Shamwari Private Game Reserve

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

Hayes & Jarvis Rating
Hotel Category
Location Type
National park
TripAdvisor Review
Tripadvisor rating 1333 Reviews
a brown and white cow lying on top of a grass covered field

Hotel highlights

  • 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

General Information

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

Main Facilities

  • Outdoor pool
  • Wifi

Accommodation Type

  • H&J Recommended
  • Lodge
  • Luxury Collection
  • Tented camp

Board Basis Options

  • Full Board

For Families

  • Kid's Club

Hotel Location

Location Highlights

Shamwari Private Game Reserve

  • National park
  • approx. two drive hours from Port Elizabeth
1333 Reviews 96% of travellers recommended this hotel

Traveller ratings

  • Excellent 1217
  • Very Good 78
  • Average 24
  • Poor 10
  • Terrible 4

What to Expect

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


Jan 17, 2020

Excellent Personal Service!

Exeter, United Kingdom

This was our second stay at Shamwari but our first at Sarili Lodge. Bearing in mind that this is a luxury resort and the prices reflect this, I had my doubts that our expectations could be met, let alone exceeded. I was wrong - they were smashed! The rooms and facilities are genuinely 5 star but that is what you would expect. The game drives were incredible and the information regarding the reserve and the animals that was passed onto us from our ranger, Janco, made the difference. What absolutely blew us away at the lodge was the personal service from every single member of staff that we came into contact with at Sarili. They went out of their way to ensure that our stay was memorable, and nothing appeared to be too much trouble for them. The stay was a 21st birthday present for my step-daughter and she was feted like a celebrity. From her arrival to her departure she was made to feel incredibly special and the icing on the cake (excuse the pun) was the incredible cake baked for her on the last night. At most of the resorts we have stayed in, the manager is in the background. Stephani is the exception to this rule. She was everywhere and worked with her team to ensure that everything was in place and that we constantly had smiles on our faces. We cannot thank you and your staff enough for making our stay incredibly special.
Jan 11, 2020

Exceptional Safari Trip

Weymouth, United Kingdom

We (my husband, 10 year old boy and I) stayed at the Riverdene Lodge for 3 nights after staying in Cape Town and travelling along the Garden Route. What a perfect way to end our time in South Africa. I highly recommend this accommodation especially for families with younger children as the facilities / kid club available to them in between game drives are great with such friendly staff. All the staff at The Riverdene Lodge are absolutely fantastic with nothing being too much trouble. I have to give a special nod to Michael the barman, what a lovely gentleman. We were very lucky to have had the friendly, funny, engaging, informative Karien as our ranger who really made our stay so special. Karien really went above and beyond. We were very fortunate and saw lions as well as the elusive leopard eating. We saw elephants with a baby and rhino including a black rhino that was quite an emotional moment for me. Karien persevered in the pouring rain (unusual) and for that reason we were lucky enough to see cheetah hunting, a special moment that will stay with me forever. Karien also provided great information on lots of other interesting animals, birds, insects (dung beetles are so impressive) and plants along the way. I cannot thank Karien enough. The food on offer was divine and constant. My favourite were the treats in the afternoon before the second game drive of the day. Accommodation / facilities all high standard. Such an amazing experience, thank you so much Shamwari
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Shamwari Private Game Reserve


a couple of lawn chairs sitting on top of a body of water

Swimming Pool

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

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
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.

Shamwari Private Game Reserve

Family Friendly Facilities

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.

a woman sitting at a desk

Play Room & Jungle Gym

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

Zip Line

Outdoor Adventure Centre

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