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“Luxury at its best!”

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Shamwari Game Reserve Lodges
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed June 4, 2009

My husband and I stayed at Eagles Crag Lodge from 11 – 14th May, and it was the most unbelievable experience. Every aspect of the lodge from the rooms, to the service to the food is completely second to none and I would recommend this to anyone who wants a little luxury.
Safari – We were lucky to be paired with Graham, one of the top rangers in the park. He can read animals like no one else, and managed to get us up close and personal with most of them (bar the Buffalo, but not for the want of trying!). He even sought out 2 live Cheetah kills on 2 separate journeys home! He also provided hot water bottles, blankets, ponchos, hot drinks and snacks on a morning and alcoholic beverages and food on an afternoon. Really everything you need is provided for you. He also only carried up to 6 people in his 4 x 4 at any one time so you were never cramped or fighting for viewing space.
Food – So much of it, and all Michelin star quality. You have breakfast, continental and then there is a hot menu to order from, snacks on the safari, back for 3 course lunch, afternoon tea, snacks on the safari then a 4 course meal or BBQ. The choice of food is also great, with a huge selection of game meats to try (as well as normal stuff for us fussy eaters). There is a selection of wines for you to taste each evening and your room mini bar (which is included in the price) has an ample selection of wines, beers and spirits, which is topped up daily without fail.
Rooms – Massive, with a 4 poster bed (we were in No 4, Black Eagle), double sink, indoor and outdoor shower, free standing bath, a private plunge pool on the balcony and all of the little extras that you would expect from such a place. No need to worry about toiletries etc, they are all provided. They even have a plug converter for the UK and mosquito repellent.
We booked our stay at Eagle’s Crag directly through a small SA company at eastcapetours.com. They also go under the name of fifth avenue 4 x 4 adventures and NMB tours. I was a bit dubious at first dealing with a non-UK company, but I shouldn’t have been. Colin Dilland (colin@nmbtours.com) and his wife were superb, and managed to book everything for us, including all of our stays and transfers in Cape Town for an unbelievable price. I doubt you will find anything as good in the UK, I tried, a lot, and failed.
My only regret is that I didn’t stay a day longer as I would have met John Travolta! Still it is a celebrity haunt so you never know who you will bump in to!

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank SFH022
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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906 - 912 of 1,089 reviews

Reviewed May 29, 2009

The tented Bayethe Lodge was a real winner! Beautiful setting and amazing rooms. The main attraction--the animals--we saw the Big 5 and also spent 1 hour with 2 leopards!! Ask for Ben as a ranger. They were very accomodating for my wife's diet needs, but the food was hit and miss (the only drawback).

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank DrJackPA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 20, 2009

We spent 2 nights in Lobengula and it was unbelievable! The rooms are heavenly and spacious with beautiful decor and thatched roofs and are absolutely spotless.They have a gorgeous welcoming smell whenever you return from a game drive. The bathroom is huge and each lodge has a terrace with sun-beds and there is a pool also. We have stayed at many 5 star hotels and this room was by far the best!The service was first class and we were greeted with a warm drink when returning from each game drive. There are only 6 or so lodges so it is a very intimate stay as you share breakfast, lunch and dinner with your ranger and the other guests which is lovely as you swap stories about each others' game drives.There is a feeling of such tranquility when you're walking around the lodges! All of the staff were excellent and the service throughout was unbelievable - you can order food whenever you wish and the standard is wonderful! Regarding the game drives, our Ranger Ben was fantastic. He managed to find the Big 5 for us which was a challenge as Leopards are difficult to locate but he knew one was around due to the sound the monkeys were making! He spotted one the other side of the river with his binoculors - unbelievable! He has eyes like a hawk and can spot the animals so easily. Ben was determined to meet our objectives to see the Big 5, despite there being no obvious guarantees and he would do everything and go off-road anywhere in order to achieve this! The Game drives are at sunrise and sunset and it is essential that you wrap up with layers including warm jumpers and footwear/socks when it is dark as it gets very cold- despite high temperatures during the day. All in all, this was easily the best part of our trip to South Africa and we didn't want to leave such luxury! I would honestly pay to go to South Africa just for the 2 night stay at Lobengula !

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled with family
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Thank TMiah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 6, 2009

We were orignally booked into Bushman's River Lodge but were upgraded to Eagles Crag which was a stunning place. The rooms were amazing as was the rest of the lodge. Each room had it's own private deck and pool which was great for relaxing in between game drives. Stayed 2 nights and had 4 drives. Graham our ranger was brilliant and got us our big 5 within our first 2 drives. His knowledge was outstanding and added to that was a lovely guy. All the staff were great, very friendly and helpful and kept us well fed and watered. The BBQ was out of this world.

