Riverdene Family Lodge at Shamwari Private Game Reserve

Riverdene Family Lodge at Shamwari Private Game Reserve

Hayes & Jarvis Rating
TripAdvisor Review
1255 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
1255 Reviews 96% of travellers recommended this hotel

Traveller ratings

  • Excellent 1139
  • Very Good 78
  • Average 24
  • Poor 10
  • Terrible 4

What to Expect

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


Feb 18, 2019

Breathtakingly Brilliant & Beautiful

Saxmundham, United Kingdom

We stayed for 4 nights at ‘Bayethe Lodge’ a small group of 6 tented lodges. I say tented with tongue in cheek!!. Yes they do have canvas walls & a thatched roof, set among the trees where monkeys jump around your decking area into the trees & back again. (So don’t leave anything laying around, there’ll pinch it!!. Each lodge is very private. The only artificial noise you hear is from the filter of your plunge pool as you sit on very comfortable sun beds between game drives. Inside ‘Your Tent’ you have every comfort you could possibly wish for. Air Conditioning, Huge double bed, sitting area, bathroom with separate toilet & every possible toiletry you could want, a roll top bath, complete with over head shower unit, his & her sinks, wonderful soft white towels & robes at your disposal, including the sun beds. And if that’s not enough? A full outside shower unit with hot & cold water. Enough power sockets you’d want, even one with a standing UK socket. It’s a 5* room in the trees. The game drives themselves are extremely professional & well organised. There are two per day. One in the morning (5:30am) the evening one at 4pm. Each lasts about 3-4hours depending on where you are on the reserve or how much wild life you spot. At this point I would like to go on record & thank our Game Ranger ‘Keegan’ who was without doubt utterly brilliant, not just in his knowledge of the animals but going that little bit extra & not giving up in finding these very shy & sometimes elusive creatures. If there was something you especially wanted to see, he would seek it out. Thank you Keegan, not only did I see the ‘Big 5’ but I think we called it the big 7!!! All up close & personal. If you are ever thinking about coming on Safari? Then I can think of no better place to start than at Shamwari. We spoke to a lot of locals on our travels though western & eastern capes. None of them had a bad work to say about Shamwari. In fact all said it’s the best Game Reserve in Southern Africa. I couldn’t agree more.
Feb 17, 2019

An incredible experience which was truly made thanks to the thoughtful staff

Stockholm, Sweden

We stayed in the explorer camp at Shamwari which was the most unique safari experience I have ever had and I cannot recommend it enough. The guides made the experience even more incredidble than it already was. Leon and Shaun were insightful, funny and warm as well as being so skilled that we felt like we were in the right hands on the walks. The walks themselves were the most incredible experience, allowing you to walk through the park with the guides whilst learning about tracking, flora, insects and birds as well as all the big wildlife. Its something I will never forget and I will certainly be doing it again. Firstly just to inform everyone the explorer camp is not a lodge, it's very much a camping style experience. So there is no power however they do give you solar charged lamps at night for your tent and if you require something charged they have the facilities during the day to charge them if you ask an employee. The tents are large and fixed with proper beds and warm blankets (if it gets cold). There are 2 shared toilets and 2 showers. Both are outdoors but private and with running water and flushes. There are only 6 people sharing so there is never really a rush or an issue with sharing. The food is mostly cooked over an open fire and its all incredible. It's generally a 3-course meal with drinks (a multitude of wine, beer, spirits and soft drinks). Dinner is served at a table where you share with the other guests and rangers. It's a great way to get to know the group. The guides were so attentive, reading the individual guests and ensuring each of us was comfortable in our own way.
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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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