Plains Camp by Samara Karoo Reserve.

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I’ve written about the Samara Karoo Reserve and my stays there quite often over the past years, always with a love and appreciation for the region, the conservation efforts that are part of the property’s ethos and the lodges where luxury and hospitality abound.

Located near Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape’s Great Karoo region, Samara Karoo Reserve is one of South Africa’s most diverse safari destinations – a landscape of space, stars and silence brought back to life by a pioneering rewilding project. Now home to the Big Five, 60 mammal species and 225 bird species, Samara provides a uniquely soulful safari for discerning visitors.

Read my other Samara posts.

Samara’s newest ecotourism launch, explorer-style Plains Camp evokes the era of mobile safaris with a focus on grounding experiences in Nature for up to 8 guests.

Located in the southern section of the reserve on the Plains of Camdeboo and nestled against a low hill with sweeping mountain views, the camp benefits from undisturbed privacy and no light pollution. Designed with sustainability in mind, the camp comprises a mess tent, swimming pool area and four guest tents, with the spectacular landscape as a backdrop.

The surrounding area teems with wildlife. Large resident herds of zebra, black wildebeest, springbok, gemsbok and red hartebeest meander the plains, alongside giraffes, blue cranes and smaller creatures like bat-eared foxes. Nearby thickets and waterholes provide opportunities for tracking elephants, white rhinoceros and black rhinoceros. Cheetahs and lions are also often found in the area.

Guided bush walks depart every morning, focusing on the little things often unseen from the safari vehicle. Tracks, flowering bushes, ostrich eggs and beetles are identified by the knowledgeable guide and tracker team, bringing to life the semi-arid landscape. Afternoon game drives with wildlife tracking, sundowners and stargazing complete the experience.

Back at camp, guests have access to home comforts including fully-catered meals cooked over the fire, a well-stocked bar, a deliciously refreshing plunge pool and comfortable areas in which to relax – all furnished in a Karoo style by local artisans. Each of the four guest tents comprises a spacious bedroom area leading to a bathroom with an indoor loo and an outdoor “bucket” shower with hot water provided on request. Tents are warmed in winter by a small fireplace and cooled with a fan in summer.

As a purpose-driven business committed to sustainability across its operations, Samara’s focus with Plains Camp was to create an ecologically sensitive camp that rests lightly on the Earth and embodies a uniquely Karoo experience. To this end, innovative technologies to manage environmental resources and minimise carbon emissions have been deployed, and the majority of furnishings have been sourced from within the Eastern Cape Karoo.

With no Wi-Fi or electricity, Samara’s Plains Camp is a space to switch off from modern life and reconnect with Nature in elegant simplicity.



About Samara Karoo Reserve

Award-winning Samara Karoo Reserve is a conservation journey on 67,000 acres of born-again wilderness in the heart-stoppingly beautiful Great Karoo. Located 270km from Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth) and 53km from Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape, Samara is easily accessible by road or by air yet retains a remote wilderness feel. Five vegetation biomes combine with strikingly varied topography to support over 60 mammal species, including the Big Five, cheetah, aardvark and vast herds of desert-adapted antelope, as well as 225 bird species. Three intimate lodges with a true sense of place welcome guests for slow, meaningful and exceptional safari encounters.

Karoo Lodge, a lovingly renovated farmstead overlooking an amphitheatre of mountains, sleeps 24 guests. The Manor, an elegantly appointed villa in a Karoo contemporary style, sleeps eight. Plains Camp is an off-grid tented experience focusing on walking safaris for up to eight guests. Activities on offer include game drives, bush walks, wilderness picnics, conservation activities, a star bed, fly camping, mountain biking and photographic safaris. Children of all ages are welcomed with a dedicated children’s programme.

A member of The Long Run, Samara strives to achieve sustainability across the “4Cs”: Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce. Staying at Samara acts as a direct contribution to this vision.

The Essential Details

Plains Camp Launch Special – R4,750 per person per night sharing on a Stay 3 Pay 2 basis, inclusive of meals, twice daily safari activities and accommodation. Valid for travel dates up to and including 30 September 2023. Terms and conditions apply.

Samara Karoo Reserve Reservations: 031 262 0324 | Lodge: 049 940 0059 | and more on too.

** The above information was supplied

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