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Shamwari Bayethe Lodge
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All reviewsoutdoor showergame drivesplunge poolthe reserveour honeymoonranger jacqueswatering holehis knowledgeelusive leopardborn free foundationluxury tentssafari experienceincredible experienceafternoon safaribig catsclose rangesundowner drinks
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Reviewed 21 February 2018

What a fabulous safari! My husband and I stayed at the Shamwari Game Reserve in Port Elizabeth at the Bayethe Lodge. We were warmly greeted by Franky, the lodge manager, and our fantastic 3-day voyage took off from there. Although we arrived late, we were served lunch, and then jumped on our afternoon safari, with our trusted ranger, Dylan. We highly recommend this game reserve, having been on three Kenyan safaris. What’s so different with this reserve is that the Shamwari rangers stay in constant radio contact with each other for animal sightings both in the north and south end of the preserve so there is little chance of missing any animal sightings, and the staff are respectful of the animals (they do not allow more than 3 vehicles to view the animals at the same time), which allows visitors a rare glimpse into the game park animals’ normal behavior (some of the animals would periodically shoot a glance our way but otherwise ignored us). Dylan was an absolute delight on each drive, sharing his vast knowledge of the animals (who would have thought pooh details could be so interesting!) and birds in the reserve, and sharing some meals with us and other folks in our vehicles during drives, which gave us an opportunity to get to know everyone, which made it even more special. Plus, the morning stops for coffee/tea and the late afternoon stops for cocktails were a nice break to talk about the amazing things we saw and ask Dylan ever more questions (he was incredibly patient and kind). We felt we were welcomed by everyone with open arms and hearts.

When we didn’t think it could be any more magical, after arriving at the airport, we realized we left a camera at the preserve and contacted Franky, who somehow managed to perform a superhuman feat and transported staff to the airport, who met us at the security gate while the plane was boarding! We cannot thank him and the other staff enough for their fast thinking and kindness! You rock!

You will not be disappointed staying at the Shamwari Game Reserve (the reserve has different levels of lodging available, but if you want more of a tent, albeit a luxurious tent, experience, the Bayethe lodge is perfect). Plus, it’s a malaria-free zone.
We also stayed for 2 nights at the Bayethe sister lodge in Zimbabwe (Victoria Falls River Lodge; for this journey, you will need malaria meds). After the fantastic and perfect experience at Shamwari, we thought the next stop couldn’t match up to the high standards at Shamwari, but we’re thrilled to say we were proven wrong (the only thing we would have changed is to book an extra night). We highly recommend both lodges. The staff lodge were incredible kind and friendly (food servers, bartenders, chefs, front desk personnel, golf cart drivers, boat captains). Be sure to arrive with extra space in your luggage for the lodge’s amazing artwork for sale (came home with a wonderful face mask). Also, please consider asking your guide/driver to stop at the Victoria Falls market in town (Zimbabwe has a high unemployment rate, so supporting these folks directly helps – amazing fabrics, and wood and stone sculptures). Special thanks to Nofias Mpala (who walked us through the falls), and Faithy and Billy.
In reading comments before our trip, there were some negative comments, which we ignored, and we are so glad we did. One last word: if you are not going to book this trip of a lifetime yourself, use Lion Word Travel (we worked mostly with Natalie but also dealt with the agency’s other very friendly and knowledgeable staff). We met travelers who shared their frustration in using travel agents other than Lion Travel and were disappointed multiple times (told by agency certain things were included but ended up that they weren’t and folks had to keep opening their wallets to pay, one couple was even told that malaria pills weren’t required for Zimbabwe – wrong!). We are glad to say we had no surprises with Lion World Travel and highly recommend them. Their lists are detailed, they provide backup emergency numbers if the need arises, and basically take care of all the millions of details that a trip like this requires.
Over the years we have been able to travel throughout Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, and had some fantastic trips, but we are in agreement that this was our best trip yet!

