Finding the best safari lodge in South Africa that’s perfectly suited to you is easy, especially with the help of previous guests. Reviews give more than valuable insights, they can guide you to choose the ideal breakaway.

Nature-lovers are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing the best safari in South Africa. Beautiful landscapes, friendly hosts and remarkable wildlife abound, but which destination is the one perfectly suited to you?

Fortunately, finding your ideal getaway is made easy through past travellers’ experiences. Online reviews are accessible, numerous and provide many insights into what to expect from any of the best safari lodges in South Africa. Websites like TripAdvisor or Google reviews are excellent sources that offer prospective guests an idea of what their future trip could be like.

According to countless positive reviews, Shamwari is exceptional. The game reserve’s unsurpassable vistas, lush landscapes, fascinating animals and friendly staff continually wow travellers, and cements its place as one of the best safari destinations in South Africa.

Amazing vistas of the best safari in south africa

3 Ways Reviews Can Help You Choose the Best Safari in South Africa

Reviews are helpful as they shed light on the unknown. Their value might differ from one reader to the next; the feel of linen may catch your eye while tips on bird watching may intrigue another. In reading a few accounts of past visitors, you will learn:

1. Valuable Information

Any top safari lodge in South Africa is likely to have numerous reviews. By reading these reviews, you can establish whether a destination is worth a visit. In this way, you can get a general idea of what experience you’ll have at the game reserve.

2. How to Improve Your Stay

Reviews from previous guests may contain a suggestion or tip that could help you or make your breakaway even better. For instance, a reviewer may suggest that you take a sun hat or mention a side expedition worth seeing on your way to your destination.

3. What to Avoid

En route to the best safari destination in South Africa, guests may have to take at least one gravel road before they reach their journey’s end. Previous visitors could provide helpful tips like avoiding an unfavourable road, not forgetting the insect repellent or packing an extra pair of socks.

Two elephants facing each other on an open plain

Shamwari: “The Most Magical Place on the Planet”

Since its restoration over two decades ago, Shamwari has grown into the best safari near Port Elizabeth, as well as one of the best safari lodges in South Africa. As a result, there are many guest reviews to be read. In these, you can expect commentary on animals, scenery, staff, food, accommodation, activities, weather and what time of year is ideal for a visit.

An All-inclusive Offering

Shamwari is Shona for ‘friend’, and once you arrive, it’s easy to see why. Warm, welcoming smiles greet every guest once they arrive at the premier game reserve. As the oldest wildlife reserve in the Cape and the original malaria-free destination in the area, the allure is evident. Five ecosystems converge in the Shamwari valley which makes it a fertile home to a range of fauna and flora, including the Big Five. As a complement to the natural world, seven unique lodges and an explorer camp are scattered across the 25 000ha of verdant bush.

The Eastern Cape is a lesser known tourist region of South Africa. Rolling hills divide lush valleys, vibrant with life and fertile ground. As Shamwari is nestled within this picturesque setting, it offers a magical breakaway to those looking to escape the city.

Rhinos, lions, elephants, buffaloes, antelopes and many other species of mammals, birds and insects roam the green landscape. The many prints in the sand that lead to wild animals and the beautiful viewing platforms provide superb game viewing opportunities.

The Best Safari in South Africa – Travellers’ Reviews

Positive reviews are near boundless as new accounts appear almost daily. Read on for a peek into what to expect during a stay at Shamwari.

Two giraffes hooking their necks while a game viewing

Glorious Game Drives

According to Wonderful Wanderings, before you go on your first game drive “you get a goodie bag, which includes an animal checklist as well as a sanitary bag and some tissues. The rangers also have nice thick blankets and fleece ponchos in their jeeps for when you’re cold, and bottles of water. During the afternoon drives, you also have a [sundowner].”

“The game drives were the most exhilarating part of our trip to South Africa, as a whole. We’re now lifelong fans, and I’m willing to bet that you will be too if you go.” – Joe and Alex

“Our favourite moments were on our daily game drives with our wonderful ranger. Sitting quietly, we had lions and elephants walk close by our truck, rhinos graze right in front of us, and giraffes stop and stare curiously as they walked slowly by. Shamwari is an incredible place.” – Carolyn

“Our ranger parked right in the path of a herd of 25 elephants and they proceeded to just walk right around us. One tiny elephant was less than a week old and it was an incredible experience. We also saw lions hunting and consuming a kill, hippos sleeping by the river at sunset and a leopard just sauntering along in front of our car.” – Free City Guides

A female game ranger looking at the landcape of the best safari in south africa

Assigned Game Ranger

Once you step onto Shamwari’s ground, your assigned game ranger will come up to greet you. The same ranger will take you on your daily game drives, and if you need, he or she can adjust your schedule or even join you for a meal.

