Shamwari Game Reserve offers a luxurious 5 star big 5 game viewing experience like none other. Situated in the malaria free Eastern Cape, Shamwari is a treat for the senses and a sojourn for the soul. Whisper the name quietly to yourself; Shhhhamwari. Now a little louder...SSSsshamwari. Now sit back for a moment, close your eyes and imagine yourself being immersed by the beauty and splendour of the African bush. Can you hear Africa calling you?Imagine the call of a Grey Loerieas it sounds from a nearby tree as you gaze out at a watering hole. Or the feeling of the sunshine on your legs as you relax on a sunbed and stretch out into the dappled sunlight on the private deck of your luxury suite.When you choose to stay at Shamwari Private Game Reserve, peace, tranquillity and elegance combine perfectly with the excitement and sense of adventure of an African safari to ensure your safari getaway is everything you can imagine and more.We arrived in Port Elizabeth in the early afternoon, found our luggage and then headed for the car hire depot to collect our car. Once all the paperwork was signed it was time for us to finally head towards our dream destination; the amazing Shamwari Game Reserve. An easy 1.5 hour drive and we finally pulled in to the gates and were welcomed by the friendly smiles of the staff members.We decided to stay in Bayethe Lodge as we were looking for something slightly more rustic yet still luxurious. Bayethe, which means 'I salute you' offers luxury tented accommodation that intenatlytransported us into paradise. Indulging all your senses, Bayethe is surrounded by lush vegetation to ensure your privacy, and the wooden and natural interiors create the sense of being outdoors in the bush.After our tour of the lodge we settled in to our room and immediately began to relax. I had a refreshing swim in our private pool while my partner put his legs up and relaxed on one of the sun loungers. After a pleasurable few hours doing as little as possible, soaking up the peaceful environment, we gathered our cameras and warm jackets and wandered across to the main area - it was time for the evening game drive.Our enthusiastic ranger welcomed us with a friendly smile and we spent some time chatting to some of the other guests before climbing onto the back for the 4X4 game viewing vehicle. It was still fairly warm but we were glad that we had taken our jackets with us as the air was definitely getting cooler.We hadn't gone far when the ranger pulled the vehicle over to the side of the road and turned around to explain the vegetation to us and the surrounding landscape. He was so knowledgeable and his enthusiasm and the exuberance with which he described the bush and the African wildlife found here was so inspiring it was almost infectious.While on our evening game drive we were lucky enough to see a huge herd of Buffalo, a family of Warthogs, a group of huge Elephants stripping the bark from an old mangled tree and some incredible birds. We also caught a quick glimpse of a Leopard before it disappeared into the thick bush.After about 45 minutes in the vehicle we stopped at the top of a hill overlooking the valley below and were able to climb out of the vehicle and stretch our legs. Our ranger produced some refreshing drinks and delicious snacks while we gazed out across the horizon. What an incredible feeling to be standing out in the middle of the African bush as the huge orb of the sun disappeared below the horizon and the sky changed from bright blue to indigo to pink.As the day started to turn to dusk we climbed back onto the vehicle and set off again, this time with flood light torches in hand. It was so exciting moving along through the bush as it got darker and darker.Our guide spotted a Bushbaby in the tree and pointed out a Chameleon sitting on a branch. Near to a river we saw some Hippos out of the water, munching on some grass on the side of the road. As we meandered our way back to the lodge we heard a loud roar coming from fairly near to us. Excited whispers followed as our ranger stopped the vehicle to listen. Yes... there it was again!We turned around and worked our way back to the river, further along from the Hippos we found a large Lion lying in a dried up part of the riverbed. He was very relaxed and we were able to get relatively close to him without disturbing him.
Exploring the Magnificent Shamwari Game Reserve
It was incredible to hear him calling "grrnufff" "grunff". After lots of photographs and hushed whispers; it was like he was posing for us all, he eventually got up and sauntered into the thick bush - probably going to find one of the Lionesses he has been calling to. We could not believe our luck and I felt truly in awe of the magnificent creature that had just graced us with his beauty.
We made our way back to lodge full of excitement and were welcomed back with warm towels to clean the dust away from our hands and faces and a delicious champagne cocktail. After we had had some time to freshen up, we returned to the main lodge and enjoyed a delicious meal in the boma. I had Eland for the first time and my partner enjoyed a Kudu steak.
With our stomachs filled with all the delicious local cuisine, we retired early to our room. It had been an exciting day filled with adventure, fresh air, amazing sightings and delicious food and we soon fell into a relaxed and deep sleep. Tomorrow promised to be another exciting day!
By Katie Edge