Overview – Shamwari GR
Shamwari is the most popular of the Eastern Cape private reserves. It offers excellent wildlife viewing with a good variety of animals including all of the Big Five. The very exclusive experience includes open-vehicle game drives with high quality guiding and luxury accommodation with first-rate food and service. Shamwari also caters for families with its ‘Kids on Safari’ programme. And it offers opportunities for volunteering with a focus on the preservation of wildlife, local ecology and community work.
Pros and Cons
- Excellent wildlife viewing
- Open-vehicle off-road game drives with knowledgeable guides
- Night drives and walking safaris available
- Caters specifically for kids
- Great volunteering options
- Only fully inclusive expensive packages, no self-drive or budget accommodation
Shamwari is the oldest and best private wildlife reserve in the Cape. Sightings of all of the Big Five are quite regular, although less guaranteed than in many private wildlife reserves in the Greater Kruger area. Leopard sightings are a bit hit and miss, but the shy black rhino is often spotted as well as the more common white rhino.
Shamwari‘s main feature is the Bushmans River, which flows through the reserve. It has a very diverse ecosystem, with four major regions of vegetation present: fynbos (fine-leaved plants), grassland, nama-Karoo (low rainfall area of shrubland) and Tongoland (mild climate, with high coastal rainfall). The area is rich with endemic plant species.
Weather & Climate
Shamwari Game Reserve is gently washed by rain throughout the year. The only noticeable peaks in precipitation are in October and March. These months are basically the bookends of summer (October to April), when sunshine and pleasant temperatures predominate despite the rain. In winter (May to September), the warmth gives way to cool days and occasionally freezing nights.
Best Time to Visit
A big blue sky and ease of tracking animals in the sparse, dehydrated bush are the advantages of visiting Shamwari in the drier months (May to September). You should also be able to get discounts on accommodation and activities, as this is the area’s low season. That said, the arrival of migrating birds in the wetter months (October to April), and the lushness of the landscape, means that a visit at this time of year should not be dismissed either.
Want to Visit Shamwari GR?
Shamwari Safari Reviews
- Expert Rating
- Bush Vibe
- User Rating
- Bush Vibe
Most Helpful Expert Review
Kim is a travel writer who authored and updated over 15 guidebooks, including Lonely Planet's South Africa and Bradt's Tanzania guides.
Indulgent game viewing
There are many reasons why I love Shamwari and keep returning, but the most simple is that it always delivers. Situated along the Bushman's River, Shamwari is a private, family-owned game reserve which offers visitors a chance to combine...
Latest User Review
3 days of superb closeup interaction with wildfire and scenery.
The experience at Shamwari was the highlight of an already brilliant trip to South Africa. Everything about it was was just great. Of course what made it special were the game drives with out experienced and knowledgeable ranger , Jonathan...