Samara Manor House

premier Camp | The Great Karoo, South Africa

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Samara Manor House is a private bush home, reserved exclusively for small groups and families of four to eight guests. The experience of having a fully private safari with your friends and family is unparalleled, and yet very attainable for small groups. The stately house features four en suite bedrooms, a private lap pool, dining room, living room and full staff for the ultimate home-away-from-home while on safari.

Photo of Jordy Oleson

Our Expert Says

There's just nothing cooler than having a home to yourself on safari! Small families can enjoy their own domain, with kids of all ages, while still having the well-trained Samara management, staff, chefs and housekeeping at their fingertips. Combine that with the amazing wildlife experience in this enormous private wildlife reserve, and you're in business.

– Jordy Oleson

Samara Manor House pool

The Camp

Location: Samara Private Game Reserve, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Number of Suites: 4 (this is a private lodge for 4-8 guests)

Samara Manor House is in the unique position of being a private bush home. Small groups of four to eight adults and children can exclusively reserve the home, which comes equipped with a friendly but unobtrusive staff, including a private guide, chef and butler. Samara's owners, Mark and Sarah Tompkins, built the house as their private residence on the site of a home dating back to the early 1800s. The house comprises four en suite bedrooms, each with a shower, twin sinks and free-standing bathtub. Meals can be enjoyed on the veranda, in a traditional boma, in the dining room or out in the bush. A cozy living area and veranda overlooking the Karoo Mountains provide ample space for relaxation. The 21-meter lap pool affords a cooling dip in the middle of day and leads the eye toward the water hole that hosts a menagerie of wildlife each morning and afternoon.

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Photo: Facilities & Amenities

Facilities & Amenities

  • 4 en suite bedrooms
  • En suite bathrooms with tub and shower
  • Shampoo, conditioner, soap and lotion
  • Hair dryer
  • Air conditioning
  • Fireplace
  • Full kitchen
  • 220v charging outlets throughout
  • Private pool
  • Spa (extra cost)
  • Wi-Fi available
  • Laundry (extra cost)
  • Non-alcoholic drinks included
  • Credit cards accepted (Visa and MasterCard)

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Photo: Private Lodge

Private Lodge

Samara Manor House is sold exclusively to one private group or family of four to eight guests at one time. The adjacent 10-bedroom Samara Karoo Lodge can be booked for individuals seeking accommodation for only one to three guests. Pricing for Samara Manor House is based on a minimum of four adults sharing.

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Photo: Wildlife Viewing & Activities

Wildlife Viewing & Activities

The goal of Samara was to reintroduce the cheetah to a habitat where they once thrived. Sarah and Mark Tompkins, owners of Samara, continue to expand their private game reserve with a goal of linking Samara, Mountain Zebra National Park and Cambedoo National Park, creating the largest wildlife reserve in South Africa. Cheetah are the prevalent predator here, while lion and leopard have not been introduced to the reserve, as they threaten the cheetah conservation. Rhino, Cape mountain zebra, giraffe and other plains animals are present and can be seen not only on 4x4 wildlife drives that cover vast areas of this nearly 67,000-acre private reserve, but also on walks where you can explore the four unique biomes that make up Samara - Nama Karoo, plateau grassland, savanna and thicket. Night safaris give the opportunity to seek aardvark, a famously shy and elusive creature that Samara has a particularly high incidence of sighting, especially in the winter months of July to September.

The Great Karoo's most common large mammal and predator sightings are illustrated in the chart below. The region features cheetah prominently while lion and leopard are not typically observed. This is deliberate, as the focus is on increasing the cheetah presence in this area where they once thrived, and the other big cats can threaten the cheetah population. Elephant are also not seen, as this is not a typical habitat for them, so it's ideal to pair the Great Karoo with the Eastern Cape or Greater Kruger Park area. Other typical sightings may include springbok, brown hyena, baboon, a variety of birds, and small carnivores such as black-backed jackal, bat-eared fox and caracal.

Country Park/Reserve
Gemsbok / Oryx
Greater Kudu
White Rhino
South Africa The Great Karoo

Usually viewed
Frequently viewed
Occasionally viewed
Sporadically viewed
Rarely to never viewed

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Month Max Min Rainfall
January 91° F 57° F 0.16 in
32° C 13° C 4 mm
February 92° F 60° F 0.08 in
33° C 15° C 2 mm
March 85° F 54° F 1.06 in
29° C 12° C 27 mm
April 72° F 46° F 0.51 in
22° C 7° C 13 mm
May 73° F 43° F 0.16 in
22° C 6° C 4 mm
June 64° F 38° F 0.28 in
17° C 3° C 7 mm
July 62° F 36° F 0.51 in
16° C 2° C 13 mm
August 70° F 43° F 0.12 in
21° C 6° C 3 mm
September 72° F 46° F 1.14 in
22° C 7° C 29 mm
October 85° F 51° F 0.63 in
29° C 10° C 16 mm
November 82° F 50° F 0.51 in
27° C 10° C 13 mm
December 93° F 58° F 0.2 in
33° C 14° C 5 mm

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Photo: Conservation


The Samara story truly began with Sibella, a wild cheetah that was near death due to hunters. She was rehabilitated at the De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Trust and released on Samara in 2003 along with two males and has successfully reared 18 cubs on Samara to date, contributing to 2% of South Africa's wild cheetah population. With a history of heavy hunting, it's believed the last wild cheetah to live in this area was over 125 years ago. Samara has brought them back from the brink of extinction.

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