Samara Private Game Reserve

Location: Garden Route & Little Karoo | South Africa

Price guide: £££££ £100-£200 per person per night

Overlooking an amphitheatre of dramatic, purple-hued mountains and vast heartland, the Samara Private Game Reserve offers an exclusive malaria-free safari in the Eastern Cape’s Great Karoo. Home to cheetahs, rhinos and the rare aardvark, this 27,000-hectare reserve has a maximum of 30 guests at one time, meaning you’ll go out on bush walks and game drives and see nothing but rare wildlife and superb landscapes.
Perfect forAs the park is situated in the malaria-free Eastern Cape, this lodge is perfect for families.
In the knowSamara offers fly camping - explore the pristine wilderness on foot on a guided bush walk before spending the night in a mobile camp, experiencing a traditional South African braai and sundowners around the campfire.

Recommended for...

  • Wildlife & Nature
  • Setting & Views
  • Off the Beaten Track
  • Guiding

Hotel Overview

sense of place

Samara is spread across 27,000 hectares of unique wilderness in the heart of the Great Karoo and at the end of the Garden Route.

rooms at samara private game reserve

Samara has two five-star luxury lodges. The suites at the renovated farmstead Karoo Lodge combine all the colonial comforts with a touch of nature to compliment. Four of the suites are found in the main homestead and open onto wide wraparound verandas, while the Karoo-style cottages and Sibella Suites are dotted around the hotel and offer more privacy – a good option for honeymooners and families. All the suites have luxury bathrooms with spectacular outdoor showers, are light and airy and have magnificent views of the tranquil Karoo wilderness.

Our favourite choice for families, Manor House is an exclusive-use villa that has four spacious suites with large bathrooms and private patios, two living areas, a dining room and a kitchen. There is a 21-metre infinity pool that overlooks a waterhole, often visited by buffaloes, warthogs and monkeys, and you’ll have your own private ranger, chef and butler.

For the hedonist, spa treatments can be arranged in the luxury of the private suites and for the adventurer, why not consider spending a night in the luxury star bed? 

food & drink

Breakfasts are usually large spreads of fresh fruit, cold meats and cheese, with a selection of yoghurts and cereal, and a cooked breakfast is available, while lunch and dinner are variations of traditional South Africa cuisine – think starters of tomato tartlet with blue cheese sauce or butternut and sweet potato soup and mains of venison fillet with black peppercorn sauce or stuffed chicken with mushroom sauce.

During the cooler months, you can eat by the warming fire in the dining room but when the weather is fine, we’d recommend taking your meals al fresco in the traditional-style boma.

facilities

The main lodge has a warm and cosy living room for quiet evenings reading by the fire, as well as a bar and a curio shop. There is also a large swimming pool and a fenced outdoor play area on the manicured lawns for children.

activities at samara private game reserve

The beautiful Samara reserve extends over four of the country’s seven biomes and is the perfect habitat for the endangered cheetahs, aardvarks and white rhinos. You can take part in game drives, walking safaris, biome walks, landscape safaris, aardvark safaris and birding safaris, as well as looking at fossils that pre-date dinosaurs and seeing well-preserved Bushman paintings. Alternatively, simply watch the wildlife amble past your veranda as you enjoy a sundowner.

Families can go on shorter ‘bumble’ game drives, while the little ones can try their hands at spoor identification, rock-painting lessons, dung spitting, African crafts and storytelling sessions.

Best time to go

Best time to travel

Good time to travel (but some limitations)

Travel is possible (but it’s not the best time)

Travel is not recommended

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Best time to go

Hotel location

Samara is a 2.5-hour drive from Port Elizabeth and just 40 minutes from Graaff-Reinet.

Stay at Samara Private Game Reserve on these trips

More places to stay in Garden Route & Little Karoo

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