“Our ranger, Jacques, was excellent and found lions, cheetahs, rhinos and elephants without the help of other rangers out at the same time. In 25,000 hectares of space, there are no guarantees, but all the rangers talk to each other on radios to pass on their finds […]. – Free City Guides

“[The four game drives we had] during our stay with our ranger was awesome, [he had] enthusiasm, knowledge and huge sense of fun and found us all the Big Five and more. A once in a lifetime experience.” – Terri

“Our ranger was knowledgeable, professional and clearly passionate about her work. What was particularly special to us was the care and thought she took in acting as a guide to our whole family – including our 4- and 6-year old children. She was fun, patient, was able to draw the kids into appreciation of the bush. She was a spectacular ambassador for Riverdene’s family-friendly approach.” – Landon

Luxury tented lodge in the evening

Award Winning Accommodation

“Everything [in Eagles Crag]was so tastefully done, [it] would comfortably grace the cover of Architectural Digest.” – Anonymous

“Stunning accommodation and if you’re lucky sometimes the elephants come right up to your plunge pool.” – Emma

“The lodge itself is stunning, our room was huge, with the most comfortable bed and a beautiful view of the reserve.”– Ranji

“We spent just over three days at the Lobengula Lodge for our honeymoon. The lodge itself was wonderful. Luxurious yet comfortable with a distinctly South African charm.” – Hein

“Housekeeping drops by to tidy the place up during the day, when you’re on a game drive or chilling by the pool. There’s also a turndown service that dims the lights and makes your room cozy for some post-dinner relaxing.Don’t be surprised to find an occasional treat alongside ample water bottles.” – Wonderful Wanderings

Champagne and snacks on next to seats on a deck in game reserve

Superb Staff Make the Best Safari in South Africa

“The staff, and guides in particular, go above and beyond to make your experience special. The team at Long Lee and Riverdene became part of our family of 22. The team went above and beyond the call of duty. Far more than just a 5 star lodge.” – Daniel

“Wow! Simply amazing, fantastic, stunning, first-class and unforgettable! There are not enough positive words to describe Shamwari. The staff are friendly, professional, thoughtful and kind.” – Nick

“Service was impeccable, from the greeting at the front desk, the gracious bar and restaurant staff, to the young men who would politely accompany us to our villa at night.” – Anonymous

“Everyone who works at Shamwari is warm, friendly, and helpful, and every staff member makes guests feel like family.” – Carolyn

“The whole team are warm and friendly, enthusiastic and helpful. This was the end of a fabulous 4-week holiday in South Africa, and was without a doubt the highlight of our best ever holiday.” – Geoff

“Our experiences at Shamwari was second to none. The team is, without fail, extremely successful in their service and operational skills. Everything was perfect: as this destination formed part of our honeymoon, the team went through special lengths to make it romantic.” – Christo and Corlea

Safari style breakfast in nature

Delectable Nibbles

“Dinner consists of a more traditional three-course à-la-carte meal while the courtyard is reserved for the famous braai or barbecue of South Africa – traditional music included.” – Wonderful Wanderings

“The accommodation at Eagles Crag is beautiful and the food and drink excellent.” – Nick

“The food was absolutely fantastic.”– Joe and Alex

“The food was amazing; every meal had local dishes to try, always cooked to our liking. They also serve morning and afternoon teas in between meals.” – Wendy

Caring Conservation

“Most people head to Shamwari for the safari experience, like we did, but for those of you who are interested, I’d also like to mention the Shamwari Volunteer Experience. […] Duties range from tracking and monitoring wildlife to physical tasks. You’ll learn about wildlife management and will get plenty of opportunities to interact with the local communities.” – Wonderful Wanderings

People sitting on safari chairs on a deck

Want to Experience the Best Safari in South Africa?

Within its vast premises, the Shamwari Private Game Reserve offers exclusive experiences for families, couples and the adventurous. Guests from the world over come to the lush valley to experience pristine wilderness, private suites and the various wildlife encounters on offer. Read up on more guest reviews on TripAdvisor, Google reviews or explore the Shamwari accommodation pages here.

Secure your visit to Shamwari and make memories that will last a lifetime!

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