We love Samara and can't wait to share it with you - but don't just take our word for it! Read Samara reviews and testimonials from our guests over the years.
"Total relaxation in a spectacular game lodge with a difference - top class food, service and accommodation in an unspoiled environment. A breath of fresh air compared to the usual South African game lodge servings - different but exceptional - we loved it."


"I never want to leave! We are in awe of the beauty here. We walked to within feet of a mama cheetah and her four cubs, saw baboons, monkeys, giraffes, warthogs, and more. And we've only been here for 18 hours! Samara is incredible."


"Samara is special in all respects. Our stay here was truly a highlight of our recent 30-day trip to Africa."


"Samara is one of those places your heart always yearns to return to. It has become the benchmark to which we compare other game reserves we visit, it is just such a magical and fantastic place. We have been to Samara three times now, and we are always trying to build a visit to Samara into our next trip! "


"This was one of the most wonderful 2 days of our lives: so many aspects were dreams come true. I cannot express how privileged we feel; how spoilt we've been; and how incredible Samara is."


"I have been lucky enough to stay at many, many game lodges over the past 20 years, and for me Samara was a stand-out highlight. The time up on the mountain overlooking the plains was very special, as was the amazing culture you have created at Samara – to a person, your staff were so professional, and so friendly and engaged – very few properties get this as right as Samara. Thank you for having created this special Karoo wilderness."


"I found that elusive 'Heaven on Earth' here at Samara."


"The BEST! Go go go! Lovely staff and accommodations. Property is amazing. The best of the Karoo."


"I have had the distinct joy and pleasure to have been part of the Samara family since 2006; when I say family it is exactly that; they make you feel at home. No request is too big/small or insignificant for them. You may leave but a part of you will remain at Samara. "


"You arrive a stranger and leave a friend. Old world, serene, raw nature combined with excellent non-obtrusive service and five star food. The place feels like home."


""On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces to it" (Jules Renard). Everything about this place is fantastic, from the absolutely breathtaking nature, to the service received and the friendliness of all the staff. An unforgettable experience for the third time in a row!"


"We wanted our first Africa experience to be amazing and so it was... The staff was excellent, spoiling our children with hot chocolate when it was cold, even filling our bathtub when we were soaking wet after one of our excellent safaris. Tendai our guide showed us the vast wilderness that is Samara with his cheetahs, giraffes, rhinos and kudus. In short Samara stole our hearts."


"So why do so many souls return time and time again to absorb the essence, energies, spirit and ethos of one of Africa's finest wilderness properties on this continent?

Do you yearn to restore your own, inner hard drive? Do you seek vistas and views that will truly ignite your soul? Is there a 'missing' link within you that calls to be attended to? Take no less that three to four days within this magnetic & brilliant ethos to fully recharge within, to appreciate the detail of African life, to witness a team sharing their life's walk with such pride, such openness, such attention to their welcome guests.

Passion in Action is alive, well and thriving at Samara. Come & get your share, again, again & then......again !"


"Samara has to be one of the most beautiful reserves I have ever been to, and I have been lucky enough to have gone to some of the best. What makes this place so magical are the breathtaking views, the beautifully decorated rooms, game viewing from your deck, awesome game drives, delicious food and most importantly the amazing group of people that run Samara. Nothing we asked for was a mission we were greeted by warm smiles and happy faces. The staff really went out of their way to make our stay a really special and memorable one. My boyfriend decided to propose to me on top of a cliff face that overlooked the entire reserve. I cannot describe how much effort and love was poured into making that moment so incredibly special for both of us. Thank you to the most wonderful team. "


"Samara has to rate as one of the most beautiful, relaxing and healing destinations I have visited. The setting nestling in the mountains is stunning. Reading a book or just relaxing with the view between game drives cannot be beaten. For me a "must go to" for all nature lovers seeking that special experience."


"What should we write to describe Samara? Should we highlight the great staff, which gave us a warm welcome when we arrived, marvellous service during our entire stay, or gave us a hug when we said goodbye like old friends?

Or should we provide you details of the lovely suite we stayed in, beautifully decorated and very comfortable? Or should we mention the bathtub filled with steamy hot water when we returned from our evening game-drive, or the small sweets on our pillows when we returned to our suite after dinner? Don't miss the wonderful relaxing massage in the afternoon.

Perhaps we could mention the lovely meals, all well prepared and nicely presented, and served with a smile. Or the good choice of wines to enhance the experience.
And let us not forget the game-drives. Of course the number of animals is not as high as in some other parks, but where can you track white rhino or cheetah on foot at very close range? And the different landscapes, or the view from Eagle Rock, totally amazing. Stargazing after dinner, staring at the Milkyway, with our ranger Gibson pointing our specific stars among the millions we could see.

