Shamwari Game Reserve's main objective is to create and maintain an eco-tourism product in the Eastern Cape, which is sustainable on three fronts: financially, ecologically, and for the local population.
In the case of Shamwari, an area so rich in natural and historical beauty, the physical planning and design of eco-tourism facilities was a critical and well thought-out consideration. With a primary aim of minimal environmental and cultural impact, it was decided to restore rather than build new lodges. The old lodges are Victorian, Edwardian or simple farmhouses dating back to the early 1900's. The restoration of these historical, architecturally distinguished buildings has not only had minimal impact on the surrounding natural environment, but also enhanced the forgotten culture of this era, to further complement and enhance the total eco-tourism experience.
To date, the reserve boasts seven 5-star lodges, each with their own unique identity, thereby not only allowing guests to experience the wilderness and its beauty, but to do so in the luxurious surrounds of this award-winning reserve.
The Wilderness area, the first one of its kind in Africa, is nature at its best; free from any man-made features or obstructions. All materials, used for both construction and furnishing, are purchased locally.
Shamwari has established a Conservation Department headed up by a wildlife veterinarian and ecologist. This department divides its attention between the ecology, anti-poaching, recycling, a breeding centre and the Born Free Foundation Animal Rescue and Education Centre - this is a joint venture between the reserve and the Born Free Foundation, UK. The aims are to provide long term, humane care for rescued African cats that cannot be returned to the wild, as well as to provide educational resource for visitors, schoolchildren and students.
Shamwari's multifaceted education department goes beyond the borders of the reserve and involves many outreach programs within the local communities. The education department focuses largely on the local community; their main aim is teaching the underprivileged to conserve and understand their natural, surrounding environment. Furthermore, the reserve has identified a great demand from foreign countries to experience conservation first-hand; this has led to the establishment of an educational initiative for International Gap year students.
At Shamwari, we constantly aim to improve the ""eco-tourism experience"". We continue on our mission ""to conserve a vanishing way of life"" by enlarging the reserve, as adjacent farms become available, thereby setting aside a larger area of land for conservation purposes. Shamwari's most recent acquisition, 3000 hectares of pure wilderness area, is one way in which the reserve continues on its quest to 'lead by example"".
Shamwari Game Reserve has been awarded the Gold Leaf Environmental Standard Award.