Samara Karoo Reserve

Africa South Africa
Samara Karoo Reserve, Eastern Cape - South Africa
Samara Karoo Reserve, Eastern Cape - South Africa
Samara Karoo Reserve, Eastern Cape - South Africa
Samara Karoo Reserve, Eastern Cape - South Africa
Samara Karoo Reserve, Eastern Cape - South Africa
Samara Karoo Reserve, Eastern Cape - South Africa
Samara Karoo Reserve, Eastern Cape - South Africa
Samara Karoo Reserve, Eastern Cape - South Africa
Samara Karoo Reserve, Eastern Cape - South Africa
Samara Karoo Reserve, Eastern Cape - South Africa
Samara Karoo Reserve, Eastern Cape - South Africa
Samara Karoo Reserve, Eastern Cape - South Africa
4 September 2023

Award-winning Samara Karoo Reserve is a conservation journey on 67,000 acres of born-again wilderness in South Africa’s heart-stoppingly beautiful Great Karoo region.

Founded in 1997, Samara has pioneered the rewilding of this semi-arid yet uniquely biodiverse landscape, catalysing an ambitious vision to expand the conservation estate to a 3-million-acre footprint in a Global Biodiversity Hotspot.

Today the reserve is one of South Africa’s most diverse safari destinations, comprising five vegetation biomes across strikingly varied topography, home to over 60 mammal species including the Big Five and cheetah, as well as 225 bird species. Three intimate lodges welcome guests for considered, meaningful and exceptional safari encounters.

In staying at Samara, every guest plays a role in safeguarding the landscape in perpetuity. Yet for those who visit, Samara’s magic extends beyond its conservation importance.

To immerse oneself in this soulful landscape of infinite horizons is to experience a recalibration of the frantic modern mindset, a deep reconnection with Nature and a heart-lifting vision of hope for the future.

It was a very strange feeling because it was totally unprompted and quite unexpected. A battlefield is not normally the sort of place one associates with affairs of the heart. However, the battle sites of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift in KwaZulu-Natal must have inspired some primal emotions that led to conduct quite markedly in contrast to our normal, rational behaviour.

After a long dinner accompanied by several glasses of superb South African Cabernet up in Northern Natal, the site of British triumph and Zulu tragedy, we started chatting to a chap from quite a different part of South Africa – the Great Karoo.

Magical tales were woven about the millions of springbok that once roamed this area, the “Vanished Kings”, the black-maned Cape lion who majestically reigned over the Plains of Camdeboo, the rhino, the cheetah, the now-extinct quagga, the explorers, the characters of yesteryear and the haunting beauty of the semi-desert land.

The dream continued – amass enough land to have a self-sustaining ecosystem that would support wildlife: the herds of antelope that used to inhabit this area, and the predators to keep the balance that helps maintain these fragile ecosystems.

67,000 acres and a quarter of a century later, Samara’s rewilding journey has picked up pace. The land is beginning to recover from the effects of generations of agricultural exploitation. The haunting beauty of the landscape that first inspired this campaign of rejuvenation has returned.

An ambitious programme of land rehabilitation and wildlife reintroduction has brought Samara’s valleys, plains and mountains back to life. Herds of springbok, black wildebeest, zebra and eland now roam the Plains of Camdeboo. Rhinoceros, elephant and cheetah meander across the veld once more. Almost two centuries after it was last seen, the lion reigns again.

Samara’s vision now extends beyond our borders to the creation of South Africa’s 3rd largest protected area in a Global Biodiversity Hotspot, providing a winning plan for the people and wild places of the Karoo.

Whilst on safari at Samara you will bask in the exclusivity of being one of few people in a vast wilderness. With just three intimate luxury lodges sleeping a maximum of 40 people on the vast reserve, it will feel like you have Samara’s 67,000 acres all to yourself.

