Upping their game

Shamwari Private Game Reserve has completed the first phase of a US$25 million upgrade, opening two newly refurbished lodges, its flagship Eagles Crag and Riverdene Family Lodge


Situated in in the  Eastern Cape, close to Port Elizabeth, the reserve is known for its systematic, scientific rehabilitation and considered conservation programmes. Over the past 25 years, these have seen ecological diversity restored on the reserve and the reintroduction of the big five and other indigenous animals.

Joe Cloete, CEO, says the investment will provide an enhanced luxury experience for guests and   will ensure Shamwari is able to continue attracting revenue to fund its crucial conservation work. “We want Shamwari to be one of the world’s premier wildlife experiences, so we can sustain and grow an exceptionally successful 25-year conservation programme. A stay at Shamwari contributes to conserving a vanishing way of life.”

Eagles Crag suite

The upgrade at Eagles Crag has accentuated its reputation for exclusivity. The setting is tranquil, in a forest-covered valley floor at the base of a cliff.

A new viewing deck incorporating a fire pit and two private dining pods elevates guests above the forest canopy, while individual dining pods allow couples to share intimate meals and uncompromised views. The spa facilities have been upgraded and the refurbished lodge now also offers an entertainment lounge, complete with billiard table, and gym.

Dining area at Eagles Crag

Nine upgraded stand-alone suites with a heated plunge pool, each open onto private decks in the forest.

Riverdene Family Lodge with nine spacious interconnecting rooms, ideal for multi-generational families, has been rebuilt.  Outside, a supervised children’s adventure playground combines climbing towers, elevated walkways, ziplines, a toddlers’ play area, maze and mini soccer field.

Other organised activities for children include a Kids on Safari programme, star gazing, visits to the Born Free Foundation and pizza evenings.

For parents wanting a bit of quiet time, the poolside bar area, lounge and restaurant, looking out over a nearby waterhole, provide peaceful areas to relax.

The next phase of the project includes renovating the historic house, Long Lee Manor and re-building the accommodation to provide18 luxury suites, as well as a  new, flagship luxury tented camp.

Shamwari’s wildlife rehabilitation centre is being expanded and guests can now  visit a purpose-built facility on the reserve, where animals are cared for and treated before being released back into the wild. This is in addition to the two big-cat sanctuaries, where, in partnership, with the Born Free Foundation, rescued African big cats are given a permanent home.

The entire upgrade programme will be completed by November 2019.