Shamwari Explorer Camp

The Shamwari and Sanbona Reserve are both located in South Africa and offer a choice of luxury accommodation as a base for your safari. As an additional way to enjoy the reserves, they both offer explorer camps for a short camping safari. But do you choose the Shamwari or Sanbona Explorer Camp?

Here, we will go offer the similarities and differences of the explorer camps to help you choose your safari.

First, an introduction to the reserves.

The Shamwari Reserve

The Shamwari Reserve is a 25,000 hectare reserve located in South Africa from the city of Port Elizabeth in the country’s south. The reserve was established in 1990 with tourism, conservation, and restoration as the main goals.

The Shamwari Reserve contains one of the highest concentrations of wildlife on the Southern and Eastern Cape. On safaris, you can find all members of the Big 5 living within the reserve plus a diversity of other mammals, birds, and beautiful landscapes.

The Shamwari Reserve environment includes savanna, thicket, and woodland habitat and the different wildlife that is found in each area.

The Shamwari Explorer Camp - Shamwarior or Sanbona

There are a number of different Shamwari Reserve lodges to choose from to enjoy game drives, birding tours, and visits to the different sanctuaries. There is also the excellent and comfortable Shamwari Explorer Camp.

The Sanbona Reserve

The Sanbona Reserve covers 54,000 hectares of desert-like environment and is accessed from Cape Town. The reserve was established in 1998 and follows the main goals of the Shamwari Reserve, to conserve and restore the area’s wildlife.

You can find all members of the Big 5 in the Sanbona Reserve, including other wildlife. In addition to the lions, elephants, rhino, and buffalo, spot the giraffes, cheetah, various antelopes, and some of the smaller animals.

In addition to the larger wildlife, see many different birds especially around the Bellair Dam, which is within the Sanbona Reserve. In addition to the wildlife, the reserve is home to ancient rock art as is one of the best places in the country to observe the Milky Way in stunning detail.

The Explorer Camps

In addition to the luxury lodges in Shamwari Reserve and the different luxury lodges in the Sanbona Reserve, both reserves offer an explorer camp. These are based around 2-day walking safaris in each reserve to provide a comfortable camping experience and a way to experience these incredible areas on foot.

Not only offering a more connected experience to the different African environments, enjoy an experience similar to the first African explorers.

The Shamwari Explorer Camp

The Shamwari Explorer Camp - Shamwarior or Sanbona

Nestled in the Shamwari Reserve on a plateau between the only basalt and granite rocks in the reserve, you can find the Shamwari Explorer Camp.

Offering a comfortable yet traditional African safari experience, enjoy a 2-night walking safari through the Shamwari Reserve. The Shamwari Explorer Camp departs each Friday of the week over the summer months. Note that you can also add on Sunday night if you want to extend your camping experience.

The Shamwari Explorer Camp offers more of a luxury camping experience than the comfortable Sanbona Explorer Camp. Another difference is that the Shamwari Explorer Camp is lightly fenced compared to the unfenced Sanbona Explorer Camp.

The Shamwari Explorer Camp - Shamwarior or Sanbona

With your explorer camp safari guide, enjoy a walking safari through the reserve to have some Big 5 encounters, birding opportunities, and some fantastic adventures in this beautiful part of South Africa

Enjoy exploring the Shamwari Reserve on walking tours from the explorer camp, which can last up to 4 hours each day. Note that some days you will set off from the camp and other days you will begin the walking safari farther out, which will be reached from a game vehicle.

The Shamwari Explorer Camp is composed of three mobile canvas camps, which can accommodate a total of two people each. These are spaced far enough apart to not encroach on the privacy of each other.

The Sanbona Explorer Camp

Sanbona Explorer Camp - Sanbona or Shamwari

The Sanbona Explorer Camp offers a comfortable camping and walking safari in the 54,000 hectare Sanbona Wildlife Reserve. Enjoy a 2-night walking itinerary through the Little Karoo then return to comfortable tents for some delicious cuisine.

Unlike the Shamwari Explorer Camp, the Sanbona Explorer Camp is a completely unfenced experience. This means animals are free to roam through the campsite when they wish, which remains a reality. This not only make the experience more authentic, but makes it a more adventurous experience.

Your Sanbona walking guide will help you spot different animals, explore the reserve, and teach you a little about the history and nature of the region.

Sanbona Explorer Camp - Sanbona or Shamwari

Like the Shamwari Camp, the Sanbona Explorer Camp operates over the summer months and departs each Friday of the week for a 2-day itinerary. Enjoy heading out on fantastic guided walking tours, which can last four hours each. Trails may start from the camp itself or you will be driven in game vehicle to the start of the walk.

As mentioned, the Sanbona Explorer Camp is unfenced and consists of three mobile canvas tents. These are placed far enough apart to maintain privacy, but are close enough together for safety.

As the camp is unfenced, wild animal can pass through the camp at all times. All safety measure are taken but the nature of wildlife animals remain a reality.

Sanbona Explorer Camp

Sanbona Explorer Camp

Cape Town, South Africa, Africa
Price per person from $
Sanbona Explorer Camp provides an immersive and unfenced experience of the San environment from Sabo More info

Shamwari & Sanbona Explorer Camp Table

To help you choose between the Sanbona and Explorer camp, we have prepared the following comparison table.

Shamwari Explorer Camp
Sanbona Explorer Camp
Reserve Size
Shamwari Reserve: 25,000 hectares
Sanbona Reserve: 54,000 hectares
Habitat
Savanna, Thicket, Woodland
Species-rich semi-desert
Accessed From
Port Elizabeth
Cape Town
Hours from Base City
1.5 Hours
3 Hours
Comfort level
Luxury
Comfort
Home to Big 5
Yes
Yes
Wildlife Sightings
Excellent
Good
Camp Fence
Lightly Fenced
Unfenced
Tour Length
2 or 3 Nights
2 Nights
Operates
Summer Months
Summer Months
Day of Departure
Friday
Friday
Number of Tents
3 Tents
3 Tents
People per tent
2 People
2 People
Meals
Cooked meals under stars
Cooked meals under stars
Average Length of Walks
4 Hours
4 Hours
Shower
Outside Shared Shower
Outside Shared Shower
Toilet
Shared Flush Toilet
En-suite Bio Box
Sanbona Explorer Camp

Sanbona Explorer Camp

Cape Town, South Africa, Africa
Price per person from $
Sanbona Explorer Camp provides an immersive and unfenced experience of the San environment from Sabo More info
Ash - Author & Travel AdvisorAbout the Author: Ash Card is a frequent visitor to the Tropics and has a passion for helping visitors get the best experiences from tropical locations. Ash is a contributor to both TourTheTropics.com and ThinkJungle.com writing about tropical destinations, rainforests and wildlife. Feel free to contact Ash for tour help in the tropics. When not helping tourists with tours and info, Ash can be found salsa-ing the night away or posing near waterfalls.
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