Location: Graaff Reinet, Eastern Cape
No of Rooms: The Mountain Retreat: Sleeps 10. The Manor: Sleeps eight. Karoo Lodge: Three suites.
One Stop Reason To Go: East African style safaris and landscapes

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Samara Private Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape is ultimately described as heart-stoppingly beautiful. Elegant lodges provide luxury accommodation nestled between an amphitheatre of mountains on 70,000 acres of astonishing landscapes.

The Mountain Retreat is an exclusive use venue accommodating up to 10 guests. There are three delightful double en-suite bedrooms in the main homestead and a further two en-suite bedrooms are situated in the beautifully restored Victorian barn. A comfortable living room with fireplace and dining room complete the indoor facilities. A wide wrap-around veranda provides the perfect area for relaxing while contemplating the awesome view. A Jacuzzi on the veranda affords an ideal cooling-off spot whilst a Karoo-style plunge pool is situated a little away from the house. Delicious home-cooked meals are served in various venues – the dining room, under the stars in the boma or on the veranda.

Guests are encouraged to take leisurely walks to explore the ancient valley landscape where rare rock art paintings of cheetah are preserved. Guests will be accompanied on walks by an experienced ranger who will be able to point out all the little things one may miss on a game drive. Game drives are an optional extra.

The Mountain Retreat is the perfect getaway for a family or group of friends wanting to escape from the hustle and bustle and return to a slower pace and experience the true wilderness.

The Manor at Samara: Mark and Sarah Tompkins built The Manor on the site of an old house with title deeds dating back to Lord Charles Somerset. The Manor House is available for rental when the Tompkins family isn’t in residence.

The Manor is for the exclusive use of up to eight guests in ultimate luxury and total privacy with every whim being anticipated by friendly but unobtrusive staff. Upon arrival at this historic homestead guests are take aback by breathtaking views of this extraordinary Karoo mountain landscape unfolding over a 21m infinity pool which descends into a waterhole at which game can be present in the early morning and late afternoon.

The four spacious luxury air-conditioned suites boast beautiful beds made up with the softest linen that lulls guests to sleep and all suites have large en-suite bathrooms with separate showers and free standing baths. Guests can unwind in the large comfortable lounge where a crackling fire burns in the winter months and the large glass doors to the patio are cast wide open in the summer.

Dining experiences include boma, veranda, dining room and breakfast room as well as various bush dining experiences. Services include a personal ranger, chef and butler.

Karoo Lodge: Surrounded by a natural amphitheatre of mountains, Karoo Lodge sits in perfect serenity in the reserve’s pristine wilderness.

Three Lodge Suites are situated in the main homestead and are light and airy, all opening out on to the wide wrap-around veranda. The three Karoo Suites are individual “cottages” in the garden and each has a luxury en-suite bathroom, outdoor shower, is air-conditioned and has a fireplace.

Echoing the extraordinary surroundings, the interiors seek to fuse the elegance of the colonial era with the untamed beauty of the African bush making for some fabulous aesthetics.

Amongst such a variety of places to stay and in such opulence, guests can leave the game for another day and indulge in the luxury of their suite whilst letting Samara’s experienced therapists ease the stresses away with aromatic oils and local charm.

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. 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. Samara works closely with De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Trust to ensure that this high-endangered species is given the best chance of survival. To this effect Samara swaps its cheetah populations with other reserves thus ensuring that the gene pool is as wide as possible.

High attention to luxury details and an evident moral compass, makes Samara a perfect location for those wishing to witness Africa’s conservation.

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