Room Tip: Loved privacy of Room #1
  • Stayed: February 2018, travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Diane C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 February 2018 via mobile

Although our lodge was the furthest from the restaurant it gave us some walking exercise after all the eating and driving around rough terrain in search of game! (Two long game drives a day punctuated by breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner!)
This was counterbalanced by a few hours lazing by our own private plunge pool and decking.
The whole experience is one I would do again as soon as I could!
Our driver guide was amazing both as a driver through unbelievable terrain but also so knowledgable about the wonderful wild animals he was able to search out for us. We got unbelievably close to Lions, Elephants, Rhinos and Giraffes to name a few.

Stayed: February 2018, travelled as a couple
1  Thank PAW743
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 February 2018

This was a once in a lifetime experience and it exceeded my expectations. The lodge was lovely, clean and huge with a lovely plunge pool with every lodge. I never even saw any bugs and did not get bitten at all from mosquitoes. We experienced 4 game drives and they were all excellent seeing animals on all of the trips. We saw 4 of the big 5 and lots of other animals too. The elephants and giraffes were wonderful and we were that close that we could hear them breathing and eating. I didn't realise before the drive that we would get so close to these wild animals. Our rangers, Dylan who was very passionate about his job and his enthusiam enthused to us all and Tyrone were amazing tracking the animals for us so that we would get a truly amazing experience.
The food at the lodge wasn't a 5* experience in my opinion but the lunch was much better than the evening dinner in my opinion. We had chicken and fish and they were both overcooked and dry. Even though the food wasn't excellent it did not detract from the overall experience.

Room Tip: Ask for a lodge close to the restaurant.
  • Stayed: February 2018, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank mantlefamily2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 February 2018

We spent 4 truly unforgettable nights at the Bayethe Lodge in May 2017 and this was easily the highlight of our holiday and the best 'hotel' we have ever stayed in.

Our ranger, Sihle, was very knowledgeable and did everything he could to find the animals we wanted to see next. He even managed to spot some very young lion cubs, a lion with a kill, rhino calf and cheetah cubs. We were lucky enough to be the only couple in his truck for a day so got to do everything we wanted. He also managed to arrange a trip to their rehabilitation centre to meet their veterinary nurse Megan (my wife is a veterinary nurse too) and a walking safari with Mino where we saw 2 rhino, zebra and antelope.

The reserve is very large, with a variety of different terrain from open plains to steep rocky valleys which provide ideal habitat for all animals. We saw everything we could possibly have hoped for, except an elusive leopard, including a large elephant herd with tiny babies, a lion pride with 8 week old cubs, large herds of giraffe and antelope and a mother and baby rhino calf which found us during a sundowner.

The lodge itself is incredible. The rooms were large, extremely comfortable and well appointed. The heater and log burner ensured that the room was toasty and warm even during the cold nights. Coming back from our game drives to a burning fire is really wonderful. The food was tasty and well presented, with a good selection even for those with picky tastes. The selection at breakfast in particular was incredible and we enjoyed everything we tried.

The service throughout was excellent, whether it was the staff serving food, the rangers driving us, housekeeping starting a fire in our room or those who greeted us after every drive with a hot or cold drink.

At the end of our 4 days here we didn't want to leave and can't wait to come back. My wife even shed a tear or two as we said goodbye to Sihle!

  • Stayed: May 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
1  Thank Adrian M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 February 2018 via mobile

We are the first time in South Africa and friends recommended the Shamwari Park as a starting program as we are located in Capetown. So we booked the Bayethe Lodge and were totally amazed by the lodge and especially by the people running it. We had a “Semi”-Tent as a room, which was perfect, everything what we expected was there.
In the Lohses the staff was very kind and good, the food was also very good and we got everything what we asked for (eg Cappuccino) - for breakfast we did recommend the eggs Benedict - great!!!!

Our ranger - Dylon- was amazing, he is so Passionen and loves what he is doing. You can feel it and that is also the reason why, getting up at 5 am is not bad, he showed us everything. We loved it, we saw lions, buffalos, hippos, rhinos, elephants, giraffes and a lot of more animals. Thanks for that - superb.

More than just as a starter - very good lodge and ranger as well as animals.

Stayed: February 2018, travelled as a couple
Thank AnBerni
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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