I think it is the whole package which makes Samara such a wonderful place, which is so lovely that for the first time in 15 trips to southern and eastern Africa we returned to the same lodge. You should go there and see for yourself."


"Ever wanted to stay in a place where you can unwind the minute you arrive? This is the place! The staff is wonderful and very welcoming, the place itself is magnificent. The outstanding game drives with Tendai were the highlights of the day, with lunch on top of the mountain and close encounters with the cheetahs. We really appreciated the vision of Sarah Tompkins and thank her for the hospitality and time she spend with us!! We will definitely come back!"


"I took my six children and three of their partners to Samara. They'd done one safari before and it had been disappointing, but I wanted them to experience a really good one and love a safari as much as I do. I didn't ask them if they wanted to come, I just booked it. They all said it was the best holiday of their lives, and want to go back as soon as possible! Samara was just what I hoped for - a unique experience, a million miles from the traffic jams of jeeps on some reserves. "


"Having stayed at a number of upmarket private reserves in South Africa, Samara has to rate as one of the best, certainly the best we have stayed at in the Eastern Cape. The staff, who are mostly from the surrounding area, are fantastic. The personal service, attention to detail and what can I say about the food! The accommodation is six star and we are looking forward to a return visit."


"I chose to celebrate my 60th birthday at Samara, and what a wonderful decision it proved to be. From start to finish our visit to this fascinating place was filled with excitement and mystery at virtually every turn."


"Our stay was not only relaxing (beautiful accommodations and service) and entertaining (is that really a cheetah sitting right in front of me?!) but also restorative, calming and healing. The landscape and the animals are breathtaking and it's clear that the staff have a deep admiration and respect for both. The accommodations at the lodge are first rate, the food was unique, varied and tasty and the service we received from the staff was literally unmatched. I'm not a very outdoorsy person myself and yet I felt totally at ease here. I really cannot recommend this place highly enough. If you're looking to go somewhere, forget everything and just fall into a wonderful, enlightening, pampering experience, then go here."


"The location is spectacular, the staff are very kind and friendly, the Karoo lodge is beautifully and stylish furnished, the food is delicious.....JUST PERFECT!!! Of all the experiences we had in different Reserves in South Africa, this is definitely the best one! I strongly recommend it to anyone!"


"The pure magic of the Samara Game Reserve will stay with us forever! We have been to many private game reserves, but the experience of Samara was totally unique! This was the first time in my life that I have been able to walk in the bush a few metres from a cheetah! The views from the top of the mountains must rate as some of the most magnificent one will see anywhere in the world."


"One can often tell people about the places that you have seen and experienced, but there are special places, where the only way to know what it feels like, is to go there yourself.... Samara is such a place... We stayed in the Karoo Lodge and from the moment we set foot there, everything was superb! Anneke welcomed us at the lodge and throughout our stay made sure that we were well looked after. We stayed in one of the suites which is spacious, luxurious and has everything you need. The stoep is great to sit and watch the sun set over the Karoo. And then there is our guide, Test Malunga. What can I say!? Friendly, passionate, extremely knowledgeable, funny and caring and determined to show and teach you more about all the animals and flora at Samara. He is just amazing!
Apart from our game drives, walk to see the San paintings and just relaxing next to the pool, the game drive up the mountain to see the animals on top and the surprise breakfast on top of the mountain was stunning! Where do you sip champagne with the long grass swinging next to you in the wind and you look over the Karoo "vlaktes" and see the mountains at the coast in the distance? And then there was the food and the service - both in the lodge and in the bush! You get back to your room after a long game drive to be welcomed by a bubble bath and candle light! Karen, the chef, knows how to! We had amazing meals, each time in a different setting with special touches by the staff, making each meal an experience. We both love good food, so this was a great treat, including the wonderful cakes with afternoon tea. And then a special treat, a braai in the bush for just the two of us, with white linen, candles and a big fire, how much more can one be spoilt! This is a special place where your soul can soar and smile........"


"Samara is more than just another game viewing experience. Yes you will see game - white rhino, giraffe and much more but Samara offers other rewards rather than just large numbers of animals in big herds. This is an experience for those who are really interested in the environment. Samara is a pioneering venture to restore one of South Africa's ecologically important areas - the Karoo. It is a privilege to see tourism and ecology so successfully combined."


"Effortlessly serene... Samara is essentially a place where you unwind. You dictate the pace, if you want a pace at all. The dining is excellent. The furnishings are elegant but understated. The staff professional but relaxed in the South African way. The Lodge, the Manor house and Retreat are havens of tranquility which are the exact opposite of the hussle of every day urban life.
Do yourself a favour, come to Samara, put your feet up and look at the sky!"


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