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Unforgettable Encounters: A Safari at Shamwari Game Reserve, South Africa

Updated: Jun 29

Safari Africa do Sul: Shamwari Game Reserve

Who has never dreamed of going on a safari? Have you ever imagined coming across a majestic lion in its natural habitat? Or feel the adrenaline of being just a few meters away from an elephant?

Who has never been disappointed by high expectations? But in this case, reality exceeds expectations. A safari in South Africa is a unique experience that should be on every bucket list.

If you are looking for a perfect safari destination, Shamwari Game Reserve, South Africa, is the ideal choice. You will witness the Big Five in their natural habitat.

And, to top it off, being in luxurious accommodation and high-quality services to ensure a complete and memorable experience.

But there are some things to know before traveling to South Africa. Not everything is rosy over there, and you should be prepared.

A safari in South Africa is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that must be on every bucket list.

Choosing the perfect Safari

Safari África do Sul: Shamwari Game Reserve

Before choosing Shamwari, we listed all well-known national parks and Game Reserves in South Africa:

Each of those offers several accommodations, from bush camps to luxury lodges! With so many options, the choice feels overwhelming.

We had some requirements, though. The reserve should be malaria-free and close to Port Elizabeth, where our Garden Route road trip ended. And, chiefly, we wanted to spot the Big 5!

After reading thousands of blogs and reviews, Shamwari seemed the perfect spot. We checked the lodges within the reserve and decided on Eagles Crag. It was memorable!

Eagles Crag was exclusive, with only 9 suites, and looked spectacular. Yes, expensive! But the value provided is worth every single cent. 

No regrets! It was much more than we expected!

Why Choose Shamwari Game Reserve?

Safari África do Sul: Shamwari Game Reserve

Shamwari National Park is a 250 km² luxury safari and game lodge destination in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa.

The valley of Shamwari is home to five ecosystems! Which makes a perfect habitat for several animals and plants, including the iconic Big Five.

A Rich History and Conservation Efforts

Shamwari Game Reserve has a history dating back to the early 1800s when it was home to the Khoi-San people. In the 19th century, it became a farm and a hunting ground for wealthy Europeans. In 1990, transformed into a wildlife reserve with a focus on conservation.

Shamwari strategically links responsible tourism with a lavish African Safari adventure.

Shamwari is home to the Big 5 (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo). But you also find a variety of other wildlife, including cheetahs, giraffes, zebras, and more.

The reserve also protects and rehabilitates endangered species. Conservation is fundamental to the reserve, and guests are educated on conservation initiatives.

We went to The Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre and Born Free Big Cat Sanctuaries. We saw lions from all over the world abused by previous owners or held captives. The center rescues, rehabilitates, and, if possible, releases them back into the wild.

Everyone who works there takes a lot of pride!

Program Kids on Safari

Traveling with children? Shawari has a family-friendly safari vacation program. Children under the age of 4 are not allowed on game drives.

There are several fun things to do with children, such as climbing walls, zip lines, and indoor craft activities. Childminders are available on request.

Safari África do Sul: Shamwari Game Reserve

Luxurious Accommodations

Shamwari Game Reserve: Hotéis

Shamwari offers a range of luxurious accommodations, from tented camps to private villas.

The Sindili Safari Lodge is for those seeking a more traditional safari experience.

The resort offers tented suites with private decks overlooking Bushman's river and plains. Not to mention a spa, pool, and gourmet dining options. For more adventurous guests, The Explorer Camp offers guided walking Safaris.

We choose Eagles Crag. This lodge offers nine luxury suites with a private pool. The lodge also has a spa, gym, and dining options that showcase local cuisine.

The hotel is a dream for those seeking a luxurious and secluded journey.

The reception is warm, and the staff is professional, kind, and helpful. The room is spacious, the bed comfortable, and the view to the reserve stunning.

Eagles Crag: Shamwari Game Reserve

As soon as you get in the room, you receive a necessaire with body creams, sunscreens, and more. In the fridge, wine, champagne, gin, chips, sweets and treats.

While waiting for the game drive, relax at the private pool, drinking champagne and enjoying the view!

The food at the hotel is sensational! The Chef asks for any dietary restrictions before arrival and cooks the meals as requested.

Every meal was three-course à-la-carte with some local dishes to try. In-between, afternoon teas.

The attention to detail and level of service provided sets the hotel apart from the rest!

Eagles Crag: Shamwari Game Reserve

A Variety of Safari Experiences

Shamwari offers a variety of safari activities to suit every preference. Choose from traditional game drives in open safari vehicles or guided bush walks to spot wildlife from a different perspective.