The Manor offers a contemporary take on Karoo living, sleeping up to 8 in comfort and style. Plains Camp is Samara’s latest eco-tourism offering, an off-grid tented experience for up to 8 guests.

Karoo Lodge is a restored farmhouse with a rustic, authentic charm. Undergoing extensive renovations during the period 06 May – 14 December 2023, Karoo Lodge will reopen on 15 December 2023 with expanded facilities sleeping 24 guests. The renovation will not affect The Manor, Plains Camp or the Samara experience.

The Manor’s uniquely warm design reflects the local environment and traditions with a light, modern twist. Upon arrival, your eye is drawn through the glass double doors flanked by beaded African artwork and Karoo antiques to the 21-metre infinity pool and breathtaking views beyond.

The Manor can be booked on an exclusive-use basis, an option well-suited to families and groups looking for privacy, indulgence and complete relaxation.

When booked exclusively, The Manor guests have access to a private vehicle, guide, chef and host as well as a tailor-made programme of activities. Suites within The Manor can also be booked individually, an ideal option for couples or smaller groups.

The Manor is small enough to feel intimate, yet large enough to give all guests a feeling of space and privacy. The villa opens up into two living areas and two smaller breakaway lounging alcoves. Unwind by the fireplace where a crackling fire burns in the winter months and the large glass doors to the patio are cast wide open in summer.

Dining takes places in a well-appointed dining room adjacent to the comfortable bar area. There is also a small breakfast room next to the kitchen, which can double up as a study.

When the weather is fair, candlelit dinners are set up on the verandah, on the lawn under the purple-flowered Jacaranda tree, or out in the bush beneath a star-studded sky. A Karoo-style boma, fashioned out of an old water reservoir, is the perfect place for pre-dinner drinks around the fire.

Four spacious suites are found in The Manor. Each suite comprises a bedroom and bathroom with shower and free-standing bath. A private patio with outdoor seating looks out over a mountain landscape — the perfect location for lazy afternoons reading “Plains of Camdeboo”, the classic book of the Karoo.

Encircled by a natural amphitheatre of mountains, Karoo Lodge sits in complete serenity with its wild surrounds. The lovingly-restored farmhouse with a true sense of place lies on the first property purchased by Samara’s founders in 1997.

Combining modern comforts with a quintessentially “Karoo” welcoming feel, this family-friendly safari lodge is the perfect place to relax and allow the tranquillity of the Karoo to envelop you – on the wide verandah in summer or by the cosy fire in winter.

Closed for extensive renovations from 06 May 2023, Karoo Lodge will re-open on 15 December 2023, retaining its current charm so beloved by Samara guests but with expanded and upgraded facilities with a focus on sustainability, including new living, dining and learning spaces.

Upon re-opening, Karoo Lodge will comprise 10 suites across two room types: eight Karoo Suites and two Karoo Family Suites, sleeping up to 24 guests. The Manor and Plains Camp (from 15 June 2023) remain open for booking throughout the Karoo Lodge renovation period. The Samara experience is not affected in any way by the renovation.

Antiques, family heirlooms and vintage books permeate the décor throughout. Karoo Lodge offers a warm and inviting living room with a fireplace as well as a cosy bar area. There is a small TV area off the bar.

A large dining room with fireplace is used for indoor crystal dinners. When the weather is clement, candlelit dinners are set up on the verandah, on the lawn under the stars, or in the boma, a traditional reed enclosure warmed by a roaring fire.

Eight Karoo Suites are standalone cottages a short distance from the main Karoo Lodge homestead. Ideal for couples, each spacious suite contains a four-poster bed, fireplace, air-conditioning and luxury en-suite bathroom with large separate bath and shower and two washbasins, and an outdoor shower.

Private covered patios with outdoor seating look out over a waterhole, providing the ideal location for morning coffee or a nightcap under the stars.

Set within the Karoo Lodge garden, two Karoo Family Suites are standalone cottages comprising two inter-leading suites, each with fireplace, air-conditioning and luxury en-suite bathroom with large separate bath, shower, outdoor shower and two wash basins.

