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Recreating Our African Wilderness - Samara Private Game Reserve 
Hundreds of years ago one could stand on top of the Sneeuberg Mountains looking down over the vast open Plains of Camdeboo and witness a massif dust cloud as millions of springbok migrated to find greener pastures. Many years down the line much of the game had been hunted out and replaced with goat and sheep farming. Due to bad land management overgrazing became rife in this dry semi-desert land. Ten years ago Mark and Sarah Tompkins had a vision to recreate the original wilderness that existed in this dramatically beautiful area. They bought up 11 farms covering an area of 28 000 hectares (70 000 acres) and turned it into a nature reserve reintroducing wildlife species that existed here many years ago. This nature reserve is Samara Private Game Reserve .


Samara Private Game Reserve - Eland herd

I was lucky to be invited to come and stay at this exclusive game reserve and experience this spectacular part of our country. Samara Private Game Reserve offers a wilderness experience where time stands still, inviting you to pause, breathe and reflect. It offers a charm that washes over you slowly and then steals your heart and before you know it, you’re so comfortably at home that you don’t want to leave. The exceptional service offered by the staff who go the extra mile to ensure your comfort is refreshing. To give you an example of the things they do: after a chilly and wet afternoon game drive we returned to our room to be welcomed by a hot, candle-lit bath immersed in bubbles.

Samara has won many awards over the last couple of years, the latest being “One of The 15 greatest safari experiences in Africa” Voted Harper’s Bazaar, March 2008.
Samara offers 2 superb 5 star luxury lodges. The décor is a tasteful fusion of traditional Karoo style and modern African influences. Surrounded by a natural amphitheatre of mountains, the lodges sit in perfect serenity with the reserve’s pristine wilderness.


Samara Private Game Reserve - Manor House

The lodges are booked on a fully inclusive basis, including all meals, selected drinks and the game activities in the reserve, namely: Early morning and late afternoon game drives, with the evening drive ending in a spot lit search for the elusive nocturnal Aardvark. Guided bush walks and visits to sites of historical and paleontological interest are also offered. Professional, local rangers guide all the activities. Guests are welcome to choose not to join an activity and rather relax at the lodge and take advantage of the luxury spa facilities instead.


Samara Private Game Reserve - Michael, our ranger

Your ranger will take you across vast open plains where you will discover large herds of Eland, Black Wildebeest, Oryx, Zebra and Springbok. Samara’s unique commitment to conservation and the rehabilitation of this land offers guests sightings of some of South Africa’s most endangered and elusive species, including Cheetah, Cape Mountain Zebra, Black Wildebeest, White Rhino, Blue Crane and Aardvark. One of the game drives will include a challenging 4x4 drive to the top of the plateau for that awe-inspiring view over the Camdeboo Plains. A cup of welcoming hot filter coffee prepared by your guide accompanied with a delicious cake of some sort from the Karoo Kitchen, rounds off this wonderful experience.


Samara Private Game Reserve - Plains of Camdeboo

Privileged to be home to the highly endangered Cheetah, Samara also hosts a remarkable individual. Born a wild cheetah, Sibella’s life nearly ended at the hands of hunters. After being savagely treated in captivity, she was fortunate enough to be rescued and underwent life-saving surgery and rehabilitation at the De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Trust. In December 2003, Sibella started a new chapter in her life when she, along with two males, was released into Samara Private Game Reserve. Despite suffering the occasional twinge from her previous injuries, Sibella has proved herself to be a capable hunter and has successfully reared 18 cubs in the time she has been at Samara. As such, she epitomizes the spirit of Samara as she plays a vital role in the rejuvenation of a once endangered existence. This exceptional cat has now contributed to 2% of the wild cheetah population in South Africa. Some of the cheetah on Samara are collared and constantly monitored. Your guide can therefore offer you a cheetah tracking experience and if successful can allow you the opportunity of a close up sighting of this beautiful animal.


Samara Private Game Reserve - Cheetah mom and cubs

There are a number of quality game reserves in South Africa that offer a superb Big 5 game experience (lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhino) such as Shamwari Game Reserve or Sabi Sand Game Reserve. Samara is not one of these. It’s important to understand this before you arrive. Samara offers peace and tranquility in a spectacular wilderness environment accompanied by luxurious comfort, delectable cuisine and consummate hospitality.

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