Shamwari Game Reserve
Eastern Cape, South Africa
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SHAMWARI GAME RESERVE RATES:
Bayethe Lodge Rates
Bushmans River Lodge Rates
Eagles Crag Lodge Rates
Lobengula Lodge Rates
Long Lee Manor Rates
Riverdene Lodge Rates
Sarili Lodge Rates
THE EASTERN CAPE
Shamwari Game Reserve is a 20,000-hectare
(49,000-acre), malaria free, private game reserve situated in
the Eastern Cape of
South Africa. Shamwari has received numerous international awards,
including the World's Leading Conservation Company and Game Reserve
consecutive years. It is situated in verdant bush along the Bushmans
River, halfway between Port Elizabeth (a 45 minute drive outside
the city) and Grahamstown, a pleasant drive from Cape Town, forming
natural extension to the famous Garden Route.
Shamwari is dedicated to conserving
a vanishing way of life and is the realization of one man's dream,
and the success of many people's passion. Steeped in Settler history,
and dating back to the time when a multitude of game roamed wild
and free, the reserve boasts five eco-systems, thus
enabling the support of many forms of plant, animal and bird life.
Shamwari is a true African adventure reserve combining conservation
with responsible tourism.
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Shamwari Game Reserve offers six different lodges, all of which are
Long Lee Manor
Long Lee Manor was built in 1910 by the descendants of William Foulds,
one of the early settlers from York in England. Lovingly restored
and expanded, this gracious Edwardian mansion has the feel of a
country manor, located in the African bush where you will experience
the style of living of a past era, with uncompromising service.
Long Lee Manor is positioned as
the flagship of Shamwari and it overlooks the sweeping plains
leading down to the Bushman's River Valley. The Sidbury Wing is
hidden from the manor
The french doors open onto
the rolling river meadows. Each spring (October) the palm trees
in Palm Court are alive with weaver birds nesting.
Long Lee Manor accommodates 38 guests in elegant en-suite bedrooms,
all with air-conditioning and underfloor heating.
Sumptuously prepared meals are enjoyed in the main dining room
or around the open blazing fire at the Barn. An extensive range
of African curios and branded clothing is sold at the curio shop
at Long Lee Manor. Between game drives guests can laze around one
of the two pools, play an invigorating game of tennis on the floodlit
court or relax in the beautifully appointed garden lounge.
Lobengula Lodge is a truly traditional African
experience. Tucked deep in the valley bushveld, this thatched,
ethnically decorated lodge offers guests a tranquil, luxurious
All five Junior suites are en-suite, with air-conditioning and under-floor
heating, whilst the Chief suite includes a large private lounge
with fireplace. Lobengula Lodge serves lavish meals for all discerning
diners, offers a selection of fine South African wines from its
cellar and a well-trained staff ensures a high quality of service
and satisfaction. After a game drive guests can relax, swim or enjoy
a drink at the pool bar. The magnificent wooden deck overlooking
the dense African bush is beautifully appointed for meals or mystical
African storytelling in front of the fireplace. A small gym and
steam bath is available for the active guest.
The two lavish junior suites across the small stream in the Excelsior
Valley offer total privacy. Both of these suites have small plunge
pools looking out onto the bush. Bathrooms in all the suites are
stylish sandstone and granite havens. Outside showers, an addition
to the six suites, add a new dimension to communing with nature.
Impressive canopy beds, freshly made up with crisp linen, invite
sleep. Each room features a comfortable lounge, robes and a private
Riverdene Lodge, the latest addition at award winning Shamwari Game
Reserve, sleeps a total of 18 guests. Rooms are fully air-conditioned,
with television and telephone, and feature a small lounge area.
Each en-suite sandstone bathroom has a 'his' and 'hers' vanity basin,
separate shower, bath and private toilet. The two elegantly furnished
casual lounges and a glorious sunroom, a magnificent rim flow swimming
pool with sun deck and poolside bar entice guests to relax and restore
The dining room opens onto a spacious outdoor barbecue area. As
with all the lodges at Shamwari, guests receive personal attention
from their assigned rangers for the duration of their stay.
Bushmans River Lodge
Bushmans River Lodge is a unique historical
site that has been beautifully restored. The 'home away from home'
atmosphere is a welcoming reminder
of true South African hospitality. Beautifully decorated in an artistic
and ethnic theme, the 4 suites offer a personalized service. This
lodge is another representation of the true uniqueness of Shamwari.
Relax under the thatched gazebo with a cocktail and look out for
the hippopotamus in the Bushmans River below, dine sumptuously inside
or take casual meals outside on the verandah overlooking the densely
wooded Bushmans River valley.