A shared private covered verandah with outdoor seating provides the ideal location for morning coffee or a nightcap under the stars. The maximum capacity in each Karoo Family Suite is 4 adults plus one child under the age of 12 on an extra bed in the shared living area.

An off-grid experience with spellbinding views, Plains Camp focuses on walking safaris and reconnecting with Nature in elegant simplicity. No wifi, no electricity, no high-tech distractions — just a grounding, humbling experience in Nature.

This is the ethos of Samara’s brand-new ecotourism offering, Plains Camp. Four deluxe tents welcome 8 guests for a unique explorer-style experience with a focus on the ultimate luxuries — time and space.

Located in a remote part of the reserve with spellbinding views and abundant wildlife including the Big Five, this unpretentious eco-conscious camp lets the landscape do the talking, allowing guests to disconnect from their busy lives in soothing solitude.

Nestled against a low hill with sweeping views of plains and dolerite-capped mountains, Plains Camp blends into its natural surroundings whilst providing a front row view to this piece of paradise and its plentiful wildlife.

Zebra, black wildebeest, springbok and gemsbok meander these plains, alongside giraffe, ostrich and cheetah — the tableau only further enhanced by the unmistakable call of the ground-dwelling korhaan bird.

Designed to touch the ground lightly and with sustainability in mind, the camp echoes the semi-permanence of mobile camps set up during safaris of yore. A communal mess tent houses an indoor dining and lounge space with open sides for soaking up the views.

Antique and locally-made furnishings add a touch of authenticity to the setting without compromising on comfort, creating the perfect spot to cosy up with a book or binoculars. Lit by candlelight and oil lanterns, the camp has no electricity, but plenty of atmosphere. A small farm-style plunge pool provides respite from the midday heat.

A slow and considered experience focusing on guided walking safaris is designed to bring the semi-arid ecosystem to life. Daily morning bush walks focus on the little things so often ignored or unseen from the vehicle. Tracks, flowering Karoo bossies, ostrich eggs and beetles — all these natural wonders form part of the day’s sightings.

In the afternoon, game drives provide an undeniable thrill as guests are able to get up close with cheetah, rhinoceros and giraffe under the supervision of expert guides and trackers. As the coolness of evening approaches, sundowners are just what the doctor ordered, followed by spectacular stargazing.

Four deluxe guest tents are positioned to enjoy spectacular undisturbed mountain views, providing a tranquil sanctuary to return to after a long day of exploring. There’s nothing quite like “champagne air” to make for a restful night’s sleep!

Tastefully furnished with all the essentials, the intimate bedroom and seating area are warmed by a small fireplace in winter and cooled by a fan in summer. A simple en-suite bathroom at the back of the tent contains an indoor loo, a washbasin and a separate open-air “bucket” shower — filled from the outside with hot water on request.

Simple, wholesome meals are cooked by the chef over the campfire and taken either in the well-appointed mess tent or al fresco under a Jacketplum tree. A bar in the mess tent stocks a variety of chilled drinks as well as tea, coffee and Amarula hot chocolate.

A timeless landscape of space, stars and silence, a magical region known as the heart and soul of South Africa. A vast semi-desert stretching across four provinces, the Karoo is South Africa’s answer to the Australian Outback or North America’s Chihuahan Desert.

Characterised by extensive open plains bordered by dolerite-capped mountains, the immense, heart-lifting spaces of the Karoo have a unique, humbling kind of magic. The Karoo is split into roughly two sections: the expansive Great Karoo to the north-east and the smaller Little Karoo (Klein Karoo) in the south-west.

Samara Karoo Reserve sits within the Great Karoo, which covers more than 400,000 km² – an area larger than Germany. The name Karoo comes from an ancient San word meaning Land of Great Thirst, a reference to the arid landscape and harsh climate.

