Shamwari Game Reserve
Blue Wildebeest © Muhammad Mahdi Karim
The multi-award winning private game reserve of Shamwari lies less than an hour's drive from Port Elizabeth. It is responsible for re-introducing numerous species into the Eastern Cape plains, including all of the Big Five (lion, elephant, rhino, leopard, and buffalo).
The reserve offers phenomenal luxury accommodation, but also hosts visitors on day trips from the city. Day tours include a visit to an art and culture village to sample Xhosa culture and traditionally brewed beer, and a trip to one of the Born Free centres for abused animals.
There are two Born Free Big Cat Sanctuaries in Shamwari, where visitors can learn about how wildlife is abused in captivity and can see some of the rescued animals. The Ian Player Rhino Awareness Centre, opened in 2012, is available to educate guests about the terrible epidemic of rhino poaching in South Africa.
At the Shamwari Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, guests can usually meet whatever animals are currently being cared for. Those lucky enough to stay in one of the luxury game lodges can enjoy game drives, game walks, spa treatments and gorgeous restaurants.
Groups of between six and 10 people will be assigned a personal game ranger by the lodges and daily programmes will be designed to suit guests.