Bask in front of a glowing
fire in the lounge during winter, in summer cool down in the
delightful plunge pool and at night, retire
to one of the four deluxe en-suite rooms. Bushmans River Lodge is
pure unadulterated luxury, surrounded by the African wilderness.
"By-ye-ti", the welcoming salutation
you will receive on your arrival at this splendid stone walled
and thatch roofed
lodge. Absorb the pulse of the African bush from the viewing deck,
framed by riverine trees and overlooking river pools where antelope
venture a twilight drink and crowned eagles glide on the darkening
sky. While sitting next to the boma fire, let the crackling fire,
a nightjar and the distant howl of a jackal serenade you into relaxation.
Bayethe Lodge offers the ultimate
in luxury, tented accommodation. Each of the 9 twin-bedded suites
is nestled along
the bed of the
river, camouflaged under trees allowing ample privacy and unsurpassed
comforts. Each tented suite is air-conditioned and heated and has
an en-suite bathroom, outdoor shower, private plunge pool and viewing
deck. Early morning and evening game viewing drives in open land
rovers as well as guided nature walks and bird watching are all
part of this magnificent experience. "Bayethe Nkosi" - "I
salute you great one"
Eagles Crag Lodge
Eagles Crag Lodge is an avante-guard masterpiece
of thatch, stone and glass for the most discerning of travellers
who is looking for
privacy and tranquillity. Eagles Crag consists of 9 individually
built rooms to accommodate two guests each. Each room has its own
private deck and plunge pool with an uninterrupted view of the bush.
The lodge houses its own Wellness Spa & facilities and also
includes a dining area, library, business centre, lounge & bar.
At Lobengula, enter into a spa paradise, and experience exotic treatments in
an African setting. Sensuous and invigorating therapies have been designed to
refresh, purify, polish and pamper. Step out of reality into a world of indulgence,
where professional staff use eclectic blends to increase circulation, ease tension,
energise and revitalise.
At Shamwari you will experience, learn
and enjoy the very best that African wildlife viewing can offer. There
is great game viewing in modern Land Rovers
converted into open viewing vehicles. Each
vehicle has a trained ranger who will increase your enjoyment with his
knowledge of both the flora and fauna. The rangers are in 2-way communication
with each other at all times, so on any day they know where the game
is, and how to find the elusive animals such as the rare Black Rhino.
Game viewing is carried out morning and evening on game drives, when
you are driven in your open vehicle (which seats up to 6) over the rolling
hills and valleys. If you have a particular species you would like to
see, please mention it to your ranger; he will be happy to merge your
plans into the group. In the early morning (if you are keen) you will
leave before dawn, spending up to 3-4 hours spotting before returning
to your lodge for a hearty breakfast. Blankets are supplied for those
cold morning starts!
The heat of the day is usually spent
in the shade, playing tennis, swimming, reading and, of course, eating
a large buffet lunch. Between 4:00 - 5:00pm, you
assemble again for the evening drive. As the animals emerge from their
midday cover, you may see elephants brousing, rhino drinking at a waterhole,
or perhaps the shy bushbuck motionless in the dense bushveld. At dusk,
the Land Rover stops at some panoramic spot for a sundowner (from the
icebox) and snacks.
Then, as the light fades, your ranger will plug in a powerful hand-held
light. With its help, you can sweep the veld, seeing first the eyes and
then the forms of a variety of nocturnal animals. By 8:00pm you are back
at your lodge where a drink in the bar with your ranger, amid cheerful
recollections of the day's discoveries is followed either by another
great meal expertly prepared by our chefs, or a barbacue next to a roaring
fire. Finally, a hot shower and a well-earned sleep. Before repeating
it again the next day!
Generally, you may not leave your vehicle
when it is in the reserve. Guided walks can be arranged in the company
of your armed ranger, in
search of rare animals. These hikes can often be the highlight of your
African trip, for it is really only then that you gain a perspective
of this great continent. Note:Game drives are done in open Land Rovers,
so you can feel close to Nature. A closed vehicle is used when driving
through the area where
the lions roam.
The Shamwari Day Centre, Khaya
Lendaba village, and the Born Free Conservation and Education
This day experience offers visitors to Shamwari
or the Port Elizabeth region a complete wildlife experience. The new centre
in the southern area of
Shamwari, next to Khaya Lendaba, a traditional African Arts and Culture
Village. You can visit Khaya Lendaba after breakfast.
In partnership with actress/conservationist
Virginia McKenna's Born Free Foundation, Shamwari Game Reserve designed
the Conservation and
Education Centre to incorporate a museum and educational facility whose
goal is to create an awareness of the horrific way in which wildlife
is exploited in captivity around the world.
The Centre has already become an international sanctuary for African
species found in such situations. Animals like Raffi and Anthea are now
kept in huge enclosures, living an almost free and natural life, in an
environment as close to their original one as possible.
