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Garden Route and Shamwari Reserve - opinions?

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Garden Route and Shamwari Reserve - opinions?

Hi there

My husband and I are planning to go to South Africa at the end of Feb for 2 and a half weeks. I love staying at gorgeous hotels but at the same time don't want to bankrupt ourselves! Considering the following possibilities on the Garden Route - Forest Ferns, Hunters House Hotel, Cinnamon Boutique Hotel. Ideally I'd like to just stay at one for a few nights rather than driving every day - question is which one is best for wildlife, peace and quiet and affordable luxury? Finally I want to stay at Shamwari Game reserve as I dont' think that we'll get the opportunity to come to SA again but is it really worth all the money in comparison to say somewhere like Thunzi Bush Lodge and then doing day trips into the reserve? Your help much appreciated!

Port Elizabeth
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1. Re: Garden Route and Shamwari Reserve - opinions?

Depends what you want to see and do. Thunza Bush Lodge is not on a Big 5 Game Reserve, not even Big 1. Their description from their website :- This unforgettable lodge is situated in a 44Ha forest valley overlooking a pristine wetland perfectly positioning it as a charming “Mind Unwind” natural destination. It is a place for relaxing, not game viewing.

I must update my list below sometime to show which game reserves are Big 5 and which just have a predator camp.

The options:

All prices include accommodation, 2 game drives, all meals and drinks unless otherwise stated. Specials might be available through your travel agent.


Kwantu - 6000ha (only 1 game drive)


Sibuya - 2300ha



Lalibela - 7500ha


Amakhala - 6000ha


Schotia - ?ha


Blaauwbosch - 5000ha


Busman Sands - 3000ha

Prices are not all inclusive - basic room only rate is R1000+


Kariega 6000 ha


River Bend (17 000 hectare Private Concession area (separate to the main part) of the Addo Elephant National Park)



Pumba Safaris (6000ha) at R4000


Kwandwe (20000ha) at R5000 to R15000


Nguni River Lodge at R3500 (17 000 hectare Private Concession area (separate to the main part) of the Addo Elephant National Park)


Shamwari is 20000 hectares at about R5000


Gorah is a private concession in the main part of Addo National Park at about R5000



Addo Elephant National Park is 164000 ha but not all of that is accessible. The main game viewing area is about 30000-40000ha I think.

Addo is about R300pps accommodation (safari tent R100) plus R80 conservation plus R400 (optional) for 2 game drives (or you can self-drive) plus about R250 (optional) for restaurant meals and drinks (or you can self-cater)


Double Drift is 23000 hectares - prices quoted on website are valid until March 2000 ???


A map to give you an idea


Addo map


Addo is quite a bit larger than shown on the main map, for example, it comes all the way down to Colchester now, where there is a new entrance and new camp (Mathyolweni). River Bend Lodge and Nguni River Lodge are in the section of Addo above the Addo/Paterson road below the g of Zuurberg. Schotia is not on the map, but is north west of Nanaga. Kwantu is actually where Lalibela is marked on the map and Lalibela is closer to the road. Pumba is between Lalibela and Grahamstown. Kwandwe and Double-drift are east of Grahamstown

Port Elizabeth
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2. Re: Garden Route and Shamwari Reserve - opinions?

Apologies - I didnt read your post correctly.

Thunzi is really too far away from the reserves to do day trips. You need to stay somewhere in Addo, Paterson or Nanaga. Staying in the reserve is obviously nicer, but staying outside and doing daytrips is almost as good. You do miss out on the early morning drive though and the sounds of the night.

Use one of the following sites to find accommodation




I think your nicest stay would be to book into Addo though


You can get a safari tent for R260 a night for 2 people - bargain, or a cottage for 2 (R570), but Addo books up fast. Mathyolweni Rest Camp (R570 for 2) which is near Colchester usually has space though. Note above post about conservation fees, game drives etc.



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3. Re: Garden Route and Shamwari Reserve - opinions?

Just saw your post - we stayed at Amakhala which borders Shamwari and Addo. Various accommodations, but we stayed at the Safari Lodge for three nights and the drives included one day on Shamwari and one on Addo, one on Amakhala and a morning bush walk the day you leave. Had a wonderful time and food and accommodation was very good with warm service - nothing too much trouble. It was much cheaper than Shamwari where you are paying for the name to a large extent. Have a look if it is not too late.

Hunters if vy expensive - you should search portfolio collection for lovely upmarket guesthouses - we are going for the third year running to SA and never feel the need to stay in a 'hotel'

If you want to give me your itinerary I would be happy to recommend places - all 4 star guesthouses. Never had a bad experience!

Buenos Aires...
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4. Re: Garden Route and Shamwari Reserve - opinions?

Hinxly, I was in South Africa in february 2005, and went to a game reserve from Port Elizabeth, since we did not want to go all the way to Johannesburg.

We chose the Bushman Sands Game Reserve (www.bushmansands.com), and couldn't have made a better choice. The accommodation is luxurious (the bathroom is huge, with a separate shower and bathtub -those old-looking ones which I love). The room, which was a standard one, but didn't look so, had a door that opened onto the lawn and the pool, with a little table and chairs in a sort of private gallery that overlooked the pool. The food was also great, and it had a spa and golf course. You could also have dinner in the game reserve by the river, which I did not, but regret it. Maybe it is not as big as other game reserves, but the only animal we could not see were the lions, we did see up close all the other Big Fours. I strongly recommend this place for a romantic trip. Also do not miss the Elephant Park just a drive away from the Reserve, it is amazing and very, very cheap. DON'T MISS IT :) (we even saw an elephant giving birth and how all the other elephants kind of "attended" the event) :)

5. Re: Garden Route and Shamwari Reserve - opinions?

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