Samara Karoo Lodge

Samara Karoo Lodge: Information from the owner

All the information on this page is supplied to us directly from the lodge owner and reflects their view, not ours.
For Expert Africa's view, see our own report, which contains our own observations and views.

Type Lodge
No. of rooms 9
Last updated 16-Jan-2019

Main description of Samara Karoo Lodge

Karoo Lodge: Facilities

Property facilities Bar, Communal Dining, Eco Friendly, Internet Access (Complimentary), Kiddies Club, Laundry Service (Available), Malaria Free, Pool, Private Vehicle Available, Restaurant, Secure Parking
Room facilities Air Conditioning, Balcony / Deck, Bath, Dressing Gowns, Electrical Outlets, En-Suite, Fan, Fridge, Heater, Internet Access (Complimentary), Laundry Service (Available), Lounge Area, Mini Bar, Mosquito Nets, Outside Shower, Safe, Shower, Tea / Coffee, Verandah
Available services Babysitting Service, Credit Card, Room Service
Activities on site (some activities may be seasonal) Big 5, Bird Watching, Fine Dining, Game Drives, Game Viewing, Game Walks, Gourmet Picnic, High Tea, Night Drives, Rhino Tracking, Safaris, Sleep Outs, Walks (Guided)
Activities nearby (some activities may be seasonal) Art Galleries, Bird Watching, Child Friendly Activities, Cultural Tours, Game Drives, Game Viewing, Game Walks, General Sightseeing, Helicopter Rides, Hiking, Historical Tours, Mountain Biking, Museums, Natural History Tours, Safaris, Scenic Flights, Walks (Guided), Walks (Self Guided)

Room types at Karoo Lodge

Karoo Suites

Karoo Suites

Three Karoo Suites are standalone cottages a short distance from the main homestead. Each has a fireplace, air-conditioning and luxury en-suite bathroom with large separate bath and shower and two washbasins. Private covered patios with outdoor seating provide the ideal location for morning coffee or a nightcap under the stars. These suites even have outdoor showers with magnificent views!

Lodge Suites

Lodge Suites

Four Lodge Suites are found inside the main homestead. They are spacious, light and airy, with air-conditioning and en-suite bathroom with large freestanding bath and shower. These suites open onto the wide wraparound verandah with outdoor seating synonymous with traditional Karoo farmhouses.

Sibella Suites

Sibella Suites

The two Sibella Suites are named in honour of Samara's famous cheetah, Sibella. They are located a little walk away by the waterhole where birdlife abounds and antelope, rhino and buffalo slake their thirst in the early morning and late afternoon. These suites are interleading and provide ideal accommodation for families with young children. Each suite has a shower, basin and air-conditioning. The shared wooden deck provides welcome shade during hot summer days.

Activities at Karoo Lodge

Children's programme

Children's programme

Family-owned and family-run, Samara places great emphasis on making all guests feel part of the Samara family. Samara is passionate about educating the next generation of conservationists and opening their eyes to the wonders of the wild.

Children of all ages are welcome at Samara. A dedicated children’s menu is available and special requests can be accommodated. Scheduled game drives with other guests at Karoo Lodge can only accommodate children aged 8 and older. Private vehicles to accommodate younger children can be arranged on request, depending on availability, and at extra cost. Shorter ‘bumble’ game drives and/or bush walks can also be organised during the middle of the day when other guests are not on drives.

The Samara Kids Programme caters exclusively to children and young teenagers. Qualified staff will take your brood off your hands and engage them in a variety of fun and educational activities whilst you relax and unwind. Activities include bush walks, spoor identification, rock painting like the San people, African crafts, orienteering and navigating, storytelling, sleep-outs (weather dependent).

When their parents are on a game drive or otherwise away from the lodges, children younger than 8 must be placed under the care of the experienced childminders available. They are encouraged to take part in ‘active babysitting’, involving activities such as short walks and playing outdoors. Babysitting for infants and toddlers is also available. The fee is R100 per hour, available all year round.

Conservation Volunteer Programme

Conservation Volunteer Programme

Samara is a hub of conservation and animal reintroduction efforts in the Great Karoo basin. As a volunteer you will work on ongoing wildlife research and management projects as well as assist with community development and environmental education programmes. Get your hands dirty in a unique South African bush experience!

The programme is open during the months of June, July and August.

A typical stay will include:

Cheetah monitoring and tracking on foot
Land rehabilitation: soil erosion control including digging hollows, brush-packing and vegetation re-establishment to rectify degradation through old farming methods
Alien vegetation control: removing various invasive plant species and testing the most effective methods
Vervet monkey research: helping to observe and collect data on Vervet monkeys with students from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and others to explore how the Samara monkeys survive in the harsh Karoo environment
Tracker Academy: Samara hosts the first ever Tracker Academy in South Africa. Volunteers spend time accompanying the tracker students and Master Tracker Pokkie Benadie on their morning walks to learn about how they interpret animals’ tracks to follow them through the bush
Cape Mountain Zebra population research: evaluating sex and age ratios and population density
Rhino monitoring and tracking on foot (both desert-adapted black and white rhino)
Community outreach with the Vuyani Safe Haven, a centre for abused and neglected children in Graaff-Reinet
Ad hoc lectures from visiting academics or conservationists (subject to availability)
Other activities: hiking, game drives, night drives, camping (weather permitting), swimming in rivers (weather permitting).
Tours of surrounding attractions (e.g. Valley of Desolation, Addo Elephant National Park) can be arranged on request and at extra cost.

