If you want to see the Big Five (plus a wide variety of other animals and birds) in a malaria-free environment within easy access to Cape Town and the Garden Route then Shamwari is your best option.  Honeymooners will love the more exclusive tented Bayethe Camp or Eagles Cragg and families are superbly taken care of at Riverdene Lodge or Long Lee Manor. The rangers and guides are brilliant and you’ll go on game drives in open 4×4 vehicles which will get you right up close to the animals for those perfect wildlife photo opportunities!

Shamwari eagles cragg
A bird’s eye view of Eagle’s Cragg Lodge at Shamwari

Located 75km outside the small port city of Port Elizabeth, in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, Shamwari Game Reserve is the southernmost Big Five private reserve in Africa, and covering an area of 250 square kilometres (25,000 hectares), is one of the largest private conservation initiatives in Southern Africa.

Many years ago it was predominantly farmland, but today the ecosystem has been returned to a more natural condition, and now fully supports five of South Africa’s seven biomes; the reserve has for many consecutive years, since 1998, been voted the World’s Leading Safari and Game Reserve as well as the World’s Leading Conservation Company.

shamwari giraffe
On a game drive in Shamwari’s Big 5 reserve

Shamwari is home to the Born Free Foundation, a jointly-funded sanctuary giving lifetime care to several lions and leopards that have been discovered in poor conditions in circuses or zoos around the world.

The reserve boasts a dedicated Wildlife Department (including qualified wildlife veterinarians, ecologist and environmentalist), a breeding centre, the Dr Ian Player Rhino Awareness Centre, a rehabilitation centre, an animal hospital, an education centre, and an anti-poaching unit.

Rhino at Shamwari Game Reserve
A game drive in open vehicles is the best way to come into close contact with the Big Five

It is hardly surprising then, that in addition to it’s other accolades, Shamwari Game Reserve has also received the Global Nature Fund Award for Best Conservation Practice.

On the whole the climate at Shamwari is relatively mild, with no extreme temperatures or extreme weather, except possibly at the very height of summer when temperatures can rise a tad.

The reserve forms a natural extension to the famous and infinitely beautiful Garden Route, is Malaria-free, and complimented by it’s unique activities for children of all ages, is the perfect family safari destination.

Bayethe tented interiors
Light and airy, Bayethe Tented Camp is tucked away for privacy and proximity to raw nature

Accommodation at Shamwari is offered in six characterful and sumptuous lodges, all of which are graded five-star. Service and amenities are superb, dining is excellent, everything of the highest possible standard, attesting to the luxurious five-star grading. Have a look at BayetheEagles Cragg, Riverdene and Long-Lee Manor.  There is also an adventurous Explorer’s Camp.

It’s most fortuitous location, the clement weather, it’s outstanding responsible tourism efforts and conservation initiatives, it’s superlative facilities and plush accommodations, make Shamwari Game Reserve a most desirable Africa safari destination.

shamwari elephant
Close encounters with one of the Big 5