Stargazing in the Karoo
Award-winning Samara Private Game Reserve, which recently celebrated 20 years of existence, is located on 70,000 acres of wilderness in the Great Karoo, offering breathtaking views over the Plains of Camdeboo. It is situated approximately 270 km from Port Elizabeth and 53 km from the nearest town of Graaff-reinet. Samara offers easy access on excellent roads, so you don’t need to have an off-road vehicle to get there.
The reserve is a passionate conservation undertaking and Samara has been a catalyst for change in the Great Karoo. The abundant land – which has been allowed to rest over a period of 20 years – preserves a complex and diverse ecosystem. Four vegetation biomes provide habitat for over 60 mammal species, including aardvark, Cape mountain zebra, giraffe, black and white rhino, buffalo, eland, gemsbok, and cheetah, to name but a few. Samara forms part of a greater vision, namely to create South Africa’s thirdlargest protected area in a global biodiversity hotspot. The driving force behind this vision is the desire to preserve this irreplaceable part of South Africa’s natural heritage.
Samara allows a maximum of 30 guests to stay in one of its two fivestar lodges: Karoo Lodge, a renovated farmstead overlooking an amphitheatre of mountains, and The Manor House, an exclusive-use villa with private pool, chef, butler, and ranger. The accommodation is in traditional Karoo-farmhouse style.
Activities on offer at Samara include game drives, guided walks, wilderness picnics, birding, mountain hikes, indoor and outdoor dining, and conservation activities. Children of all ages are welcome, as there is a children’s programme dedicated to making conservationists out of the young ones.
Earlier this year, the Milky Way Star Bed Experience was launched, providing guests with a romantic wilderness experience that will take their breath away. Set against a dramatic mountain backdrop in a secluded location, the platform houses a bespoke four-poster bed with draped mosquito net. A seating area looks out over the river where wildlife gathers to drink. Creature comforts are taken care of with luxurious sheets, mohair blankets, dressing gowns, and bathroom facilities. The whole set-up makes for a truly luxurious sleep-out experience lit by the twinkling stars overhead.
Samara has also introduced guided and unguided mountain biking tracks for guest enjoyment on its 70,000 acres of wilderness. Guided routes – which include the Samara Mara Cycle Route of 33 km with a 656 m total ascent, and the 12 km Milk River Cycle Route – are in the game-fenced area where riders are accompanied by a Samara ranger. Non-guided routes – which include the Vulture Mountain Cycle Route of 44 km with a 676 m total ascent, and the gentler Wild Olive Grove Cycle Route of 20 km leading to the grove of 1,000 year old wild olive trees – are available in the nature reserve, removed from dangerous game. Riders are given a radio and a map to guide them along the route, and packed picnics can be arranged on request for the nonguided tracks.
To find out more about what Samara has to offer, or to book your stay under the stars, visit www.samara.co.za or contact email@example.com.