Yet, for a semi-desert, the Karoo is extraordinarily diverse. In particular, the area within which Samara sits represents the meeting point of an astonishing variety of topographies, vegetation biomes and wildlife.

It is known as the Camdeboo region, loosely translated from San language as Place of the Green Hills. This part of the Karoo has been designated as the western-most extent of one of just 36 Global Biodiversity Hotspots, the Maputaland-Pondoland-Albany Hotspot.

Since time immemorial the Karoo has held a special place in the hearts of many South Africans, its stark and desolate beauty the stuff of legend. With a vastness stretching as far as the eye can see, the Great Karoo holds a mysterious energy that highlights humanity’s insignificance – the perfect antidote to the stresses of modern living.

There is no better place to clear your lungs, reconnect with your senses, and feel the stresses of daily life begin to slip away. Climb to the the top of a rocky outcrop on the edge of the Karoo basin, look out over an ancient and timeless landscape, and feel your heart soar. To immerse yourself in this landscape of infinite horizons is to place everything in your life in perspective once more.

Karoo hospitality is equally renowned – warm and genuine with tasty farm cooking to boot. Dotted around the Karoo lie small towns – dorpies – where original settler architecture, eccentric characters and a distinctly “Karoo” way of life collide in charming fashion. The fascinating histories of the settlements and pioneering peoples of the Karoo add to its magic.

Samara is fortunate to be located just 45 minutes from Graaff-Reinet, South Africa’s 4th oldest town, a picturesque settlement rich in history and character, and well worth a visit before or after your Samara trip.

Samara is uniquely situated at the meeting point of five of South Africa’s nine vegetation biomes: Grasslands, Nama Karoo, Savanna, Thicket and Forest.

This diversity of vegetation creates a multitude of habitats for species that are specially adapted to the Karoo’s arid environment. Explore each of these biomes during your safari at Samara with our experienced guides, who will bring each biome to life during bush walks and game drives.

Our “Samara Mara” is formed of thousands of hectares of mountain-top grasslands. Here, grasses dominate the landscape, with trees and shrubs along natural springs and drainage lines. Herds of eland, black wildebeest, gemsbok, blesbok and Cape mountain zebra are regularly seen on the plateau.

Keep an eye out for baboons, porcupine, aardwolf and regal Secretarybirds. Samara’s cheetah and lion also love these grasslands and can be spotted camouflaged amongst the grasses, taking in the view of the plains below.

The Thicket biome is characterised by dense vegetation in the valleys and on the mountain slopes. This habitat tends to be quite rocky and is favoured by browsers such as kudu, eland and black rhino.

A particular favourite plant of theirs is Spekboom – a light green succulent-type shrub that literally translates as “Pork Bush” for its high nutritional content. Samara has engaged in an ambitious plan to restore thousands of hectares of Spekboom thicket – contributing to the fight against climate change and providing jobs in rural communities.

Samara’s savanna biome hugs the ephemeral rivers on the property. Characterised by tall trees including Senegalia (formerly Acacia), this habitat is subject to the changing water levels in the rivers. In times of heavy rains, the rivers burst their banks, flooding the savanna around them.

In this biome, you’re likely to spot troops of vervet monkeys, elephants, buffalo, giraffe and red hartebeest. If you’re lucky, this is also where you’ll see an aardvark – they dig their burrows and forage for ants and termites in the soft, rich earth.

Samara’s southern section consists of flat plains typical of the Karoo, interspersed with waterholes and thicker bush clumps. The dominant vegetation is low shrubs and grasses. The fossil record in the Nama Karoo is world-renowned, with mammal remains millions of years old preserved in the shale deposits.

Wildlife in the Nama Karoo is varied, with herds of plains zebra, springbok and gemsbok sharing the landscape with steenbok, jackal and bat-eared foxes. This is also the perfect place to see blue crane in flocks of up to 200 in winter.