The Conservation Centre program starts
daily at noon. Visitors take lunch on the game viewing deck, overlooking
the Bushmans River, or in
the dining room, after which they visit Khaya Lendaba. In an hour-long
visit, guests experience the vibrant dancing, the dramatic history, the
culture, the food, the healing methods, the rituals, and the art that
is found in ancient and modern African life. Khaya Lendaba not only focuses
on the Xhosa tribe, found in the Eastern Cape, but also includes other
prominent tribes found in Southern Africa.
Guests discover the various stages of the ancient Xhosa initiation ceremony
where a boy becomes a man. In a traditional marriage, the groom pays
lobola or bride price to the bride's family - visitors are enlightened
as to how this tradition ensures a husband's respect for his wife.
In the Sangoma's (faith healer) hut,
visitors learn about the role of traditional healers within African
tribal life -
a role still very important
to the majority of African people. A visit to the kitchen hut affords
the visitor the opportunity of tasting traditional foodstuffs such as
marogo, mealies & beans and traditional beer. Visitors are able try
their hand at grinding corn and making soap the African way.
Well-known community head and cultural leader, Reverend Maqina from
Port Elizabeth, is a partner in the Khaya Lendaba project. The Reverend
offers remarkable and often humorous insights into the African culture
as he shares his wealth of experience with visitors. He has produced
many stage performances that have taken him and his New Generation Dancers
to Europe on several occasions.
This is followed by a game drive in an open Land Rover, under the guidance
of an experienced game ranger. The program is complete by approximately
The experience is exclusive, and the maximum number of visitors is limited
to 25 per day. Bookings can be made directly at Shamwari Game Reserve.
Usually nestled at the core of declared
game reserves or resting on the shoulders of mountainous terrain,
roaming ground of indigenous wildlife sheltered by landscapes,
which are overwhelmingly beautiful. These have been part of the
soul of humankind for a million years or more. In practical conservation
terms, wilderness is the highest form of conservation category
an area can achieve, and is defined by the World Conservation Union
as a "large area of unmodified or slightly modified land and/or
sea which retains its natural character and influence and which
is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural condition."
In personal, social and cultural terms, wilderness was our home
- the crucible in which humans evolved over millions of years -
and is yet the repository of irreplaceable biological, economic
and spiritual values.
Shamwari has recently set aside 16% of
their land, over 3,000 hectares (7,500 acres) as a wilderness area
and are offering a 4-day wilderness
trail programme. Four-day wilderness trails are run where two nights
are spent in the bush with the first and last nights in the base camp.
trail will be limited to 8 participants.
What makes the trail remarkable beyond
a journey into these rare places is the sensitive and careful guidance
by experienced guides who know
and love the bush. You are not required to have sleeping bags, backpacks,
camping equipment or extensive hiking experience. An all-inclusive trail
fee covers all camping equipment, food, and transport from the base facility
where you will spend your first night. Physical fitness and strength
are not the focus of the trail. In the relaxed intimacy of a trail
to 8, the wilderness brings out the best in everybody - including mutual
responsibility for collecting water, firewood and keeping night watch.
Camping is kept simple in open bush.
Shamwari operates their wilderness
trails with a concern for minimum impact. The only lasting impression
left by a wilderness
trail is the
experience itself - and it is likely to be indelible. As the founder
of the SA Wilderness movement, Dr Ian Player, has said many times, "(Wilderness)
presents us with a blue print, as it were, of what creation was about
in the beginning, when all the plants and trees and animals were magnetic,
fresh from the hands of whatever created them."
Conservation at Shamwari is about the management,
development and rehabilitation of the environment to create a sustainable
through the implementation of fundamental conservation principals.
The conservation department at Shamwari has a highly effective
unit consisting of a wildlife manager, ecologist, education and
an anti-poaching unit. To ensure the lasting sustainability of
the reserve as an ecosystem rich in biodiversity, the ecology department
strives to protect and where necessary to improve the environment.
The wildlife department has received the Global Nature Fund Award
for Best Conservation Practice and Dr Johan Joubert, Shamwari's
Wildlife manager was voted one of South Africa's Top Ten Conservationists,
awarded by the Endangered Wildlife Trust. The anti-poaching unit
boasts highly trained personnel.
In 1990 Adrian Gardiner, a successful businessman
from Port Elizabeth, decided to buy a small farm to use as a weekend
getaway for his family.
The piece of land he bought consisted of only 1,200 hectares, but boasted
a number of antelope including bushbuck, kudu and duiker. By this time
drought had ravaged the countryside and farmers were experiencing financial
difficulties, which resulted in land coming onto the market at very reasonable
prices. Soon his small piece of land had grown to 7,000 hectares.
