It’s a historically significant and beloved landmark in the heart of the African bush. Now, after 13 months of extensive renovation, Long Lee Manor has welcomed its firsts guests to unsurpassed luxury and comfort and views of its surrounding plains, which teem with wildlife, including Africa’s iconic Big Five.
Long Lee Manor is in Shamwari Private Game Reserve near Port Elizabeth in the malaria-free Eastern Cape. Its refurbishment has lovingly restored its original Edwardian-era features and the 18 new luxury suites focus on guests’ privacy and comfort while maximizing the commanding views of the area.
Joe Cloete, CEO of Shamwari Private Game Reserve says, “The reopening of Long Lee Manor is a proud moment for us: it marks the completion of the USD25m investment in refurbishment by the reserve’s owners, Investment Corporation Dubai. The first guests have arrived and are delighted by what they’ve found.
“This is the start of a new chapter for us. As one of SA’s flagship tourism brands and conservation success stories, Shamwari is eager to welcome guests from around the world.”
Accommodation includes a two-bedroomed family suite with its own private deck and plunge-pool. The poolside bar will slake guests’ thirsts while they watch animals graze on the surrounding plains and drink at their own watering-hole below the lodge. The boma is the ideal venue for a traditional braai (barbecue). The fitness centre and spa has two treatment rooms, a couples’ treatment-room as well as pre- and post-treatment areas for relaxation. And the Long Lee kitchen garden and herb garden allow staff and guests to forage for exotic and indigenous produce, prepared to compliment the new menus and wine-list.
Cloete adds that the interiors pay homage to the manor’s origins and give guests a luxury “Out of Africa” experience. Interior spaces use rich leathers, luxurious linens and nostalgic florals. Guest suites’ walls are treated with traditional timber paneling and textured wallpaper, bathrooms have crisp white marble floors with generous showers and bathtubs.
Furnishings emphasise luxury and comfort, but colour palettes are light and fresh, giving the traditional detailing a more modern, clean and fresh feel.
The generous public areas are totally focused on the views. The interiors, like the guest rooms, are designed using traditional paneling, bronze, wallpapers, rattan and statement focal pieces like the gorgeous oval bar. The original stained-glass windows and fireplace of the historic manor house were all retained and meticulously restored.
Shamwari, meaning “my friend” in Shona, is the pinnacle of private game reserves and home to Africa’s iconic Big Five. It’s a place where guests can exist in harmony with nature, where wildlife roam under the relentless African sun. Located in the heart of the malaria-free Eastern Cape, the reserve offers abundant wildlife, fauna and flora exclusive to the area and unforgettable encounters with nature.
Shamwari has seven lodges – Eagles Crag, Long Lee Manor, Bayethe, Lobengula, Sarili Private Lodge, Riverdene Family Lodge and Sindile Luxury Tented Camp – as well as the Explorer Camp.
Its seven lodges each provide distinct experiences: from exclusive tranquillity, effortless family enjoyment or the back-to-nature appeal of a luxury tented camp, all complemented by the very best local cuisine and thoughtful service.
By staying at Shamwari guests are participating in an immensely successful conservation project, which arrested the impact of human activity and returned to 25 000 hectares the rich biodiversity for which the region was once renowned.
Over the past 25 years the project has restored much of the ecology and attracted or re-introduced an abundance of indigenous game and birdlife, from the big five to the humble ox pecker.