The unique aspects of Shamwari are not just in the presence of wild animals, luxury accommodation, or abundance of stars at night. Although each of these aspects are an unforgettable experience on their own, there is one more facet that is often unexpected which is the relationships formed at Shamwari.

Shamwari Game Reserve is not only a safari destination, but also a place that some travellers call their second home. With our friendly, dedicated, and hospitable staff providing 5-star services to each guest, it’s no surprise that we have a high return rate.

However, one guest in particular needs a special mention and that’s Mr John Unwin

Going the Distance

Mr Unwin, a well-travelled, international tourist from England has been visiting Shamwari Game Reserve for 15 consecutive years. At 92 years old, his passion for wildlife, South Africa, and his incomparable knowledge, has brought him to SA 39 times – so far. And, despite his age he’s not deterred from travelling all the way from his hometown in England to visit us in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.

The first time John visited Shamwari, he was accompanied by his wife, Anne, who he had to convince to take a trip to South Africa. They stayed in room 7 at Long Lee Manor, a room which they returned to on each visit, even after Anne’s passing 7 years ago. After each trip, John and Anne found yet another friend in the Shamwari family. From the rangers, the receptionists, even the chef’s, their presence was always welcomed.

One of John’s closest friends, to this day is the lead wildlife veterinarian at Shamwari, Johan Joubert. As John is a wildlife enthusiast himself, the two can chat for hours about the array of animals and the conservation efforts in place at Shamwari Game Reserve.

“Nothing will take me from coming to see
wildlife, I am fascinated by it all.”

On game drives, John is delighted to see any animals he encounters as it brings back memories of his time spent here with his beloved wife. Additionally, as he has a keen interest in birdlife, he loves to learn about their movements, characteristics, and habitats. His two favourite bird species at Shamwari include the Secretary bird and the Cape Glossy Starling.

Call it Home

John is a firm believer in capturing his memories through his photographs. One of his fondest times at Shamwari was when he was taking part in a walking safari and something unforgettable happened. They came within 80 metres of a pride of lions! A sighting and emotional feeling, he claims he will never forget.

John only has kind words to say about his visits to Shamwari Game Reserve and always looks forward to his annual trips. For him, it’s not just about a holiday, but also about the friendships he’s made, which makes Shamwari a place he calls home too.

“The staff here are brilliant, all around, not because
I’m a regular customer, they have always been the same
towards all the guests, which is brilliant.”