with seat belts and all with blankets for the cold mornings, and believe me they are cold. We underestimated how cold it gets. One morning we saw frost on the ground then by afternoon it was quite warm! The key is lots of layers as well as hats, gloves and thermal socks!

Shamwari is the largest game reserve in the area, and needs to be to sustain the large variety of wildlife. It’s hard to explain how amazing being on safari is, but you just have to give it a go to see! We saw all but one of the ‘Big 5’ – the leopards were nowhere to be seen! We had six game drives during our 3 night stay which was perfect, as we saw so much wildlife, but did not get bored at all. September is definitely a good time of the year to visit Shamwari; the cooler temperatures increase the wildlife activity. Frans the ranger said that November / December is also a good time to visit as the animals are giving birth to their young at that time of the year.

On return from the game drives there is usually a drink of hot chocolate to greet you before warming up in front of the wood burning fire! After freshening up and being escorted back to the main building by Elvis the security guard, it is time for wine tasting. Dinner follows which are quite social occasions enjoyed with the company of your game drive group and ranger. Eagles Crag has four chefs which rotate ensuring you have a different menu each night. The food is very good and includes some of the animals seen on the game drive!

Here is a rough itinerary of a day at Eagles Crag
0530 wake up call
0600 tea / coffee and snacks
0615 set off on morning game drive
0800(ish) stop for refreshments
0930 return to lodge for breakfast
Free time
1500 afternoon tea
1530 set off on afternoon game drive
1730(ish) stop for refreshments
1900 return to lodge
2000 wine tasting followed by dinner
2200 bed time!

Overall Shamwari is an amazing place for a once in a lifetime holiday which I cannot recommend enough!

  • Stayed: September 2008, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank matt78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 1, 2008

We stayed in Bayethe for 2 nights from 15th - 17th August, as part of our honeymoon. We had the most fantastic time at Shamwari and loved our tented lodge (despite my reservations when we were booking - not a creepy crawly in sight!) The rooms were spotless and all the little details like electric blankets switched on for you, minibar, fantastic bath and shower added to the amazing experience we had on safari.

We saw so many animals on our game drives and the added comfort of blankets and hot water bottles made the cold evenings and morning starts very cosy.

Food and wine were both superb, there simply wasn't enough time to make the most of it all. We stayed two nights which were both wonderful (and all that we had time for as we'd had ten days to drive between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth), however three nights would not be too long and we would have welcomed the opportunity to enjoy Bayethe for longer.

The staff were extremely professional, kind and helpful and added to the whole Shamwari experience.

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank KarenandRick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 29, 2008

I stayed at Shamwari for two nights in August and was blown away. The service was impeccable - welcome cocktails on arrival, beautiful food and (most importantly) friendly, knowledgeable Rangers.

We flew into Port Elizabeth late morning and picked up a hire car from the airport to drive to Shamwari. Within 90mins we were sitting on a deck overlooking the game reserve, enjoying a three course a la carte lunch! Staying two nights allowed us to do four safari drives (two in the morning and two in the afternoon) and still find time to sit by the private plunge pool and go for a massage - heaven!

The reserve is vast so you really feel like you're in the middle of nowhere and there is a good chance of seeing the big five (we saw black & white Rhino, elephants, lions, cheetah, warthogs and lots of varieties of deer!).

I also stayed at The St James and Bishops Court in Cape town, which were equally impressive (but without the animals!).

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled on business
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Thank explorechick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 17, 2008

We had the pleasure of staying at Bayethe at the Shamwari Game Reserve for 5 days from lMay 6 - 11, 2008. Our experience was fabulous and although we had high expectations, these were all exceeded.

Our tent was much larger than we had expected. It had beautiful hardwood floors, air conditioning, heat, an indoor bathtub, two sinks, lovely towels and toiletries, a minibar fridge that was kept stocked with "free" pop, beer, juice, and water, cookies, a comfie bed, hairdryer etc. We also had a TV but we didn't have much occasion to use it as we were busy most of the time with reserve activities or eating!!! The canvas walls had huge windows with adjustable canvas covers. We had a large wooden deck looking out into the forest and on the deck there was an outside shower with plenty of pressurized hot water. The small outside whirlpool tub was nice, but too cold for us to use - it is not kept warm during the winter months.

