Overview – Shamwari GR

Philip Briggs
Expert
By Philip Briggs

Philip lives in South Africa and is the author many guidebooks to African destinations, including the Bradt and Insight guide to South Africa.

Philip lives in South Africa and is the author many Africa guidebooks, including the Bradt and Insight guide to South Africa.

Philip is the author of many Africa guidebooks, including the Bradt and Insight guides to South Africa.

Philip is the author of the Bradt and Insight guides to South Africa.

Shamwari is the best-known of the Eastern Cape’s private reserves. It offers excellent wildlife viewing with a good variety of animals including all 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. Some lodges in Shamwari are family-friendly and run a 'Kids on Safari' program

Best Time to Go January to December (All year)
High Season Oct to Apr (High season rates)
Size 250km² / 97mi²
Altitude 196-592m / 1,079-1,654ft

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent wildlife viewing
  • Open-vehicle game drives with knowledgeable guides
  • Night drives and walking safaris available
  • Some lodge caters specifically to kids
  • Great volunteering options
  • Malaria-free
  • Only fully inclusive expensive packages, no self-drive or budget accommodation

Shamwari GR Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Wildlife

Shamwari is the oldest private wildlife reserve in the Cape. Sightings of four of the Big Five (lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino) are almost as certain as in the private wildlife reserves in the Greater Kruger area. Leopard sightings are more unusual. The white rhino is common in the grassier southern half of the reserve, while shy black rhino is quite often spotted in the more thicketed and sloping north.

Scenery

Shamwari’s main feature is the Bushman’s River, which flows through the reserve. It has a very diverse ecosystem, with five of South Africa’s eight biomes (main vegetation regions) represented: subtropical thicket, fynbos (fine-leaved plants), grassland, Nama Karoo (low rainfall area of shrubland) and savanna). 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

Game viewing is pretty consistent all year through. Like other reserves in the Eastern Cape, the relatively temperate climate makes it a good alternative to more tropical parks such as Kruger in summer (October to April). The winter months (May to September) are fine too, and slightly dryer, but can get very chilly in the late afternoon and early morning. Accommodation is discounted in winter, as this is the area’s low season.

Want to Visit Shamwari GR?

Shamwari GR Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
Expert
Kim Wildman  –  
Australia AU

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
3/5

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...

Full Review

Latest User Review
Alessandro  –  
Italy IT
Reviewed: Jun 11, 2018
Impressive
5/5

As a photographer it was a perfect experience for shooting wildlife and the big five. We had a fantastic experience, even if it was long time ago i still remember the perfect organisation to let us make the right click with ours camera. All...

Full Review