South Africa Unveiled: Samara’s Revamped Karoo Lodge

Roger Hohl
Roger Hohl
Executive Editor Roger Hohl always reports firsthand. He has been gathering experiences and impressions in the luxury travel segment since 2006, from the South Sea to China and Asia, across Europe to Africa and America. He is always on the lookout for the most spectacular and extraordinary locations, combined with the best possible comfort and service. His focus is on independent and critical perception from the perspective of the most demanding clientele, as today's customers in this segment expect the highest quality. His motto: pushing the limits - but always fair!

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Nestled amidst the grandeur of the 27,000-hectare 5-star Samara Karoo Reserve in South Africa lies the newly rejuvenated Karoo Lodge, a testament to elegance and serenity following extensive refurbishment and expansion.

A Transformation Amidst the Wilderness

Located just 53 kilometers from Graaff-Reinet and a convenient 2.5-hour drive from Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape Province, Samara beckons nature enthusiasts seeking solace amidst breathtaking, remote landscapes. Accessible by both road and air, it seamlessly integrates into a Garden Route adventure, offering a captivating safari experience.

Set against the backdrop of the dramatic “Sneeuberge” (Snow Mountains), the Karoo Lodge resides within the reserve’s original historic homestead. Following expansion, it now accommodates up to 24 guests across 10 standalone suites.

Embracing Authenticity: Design and Décor

The tastefully redesigned interiors pay homage to the powerful landscape of the Great Karoo, exuding authenticity and a deep connection to the region’s natural and cultural heritage. Characterized by typical Karoo design elements, including natural stone, wood, high-quality antiques, pottery, lithographs by local artists, and an earth-toned color palette, the lodge offers an immersive experience.

(c) Samara Karoo Lodge

Guest amenities at the Karoo Lodge include an atmospheric dining room, bar, library, a farmhouse kitchen for Karoo cooking classes, a wine cellar, and an interactive “Story Room” delving into Samara’s past, present, and future. A spacious covered veranda adorned with cozy sofas and large fans wraps around the building, inviting guests to linger and savor the phenomenal surroundings.

(c) Samara Karoo Lodge

Highlights of the 10 luxurious Karoo suites include locally crafted four-poster beds, premium handcrafted fabrics and textiles, rustic outdoor showers, and panoramic views of the blue-hued mountain ranges on the horizon. The outdoor space seamlessly merges the inviting oasis of a Karoo courtyard garden with the natural veld landscape, surrounded by characteristic plants such as Spekboom, Aloes, wild grasses, and Jacketplum trees.

(c) Samara Karoo Lodge

Sustainable Safari Living: A Commitment to the Future

In line with sustainability efforts, the new Karoo Lodge operates on 100% renewable solar energy and employs innovative wastewater recycling systems.

Sarah Tompkins, owner of Samara, remarked, “The transformation pays homage to this special region we call home. We’ve invested much love and hard work to preserve the distinctive Karoo character of the lodge while integrating a modern approach to safari living.”

In addition to the Karoo Lodge, Samara offers the Plains Camp, a recently opened off-grid tented experience focusing on walking safaris for up to eight guests, and The Manor, a luxurious four-bedroom safari villa. An extraordinary experience awaits guests with an overnight stay in the Star Bed.

Activities offered encompass Big-5 game drives, bushwalks with fossil tours, wilderness picnics, various conservation activities, fly camping, mountain biking, and photo safaris. A highlight includes tracking the footsteps of cheetahs – one of the continent’s most endangered big cats – and approaching them on foot. Children of all ages are welcome and can participate in the “Cubs Programme.”

(c) Mitch Reardon

As a member of “The Long Run,” Samara is committed to sustainability in conservation, community, culture, and commerce. A stay at Samara is thus a direct contribution to this vision.

In unveiling its newly reimagined Karoo Lodge, Samara continues to enchant visitors, offering an unparalleled blend of luxury, wilderness, and sustainability in the heart of South Africa’s mesmerizing landscape.

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