Samara Private Game Reserve – Somewhere in the Karoo

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Somewhere – that’s where Samara Private Game Reserve is – somewhere.

A meandering dirt road leads you to her warm welcome; you can’t see anything from the road, but you know something magical waits. Mountains cover her, nature hides her and the Karoo night draws a blanket over her stillness.

Samara Private Game Reserve, Graaff-Reinet, Karoo

Your phone signal disappears; this is where you leave the rush, this is where you disconnect and tune in to the waltz of the Camdeboo plains, a sensual dance between you and nature, one-two-three, one-two-three.

Kudus and Red Hartebeests roll out the green carpet and monkeys greet you with a tree-swinging dance while a hawk keeps a watchful eye. The clouds peek through an Acasia-canopy; tonight the sunset will put on a theatrical play, the stars will come out in thousands and somewhere in the distance the howl of a black-backed jackal will call the darkness closer.

The dirt road takes one more twist, one more turn, opens its hands and then reveals – somewhere in the Karoo, close to Graaff-Reinet and not too far from Port Elizabeth – Samara Private Game Reserve.

Samara Private Game Reserve – From This to That

Samara Private Game Reserve started with one couple’s vision more than two decades ago. Mark and Sarah Tompkins had a dream to restore a part of the Great Karoo after generations of agricultural exploitation and turn it into a self-sustaining eco-system that would carry game, herds of antelope that used to inhabit the area as well as predators to keep the balance in the eco-system.

Samara Private Game Reserve Buffalo

It all started with a dream. The dream grew into one farm, one farm grew into 27 000 hectares and 27 000 hectares grew into Samaraland, the place that it is today. A place of natural beauty and abundance where wildlife roams freely; a place restored, rejuvenated, returned.

Everything in Between – My visit to Samara

“You’ve made my day”, I said to Julius, the guide and Ben, the tracker, after our first game drive, “it is not even 10am yet and you’ve made my day already!”.

Samara Anje Rautenbach

I said that after a cheetah sighting. A beautiful spotted lady who goes by the name Chilli, made her appearance with caramel-coffee tinted eyes that glistered in the sun.

Little did I know that the “you’ve made my day” phrase would come out of my mouth after every game drive during my stay at Samara Private Game Reserve.

Cheetah Samara Chilli

Days were made. Often. Repeatedly.

A new part of the Karoo unfolded before my eyes; somewhere between Pearston, Graaff-Reinet and Cradock I indulged in Mother Nature and sank into a piece of the Karoo-puzzle that I’ve always missed; a piece of the heartland where mountain ridges peek between the clouds, a piece of the heartland cherished by the environment, nurtured by conservation and rejoiced by eco-lovers near and far.

Samara Private Game Reserve Eagles rock

Days were made. Often. Repeatedly.

My days were made over and over again; by the wildlife and endless views and the Camdeboo plains, by comfortable beds and warm baths, by the Karoo cuisine, the morning coffee and afternoon tea, by the sunrises, the sunsets, the starry nights and everything in between. But what added that extra cherry to the other cherry on top was the incredibly friendly, warm and welcoming staff; from kitchen to housekeeping to reception to inside to outside and the guides with their insights and knowledge.

Have a look at this video and see just how Samara Private Game Reserve and its staff made my day, time and again.

Samara Private Game Reserve

Samara Private Game Reserve is situated in the Karoo, close to Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape. At Samara wildlife, conservation, heart and serenity come together between an amphitheater of mountains where the views leave you speechless, in awe and mesmerised. Read more at: Visit Samara Private Game Reserve: Don’t forget to subscribe and follow me on Facebook:…

Highlights at Samara Private Game Reserve

Allow these photos to take you through a visual journey, highlighting a few of my favourite moments in Samaraland.

The Views

Samara Views

The Wildlife Moments

Samara Private Game Reserve Wildlife

The Karoo Cuisine

Samara Game Reserve Cuisine

The Sunrises and Sunsets

Samara Sunset

The Staff

Samara Game Reserve Staff

The Royal Serene Fit-for-a-Queen Rooms and Hot Baths

Samara Karoo Suite

The Views, Again

Samara Game Reserve View

And of course, the story of Sibella, the cheetah.

Experience it for Yourself

Samara Private Game Reserve is situated about 260 km from Port Elizabeth and easily accessible by car.

Guests can choose between the luxurious Lodge Suites in the main homestead, the Karoo Suites which are private individual Karoo style cottages or the Sibella Suites which overlook the waterhole.

Then there is the Manor House, which is ideal for families and groups. It can be booked exclusively and can accommodate up to 8 guests and it has its own swimming pool, personal ranger, chef and butler.

Room prices (of the Suites as well as the Manor House) include all meals, an afternoon high tea, a sundowner as well game drives and optional walking safari experiences. Conservation fees and drinks are not included in the room price.

Samara Sunrise

While there is no reception at the Suites or the Manor House, guests can enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi at the main homestead.

Don’t miss out on Samara’s gift shop, the swimming pool during those hot summer days or the warm fireplace in the winter.

For more information, visit, send an e-mail to or give them a call at +27 (0) 31-262 0324.

Disclaimer: I was a guest of Samara Private Game Reserve and The Little Black Book, but as always, all opinions expressed are my own.
Thank you to photographer, Karen Share, for the portraits of Samara’s staff and the Suites and food photos.

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