As well as the four biomes outlined above, Samara remarkably also contains several patches of forest, characterised by elevated continuous canopy with multi-layered vegetation below. These are located at the very top of valleys and underneath cliff faces on the mountain slopes, in areas where the soil has a high moisture content due to natural springs.

Key species moving through these forests include mega-herbivores such as elephants and birds such as the rameron pigeon, a fruit-eating forest-dweller. These animals help to disperse the seeds of trees found there, from yellowwoods to wild olives.

With 67,000 acres of wilderness at your disposal, there are many ways to enjoy Samara, whatever the type of holiday you are planning. From romantic getaways to child-friendly safaris, adventure travel to milestone celebrations, Samara has something for everyone.

Those with an interest in conservation can also choose to combine their luxury getaway with conservation activities during their stay. Of course, if the pure Karoo air and serenity of our lodges compels you to simply relax and recharge by the pool, you’ll have no less of an enjoyable time. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “adopt the pace of Nature: her secret is patience”.

One of the highlights of a stay at Samara is the opportunity to track wild cheetah on foot. Thanks to a number of relaxed individuals, starting with our famous Sibella, we have been able to offer unrivalled wild cheetah viewing to many years of Samara guests.

Several of Samara’s cheetahs have radio collars for research and monitoring purposes to inform our conservation management. These collars also enable them to be tracked more easily. This is essential given the type of terrain they live in – from hunting in the thicket adjoining the rivers to giving birth on steep mountain slopes.

Depending on the vegetation, your guide will also teach you to track the old-fashioned way – pointing out the signs of a cheetah’s presence, from tracks to dung to scratch marks on a tree trunk. The cheetah tracking experience is available to all guests at no extra charge.

Want to truly experience Africa, its smells, sounds and that unmistakeable wilderness feeling? Then get off the safari vehicle and walk a little closer. Samara is one of few game reserves where walking forms an integral part of the safari experience.

With fragile ecosystems and a “tread lightly” policy, our preferred form of off-roading is on our own two feet, providing the ideal place for an unforgettable walking safari.

Let our experienced guides walk you through our five vegetation biomes, pointing out the signs of the wild invisible from the vehicle. Marvel at busy termites as they go about their daily business, listen out for the call of the Honeyguide leading you to wild honey and feel your senses heighten in every way as you navigate the sort of landscape our prehistoric ancestors dwelled in long ago, once again home to the Big Five.

Every tree, every rock and every track has a story to tell. During your walking safari, breathe in the silence and space so foreign to our everyday urban lives and feel yourself reconnecting to Nature.

No one can fail to be moved by the sound of trickling water in a stream, the gentle whistling of the wind rustling the leaves, the sense of suspense and awe at walking to within metres of endangered cheetah and rhino.

If the conditions are right, you’ll get the opportunity during your walking safari to track these iconic animals on foot, with safety always top of mind. What a privilege to enter their space and witness these animals living wild and free. An unforgettable and humbling experience awaits.

Every Samara guest helps us to achieve our conservation vision simply by choosing to support us. We also offer active participation in our various conservation projects. For those who want to delve a little deeper, to understand how a game reserve truly operates behind the scenes, we offer hands-on conservation sessions and personalised tours of our rewilding projects.

These can be pre-booked at the time of reservation, or you can opt for our Conservation Journey package – a thoughtfully-crafted itinerary that enables participants to develop a meaningful understanding of Samara’s conservation efforts, without compromising on 5-star comforts.

You might wonder what makes Samara special. Aren’t all game reserves beacons of conservation achievement? The reality is a little more complex. Samara’s focus on conservation is not a fashionable marketing tactic – it is in our DNA.

Samara was founded in 1997 with the vision of rewilding 67,000 acres across eleven former livestock farms, restoring degraded landscapes and returning wildlife which had been absent from the region for centuries.

Samara’s exquisite scenery and unique experiences make for a special romantic escape. Whether you are planning a proposal, honeymoon, anniversary or even just a treat for your loved one, Samara provides the ideal destination.