Brilliant place and will definately be back there in the future.

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank dtaberdeen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 4, 2009

We stayed in a tatched bayethe tent with all mod cons, plunge pool etc. Rustive luxury.

The reserve is huge with 5 or 6 lodges/hotels dotted around some 7 miles apart.........

We had three game drives, but missed the last one on the morning of our departure as we decided to have a lie in before our long trip home.

Six people share a Land Cruiser with the ranger driving fully armed. What we weren't told or had any knowledge of, is that we were expected to have supper/breakfast with our game buddies with the ranger at the head of the table - like school dinners. We were lucky we shared our two night stay with four chums who were lovely - what exactly happens if you end up with people you don't like or they don't lke you I really don't know, could be very awkward and embarassing.

The main lodge is huge and where meals are taken big squishy sofas to sit and read, there is an outside dining area. Food good but not amazing but given Shamwari's isolation, very well done - good wines. As a vegetarian there was just enough for me to eat.

The game drives were terrific - the first one started at 5.30 am ish, very exciting - everything is very regimented and there is always a snack, tea/coffee in the main lodge.

Don't drink too much coffee because each drive lasts a minimum of 3 hours and whilst we did stop a couple of times at night for a sundowner, the morning drive we didn't.

Saw amazing animals, white rhino, lots of elephants, giraffe, a baby hippo, cheetah - great. Be warned it is very very cold early morning and blowing a gale - the land cruiser is open sided and the wind just cuts through - I bought a beanie in the shop and one evening went out with 3 t shirts, a polo neck jumper, jacket and was covered in rugs, still freezing - came home with a horrible cold, so take warm clothes is my recommendation.

The weather wasn't great, a mixture of sun, wind, a little rain and light fog - we only stayed two nights and it probably would have been nice to spend another day - all inclusive and whilst not cheap I think an abolute bargain.

My husband and I both felt very privileged to have had such an experience - would we return, yes most definitely but we would go for the Eagles Craig next time as each of the lodges is totally different.

By the way, the spa treatments were wonderful according to my husband, he had three and said they were the best he had had outside of the Maldives.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank shoegirlat44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 30, 2009

Stayed in Shamwari for 3 nights from 8th through 10th March at Eagles Cragg. Rooms are superb as is everything about the lodge, mainly the people really who make the stay unforgettable. The setting, the food, the game drives all absolutely fantastic. Our ranger Frans was David Attenborough times 10, his knowledge of not just the wildlife but flora, fauna , stars, breeding habits just blew me away , and made me realise how much I didn't know.

In terms of dress - its pretty casual , 2 game drives a day plus eating in between, doesn't leave a great deal of time for R&R but then its not why you're there - hopefully.

The game drives are a different adventure each time brought to life by the animals you encounter, but also by your ranger.

Morning drives till about 8.00 and evening drives from 6pm ish can be chilly so bring a fleece , your on a covered jeep , but nonetheless it is chilly. Layers are what you need.

After each drive, clean up and then brunch or in the evening dinner with great SA wine and local produce.

This is an unforgettable experience that should be savoured and if you do one thing in your life then do this. 2 nights minimum. You'll have plenty of time to relax afterwards, as this is one big 'luxurious' adventure.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank SK1000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 30, 2009

We have just returned from a 2 night stay at Eagles Crag. This stay will perhaps be the most memorable experience I will ever have. Everything is first class. Our room was just as we expected, although the plunge pool did not look inviting. We were fortunate to be the only people staying there for our first 24 hours so had two solo game drives with Milton our ranger. What a man. If Milton can't find what you are looking for then no-one can !!! We were looking for the elusive leopard and after two drives without sight of one we were giving up hope. However, on our third drive, the leopard was found in all his glory. We sat and watched at various times two prides of lions, were surrounded by elephants and were amazed at the giraffes and zebras. All the animals were magnificent. We went to the Born Free Foundation which was slightly disappointing as because of the heat the leopard and lion were hiding, in fact all we saw were cages so it was a bit of a waste of time. The food is excellent. Sundowners a great idea. The knowlege of our ranger Milton was incredible, whether it was animals, birds or flowers he made the drives and meal times very interesting and enjoyable.

All the facilities are first class but perhaps the ladies restrooms toilet seats need replacing with the price you are paying to stay here !!!

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank golfgti
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: $637 - $1,343 (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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