The volunteer camp can accommodate a maximum of 10 volunteers at any one time, in basic single or double rooms. Camp facilities include a kitchen, living room, braai area, outdoor seating, Wifi, telephone and laundry.

Milky Way Star Bed

Milky Way Star Bed

What could be more romantic than curling up in your four-poster bed in a remote, secluded location, with only your loved one and the Milky Way for company?

Samara's raised tented platform on the Milk River provides a breathtaking romantic wilderness experience. Arrive at sunset for a picnic dinner and drinks. Watch as the local wildlife descend to the water to quench their thirst. Take in the spectacular views over the mountainous landscape, free of light and noise pollution. As the night sky develops, marvel at the Milky Way, pointing out different constellations with the aid of star books, before drifting off to sleep wrapped in a thick mohair blanket. Awaken to the big skies and birdsong of the Karoo as another beautiful day dawns in Africa.

The star bed platform comprises a bespoke handmade four-poster king sized bed with draped mosquito net. A small seating/dining area looks out over the river.

Terms and conditions apply. The star bed experience must be reserved at the time of booking. Weather-dependent.

Tracking wild cheetah on foot

Tracking wild cheetah on foot

One of the highlights of a stay at Samara is the opportunity to track wild cheetah on foot. Often overshadowed by bigger predators in other reserves, at Samara the cheetah sits at the top of the food chain. Thanks to a number of habituated individuals, starting with the famous Sibella, Samara has been able to offer unrivalled wild cheetah viewing on foot to many years of Samara guests.

Several of Samara’s cheetahs have radio collars so that they can be tracked. This is essential given the type of terrain they live in – from hunting in the thicket adjoining the rivers to giving birth on steep mountain slopes. Depending on the vegetation, your Samara guide will also point out the signs of a cheetah’s presence – from tracks to dung to scratch marks on a tree trunk.

Walking safaris

Walking safaris

Samara is one of few private game reserves where walking forms an integral part of the safari experience. With fragile ecosystems and a ‘tread lightly’ policy, the preferred form of off-roading is on one's own two feet.

And what a way to explore the bush! Let Samara's experienced guides walk you through the four vegetation biomes, pointing out the signs of the wild invisible from the vehicle. Marvel at busy termites as they go about their daily business, listen out for the call of the Honeyguide leading you to wild honey and feel your senses heighten in every way as you navigate the sort of landscape our prehistoric ancestors dwelled in long ago.

Every tree, every rock and every track has a story to tell. Breathe in the silence and space so foreign to our everyday urban lives and feel yourself reconnecting to Nature. No one can fail to be moved by the sound of trickling water in a stream, the gentle whistling of the wind rustling the leaves, the sense of suspense and awe at walking to within metres of endangered cheetah and rhino.

If the conditions are right, you’ll get the opportunity to track these iconic animals on foot. What a privilege to enter their space and witness these animals living wild and free. An unforgettable and humbling experience awaits.

Wilderness picnics

Wilderness picnics

At Samara, the wealth of stunning landscapes positively begs to be the setting for a delicious meal, whether it be a well-earned breakfast buffet, light lunch in the shade of a shepherd tree or dinner under the stars. Aside from the beautiful locations, gourmet picnic food has a certain je-ne-sais-quoi that just epitomises holiday mode.

As well as dining on your lodge verandah or in the outdoors ‘boma’, a traditional reed enclosure at Karoo Lodge with a campfire at its centre, there are a myriad other dining options to enjoy at Samara. From a picnic lunch in the riverbed at the height of summer with cool water flowing past your toes, to the iconic mountain picnic experience on the Samara Mara, you’ll struggle to go back to dining in urban eateries.

Restaurants at Samara Karoo Lodge

Kitchen at Samara

Whether you dine in the boma under the stars or picnic overlooking the romantic Plains of Camdeboo, you will savour the flavours of our mouth-watering cuisine, hand-selected and produced in our Karoo Kitchen. Our executive chef will guide you through a cornucopia of flavours, redolent of the wild surrounds and complimented hand-picked Karoo garden produce. The rich bush scents of Wild Rosemary and Fynbos are combined with traditional Karoo Lamb and Springbok Loin to create a gastronomic delight that never fails to seduce. Our vegetarian guests are not forgotten and they can also look forward to delectable dining experiences. Meals are all served with quality South African wines selected from our cellar.

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