About three hours drive northwest of Addo National park (see Tuesday's blog) lies a different country. If Addo enjoys a lush and verdant environment, Samara Game Reserve is the opposite. Its semi-desert environment is more akin to Namibia. Here we are in the middle of the Great Karoo near the historic farming town of Graaff Reinet.
Over a dozen years ago, a far-sighted British investor started buying up farms, lots of them. I don't know whether he has stopped, but at 70,000 acres, this private reserve is an impressive spread. Part of the reason for buying up so much agricultural land and then letting it return to nature was to reintroduce the traditional migration route of many mammals. Up until the end of the nineteenth century, literally millions of springbok would traverse this area. Indeed, part of the great scheme is to connect Samara and other private reserves with the Camdeboo and Mountain Zebra National Parks to recreate some of that migratory path.
The adjectives of haunting beauty and serenity are apt to describe the character of this experience. You do not come here to see an abundance of game but to relax in a pristine natural environment with a clarity of light and freshness of air few of us encounter in our daily lives. The pleasure here is to sit on the verandah of one of the several old, restored farmhouses and listen to absolutely nothing in this great vastness. You have a choice of accommodation: the old farmhouse Karoo lodge, the slightly more contemporary Manor House and the far removed Mountain Retreat. The latter two are exclusive use accommodation, but all share a similar ambience and character.
The game drives here are relaxed affairs dictated by your time and interest.It is worth mentioning that Samara reintroduced cheetah to an area where it had been all but wiped out 125 years ago, and this is an example of the great importance attached to conservation and environment. You are not restricted to the vehicle with walking and night walks as well as a variety of different scenic drives. One of the most impressive sights is driving up to certain vantage points, and the plains of Camdeboo spread out before you. It is an entirely visceral experience where you will perhaps wander into a safari of the mind
There is a subdued luxury to this place. The luxury of time and space in a pristine natural environment. There are all the bells and whistles of course: excellent food, silver service, spa treatments, special programmes for children. But you will appreciate this magical place more like a retreat and thank the farsighted owners for sharing it with us for generations to come.
- Africa's Ultimate Bucket ListIt has become very fashionable to compile a list of things to see and do before one meets their maker. Here at Uyaphi.com we already have our "Ultimate Bucket List" of things in Africa that we have to do and see.
- Africa's Most Luxurious LodgesIt might come as a surprise to many that some of the most luxurious and desired accommodation establishments on earth are found right here in Africa. This is our showcase of the most luxurious options that we have on offer.
- Kruger Family Friendly LodgesThese are our favourite lodges and camps in and around the Kruger Park that offer family-friendly facilities and activities. Most lodges say that they take kids but there is only a handful that have the facilities to keep them busy, these lodges offer daily activities, kids safari options and baby sittings options.
- Romantic Kruger Park LodgesWhen it comes to romance these are our best options. Lodges that do not take children, lodges that offer privacy, large rooms with lots of space and large baths and outdoor showers. This is what romance in the African bushveld should be. Perfect for honeymooners, those in love or those wanting to fall in love.
- Remote Lodges in AfricaAs always one will find an intrepid soul who has taken the plunge and built a lodge or camp in what can only be described as the "Middle of Nowhere". This page is dedicated to those who are wanting to experience isolation like no other.
- Best Spas in the KrugerLife on safari is not always about game drives and walks 24/7, there should always be a bit of relaxation time, and this is where a Spa comes into play. Take a few hours off to indulge in a tranquil Spa treatment at one of these excellent lodges. All of these lodges offer in-house facilities and a broad range of treatments.