Originally when K & I talked about travelling to South Africa, our intent was to participate in a volunteer project while we were there. Unfortunately, due to some time restraints, we were not able to participate in this kind of experience, however, in doing our research, we were led to the Shamwari Game Reserve.
Shamwari is a private reserve located in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. We chose it for a few reasons. Situated in a malaria free zone & covering an area of approximately 25,000 hectares, we liked the idea of being able to visit the reserve we had hoped to volunteer on but more importantly, we were impressed with the very close attention paid to the conservation of the land & the animals who live here.
From the moment we arrived on Shamwari, we knew we were in a special place.
There are 7 choices of accommodations on the reserve, each beautifully incorporated onto the property. They are small by North American standards, with the largest of the 7 only accommodating a maximum occupancy of 30. This is part of what makes them so unique, creating not only an intimate experience, but a very tranquil one.
*We chose to stay in the Bayethe Tented Lodge, which consists of 12 private “tents”, each strategically placed to ensure privacy for guests while being surrounded by the quiet of nature.
We were blown away when we were escorted to our “tent”.
Over the course of the next 3 days, K & I would find ourselves speechless many times, drinking in the beauty of this place & the utter sense of calm we felt in being here.
After freshening up a bit, we made our way down to the common area where guests are treated to beautifully prepared gourmet meals 3 times a day as well as high tea each afternoon prior to heading out for the late day game drive.
Guests are assigned a ranger who is responsible for taking you out on your game drives & acting as your host for the duration of your stay. I cannot say enough about our ranger, Alistair. His knowledge of the plant & animal life on the reserve, his charm in making us feel so welcome, his patience in driving all over the reserve in search of animals we hoped to see & his enthusiasm for the work that he does, were all part of what made this experience so memorable.
We were so excited at the prospect of the sights we would see over the next few days. Like two little kids in a candy store, we happily tucked ourselves in for an experience that would leave a lasting impression on our hearts.
After briefing us on the dos & don’t of going on safari, we headed out for our first game drive. We were barely out of the road that leads into our lodge when we spotted a group of these magnificent creatures!
Stay tuned for many more wonderful sightings!
*Our tour was booked with African Welcome Safaris who were incredibly easy to deal with, responding to any concerns or questions in a very timely fashion.