Riverdene Family Lodge at Shamwari Private Game Reserve

Riverdene Family Lodge at Shamwari Private Game Reserve

Hayes & Jarvis Rating
TripAdvisor Review
1246 Reviews
Guide Price £2,129 per person
Based on 05 March 19, staying for 4 nights full board in a Luxury Room (2 adults sharing). Flights not included.
Our guide price gives you an idea of how much to budget for a stay at this hotel. The price will vary based on exchange rates, and your choice of room type, departure date, airline and cabin class, and any additional extras you’d like to add to your holiday.

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. 

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

Hotel Features

Hotel Category


Location Type

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

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 hours drive from Port Elizabeth Airport
1246 Reviews 96% of travellers recommended this hotel

Traveller ratings

  • Excellent 1130
  • Very Good 78
  • Average 24
  • Poor 10
  • Terrible 4

What to Expect

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


Jan 22, 2019

Best holiday experience ever

Horsham, United Kingdom

We stayed at Eagles Crag at the beginning of Jan 19 and had Mino as our ranger. The reserve is absolutely amazing and Eagles Crag has recently been returned and it shows - definitely a 5* resort where nothing is too much trouble and the staff always have a smile on their face. We saw so much on the Safari, including the northern and southern male lions, rhinos, elephants, cheetah etc. Mino did a brilliant job, and is so knowledgeable about all the animals, even being able to "predict" what they are going to do next! Overall I'd recommend it to anyone looking to do Safari so big thanks to Mino, Marilie and all the staff!
Jan 20, 2019


We decided to stay at Shamwari based on reviews we had read and its ranking as one of the top game reserves near Port Elizabeth. Let me start by saying that it exceeded our expectations on almost all counts! Our stay was for three nights in January 2019. Let's start with the guide: Timothy was hands-down the most knowledgeable, enthusiastic, committed, and attentive guide that we could have had. His passion for the animals and his job is absolutely infectious, and you will learn so much about the animals from him. I don't think there was a question that he couldn't answer. We were surprised that of all the animals, we came closest to the lions (and although I was terrified being a stone's throw from a massive lion, Timothy calmed me down by explaining each of the lion's movements and what they meant). We also came close to the cheetah, saw the elusive leopard, were surrounded by elephants, and saw giraffe, zebra, antelope of all kinds, and more. At the end of the three-night stay, we had seen over 70 species of mammals and birds. Timothy created a great atmosphere and energy between the group, and he went above and beyond. I will definitely request him as a ranger when I go back. The accommodations: as a party of three, we had two cabins. We stayed at Bayethe, in two of the rooms without the outdoor shower (which we preferred because it got cold). They were beautifully decorated, comfortable, and had a lovely pool in front of each. The minibar has a nice selection of South African beer and wine, and the coffee selection is also really nice. The bathroom is fantastic and spacious with an open-space shower and a large tub, as well as dual sinks. There is air conditioning in the rooms for when it is hot. The food: our first night after check-in was followed by a safari with sunset cocktails and then back to the lodge for a bry (South African barbecue). There was a nice selection of meat, including a different venison each night. The meat was slightly overcooked for my taste, but was still good. All of the side dishes were quite nice, and the waitstaff was very nice and attentive. We dined the first and last night with our safari companions - other guests with whom we were paired for all of our safaris. We also shared breakfast with them and our ranger. This enhanced the experience as something personal and memorable with the opportunity to know the others in our group. The spa: we came back from our first day drive (which starts quite early) and had massages and body scrubs. The spa technicians were excellent and it was a great massage. The location of the spa could take better advantage of the setting, but overall a positive experience. All in all, I am very happy that we booked Shamwari rather than head to Krueger (which is supposed to be wonderful, but also overrun with rangers competing for spots to observe the animals). It felt like a much more personal, private and authentic experience. Later in the week, we stayed at another game lodge further west along the Garden Route. Our stay there only confirmed our feelings about Shamwari, as it felt much more commercial and more akin to a zoo-like experience. At Shamwari, you feel like you are entering into the world of the animals without human interference (or with as little as possible). It's truly a transformative experience! Highly recommend!
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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.

Shamwari Welcome Lounge

Guests staying at Shamwari Long Lee Manor should make their way to the Shamwari Welcome Lounge either via transfer or self drive to sign in, then from here a transfer will complete the journey to the accommodation. Parking for the duration of your stay is available here. On their day of departure guests will return to the Shamwari Welcome Lounge to meet a transfer or collect your vehicle and continue on to their next destination.

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

On arrival at Riverdene, a children's coordinator will discuss activity options with your family which may include visits to the Shamwari Animal Rehabiltiation centre and the Born Free Big Cats Rescue Centre. Children will also receive a 'Kids on Safari' backpack full of goodies. The guide will walk children around the lodge's 'bone walk' and teach them about the different animals.

Playroom & Jungle Gym

Young guests can enjoy access to the supervised children's playroom 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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