Riverdene Family Lodge at Shamwari Private Game Reserve

Riverdene Family Lodge at Shamwari Private Game Reserve

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TripAdvisor Review
1245 Reviews

An inspiring African experience

Riverdene Family Lodge is a beautifully restored settler's lodge which provides an ideal base for your safari experience in the Eastern Cape's Shamwari Private Game Reserve.

With just nine suites, Riverdene offers you homely comfort and a warm welcome – perfect for a family safari holiday. A stay at Riverdene will see you immersed in the natural beautiful of your surrounds – after a day packed with safari adventures, relax and unwind in the boma overlooking the Bushman's River.

Shamwari Private Game Reserve is ideal for a family safari due to its in South Africa's malaria-free Eastern Cape. offers many additional activities to entertain children of all ages. Children can engage in the 'Kids on Safari' programme, visiting the wildlife rehabilitation and Born Free Centres as well as enjoying play time at the kids club and outdoor adventure centre.

The private reserve is one of the world's leading safari and game conservation areas and has had its 25th anniversary marked by achieving the acclaimed Fair Trade Tourism certification. With the reserve's strong focus on conservation – and in addition to offering a comprehensive wildlife experience – it incorporates the Born Free Big Cat Sanctuary and its own wildlife rehabilitation centre – we recommend a visit during your stay, as they are fascinating and educational for adults and children alike.

To watch a short video on how amazing Shamwari isclick here

  • Enticing pool with shallow end for younger guests and comfortable loungers
  • Newly refurbished in September 2018
  • Visit Born Free's Big Cat Sanctuary and Shamwari Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre Newly refurbished in September 2018 Enticing pool with shallow end for younger
  • Ideal for families, with many activities and facilities to suit children of all ages
  • Situated in the Eastern Cape – a malaria-free Big Five safari destination

Hotel Features

Hotel Category


Location Type

National park
  • Check-in Time:
  • Check-out Time:
  • 9 rooms
  • Transfer duration: approx. two drive hours from Port Elizabeth

Main Facilities

  • Outdoor pool
  • Wifi

Accommodation Type

  • Lodge
  • Luxury Collection

Board Basis Options

  • Full Board

For Families

  • Kid's Club
Location Highlights

Riverdene Family Lodge at Shamwari Private Game Reserve

  • National park
  • approx. two drive hours from Port Elizabeth
1245 Reviews 96% of travellers recommended this hotel

Traveller ratings

  • Excellent 1129
  • Very Good 78
  • Average 24
  • Poor 10
  • Terrible 4

What to Expect

  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness


Jan 18, 2019

Absolutely Amazing - Eagles Crag Lodge

Munich, Germany

We are still in awe of our stay at the Shamwari Eagles Crag Lodge and our safari drives with James the Ranger. There is so much to be impressed with - from the amazingly beautiful lodge to the fantastic and friendly service to the excessive and wonderful food. Everything at the Eagles Crag was top notch. One example: we mentioned at check-in that my husband had a food intolerance, and for every meal and snack, they had a special menu just for him. Excellent attention to detail. The lodge was so amazing, we wish we could have stayed longer. As for the Game Reserve and rangers, just WOW. We could not have been happier with James and his expansive knowledge of the reserve, the animals and the land. Further, James was just plain fun and personable (as we noticed all the rangers to be!) and made each drive an adventure with a friend. Further, we were paired with friendly people, with similar interests to ours, which made our entire stay feel like family. The experience is so immersive, that you feel like you're leaving life long friends at the end of your stay. And of course, the animals are amazing!!! We cannot recommend Shamwari Private Game Reserve - and the Eagles Crag - highly enough. We will be back. Thank you for the amazing experience.
Jan 17, 2019