Escape the stresses of city living in this magical wilderness. Awaken to the sounds of the bush – quiet, gentle, soothing. Open the curtains to reveal views that stretch to the mountains beyond. Breathe in the fresh Karoo air. Unwind.

The Samara team is passionate about creating special memories for you to cherish. Get in touch with us and we will be happy to assist you in curating your perfect romantic experience. Romantic extras include special turn-downs, private vehicle, wilderness picnics, couples massage and complimentary sparkling wine.

Samara’s abundance of stunning landscapes lends itself perfectly to outdoor dining at its finest. Whether on your own private verandah or out in the bush, treat yourself to an intimate dining experience as the night sky unfolds to reveal a carpet of stars. In the height of summer, request a romantic lunch for two in the river – and sit back in your canvas chair as the cool, clear water flows past your toes.

Breathe in the vastness of the Karoo landscape, lit by a canopy of stars. Samara’s star bed on the Milk River will provide you with a romantic wilderness experience to take your breath away.

Arrive at sunset for a picnic dinner and drinks. Watch as the local wildlife descend to the water to quench their thirst. Take in the spectacular views over the mountainous landscape, free of light and noise pollution.

As the night sky develops, marvel at the Milky Way, pointing out different constellations with the aid of our star books, before drifting off to sleep wrapped in a thick mohair blanket. Awaken to the big skies and birdsong of the Karoo as another beautiful day dawns in Africa.

Samara’s fly camping experience is an immersive adventure encompassing a guided bush walk and a sleep-out in one of Africa’s most exquisite wildernesses. In the safari days of yore, explorers setting up camp in big game country had to make do with little more than a fly sheet to protect them from the elements and the wildlife.

Fly camping takes its name from this tradition, and although today’s camps are typically more substantial, there’s an undeniable thrill to going back to basics. Samara’s fly camping excursion pays homage to these origins and takes full advantage of the reserve’s vastness and diversity, offering an experience that is simple yet spectacular.

The adventure begins with a guided bush walk through Big Five territory with an armed ranger and tracker team. The opportunity to explore Samara on foot is a thrilling one, awakening the senses and showcasing the landscape from a different perspective.

At dusk, guests arrive at their private camp, where tents have been set up and the fire is ready to be started. Here you will be treated to sundowners and a traditional South African braai, cooked over the fire by your ranger and tracker (with optional assistance from any budding chefs in the group!).

Your evening will be spent around the campfire, sharing safari stories, watching the stars appear and listening for the nightly chorus of jackals and nightingales punctuated by the occasional roar of a lion – a sound you are unlikely to forget.

You’ll retreat to the comfort of your tent, where your bed will have been prepared for you – foam mattress, soft linen and extra blankets to ward off the night air. The smell of firewood and coffee, and the sounds of an African dawn, will coax you out of your tent to take in the magic of the sunrise. You can then choose either to walk or drive back to the lodge.

What is it that makes food taste better when eaten outdoors? We’re not sure of the exact recipe, but it probably has something to do with the smell of the campfire, the hunger-inducing fresh air, and the pleasing parallel of sipping your G&T on the rocks, well… on the rocks.

At Samara, the wealth of stunning landscapes positively begs to be the setting for a delicious meal, whether it be a well-earned breakfast buffet, light lunch in the shade of a shepherd tree on one of our wilderness picnics or dinner under the stars. Aside from the beautiful locations, gourmet picnic food has a certain je-ne-sais-quoi that just epitomises holiday mode.

As well as dining on your lodge verandah or in the outdoors “boma”, a traditional reed enclosure at Karoo Lodge with a campfire at its centre, there are myriad other dining options to enjoy at Samara.

From a picnic lunch in the riverbed at the height of summer with cool water flowing past your toes, to our iconic mountain picnic experience on the Samara Mara, you’ll struggle to go back to dining in urban eateries.

