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“Shamwari Conservation Experience”

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Shamwari Game Reserve Lodges
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Shamwari Conservation Experience”
Reviewed 25 February 2012

So amazing that it is difficult to put into words really, if you have been on a safari holiday in Africa and feel you want to give something back to the amazing wildlife of this great place then volunteering is a must. Working hands-on alongside with all the rangers and vets without any formal qualifications is a real privilege and an experience I shall never forget, after all how many people can say they have shared the same air as a wild lion? After my first circuit tour safari, I left my heart out in Africa and knew I just had to return however, I was very apprehensive about volunteering at my age – my fears were ill founded, as the team never force you to engage in something that is out of your comfort zone. The experience surpassed all my expectations and I can’t wait to return – actually I would happily give up my day job and be part of the Shamwari team at the drop of a hat! The expanse of Africa’s wild is difficult to describe and Shamwari more than delivers on that account, so the accommodation area is ideally situated as it allows you to become part of the flora and fauna in the heart of the reserve without sacrificing your day to day luxuries as the rooms are clean, bug free with hot running water and showers are ensuite which beats running across the normal camp site facilities to a communal wash area and sleeping in a tent as experienced on most circuit tour safaris which are actually more expensive. I celebrate the dedication and commitment of all staff at this true conservation facility, as without such places Africa’s true beauty – it’s amazing wildlife will be silenced and that is a very depressing thought. I cannot thank everyone at Shamwari, Born Free and Worldwide enough as I thought I would get Africa out of my system this visit. Alas, not only have I left my heart there this time but my whole body and soul and the blame lies entirely with you!!!! Value for money: excellent (very cheap in fact).

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled solo
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Helpful?
7 Thank KayE3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Fethiye, Turkey
Level Contributor
313 reviews
60 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 121 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 February 2012

it is a wonderful place , I had a great time, I have seen lions,elephants,leopard, I am satisfayed more then I was expecting , I realy recomend shamwari

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled solo
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Helpful?
Thank nomad4838
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
England
Level Contributor
30 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 February 2012

Our "tent" was amazing, the drives were great and Vuyo was a super ranger, very informative and a really nice guy. Food and service were excellent too, would highly recommend this and would love to go back.

  • Stayed February 2012
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Helpful?
Thank csg121
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Manchester, UK
Level Contributor
18 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 February 2012

Even as you approach Bayethe, you can see it is something special - the drive from Port Elizabeth isn't far and it's literally one road until you turn off for the Game Reserve. You really do feel, when you get there as though you are in the middle of nowhere although the phone signal and internet (provided at reception for guests to use) are both good.
I would recommend getting there in between 11.30 & 12, in plenty of time for lunch and the afternoon game drive (which set off at 4 when we were there).
The accomodation is fantastic - very unique. All the lodges have tented walls and one morning when the monkeys woke us up with their chattering (even before the ranger's early morning call!), it sounded as though they were inside the tent with us because they were that close and the walls are only canvas so you can hear everything. That said though, it's still a luxurious room with everything you need in it and we loved it. One day we looked out of the window and there was an antelope on our path and the warthogs regularly came to visit the nearby watering hole. All very nice and private though if you want to sunbathe in the day or use your own private plunge pool.
The food is also superb - a "light lunch" is actually three courses (if you want it), the breakfast is different every day and in the evenings, one night we had a meal dining separately from the rest of the party and the next a barbecue with our ranger and the rest of the people on our drives. Both were great. The barbecues are a perfect chance to try all the meats you never would have dreamed of eating!
Then on to the main thing - the game drives. Our driver Jaques was fantastic - so knowledgeable and genuinely passionate about the game reserve and everything in it whether it be plants, birds or animals. I can't remember him ever saying "I don't know" to anything we asked. He genuinely wants you to get to see everything possible - which we did. Even the leopard which before that week, hadn't been seen for four months!
Sitting in and amongst the elephants was so magical, walking to the cheetahs and standing literally a few feet away from them was also a highlight and a gin and tonic at the top of a cliff whilst the sunset over the most amazing view topped off our evening game drive perfectly. It was really special.
On our first game drive, on the way back to the lodge and just as it was going dark, we got a flat tyre. Jaques jumped out, wouldn't let us get out of the jeep, offered us all a beer, changed the tyre which we were still in the jeep and then carried on - and all this happened with a rhino less that 50metres away moving in the glare of the headlights - incredible experience.
Tips for the drive - go to the loo before you leave, four hours of being jolted up and down can take its toll! Also, take warm clothes and preferably a hood, or for people with long hair, something to tie it back with. The wind really gets up late in the evening and early in the morning and whilst the jeeps do have canvas roofs (so you won't get sunburnt), it's open to all the elements from the side. They do provide really warm blankets though which are a bonus.
The whole experience was fantastic, made even more so for me when my boyfriend proposed on our final night - the staff couldn't have been better - champagne in the room with glasses, petals and candles everywhere and champagne (or their equivalent which is just as good if not better) with berries in all the way through dinner too without us asking.
The memories of this place will stay with me forever and I highly recommend it to anyone wondering where would be the best plave to go on a game drive. I felt sad driving away when we left and I really hope I get to return one day.

Room Tip: Some rooms have outdoor showers so if you fancy trying this, make sure you ask for one!
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank lib874
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brighton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 February 2012

I had traveled to shamwari on the volunter program, to be hands on with the animals,and some help with diffrent programs, which is what world wide experiances had told me it was all about, I paid good money to do this, it was shabby apartments ,bad food and nothing helpfull to do,at weekends unless you had a lot of money to go on weekend trips you were stuck with nothing to do at all,so much time were you could be doing helpfull things, but they wanted you to do these trips ,as they made comission on them. The rangers are not aloud to spend time with you, never sit and have meals or spend any social time.be carefull with these volunter programs.you are also expected to share a room ,with some one you dont know.

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled solo
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Helpful?
8 Thank annie h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kaysa, Manager at Shamwari Game Reserve Lodges, responded to this review, 28 February 2012
Dear guest, with apologetic response to your views on a disappointing experience whilst at our volunteer project , we would like to clarify that the said experience does and should not carry relation or the expectations of our award winning 5 Star guest experience at Shamwari.
The purpose built volunteer facilities , related operations and experience, however humble by comparison, are certainly not as quoted and have enjoyed rave reviews with hugely positive response by several hundred past occupants and project participants. As the project runs in conjunction with our award winning conservation team, it is known and acclaimed in the volunteer sector as an unsurpassed behind the scenes conservation and wildlife experience.
Regards
Gunther Straus - General Manager, Shamwari
Quinton Gillson - Manager, Shamwari Conservation Experience
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Shamwari Game Reserve Lodges

Property: Shamwari Game Reserve Lodges
Address: N2 between Port Elizabeth & Grahamstown, Shamwari Game Reserve 6000, South Africa
Phone Number:
Region: South Africa > Eastern Cape > Shamwari Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre 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 Speciality Lodging in Shamwari Game Reserve
Price range (per night): $944 - $1,672
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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