Derry, United Kingdom

We had a great time at Shamwari Bayethe. It was an experience I would recommend in most comfortable accommodation. Arrived Sunday midday and were shown to our fine room, or tent as they call it. A mix between tent and chalet. With air conditioning, fire place, electric blankets, sun deck and plunge pool, stand alone bath and outside shower. A fine tray of tapas arrived shortly after. Then we assembled for afternoon tea and met our ranger Timothy and the rest of our group. We set off on our first game drive. There were 2 daily. One early morning, one late afternoon. The early runs are early. We were called at 5, 5.30, and 4.30am respectively. Be prepared for all weather. I used the electric blanket one night and the aircon the next. It gets very hot when the sun comes up, and can get very cold after it sets. The drive back on the first night was miserable. They supply thick blankets in the car. We had to use their ponchos on the last morning as it rained! The food was excellent. I had lamb for dinner one night and it was absolutely superb. Apparently it grazes locally on various wild herbs etc. The staff were most friendly and accommodating. The spa is well worth a visit and the girls are great. Book early for midday between game drives. The drives were fabulous. A super adapted Toyota Land Cruiser that feels like it could go over any ground and under Timothy’s skilful navigation and scouting skills, we got up close and personal with lions, elephants, leopard, (quite a search for him, but succeeded), cheetah, giraffe, countless deer and a respectable distance back from rhino. We sat beside an elephant who pulled up a mature tree with his trunk and forehead as if it was a twig. We sat beside a magnificent male lion who roared, using his whole body to let all know he was there. His entire body convulsed and the sound could be heard echoing down the valley. Zebras stood some 200ms away, and Timothy explained they could outrun him if he chased. Another time we came on the lions eating a warthog and growling at each other about who had first rights. That was the advantage of a private reservation. Better access to animals and while sights are never guaranteed we had spectacular success. Drinks were carried in runs and twice we had drinks on a hill watching the sun set, which helped gel our good group. The impression is of a place very well run by people very committed to their environment. A great way to do a safari experience.
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Riverdene Family Lodge at Shamwari Private Game Reserve


Swimming Pool

The infinity pool also has a shallow area for children to enjoy the cool waters.

Riverdene Family Lodge at Shamwari Private Game Reserve

Room Types

Luxury Room

Of the nine luxurious rooms, six are twin/king bedded suites and three are twin/king bedded suites with an extra sleeper couch to accommodate a maximum of two adults, sharing with one child. 

  • Air Conditioning
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar
  • Safe
  • Satellite/Cable TV
  • Separate Shower
  • Telephone
  • Towels included
Riverdene Family Lodge at Shamwari Private Game Reserve

Food & Drink

Boma Dining

Enjoy your meal with lush views overlooking Bushmans River from the boma.

Lounge Bar

Relax, unwind and treat yourself with a ice cold drink or two.

Board Basis Options

Full Board

Included: 3 meals daily, 2 game drives daily, hot drinks and snacks before morning and afternoon game drives, coffee/tea stop on morning drives, sundowner drinks for evening game drives, guided walks, visits to Born Free sanctuary, animal rehabilitation centre and rhino awareness centre. Kids on Safari programme is also included for children. Please note drinks are NOT included in the Full Board package.

Riverdene Family Lodge at Shamwari Private Game Reserve

Family Friendly Facilities

As the largest of the Eastern Cape private game reserves, Shamwari offers 25,000 hectares of malaria-free landscape and top class game. Shamwari Riverdene Lodge welcomes children from babies upwards, and children can go on game drives from the age of four years making this the perfect option for families.

Luxury rooms sleep up to two adults and one child and interconnecting rooms are also available for larger families.

Kid's Safari

Upon arrival at the Riverdene Lodge, you will be met by one of the fully qualified children's coordinators who will discuss the various activity options for the family. The children can enjoy supervised game drives from the age of 4 years.Children will also be given a Kids on Safari backpack, complete with goodies including a children’s activity book and pencils, which are great for them to take on game drive with them. The guide will walk children round the lodge’s ‘bone walk’ and teach them about the different animals, and families can also visit the reserve’s Born Free sanctuary, animal rehabilitation centre and rhino awareness centre.

Play Room & Jungle Gym

Kids can enjoy access to the supervised childrens play room and jungle gym.

Outdoor Adventure Centre

The outdoor adventure centre will keep children occupied for hours , complete with zip-lines, rock climbing, slides and sandpits.

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