We aim to organise a wilderness picnic or bush dinner for all guests staying for a minimum of 3 nights (of course, this is weather dependent). Options include a simple picnic blanket and basket meal, a seated dining affair or a custom-made mealtime. Please advise Reservations of any particular requests and we will do our best to create a magical dining experience for you.

With a variety of routes both easy and technical, Samara offers mountain biking for beginners and advanced cyclists. Two options are available: guided and non-guided rides. The guided routes are located within the game-fenced area, as guests will need to be accompanied by a member of the Samara Team.

Non-guided routes are located in an area without dangerous game, and guests wishing to cycle by themselves can do so in this section. They will be provided with a radio and a map of the route.

The Samara Mara guided route is 33km, with 656m total ascent. You’ll cycle through all four of Samara’s vegetation biomes. From the foothills of Kondoa Mountain you’ll begin a 7km ascent to the plateau grasslands above.

Once on the Samara Mara, you’ll ride amongst herds of eland, gemsbok, wildebeest and Cape mountain zebra, set against a backdrop of purple mountains. The ride back down to the lodge will take you down the exhilarating Wolvekloof pass. This route is technical and a good level of fitness is required. Experienced bikers only.

The Milk River guided route is 12km. You’ll ride through the riverine vegetation that hugs the meandering Milk River, across dry riverbeds and through open plains where you might spot monkeys, kudu and, in winter, the elusive aardvark. This route is gentle and is open to bikers of all abilities.

The Vulture Mountain non-guided route is 44km, with 676m total ascent. You’ll cycle through the riverine thicket of the Milk River before moving towards the base of Vulture Mountain. A 1.5km climb up the mountain will present you with a challenge – but the views of the Plains of Camdeboo from the top will be worth it.

Ride along the mountain plateau with another, smaller ascent, before a fast 5km downhill bringing you back to the lodge. This route is technical and a good level of fitness is required. Experienced bikers only.

The Wild Olive Grove non-guided route is a more leisurely 20km. You’ll head out up a valley with lush vegetation either side for 8km, before turning off into the riverine thicket. After 1.5km you’ll reach the river and a grove of 800-year-old Wild Olive trees – the perfect spot for a picnic lunch. The return leg is back from where you have come.

Samara offers an adventure for all ages. Family-owned and family-run, we are passionate about educating the next generation of eco-warriors and opening their eyes to the wonders of the wild. Samara’s malaria-free Big Five wilderness offers an exciting new world just waiting to be discovered.

Upon arrival, kids are enrolled in the Samara Cubs Programme, jam-packed with fun activities and inspiring educational experiences, for all ages from toddlers to teens. Parents can opt to relax and unwind or join in, creating opportunities for the whole family to reconnect — with Nature and with each other.

Experienced staff will engage your kids in a variety of age-appropriate activities, including track identification, painting like the Khoi-San people, walking stick carving, storytelling, T-shirt painting, Spekboom planting, orienteering and navigating.

Children receive a goodie bag with activities and treats to enhance the magic of their Samara stay. Using the bush as an outdoor classroom, kids will learn about the multitude of other creatures we share our planet with – from bugs and beetles to the “Funny Five”.

The discerning tastes of older children are catered for with more grown-up adventures, designed to showcase the beauty and thrill of the Great Outdoors. Activities include air rifle target practice, bush walks, sleep-outs, conservation activities and overnight trails.

Walks in Big Five territory have a minimum age limit of 16 years. These activities can also include parents, allowing the whole family to reconnect on an exciting wilderness adventure.

High chairs and cots are available for infants and toddlers. When parents are away from the lodge on game drives, babies under 3 years of age must be placed under the care of Samara’s experienced child-minders.

Whenever possible, our preference is for “active babysitting” – meeting the tortoises that meander onto the lodge lawn and exploring the garden. This service is also available over meal times.

Rooms: 9
Price: from 701 EUR per night


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