The reserve also offers specialized activities. Try a photography safari to capture the perfect shot or a family one with children.

Planning the Safari at Shamwari Game Reserve

When to go

The best time to visit Shamwari Game Reserve is during the dry season, from May to September. During this time, the vegetation is less dense, making it easier to spot wildlife. The cooler temperatures also make for more comfortable game drives.

If you are interested in birdwatching, the wet season (October to April) is the best time to visit! The reserve is home to over 250 bird species.

We went in December and had fantastic weather. Sunny and warm during the day and chilly at night.

How to Get There

The closest airport to Shamwari Game Reserve is in Port Elizabeth, approximately one hour away. Arrange for a transfer from the airport to the reserve through the chosen lodge.

The final stop on our Garden Route road trip was Porth Elizabeth. We had a car hire in Cape Town, and it was smooth to get to Shamwary. I highly recommend combining the two tours and ending the Garden Route with style on this safari.

What to Wear on a Safari in South Africa

When packing for a South Africa safari, check the climate and activities. No need to buy any specific clothes or shoes for the safari adventure.

Avoid bright colors that interfere with the environment and make the animal shy away. White is a no due to the dust. Please note that camouflage clothing is illegal in some African countries.

Here are some essentials to pack:

  • Light, breathable clothing in neutral and earthy colors

  • Comfortable walking shoes like sneakers

  • Flip-flops or similar for pool or in-room use

  • Waterproof jacket and boots! Especially from November to April in southern Africa and April to May in east Africa

  • A hat and sunglasses

  • Sunscreen and insect repellent

  • Binoculars and a camera with a zoom lens

  • A warm jacket for cooler evenings

  • Swimsuit for pool or spa time

  • Any necessary medication

Note that the temperature drops by 15 centigrades while in the vehicle.

On both afternoons, we went out under a 30oC temperature, and two hours later, it was 15o! It gets pretty chilly. Blankets are provided in the Jeep, but won't keep you warm enough.

In the mornings, it is the opposite. Depending on the time of day, you might layer up and down!

What to Expect on Your Safari

Safari na África do Sul"Shamwari Game Reserve

Game Drives

Game drives are the highlight of any safari experience! And Shamwari offers some of the best in South Africa!

You will set out in an open safari vehicle with a safari guide - a ranger - who take you through the reserve in search of wildlife.

The game drives typically are in the early morning and late afternoon when the animals are most active. You'll have the opportunity to see several wildlife, including the Big Five.

Safari África do Sul

During our 2 day stay, we went out on 4 game drives. At 7 in the morning and then at 4 in the afternoon. Each one lasted approximately 3 to 3 and a half hours.

The ranger waited for us in an open-sided 4WD safari vehicle. It was scary when he loaded the gun before hitting the road.

We were 6 from different countries and backgrounds, making the drive fun.

On the first day, we were lucky to see all the Big 5 except the leopard! Which we saw the next days! I must say that our ranger did an excellent job of spotting them.

The next day, our ranger knew that a cheetah was strolling around after months unseen. We chased the cheetah for over two hours until he found it. And we were able to admire it up close.

This was by far one of the most amazing experiences I ever had. It was surreal spotting these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. We saw a lion fighting over a piece of meat or devouring a zebra across the road!

 What about the elephant, so close that I could not even breathe?

Safari África do Sul: Shamwari Game Reserve

Guided Bush Walks

For a more up-close and personal experience, join a guided bush walk with an armed ranger. This is an opportunity to learn about the smaller creatures, plants, and trees in the reserve ecosystem.

Shamwari Game Reserve: África do Sul

Other Activities

Shamwari also offers a range of other activities to enhance the safari experience.

These include birdwatching, stargazing, and cultural visits to the local community.

Tips for a Successful Safari

  • Respect the Wildlife: While on safari, remember you are a guest in the animal's home. Respect their space and do not disturb them in any way. Always follow the instructions of the guide and do not approach the animals.

  • Be Patient: Safaris are about patience and being in the right place at the right time. Remember that wildlife sightings are not guaranteed. It may take some time to spot the animals. Be patient and enjoy the fact of being in the African bush.

  • Disconnect and Immerse Yourself: One of the best things about a safari is the opportunity to disconnect from the outside world. Immerse yourself in nature. Take this time to relax, observe, and appreciate the beauty of the African bush.


The safari at Shamwari Game Reserve was a sensational adventure, offering luxury, conservation, and a memorable wildlife experience.

Shamwari is the perfect destination for an authentic South African safari. Book your trip now and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime.


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