We spent a lot of time eating. As we were there during the winter months, our wake up call was at 6:15 for breakfast at 6:45 and a game drive thereafter at 7:30 am. We actually got up earlier each day, at 6 am so we could have a relaxing shower (my husband outside) or bath (me inside where it was warmer!!). There are no alarm clocks so bring your own if you'd like to get up on a different schedule than everyone else!!
Breakfast was a buffet, with a number of options including cheese, sliced meats, pastries, toast, etc. There was also a brunch a bit later in the morning where you could order whatever you wanted off a menu - there were lots of choices including things like french toast, eggs with bacon, etc. Lunch was ala carte with quite a wide variety of options - almost always there was an option of having soup, salad, and a variety of main courses including fish, meat, pasta, etc. There was an afternoon tea which we never tried because we were too full!! Dinner was at 7:30 pm and was quite good, too. We had two buffet nights where we got to try dishes like warthog, ostrich, antelope, etc etc although for the less adventurous there were many "normal" food options, as well. We had been under the misconception that we wouldn't be able to eat the fruits, salads, etc because of the danger of contracting an illness or parasite, but we had no problems whatsoever. The food was delicious and safe and what we would normally eat at a fancy restaurant. We had no need to use our peptobismol or cipro while we were there!!!

We were not able to do laundry ourselves but a laundry service was available. The cost wasn't that inexpensive ie $5.75 ish for a pair of jeans, but it was very convenient.

We had been told to bring both summer and winter clothes and that was good advice. Being hearty Canadians, we thought the reports of cold weather were probably exaggerated. However, we brought mitts, hats, etc and in fact, needed them. In the afternoon, temperatures were about 30 degrees Celsius. On the game drive in the afternoon, we started off with shorts, but by 4 pm we were adding legs to our zip off pants, and wearing sweatshirts. By 5 pm, we were adding jackets (goretex type rain coat with fleecy liner), and by 6 pm adding mitts and hats. The temperatures plummeted down to just above freezing as soon as the sun started to go down. There were blankets and hot water bottles available on the Land Cruiser which we did use gratefully, as well.

The game drives were fabulous. We drove everywhere with a very experienced ranger who provided us with good information about what we were seeing. We never once felt unsafe, even though at one point, elephants were about 3 m away from the truck!! We saw quite a variety of animals, including elephants, giraffes, zebras, warthogs, antelope, lions, water buffalo, hippos, rhinos, birds, monkeys, turtle, etc etc. It was a wonderful experience to see these animals in their natural habitat. We did stay on tracks/roads but they were quite rough which was OK for us, but if you have arthritis etc the rough ride would probably be difficult to tolerate. At the end of each drive, we were greeted by staff presenting us with hot toddies or hot chocolate, and warm towels. Very luxurious.

Communication with staff at the game reserve prior to arrival was good - emails and many questions were answered promptly. We had arranged with the reserve for a car pickup at the Port Elizabeth airport - the driver and car were there as promised and we had a nice drive with commentary for the 75 - 90 minutes or so it took to get to Shamwari.

Each and every staff member went out of his/her way to attend to our every need. We felt that the service was above our expectations. People were friendly always. When we left we felt as if we were leaving family behind!! We were paired up with newlyweds for our game drives and meals, and it was good fun getting to know them during our adventure away.

Most people seemed to spend 2 or 3 days at Shamwari. We stayed for 5 and felt that this was a good time frame - we got to see a lot of variety of things on our drives and never felt rushed.

All in all, this was a fabulous experience and we would highly recommend Bayethe Lodge at the Shamwari Game Reserve.

Rob and Debbie Timpson
Ontario, Canada

  • Stayed: May 2008, traveled with family
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4  Thank Debbie T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 17, 2008

Absolutely unbelievable, cannot praise this enough, accommodation is in separate bungalows which are 5* +, and a short walk from main lodge, an armed guard has to walk you to your bed at night as this area is not fenced off from main reserve!! Food excellent, wines excellent, staff excellent, game drives excellent, rangers excellent.
Not a place to go if you want to relax completely--- early morning game drive, brunch, couple of hours to relax, then another drive , dinner and bed ready for next morning drive.
Very expensive but all inclusive and great for a couple of nights.
HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

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1  Thank nostre
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: $769 - $1,534 (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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