Adrian started reading C J Skead’s authoritatively researched
historical accounts of the Eastern Cape, as well as journals and historical
diaries of the 1820 Settlers. He was amazed to see this part of the Eastern
Cape being described as one of the richest wildlife zones in Africa.
Early hunters and pioneers such as Sparrman and Cornwallis Harris first
documented the legendary “Big Five” in the Eastern Cape of
South Africa. Well-documented reports dating back to the 18th century
indicate a time when vast herds of Cape buffalo and zebra, black wildebeest,
black rhino, leopard and prides of Cape lion freely roamed the hills
However, by 1853 the Settlers had wiped out most of the game and cleared
vast areas of forest and thicket to create pastures for cattle, goats
and sheep. By the turn of the century the land had been degraded and
the soil depleted of its nutrition, through overgrazing and overstocking.
By 1991 all that remained of the once green and verdant paradise was
a dry, eroded dust bowl. The land Adrian had bought consisted largely
of overgrazed farms with, along the folds of the valleys and the hills,
small pockets of indigenous forest and shrub as the only reminder of
what had once been home to thousands of animals.
What started out as a family retreat
now became Adrian’s passion; to return to the land the flora
which had since been exterminated, to return to the plains the abundant
herds of game, and to ensure that the
roar of the lion would again be heard in the heat of the early evening.
Adrian Gardiner’s very own African dream of conserving a vanishing
way of life, was born. Soon the dream started taking on a life of its
own and expanded beyond the conservation of nature to include the preservation
of history and tradition.
Adrian realised that the dream had grown
to such proportions that he had no choice but to consider the commercial
of keeping it
alive. The dream would have to show a return on investment and a way
had to be found to make the venture a financial success. It was Adrian’s
heart-felt belief that conservation could be profitable. In 1992 Shamwari
Game Reserve was founded. This constituted the first steps towards restoring
the land to its former glory through the reintroduction of all the species
that had once roamed there. Shamwari Game Reserve, by 2002 the jewel
in the crown of Adrian Gardiner’s businesses, started with a staff
of seven, great courage and nothing short of sheer determination in the
face of the mammoth task which lay ahead.
After research had been done into the history of the wildlife in the
region, a scientific study was conducted and a programme developed to
re-introduce animals. The convergence of five ecosystems in this area
of South Africa, which is malaria free, ensured that an unequalled diversity
of animals could be introduced.
The gradual recovery and rehabilitation of the soil was the first step
in the process. Animals cannot flourish without sufficient food and shelter.
Indigenous pioneering grasses were planted on ploughed fields and pastures
while sheep and cattle were removed. The outlines that scarred the natural
contours of the landscape were re-seeded with shrubs and trees. Today,
this process is maintained through harvesting, redistribution and the
scattering of seed-rich elephant dung.
The scientific re-introduction programme was aimed at systematically
restocking the reserve with game such as the Cape buffalo, elephant and
lion. Breeding herds once indigenous to the area had to be introduced
while ensuring the correct utilisation of carrying-capacity formulas.
By now, Adrian Gardiner had realised the important impact tourism could
have on the area. His increasing interest in conservation was further
inspired by his friendship with renowned conservationists such as Dr
Ian Player and John Aspinall. The combination of profit-motive rewards
with nature conservation, job creation, regional rejuvenation and an
increase in the inflow of foreign currency lies at the heart of this
On 15 October 1992 Shamwari was officially opened, receiving its first
guests at Long Lee Manor.
During this time Highfield and Carn Ingly, two 1860 Victorian Settler
cottages which had been uninhabited for several years, were lovingly
restored and opened as lodges.
The management of Shamwari recognised
the important role local people play, and as a result an Arts and Cultural
was developed and
an educational programme launched, in partnership with the Born Free
Foundation. Shamwari established itself in the international market and
the team’s hard work started to show dividends.
Several other farms were acquired and more and more animals re-introduced
until, by the turn of the century, Shamwari was ready to accommodate
large predators. In the year 2000 cheetah and brown hyena were resettled
on the reserve. But it was the return of the Ingonyama (lion) that brought
the dream to its fulfilment with the return of the eco-system to the
state it had been in 150 years ago. The first lion on free range since
1870 was released at Shamwari during October 2000.
Since 1991, 14 separate farms have been
integrated, fences have been removed and roads closed. Over-grazed
land has been rehabilitated, the
plains re-seeded with indigenous grasses and more than 5,000 head of
game have been bred and re-introduced.
Today Shamwari employs 250 people, stretches
across 20,000 hectares and has been returned to its rightful owners,
the fauna and flora.
(From the book “Shamwari – History in the Making” by
Susan Goosen & available through Shamwari Game Reserve)
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