I had the privilege of a two-night stay at the breath-taking Shamwari Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. This malaria-free area is home to several animals and birdlife, including the big five which consists of African lion, elephants, leopards, buffalo, and black rhinos.
The Adventure Begins
On the 22nd of December, we arrived at Shamwari Game Reserve and took a drive through the land towards our accommodation at Eagles Crag Lodge. While en-route, we came across several animals such as giraffes, warthogs, and buck roaming freely in their natural habitats.
Upon our arrival, we were welcomed by the friendly staff and offered delectable treats and refreshments, while our itinerary for the next two days was explained. We were then escorted to our room at Eagles Crag, bursting with excitement for the days ahead.
As the premier lodge of the entire game reserve, it’s easy to see why Shamwari is a five-star establishment. Eagles Crag is nestled in a valley which means each room overlooks the surrounding rock faces and fauna, giving you the impression of ‘living in the wild’. Aside from the amazing scenery, our rooms also had:
- A humongous king-size bed (that was to die for)
- Bird watching equipment
- A private pool, tanning area, and outdoor shower
- Snacks and of course a divine coffee machine
After getting settled and admiring the amazing scenery, we headed through to the dining room to have a three course lunch. And, as expected, the food was simply exceptional!
Following high-tea at 3pm, we were introduced to our ranger and group, who remain the same for the duration of your stay. After which it was time for our first game drive! Writing about this experience is one thing, however, being able to see, smell, and embrace it is something that cannot be put into words. However, the highlight of all the animals that we saw was definitely a pride of lions basking in the sun.
During the game drive, we stopped at a refreshment station, before heading back to the main lodge to get ready for dinner.
After a long day we were escorted back to our rooms by a staff member and headed for bed.
Wild Living Day Two
After sleeping like royalty, our morning started at 5am for a sunrise game drive. It was a bit colder than anticipated, but the vehicles were already prepared with blankets for our group. Although it may sound like an extremely early mission, the amount of animals up and about at that time was phenomenal. As the temperatures soar during the day, this is a prime time to catch a glimpse of them before they retreat into the shade to escape the heat.
We saw hippos, giraffes, buck, zebras, lions, white rhino and even a cheetah catching an early morning meal (a buck!).
It must be said that the game rangers go the extra mile in locating the animals and giving their guests the best ‘wild’ experience possible. Not only are they passionate about the environment but also knowledgeable in their fields and were able to answer the questions asked by the group. And, to top it off, they were understanding of our ‘photo taking needs’ and got us as close (as safety allowed) as possible.
Our day ended off with everyone sitting around a bonfire, eating traditional South African food, which was a real treat for the international and local guests.
If you’re looking for exceptional service, an adventure in the wild and meeting other travellers, Shamwari Game Reserve is right up your alley. I’m so grateful for my experience and I look forward to boasting about it for years to come.