where to stay Though game sightings are the centerpiece of the safari experience, accommodations are key. After all, having a comfortable place to stay at night is essential to the next day’s game drives. But Shamwari’s seven luxury lodges—part of the Mantis collection—offer far more than a place to lay your head at night. In fact, with such diverse accommodations to choose from, there’s a lodge for just about every travel niche.
For clients traveling with kids—and yes, kids 4 and up are welcome on safari—there’s the 9-room Riverdene Lodge, with connecting rooms, a jungle gym and supervised playroom. An onsite children’s coordinator greets the family at arrival to discuss options for the whole family, setting up babysitting for any kids too young to join game drives, and suggesting activities for the whole family like a visit to the Born Free Foundation Big Cat Rescue, where kids learn about lions, leopards and cheetahs and the environmental protection that’s essential to their survival. Riverdene also features a pool and outdoor bbq area, ensuring that families can take a day off from game drives and simply enjoy each other’s company.
Couples traveling together, on the other hand, have a wide variety of experiences to choose from. The 9-suite Eagles Crag Lodge gives couples plenty of privacy, with detached suites set up in villas that contain plunge pools on private decks that look right out into the wilderness. With its modern, artsy ambiance and fine dining options, it ranks among the most luxurious of Shamwari’s lodges. Sarili’s vibe is just as modern but a bit more casual, with rooms featuring expansive, open bathrooms, and with balconies that overlook a river and the plains beyond, there’s nearly always something to see just outside clients’ windows.
For clients who truly want to immerse themselves in the South African experience, there’s Bayethe Tented Lodge, with nine luxury tents tucked right into the trees, combining amenities like satellite TV and plunge pools with Shamwari’s rustic beauty. The 5-bedroom Lobengula Lodge offers a similarly rustic experience in a more traditional lodge setup, with a large main deck and swimming pool. Bushmans River Lodge, which, naturally, overlooks Bushmans River, also offers a picturesque verandah and swimming pool. With only four rooms, it’s an ideal takeover for a large family or group traveling together. Finally, Long Lee Manor, dating to 1910, offers a totally different type of romance: a colonial escape set in the middle of a wide open plain, with 15 rooms and three luxury suites.
Meals, game drives and select beverages are included at all of Shamwari’s lodges, with chefs cooking up two or three options for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
what’s next With its location on the Eastern Cape, Shamwari is an ideal link between Goway’s other African destinations, including Cape Town’s spectacular Table Mountain and Cape of Good Hope; the Cape Winelands, where small towns like Franschehoek offer unforgettable wine-tasting opportunities just a bicycle ride apart; and the Garden Route, featuring even more nature reserves, caves and beaches.
Even getting to and from South Africa is easy, thanks to South African Airways, offering the only daily nonstop flights from New York to South Africa. And thanks to its partnership with JetBlue, clients can fly from any of JetBlue’s destinations and transfer in New York without having to check in again or re-check their luggage.
A 3-night Shamwari safari package, with a stay at Bushmans River Lodge and transfers to and from Port Elizabeth airport, starts at $1,735 pp dbl. Rates may vary and are subject to change based on booking date, accommodations and other factors.