Luxury in the Karoo
Set in the Great Karoo, Eastern Cape, the award-winning, malaria-free 28,000 hectare Samara Private Game Reserve has been described as nothing short of heart-stoppingly beautiful.
Just a two-and-a-half hour drive from Port Elizabeth, and just a 40 minute drive from the historical town of Graaff-reinet, Samara Private Game Reserve is rich in both culture and history. The reserve can accommodate a maximum of 30 guests in the two five-star luxury lodges, ensuring that your wilderness retreat remains exactly that – an escape from the hustle and bustle of the metropolis.
Samara was a restoration project established in 1997. Eleven overgrazed livestock farms were purchased in the hopes of restoring the land back to its natural beauty. Indigenous wildlife was slowly reintroduced to the land after it was given time to rest. The reserve now homes a wide range of game, from cheetahs to the desert-adapted subspecies of the critically endangered black rhino, and even the odd leopard.
The Karoo Lodge in the reserve is an immaculately renovated farmstead overlooking an amphitheatre of mountains. Accommodating up to 26 guests, three of the Karoo Suites are standalone cottages, a short distance from the main homestead, and four are found inside the main homestead itself. The final two rooms are located a little walk away, and are closer to the waterhole where birdlife, antelope, rhino, and buffalo like to gather in the early mornings and late afternoons.
Of course, there is no better feeling than having the entire space reserved just for you – this can be done at Samara Private Game Reserve. Ideal for anyone who is in need of a bit of privacy, indulgence, and complete relaxation, guests can book a stay at the exclusive-use Manor House.
Mark and Sarah Tompkins, the owners of Samara Private Game Reserve, built the Manor House on the site of an old homestead. Its title deed dates back to Lord Charles Somerset, who founded the town of Somerset East.
Lying at the foot of a grassy mountain range, the Manor House is steeped in grandeur. Your own private piece of paradise, the Manor House is staffed with a private ranger, chef, and butler to cater to your every whim. A daily programme of activities is also tailor-made to your specific wishes to ensure that each day is spent exactly as you wish.
The warm design of the Manor House reflects the local landscape and its traditions. Glass double doors meet you upon arrival, flanked by beaded African artwork and traditional Karoo antiques. Once through the doors, your attention diverts from the immaculately decorated interior to the breathtaking open expanses of the Karoo mountain landscape that lies beyond. Outside, the 21 m infinity pool overlooks a waterhole frequently visited by buffalo, warthogs, and monkeys.
The Manor House includes two magnificent living areas, and two smaller breakaway lounging alcoves for secluded spaces in which to unwind. There are four spacious air-conditioned bedroom suites, all with large en suite bathrooms which include free-standing baths and separate showers. Each room also has its own private patio with outdoor seating area – the perfect spot to enjoy a morning cup of coffee.
Adjacent to the bar area is the luxurious dining room. However, guests also have the option to dine by candlelight on the veranda, on the lawn under the purpleflowered Jacaranda tree, or out in the bush beneath a star-studded sky. Before dinner, guests can visit the Karoo-style boma for drinks around the fire.
For a romantic occasion, guests can organise the Milky Way Star Bed Experience. Set in a secluded location, a bespoke fourposter bed with draped mosquito netting lies on a platform beneath the stars. Creature comforts are taken care of with
luxurious sheets, mohair blankets, plush bathrobes, and bathroom facilities.
Do not allow a lack of a decent babysitter dissuade you from booking a stay at this luxury lodge. Samara is a family orientated resort dedicated to make guests of all ages feel welcomed and included. A programme for children will keep your little ones entertained: from bushwalks to visiting rock painting sites and sleep outs. There are also professional childminders for children under the age of eight, so you can leave your children in capable hands while you go out on a game drive or spoil yourself with a spa treatment.
Children will also learn about the “Funny Five” of Samara. Samara believes that our society desperately needs to raise a generation of children who cares about and understands nature in all its shapes and forms. One of the best ways to engage children is through humour. That is why Samara has chosen five animals with quirky dispositions (the giraffe, warthog, wildebeest, monkey, and aardvark) to engage the interest of children when learning about our environment.
For avid bird watchers, Samara has a treat for you. Ten Cape vultures have been spotted feeding on a cheetah kill in the Samara Private Game Reserve. With fewer than 10,000 remaining worldwide, these magnificent birds of prey are classified by the IUCN as Endangered, and are an extremely rare find. Make sure to pack in your binoculars and keep an eye out on the horizon for these majestic creatures.
Another great way to take in the spectacular wildlife scenery is by cycling through the newly opened mountain biking tracks. A Samara ranger rides alongside guests who choose to go on the guided routes which take place in the game-fenced area. Unguided routes are also available. Here, guests are given a radio and a map to navigate through the nature reserve which is removed from the more dangerous game.
Whether you are looking for an intimate getaway or a family-fun holiday, Samara Private Game Reserve is an ideal wilderness retreat.
For more info, visit www.samara.co.za.